Dear Dr. Gay Nerd,
I messed up. Bad. See, a friend of mine came out a while back and was really eager to start meeting people, but she didn’t know what to do. We tried going to some campus groups and stuff so she could meet people, but it didn’t really work out. Then another friend suggested she make a dating profile and see what she could find. She did, but again, nothing really came of it after a while. I felt bad for her, so I…might have…made a fake profile and started messaging her. *cringe*
I know, I really shouldn’t have. I didn’t want her to feel like no one was interested and only meant to message her once or twice to boost her confidence a bit, you know? But she started responding pretty seriously and I got curious, so I kept it up…and I think I’ve fallen for her. I always knew she was smart and pretty, but now I know she’s got so much more under the surface! I think about her all the time now and what it would be like if I could just be honest.
So now I don’t know what to do. I’m afraid that if I tell her what I did and that I’ve been the person she told all this sweet, personal stuff to that she’ll hate me. I could just break it off or stop responding, but then I’d be stuck with all these feelings I’m not sure she would return if suddenly they were coming from me instead the internet person. I feel like one of us is gonna get hurt, and I really don’t want it to be her.
-Hopeless in Seattle
Wow. That’s such a rough situation. First off, I think that part of you has always been falling for your friend, although it took this particular scenario for you to realize that. The entire motivation for you starting the fake profile was so that you could make her happy. You just had to end up jumping through a few hurdles before you realized that you wanted to be the one to make her smile, laugh, and feel complete.
The problem is that now you’ve backed yourself into a corner. Do you tell your friend about your feelings or do you hope that she’ll come around and see that you’re the one for her? Do you admit that you created this profile with the best of intentions or do you let this fake Jane Smith fade into obscurity? Is your friend going to be upset about the situation? Probably yes, to be completely honest. Does that mean that the situation is hopeless? Not necessarily.
Your friend is newly out and seems to be looking for some validation through dating. She’s testing the waters of her sexuality and is probably pretty sensitive at this point. Will she forgive you when she learns the truth? Hopefully, but it really depends on the type of person that she is. If she’s someone who easily forgives, I would imagine that she’ll understand your intentions. If she’s easily hurt and holds grudges, though, there may be a bigger problem here.
The most basic fact here, however, is that you want to love and support her for the person that she is. You now understand that you’ve made a mistake and all you want is to make her feel loved. That’s even ignoring the fact that your own future happiness is tied up in this situation. For that very reason, I think you need to admit to her that you’ve got feelings. I can’t tell you how she’ll react, as her feelings toward you are tied up into the dynamic of your friendship. But as I’ve said in the past… nothing ventured, nothing gained.
If I were you, I’d make time to talk to your friend in an intimate setting. Take her for a walk, go get coffee, do something organic and personal. I wouldn’t do it over dinner because it could feel like you’re springing a first date on her. Instead, you want a situation where you can both feel comfortable and open to discussing your feelings. Broach the subject that you’ve got some feelings for her and let her digest those new thoughts. Let her take some time to figure out what she’s thinking. Remember, not only is she being given information that’s going to reshape her current friendship with you, but she’s still processing coming out of the closet. It’s a lot to take in all at once.
Also, I believe that you’re going to need to come clean about creating the profile. I’m not saying that it’s something that you should do immediately, but it’s something that’s going to need to eventually be admitted. She’s been exposing herself to this fake person and you now have information about her inner thoughts and feelings that you’re not supposed to be privy to. Sooner or later, you’re going to accidentally say or reveal something that you’re not supposed to know. You’re also not going to feel honest with her until you do.
That being said, I don’t think you should immediately reveal that you’re the fake profile. That could make it seem like you were abusing the situation just to get to know her secrets and, coming from someone who just confessed their feelings, might make you seem like a bit of a creeper. However, you shouldn’t wait too long to confess this secret or when she does learn about this, it might feel like your entire relationship is built on a lie.
There’s no way to judge, right now, when she might be ready to hear the news. One thing you need to remember, though, is that there will never be “the perfect time,” so you can’t put it off forever, waiting for that time to come. It’s better to build your relationship on honesty, so make sure that you’re completely honest with her from early on. However… you shouldn’t blindly rush into telling her because blurting everything out at once could end up doing more harm than good.
And, of course, we still have to deal with the problem of the Jane Smith dating profile. Jane needs to be out of the picture if you are going to embark on this exploration with your friend. But there really is no right way to go about getting rid of her. Any excuse you come up with is still going to be a lie. My best advice is to think up a way to slowly fade this fake profile out of the picture that you feel the most comfortable with. Maybe our forum members can give some insight into this? What do you think, guys and gals?
I wish you all the best!
-Dr. Gay Nerd
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Tags: ask dr. gay nerd, coming clean, coming out, confessing, confessing feelings, dating a friend, dating lies, dating profile, fake online profile, falling in love, friendship, gay dating, gay dating online, gay-nerds, lesbian nerds, lying, online dating, online dating service, relationship, relationship advice, telling the truth