I have this friend, I could easily call her my best friend. We see each other at least twice a week usually, have travelled together etc. About 6 months ago she confessed that she has feelings for me, but I don't feel the same way.
I don't have any issues with the fact that she feels that way, and I'm still very keen on continuing our friendship, however it seems to be having an impact on us. I'm in a committed relationship (I'm female and bi), and whenever I mention anything involving my partner to her, she gets upset. She doesn't yell or cry or anything, but becomes very distant. I can tell that I've upset her and that in turn makes me feel awful, and every time it happens we have a 'talk' about it. It normally starts like this:
Me: Oh yeah, so last night we went to that restaurant near my place.
Her: Oh.. that's nice...
Me: The food was pretty good, so maybe you and I should go sometime.
After which she'll continue to be distant, and then for the next half hour I'm trying to remedy the situation, apologizing and telling her it's ok, that she's still important to me. She also gets upset whenever we don't see each other for more than a few days, and when we see each other again we inevitably end up having another one of these talks. We get along really well otherwise though, and we've both agreed that abandoning the friendship is not an option.
I've seen the question Reject a close friend interested in dating me? but I feel that this is different, as I've made it very clear to her that I'm not interested in a romantic relationship, and I don't feel like she's pressuring me into one. We are very close friends, and I want to stay that way, but I do feel like it's straining our friendship.
Up until now I've gotten by by just not mentioning my partner at all, but this is getting increasingly difficult as they become a bigger part of my life and I'm unable to talk to my friend about important things happening. I would like to be able to have a normal friendship where I'm not inadvertently upsetting her all the time, but I need to be able to talk about my life too.
In addition, she's not out. This is new for her and she has mentioned it's the first time she has felt this way about anyone.
What can I do to help her feel better about the whole thing? Is this something that just needs time? Am I just being selfish here?