February 12, 2021
My wife and I have been married for nine months now. Looking back, I realized that my decision to pursue and marry Judie was one of the most exciting times of my life.
Months before the day I laid down my intentions to her, I knew that I like her, but I wasn’t sure if that was enough to take our friendship to the next level.
I could still remember the times when I held back from expressing my feelings for her because it wasn’t the right time. I knew deep inside that it would be very irresponsible and foolish of me to let my emotions take over.
Back then, I knew that I had to keep my feelings just between myself and God, along with some people that I trust for help and guidance.
But this is not the case for everyone. The truth is, the feeling of being in love can get too intoxicating, causing some people to take bold steps and unnecessary risks because of their strong emotions.
Think about the following scenario:
Student A: Tol, pahingi naman ng advice.
Student B: Hey! wassup?
Student A: Diba sinabi ko sa’yo na gusto ko si __________?
Student B: Ahh oo. Anong meron?
Student A: Alam na kasi niyang gusto ko siya eh.
Student B: O! Paano nangyari yun?
Student A: Eh na-corner ako eh. Umamin na ‘ko.
Student B: Ha?! Ano nang gagawin mo?
Student A: Di ko rin alam eh. May gusto rin daw siya sakin. Nagkaaminan kami eh.
Student B: Ha?! So, ano na kayo?
Student A: Ewan ko.
Awkward situations. None of us wants to be placed in an awkward spot where we are forced to confess our feelings for someone. Things like this usually happen during casual hangouts where the conversations around the table get too comfortable and unguarded.
But the awkwardness doesn’t just end when the conversation has moved on to the next topic. When you let the cat out of the box, the awkwardness could drag on for days, especially when you go to the same school, attend the same classes, or are part of the same circle of friends.
You might even find yourself asking, “How do I act normal in front of him?” “What if she assumes that I’m making a move?”
These awkward encounters could result in damaged friendships or in unnecessary confusion between the two of you.
Added confusions. Along with different awkward situations come additional confusions. You become more prone to overthink, assume, and read between the lines.
Did he do that as a friend, or was it because he likes me?
Why is she looking for me? Does she miss me, or was she just casually looking for me?
Why isn’t he messaging me anymore? Is he avoiding me?
And the list goes on.
While some people can easily navigate this situation, I think it is still wiser to tread the path of clarity instead of confusion.
Honestly, with all that’s already happening in the world, do you really want to add more problems to your plate?
On the other hand, not everyone who found themselves in a “nagkaaminan” spot was actually forced by anyone. The truth is, social media and instant messaging have somehow made it easier for young people to flippantly confess their feelings. All it takes is a simple chat, a late-night video call, or a funny meme.
But admitting your feelings to someone is actually the easiest part. The more crucial part is how to fulfill the commitments that come with those feelings. Let us not forget that true love isn’t just about taking risks but also about taking responsibility for our actions.
After you both confess your feelings for each other, now what? Ano na kayo? And what are you willing to commit to each other?
Confusion happens when one’s intentions, commitments, and plans are not clearly laid out. And confusion, when not addressed, gives birth to frustrations.
Aggravated frustrations. Because of unclear commitments, unmet expectations, and undefined boundaries, you get more and more frustrated with each other.
Why is she taking too long to reply?
Why is he hanging out with that girl?
Why does she always get mad at me?
Why is he not replying whenever he’s with his friends? Is he seeing someone else?
You see, knowing each other’s feelings isn’t enough to live happily ever after. It takes clarity, commitment, and a clearly defined relationship.
You like her; she likes you. Now what? How do you navigate such a sticky situation?
Promote clarity. Now that the cat is out of the box, you might want to bring more clarity into the matter. Define the relationship and carefully determine how you plan to proceed. I hope that you won’t settle for a no-label relationship. Love and relationships entail clear commitments.
If you’re the guy, clarify your intentions. Make your commitments clear. If you’re not ready to commit, then it might be better not to proceed. Else, you’re only setting yourselves up for pain and heartaches.
If you’re the girl, don’t allow your emotions to get the better of you. Don’t fall hastily.
Therefore, it is best to seek advice from people who can give you wise and godly counsel. They could be your parents, a mentor, or a married couple who can balance you out and give you a proper perspective.
Protect your friendship. Remember that even before you got to that point, you were friends. Your friendship is worth keeping and protecting whether you end up together or not.
Having said that, let me ask you: What are you willing to do to protect your friendship? How can you guard that person’s feelings? How much are you willing to sacrifice in order to protect that person, even if it means protecting him or her from yourself?
Protecting your friendship doesn’t mean automatically unfollowing that person or blocking each other on social media. But this could sometimes mean setting necessary boundaries to keep your own emotions and actions in check.
Judie: One of my best experiences as a single person is getting to enjoy the friendships I have had with the opposite sex. Enjoy having friends you can hang out with while just being yourself! Laugh without feeling conscious if someone is observing your laughter. Talk about meaningful topics without thinking if your relationship would go further than friendship. Focus on the present blessings rather than the what-could-be’s. I think that’s one way of protecting the friendships you have.
Protect your feelings. Regardless if you are the guy or the girl, you must take responsibility for guarding your own emotions.
You can protect your feelings by guarding yourself against overthinking and overreacting. When your emotions tend to get the best of you or want to take over you, hit that emergency button and ask for help from wise and trusted people.
Suppose you have decided to remain as friends, you can protect your feelings by identifying potential triggers, such as a social media post, your chat history, or your picture together. If these things are stirring up some emotions that you don’t want to awaken, it might be best to avoid them.
Judie: I remember what I always told myself when Matt would be extra kind to me: “Matt is a very nice friend and there’s nothing more to it.” It helps to do some self-talk to remind yourself of the reality than to allow your mind to go deep in your fantasy. Beware of fantasies: it tends to lead our feelings in the wrong places.
Protect your future. This may sound too exaggerated, but how you handle this situation could affect your future. Romantic relationships have the potential to affect our lives and our future.
We don’t want relationships that complicate our lives. What we desire are relationships that help us grow emotionally and even spiritually.
Judie: When I was still single, I would always pray to God for my future partner. I speak life, protection, provision, clarity, maturity and many other things because I know how much prayer works beyond what my eyes can see. It also helped me to protect my future because I knew what I had been praying for: a relationship with clarity and purpose.
As you mature in life, you will realize that learning how to handle your emotions will benefit you and your friends in the long run. May you grow in wisdom as you deal with your friendships and relationships, and may you learn how to set up clear and healthy boundaries to protect those friendships.