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Strong feelings for a long time friend and unsure what I should do?

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I've never been good at dating. It’s easier for me now, but it’s always been hard for me to "sack up" and ask a girl out, or to determine how she feels about me. So often if they send mixed messages or play coy, I'm left in the cold not knowing what to do. That brings me to Leslie, a friend I’ve considered one of my best friends for 12 years now. We met online playing games 12 years ago, back then she was dating a friend named John. They broke up after about a year and Leslie and I kept talking, playing games and just became closer friends. Over the years we always had a rather teasing and flirty friendship. But I Lived in California and she lived in North Carolina, so naturally although I knew I had a little crush on her, I don't think either of us really thought about seriously dating. Things continued like that for many years. We were always there for each other when needed, and never stopped talking. We occasionally talked about meeting someday if we were ever closer, but never really very seriously.

A Year ago I moved to Virginia for a new Job. I was closer than ever and had not stopped talking to her the entire move. She was married now, and had an 11 month old, but they had been having problems for roughly a year before I even moved here. So by the time I got here, it had been 2 years of depression and heartbreak for her. The whole time I was here that first year she and I wanted to meet, but the now ex-husband wouldn’t allow it. He had threatened to leave her multiple times, but in Early April of 2016 he finally walked out and the official divorce had begun. We kept talking a lot during the months before we finally met. There was a lot of crying, pain and depression shared on both ends. I did everything I could to cheer her up, help her through the difficult times and support her however I could. Eventually she started feeling better, and we began to talk about meeting up again. I can’t even begin to describe how excited we both were about this. We picked our dates, and she packed up her jeep and drove to me.
She arrived on a Thursday and was staying through Sunday, we had always talked about a weekend, so we made it a long one. I secretly wanted a full week, and she probably would have said ok, but I was too scared to ask. And I can’t even explain why I was nervous about that. Either way, when she arrived I ran outside, she was even more beautiful in person than any of her pictures or video chats showed. I gave her a giant hug and the smiles were all around. She introduced me to her 11 month old son and Waylon and I loved each other immediately. Thursday and Friday were filled with lots of fun, good food, chatting, and even some gaming. She went shopping with me on Friday for the BBQ I was hosting for her on Saturday. Aside from her favorite flowers, sunflowers I bought her while at the store we had pretty much kept it just friends with lots of hugs. We did both sleep on the couch and lightly hold hands Friday night though.

Saturday came and the BBQ began, I had more fun than any one person has any right too. I couldn’t remember having this much fun since before moving to Virginia. But it got better still, when the BBQ winded down and it ended up just myself, Leslie, My Friend Charles and his older son playing Cards Against Humanity. Charles looked at us and asked, “Why aren’t you two dating?” Leslie looked up and said “Because I’m afraid of losing our friendship”. Something sparked in me right then and I began to think she might have the same feelings I had for her. She got up to go check on Waylon then and I followed her down the hallway. I grabbed her by the waist, turned her around, looked into her beautiful eyes and said “Leslie, no matter what happens between us, I will always be your friend. I will always be there for you, I will never leave you. I Promise, you will never lose me as a friend.” I gave her a really big hug then, and I just flooded with warmth. I knew right then that my crush was something much deeper.

After everyone left for the night and we cleaned up, we both ended up cuddling on the couch. She tossed her leg over me while resting her head on my shoulder and I swear it felt like my heart was running away. That moment I knew those were the best cuddles I’ve ever had. I was happier than I can ever remember being in that singular moment. She was staring up at me from my shoulder. I asked her what was wrong and she said “I don’t know what you want from me”. I froze a bit there, secretly terrified, but I told her I wanted her and nothing else. I don’t think I need to go into too many more details here, but we kissed at that moment and I knew I wanted her forever. We ended up having sex, of which the details I will leave out, and falling asleep in each other’s embrace. At this point I was so sure she felt the same way about me as I did her that nothing could ever go wrong my entire life again.
Sunday was different. It wasn’t bad, I still had a ton of fun, but it didn’t seem like she wanted to cuddle or hold hands as much as I did anymore. She never shied or pulled away when I took her hand or gave her a hug, but something felt off. Despite that, we still had a lot of fun, played some really old games that we played when we met, laughed, joked and then came the goodbye. After loading her up and making sure she had her sunflowers the goodbye had to come. I felt my heart sink knowing she was leaving. She came up to me and gave me the longest hug I’ve ever had. It was a good solid 4-5 minute hug in which a lot of “I’m going to miss you” were said. After the hug there were a dozen or so kisses on the lips, and shorter hugs before she drove off. She returned ever kiss and every hug. An hour after she left I sent a text saying I already missed her. She replied with a “I miss you too” and a kiss emoji. Even after she got home things still felt strange though. It took a couple days but I found out why.

I told her I didn’t feel like we talked as much as we use too, and I was missing her. She told me depression gets the best of us all and that she was feeling it too. She told me she was depressed about being a single parent. She told me she doesn’t want her ex back at all, but she still misses him. And that she was tired of hurting and being confused. She told me it was all so hard for her, and she was trying to be ok, but that she felt a gut wrenching guilt about her husband. I panicked a little there inside, and said “I imagine what we did then didn’t help that guilt any”. Not a surprise, but it didn’t. Her husband, despite the problems was all she knew for 5 years. And she assured me it wasn’t me that it was all her and that she knew she shouldn’t be feeling this guilt, but didn’t know how to tell herself she had nothing to feel guilty about. I felt terrible at this point. Here’s this woman, who I’ve been so close to for so long, and I added to her pain by following my heart.

Little background about the Ex-Husband, he had been dating 2 other woman almost the entire time they were together. He was also setting up regular Craigslist sex dates with men and women. And it has been mentioned more than once there were the usual lies, deceit and drugs involved on his end.
And this is my story, I know its long, and I’m sorry for that, but I’ve come to you all for help. I don’t know how to proceed with this. I want nothing else in life more than to be with her, but I can’t bear the thought of hurting her, or making life any harder on her. We have talked a lot since then, but I can’t tell is she likes me at all anymore. Does it sound like she really liked me to you? Should I keep pursuing? Should I back off and let it all drop back into friends forever? It’s eating me up inside, even as I plan a trip to go see her in North Carolina. Help me make sense of this, please.

Strong feelings for a long time friend and unsure what I should do?

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I am in a similar situation except me and my guy dated 5mo (he is going thru divorce) then he freaked and ended things saying he needs time to heal. She sounds like she is not ready. I wouldn't date her until her divorce is final. Let her get over her husband properly. I wish I had done that with my guy the first time I saw him upset over his ex, said 'call me when you are over her'. You can't exactly do that as you have been friends so long but remain her friend for now.

Strong feelings for a long time friend and unsure what I should do?

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Fantasy is great - then reality gets in the way. That's what has happened to you two.

You were cyber friends for so long, then met in person, and things didn't turn out the way you imagined them to be, did they? (she and the child running into your arms and staying there forever . . .)

Perhaps she wanted to test the waters with you and see if her fantasy could be real - that somehow you would be the knight in shining armor who would rescue her and make her feel better. After all this time and energy, and with the visit, I imagine you thought she was going to be with you - and why not?

Now you have had a real interaction, instead of on-line. But from her post-actions, she is having second thoughts. In fact, she has related "guilt" about being with you and thinking about her ex, even though he is a cad.

I'd suggest that you distance yourself from her. She needs to figure out her marriage first, then she will be able to verbalize if and how you two are going to have a relationship.

But, really, don't be surprised if she goes back with him.

I'm sorry for your disappointment, but like I said, reality can wreck the fantasy.

Strong feelings for a long time friend and unsure what I should do?

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What a beautiful journey you are on. Both of you.

A relationship starts as a blank sheet of paper that the two of you write on with your experiences. They sound like beautiful experiences so far and a wonderful connection. Life is like a slide show (T.I) and your slides look awesome!!

I think that you both love each other A LOT... and are ready to seriously consider a committed relationship.

You need to do some paperwork. T.I. didn't name his CD Paperwork without good reason. You are going to have to work out the details and make a plan for your relationship. Every successful business has a plan, and relationships are so much more important and precious.

Consider all of your options for your future together. Where you would live etc. You will have different scenerios of possibilities run through your mind, so create different options.

Then I would propose a consideration. Meaning, I wouldnt propose marriage, but I would propose a booklet of options.

Options and plans that she can consider. One of the options is that you just be friends. One option would be to not choose these options but build another option. One option will be to have a long term relationship. One option will be to move in to her place. One option will be to move in to your place. One option is to both move somewhere new to have a new start.....consider all kinds of options, and the details that would go with it. I would have FUN with it... DREAM... and be focused and serious.

I would be creative with it, do something nice up on the computer.. and before giving it to her the last hour of your visit... tell her.... they are just options. Tell her that you have not planned their life out, but she asked... what do you want.... and you have been giving it some serious thought because you want to spend your life with her. You want her to take her time, and DREAM.

Details to consider....
Where you will live
Where you will work
Where the child will go to day care and school
What the day in the life of you together might look like
What a dreamy day in the life of you together might look like
What a hard work exhausting day in the life of you might look like
What your lifestyle is like
All of your health care needs
What your needs are
What you see for her, and her lifestyle
What extracurricular/ activities are
What hers are or could be
Even what your retirement might look like

You want to paint a pictures of your life together that explains needs and interests

You both sound like a cute match. I think you guys might have a wonderful future together... its just going to take honesty and planning.

Strong feelings for a long time friend and unsure what I should do?

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I just thought... maybe in your presentation... your paperwork of options.. you could use three characters from your gaming that the two of you use.. instead of your real names... it would be so romantic... and take some of the pressure off....making it even more fun!!

Strong feelings for a long time friend and unsure what I should do?

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In my Presentation LUVBIRD?

On the upside, she told me she does have feelings for me. I was having a Panic attack and was about to flee town on a solo backpacking trip for a few days. That..scared her, so we talked and it came out. We spent the rest of the day gaming together and just talking.

Strong feelings for a long time friend and unsure what I should do?

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Your presentation was just my suggestion to lay out the options in a card.

It was just a romantic idea that would give you focus and to know where you guys are going. I think the I uncertainty has you anxious.

But all these posts on this site are just ideas..everyone is have to sort out what works for you.

I ought to stick to just informing people of science and psych definitions and theory..but everyone is so unique in their story...sometimes...I put myself in their situation....and well. .I'm me. Youre you.

I like your story. I think it's cute. People put a lot of pressure on themselves when life is an awesome journey. I was hoping you'd start dreaming and having fun putting together a card for her. Dreaming of your life and possibilities together...both serious and fun...just as life is.

Strong feelings for a long time friend and unsure what I should do?

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I'm an all or nothing girl....I'm either in a relationship or I'm not.

No pressure.

Just yes we are connected or no....and for me it's after a kiss that decides that.

Then we start life. Sharing our lives. He has his own life. I have my own life. And we share what we want enjoying one another's company, learning about one another, discovering life, sharing experiences, learning from one another, growing together....until we decide...I want to spend the rest of my life doing this with you. Then you get married and carry on as you were. Encouraging one another to Be All you can be...I support you...I want you to be free and happy and healthy!!! Forever as mine to support. Not own. But blessed to have this partner to share my life with...and who wants to share their life with me!!!

I know I'm really enthusiastic. .but this is Life. This is LOVE....make it something to be excited about!!!!

Get out some films and music....get inspired!!

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