Move from friends to dating

She rides her bike almost daily, pays bills monthly, and collects books and shoes perennially.If you have been hanging out with someone for awhile as friends, it is only natural that you may begin to develop a crush on that person, as half the foundation for having a good relationship is in being able to be friends as well.I don’t talk about his girlfriend, and he no longer hints about my love life.I respect that he has a lady love so I won’t be e-mailing him flirty texts at midnight, and he won’t be asking me if I’d like to go see the new action film with him. Whatever the future holds for Paul, and for me, we have the present company and compassionate understanding that comes from knowing each other for a decade.

Is it possible to make the leap back to platonic good-will? Seven months later, I’ve discovered I can approach Paul and even enjoy his company for short stretches. Most of all, I needed to exercise the same compassion and tenderness towards myself that I offer to others. A stream of questions haunted me: What if he marries this woman? They’ll buy a house to remodel together and get a dog. Deep breaths and mindful meditation cooled my mind enough to realize that worst-case scenarios serve no one.

If I could grow to love Paul (who I’d envisioned only as a friend for so long) and his kindness and intelligence, then there would be someone else with as much kindness and intelligence. We dated for three months, and while it ultimately didn’t work out after his move for a new job, my time with Brian taught me that my focus had changed from “Life after Paul” to life itself.

I didn’t need to hold fast to Brian to learn from him, just like I don’t need to date Paul to appreciate him and have him in my life, albeit in a new capacity.

While my sudden unspoken desire was to deepen our intimacy, Paul’s signals proved alternately encouraging then confusing.

A promised lunch together that fell through due to sickness; a lingering smile at my door one day turned into distracted “gotta run, department meeting” the next.

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Just like a child who has fallen off a bike after the training wheels are taken off, it can be daunting to climb back on, balance, and pedal away; but that’s how it’s happened.

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