Should I Let Him Know How I Feel?

 by Chuck Snyder
 co-chaplain for the Seattle Mariners


Dear Chuck
You may or may not remember me -- we have had several correspondences in the past about a wonderful man in my life. He was my son's teacher last year. We dated, but then he backed away. We attend church together and have been gradually getting very close, in a friend sort of way. We e-mail each other daily (I teach in the same school district) and talk at church. He shares things with me and I with him. I know he cares deeply for me but he is holding back on really letting his feelings loose, for some reason or another. My question is this, should I tell him how I feel?

I have been so careful since he backed away to avoid scaring him off by keeping things on a platonic level. Sometimes I wonder if he feels that is all I will ever want. But it's not. I have claimed Psalm 37:4 and asked Him if my desires should not be to be with Bob forever, then change them. I know I am unable to change my heart, but God can. He hasn't.

I think Bob is the most wonderful person, and I love him with all my heart. I have learned through my past marriage and now this relationship that love is a decision more than a feeling. But, I would also want him to know that I love him so much that I only want what is best for him, and if it's not me, then I would never want it to work out between us. So, should I share this with him, or would that be taking matters into my hands? Would that scare him off.

Chuck's Response
Thanks for the note concerning your reluctant boyfriend. Girls are very scary. Did you know that? It's hard for us men to feel confident in this dating thing. He might be a bit mysterious because he doesn't really know how you feel and also might be shy about asking. So you ask! Here's how you do it. Raid your grocery or birthday fund, or take out a loan at the bank, and take him out on a date. Encourage him to get the biggest steak on the menu or maybe a 40-pound lobster with a prime rib doggy bag, or if he is a health nut, then order him roasted zinc pellets or something else he would enjoy. Don't pick at him because he leaves his vegetables. Vegetables are not fit for a man's constitution. I have a Bible verse to support that, but I can't put my finger on it just trust me. Then after he enjoys the entre, let him choose the highest fat-filled/calorie/cholesterol dessert on the menu, and then after dessert say something like ...

"Dear Bob, I wanted you to know how much I enjoy our friendship. And I needed to tell you that my feelings are growing past the friendship stage, but I don't want to presume anything. I have felt very close to you at times and at other times you seem distant. Do you have doubts about our friendship? Am I reading your signals wrong? I just wanted to clear up the situation, because it would not be fair to either one of us if one or the other's feelings are growing and the other person's feelings are fading. What do you think is going on?"

Then just act and react according to how the conversation goes. I would much rather you risk ruining the friendship to find out the truth. My guess is that he likes you as much as you like him, but he is not an expert at relationships so he probably is going slow because he doesn't know how you feel. At least it's worth a try. If you lose the friendship, there was nothing to it in the first place. I know God will be there before you, guiding your thoughts and words. Easy for me to say, but I think it would be better to know, than to just wonder. These are my thoughts for your consideration. Be sure to get back to me if you want to talk further.

Chuck Snyder



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Updated 05/24/2005