Hiding His Feelings

Q: I've known Patty for six years now, and we have become the best of friends. We spend late nights talking on the phone for almost three hours. I never get bored with her, and we know almost everything there is to know about one another. She's 24 and I'm 36. I tried to let her know I was attracted to her a long time ago but, at that time, she said she only saw me as a friend. Since then, we've gotten even closer. We give each other advice on the opposite sex and other relationship issues. I've gotten so used to hiding my feelings for her. But then last week, she told me it would upset her if she saw me flirting with other girls. Now my mind is playing around with so many questions. How do I let her know (again) that I love her without ruining our friendship if she doesn't feel the same? -- Casey

Dr. Susan: Put the "L" word on hold for a bit. Play it casual, but be honest. If you can spend that much time talking together, and she's able to tell you she'd be upset if you flirted with other girls, then let's assume she won't be furious with you if you admit you still have those feelings you mentioned ages ago. For some reason, some girls can keep a guy on the hook as a friend for years and years, never seriously thinking of moving to the next level. She's needs a little nudge. Speak tentatively, maybe something like this: "Patty, you said you'd be upset if I flirted with other girls. How come? I've always hoped we could be more than 'just friends,' so I was wondering if you ever think of what a great couple we could make." She may feel possessive of you, yet not quite be able to picture getting physically intimate with you. She might think of you as a big brother figure. You have to help her see you in a whole other category. Maybe you could go dancing or give her a neck massage -- anything to get her hormones zigzagging in your direction. And if her response is still a great big 'No way!' I highly recommend you cut down on the three-hour phone chats and get yourself out in the world of available women.

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