Sometimes it just happens: there’s someone you think is a great person, but that “it” factor just isn’t there for you. They’re nice; they’re funny; they’re smart; they’re not needy or bossy. Maybe your friends and family even like them and are repeatedly warning you not to “let this one get away.” But still, you just don’t feel it for them.
Here are some suggestions if you find yourself feeling like you should want to be with this person more than you actually want to be with them.
Don’t beat Yourself up About It
If you’re not feeling something you think you should feel (or even want to feel), don’t be hard on yourself. We feel the way we do, and no one should ever be criticized for the desires they do or do not experience. So our first recommendation is that you give yourself a break. Look at your feelings and accept them for what they are. Then you can begin to approach the situation from a much more clearheaded position.
Get Clear on why the Feelings Aren’t Happening
One of the best ways to gain more awareness as to what’s going on here is to do a bit of soul-searching. When you’re being completely honest with yourself, are there reasons you can pinpoint as to why you’re not experiencing stronger emotions in this relationship? Maybe you’ve been hurt and are still reticent about moving on. Or maybe there are some sort of other unresolved issues from past relationships, even non-romantic ones. And, of course, it could be that there’s simply not the physical chemistry that you want in a relationship. That happens. The point is that the more honest you can be with yourself on this question, the better you’ll be able to get clear on how best to respond.
Explore Why you Think you Should Force your Feelings
Like the previous suggestion, this one demands honesty on your part. Why is it that you feel that you should force your feelings for this person? Is it because you’re afraid to be alone? Or that you’re afraid of hurting the other person? Are you feeling pressure from others, or working out of a fear that you won’t find someone better? Or maybe there’s something that this person offers—a better lifestyle or some sort of security—that you really like having in your life. Do your best to figure out what it is that makes you feel that you simply ought to make things work out. That will help you respond to the situation in a way that you feel good about.
Communicate with the Other Person
Clear and honest dialogue about how you are feeling is absolutely crucial, especially when you already respect and care for the other person. There’s nothing at all wrong with saying something like, “It’s not fair to either one of us for me to try to make something happen that just isn’t there.” Be delicate and be kind. But be honest. If you really know, and you’re certain that there’s no way that it’ll ever happen between you, then be honest and communicate that to them. Yes, it will probably be a painful message for them to hear. But they’ll respect you for your honesty, and you’ll avoid hurting them even more down the road.
Be Willing to Request some Patience
You might be at a point where you’re still open to a relationship, but maybe you’re not moving as quickly as the other person. If this is the case, then speak up. Let them know how you feel, that you care about them and possibly see potential for you two together, but that you need time to allow a relationship to develop. Even if you’re getting pressure from numerous people, keep in mind that you have every right—and even a responsibility—to figure this out for yourself and to do so in a way that lets you make a good and healthy decision.
Be Open to Surprising Possibilities
Consider the possibility that the other person may grow on you, and that you might feel differently in time. Many a relationship began with one person wanting to be simply friends and the other person desiring more than that. We’re not saying that you should deny reality or simply keep at it and expect that the chemistry will eventually appear. It often doesn’t. And as we said, if you know for sure that you’ll never feel anything stronger or more serious for the person, then you owe it to them to let them know. But if you’re not 100 percent sure, then is there any reason you can’t give yourself a bit more time, just to see what might happen?
If Possible, Maintain the Friendship
If you two are really compatible, and the other person’s feelings aren’t too advanced, then explore together the idea of simply enjoying a friendship for the time being. It may be that the relationship has progressed too far for this to happen. If the other person wants more than friendship, they may not be willing to settle for less. Likewise, you may decide that you’re unwilling to live with whatever pressure comes with being the person who’s being waited for. But if you can, then maintain your friendship and enjoy all the things you can offer each other. Then, once a strong friendship has developed, who knows what might happen?