Dear Dr. Frankie, Is It Really Better To Be Friends First?

Dear Dr. Frankie,
I recently went on a few dates with a girl. We totally clicked and had so much in common.

But after a few dates she told me she is relatively new to the gay scene, just had a relationship end abruptly and wants to take things slow. She said she wanted to focus on developing good friendships. She made it clear that she thinks our personalities and interests are similar, and really wants to continue being friends. We have plans to hang out again. For longer lasting relationships do you think it’s better to be friends first? Can a romantic relationship develop from a friendship? If someone ants to be friends does it automatically rule out possibilities for something more?

Dear Friend,
What a wonderful question! I applaud you for your positive outlook and for embracing your new friendship rather than wallowing in disappointment. An initial friendship is often the launch pad for a romantic relationship. A strong friendship is also the core of healthy, fulfilling, long lasting relationships. Relationships that begin as friendships have the added bonus that both of you can learn about one another in a more comfortable manner, free of complications and pressure. My partner of ten years and I began as friends. We soon realized we shared a mutual attraction and began dating, but at the core of our relationship is a rock-solid, ride-or-die friendship. Often when we meet someone with the sole intention of dating, the pressure and fear of rejection can affect our ability to be natural and comfortable. It can stifle our ability to bring our most authentic self forward. When we meet someone new in a platonic setting we often feel more comfortable to be ourselves. We are less anxious, less guarded, and less afraid of judgment and rejection. I would advise you to be open to the possibility of a future romance, but do your best not to place any such pressure or expectation on the friendship. Be patient and see what transpires between the two of you. Remember there’s no need to rush the relationship. I believe that things will develop as they should, as long as you allow them to. Best of luck and keep me posted!


Dear Dr. Frankie,
I just started dating someone new after a bad break up. I enjoy her company and we’ve been having a lot of fun together. I find her physically attractive, but the moment our dating progressed into the bedroom I found myself completely turned off. There isn’t even anything specifically she’s doing wrong, I just don’t feel invested. The more she expresses interest in me, the more my instinct is to end things. I’ve never had this issue with sex before. I’ve always had a healthy sex life. I’m wondering if this is an issue of chemistry or my own issue of intimacy. Should I continue dating this girl, or should I end things as to not lead her on? I’m very frustrated and trying to push myself to move on, but I do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings in the process.

Dear Frustrated,
Chemistry, both emotional and physical, is extremely important for long-term success in a relationship. It is possible that because of your recent painful breakup, you’re unintentionally guarding yourself from fully connecting with someone else. You might feel distrustful of opening yourself up to a similar situation, and are not yet emotionally available. If you think this is the case, take things slow and see where the relationship goes naturally. It sounds as if you enjoy spending time with this new woman, and are compatible in most ways outside the bedroom. I believe that if sexual intimacy is the one element that’s amiss, it’s probably best to maintain a platonic relationship with her and look elsewhere for a partner.

Without more information I’m not able to give you accurate information about whether it’s your breakup that’s complicating things or if it’s a chemistry issue. My advice regardless of the situation is to take your time. What’s the rush? Taking a few extra weeks or a month won’t make or break anything. Let things unfold organically and you may just find that as you heal from your previous relationship you become more attracted to her. You may also find that even as time passes you’re not attracted, and if this is the case then letting her know sooner than later is the classy thing to do.


Dear Dr. Frankie,
My best friend was in an eight-year relationship but has had an affair for the past three years. She has left the eight-year relationship and started an open relationship with the person she had an affair with. The kicker is that I am in love with my best friend. I don’t know how to handle these feelings as she pursues a relationship with this other woman? Please help!

Dear Distraught,
Have you ever expressed your feeling to your friend? I am sensing that you might not believe your feelings are mutual, otherwise you would have already confessed your feelings. If you believe your friend might share your feelings I suggest you communicate how you feel. If you don’t believe she shares your feelings, then I recommend carefully considering whether you tell her. Hearing that a close friend has deeper, unreciprocated romantic feelings can put added pressure on a friendship. This tension can negatively impact the friendship, sometimes resulting in distancing and disconnection altogether. Only you know your friend well enough to make an informed decision about how to proceed. Ideally, you would be able to share your feelings regardless of whether she has the same feelings, but in reality emotions are complicated and not everyone is able to handle them effectively. If you decide to tell her regardless of what she might say, I recommend preparing yourself for a wide range of reactions. If she does not share your feelings she might distance herself from you because she feels awkward or bad for hurting you. This could leave you feeling abandoned and confused, and possibly less one Bestie. Carefully consider the options and prepare yourself emotionally for what could be a wonderful or complicated, negative response.