My friend has no idea that I'm in love with her and my family would disown me if I came out

DEAR DEIDRE: HOW do I tell my friend I am madly in love with her without ruining our friendship?

We’re both women and I worry about telling her, as she doesn’t feel the same.

I’m 23 and she’s 26. We met on holiday and found we lived near one another.

We really got on and I helped her through a bad situation when she was being stalked. She helped me cope with losing my dad.

I’ve never thought of myself as gay and didn’t mean to fall for her. Telling her would freak her out and end our friendship.

My family would disown me if I came out as gay. I just know I have overwhelmingly strong feelings for her.

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DEIDRE SAYS: Sexuality is complicated. We must be true to ourselves but it may be you are drawn only to this particular woman and your next love will be male.

Before deciding what to tell her and your family, first get outside help to understand better what is going on emotionally.

You can talk to a young person’s counsellor in confidence through The Mix (themix.org.uk, 0808 808 4994). My e-leaflet Gay Worries? can help, too.

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