Dating After 50: Letting Someone Down

Think about how it feels when you're the person who is more in love, and the other person thinks you're just swell — but to a point. It's a difficult situation. People love who they love, and just because a date thinks of you as a friend doesn't automatically cool the flames of attraction and desire.

If you're the person who likes someone only as a friend, and she wants more, you have to be very firm. You can't leave any gray area, any glimmer of hope, because if you do, she'll find it and hold it like a precious jewel.

You need to be utterly frank and say something like, “You've been a great addition to my life as a friend, and I hope I'm a great addition to your life. But I only think of you as a great friend, not a lover, and this isn't going to ever change. If this makes our friendship impossible, I'll be sad, but in all fairness, you need to know what my limits are.”

This is hard, but it's the responsibility of the person who loves least not to lead on the person who loves most. It's actually kind to break the romantic illusion; otherwise, the other person is always hoping and unhappy.

Remember this advice when you're the person who wants more, too. It's not like in the movies when people look at their best friend and finally realize they're madly in love with the person. Friendships don't usually turn romantic or erotic unless both parties feel a tension from the start.

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