Question: partner or role model?

Andi asks…

How am I supposed to explain to a friend that I never wanted to date him but rather BE him? At times it can be too confusing to tell the difference between attraction as a partner or a role model. I don’t know how long I can handle the one-sided flirting.

Please post your response in the comments below.

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Posted by on September 1st, 2010 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 10 comments »

10 Responses to “Question: partner or role model?”

  1. Jenn

    Telling someone that is attracted to you that the feeling isn’t mutual is NEVER easy.

    Just be honest, make sure that you know what you are going to say, and explain the situation as best you can. If he is a true friend, he will be at least a little understanding once he gets past the hurt of the realization that the feeling isn’t mutual.

    Sometimes people surprise you. Don’t count on a celebration, but it might not be as terrible as you think. Or it might be just that terrible. Either way, it should still be better than dealing with the one-sided flirting and him not knowing the truth.


  2. Sammy

    to be honest this is one of the sentiments that led to my being trans. I realized that any man i ever dated – i wouldn’t want to be with them so much as I would want to BE them. And the more I thought about why, the more i realized its because i was trans.

    Not saying you’re trans or anything, but i know this feeling well


  3. jean c.

    if you’re not simply interested in your friend’s image — but also respect him as a person & as a role model for masculinity and how to live as a man (or for whatever awesome thing he does) — then that could be a pretty amazing thing for him to hear.

    it might involve coming out as genderqueer or questioning (or however you identify) to your friend, as you explain how you look up to him & hope to emulate him… and it might be hard for him to hear that you’re not interested in him romantically… but knowing that someone else respects you and considers you admirable and worthy of emulation is, in my experience, like having a secret treasure to carry around in your heart.

    and hey, the more conversations about complex topics, the better!


  4. Simon

    I don’t have and answer, but yeah, this stuff is weird. I had a SUPER HARDCORE CRUSH on this one boy I’d known for years. Then I noticed (headdesk) it was mostly just because I really wanted to emulate/be him. Then I realized it was kind of both, and yeah I am still into him in addition to seeing him as a role model, but really I’m fine with being just friends. (Which is good, because the crush was/is definitely one-sided on my part.)

    Anyway…good luck?


  5. Anonymous

    Yes, i know this feeling…

    I think people are very often attracted to whatever qualities they aspire to, or feel they lack… you find someone and you think “you have something that i need”, you stick with them, and it rubs off on you a bit, if you know what i mean. That’s how people find out about themselves.

    I think… its tricky, yes, it’s a complicated thing… But I mean, it’s not… it shouldn’t come off as a “bad thing” that you don’t LIKE him like him… i know if someone told me they wanted to be more like me, i’d feel tremendously flattered and humbled. In fact, me – personally, i think i’d be MORE flattered by that than by flirting. flirting is commonplace. real open admiration like that is rare.

    I hope that helps somehow.

    God i love this site.


  6. Jessica

    I’ve come to terms with wanting to be my partner, but I am not sure she has come to terms with my wanting to be her. We’ve been together forever and I was in denial about my transself for ages, so I dragged her through so many false facades trying to find my honest persona. Sometimes she gets tired of all the traipsing about and accuses me of (again) trying something on and feeling like it fits… who knows but that she isn’t right, I’ll tell you in ten years.


  7. /\/\

    I’m lucky: i usually only get that confused feeling with people i don’t know. I get it with strangers, all the time…. but only in a very base sort of a way. A man with bed hair and a nice suit walks by me and i simultaneously think: “YOU’RE GORGEOUS – GET INTO BED WITH ME NOW!” and “WHO IS YOUR TAILOR?! I NEED TO SEE HIM IMMEDIATELY.”

    As for your particular situation:… i think he deserves to know how you feel. If he’s as worthy of your admiration as you make him sound, then he should be try to be understanding. He might be disappointed that you’re not interested romantically, but… if you’re trying to figure out how this is fits into your sense of identity, then he ought to be sensitive to that fact.

    You never know, maybe the flirting isn’t as big a deal as you think it is to him (i don’t know), and maybe it’s just his way of trying to figure how you feel about him.


  8. Dae

    Wow, I can definitely understand how you feel. I’ve come to realize that most of the time when I find a guy attractive, it’s not because I have a romantic or sexual interest in him as much as I think he’s cool and wish I could be like him.

    As for your situation, this is never easy, I don’t think. If you feel like you’ve given the wrong impression, or like he’s hoping for something more, I’d gently set him straight. I think that’s better in the long run. You can let him know that you think he’s really cool and look up to him, though. Even if you don’t want to come out to him at this point, you may still be able to express the overall sentiment without focusing on his masculinity.


  9. myyjiu

    Today, I really tried…I’m always checking out the guys in the clubs etc, but today, making out with them…it just really didn’t work out. So now I’ve been puking for an hour, I think, ‘cos I finally decided I kinda have to try it out, but it just felt so wrong all the time I was trying. Not really feeling like lesbian, still, (though xx), but I guess I’ll never have an easy one night stand…


  10. Maximillian

    I completely get that, had it for ages. Just be firm but nice about it, worked for me at least. Good luck.


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