A few months ago I was on a missions trip in Thailand and helped at an orphanage. One boy there – I’ll call him James – got a crush on me. He’s a really nice boy, very gallant and helpful and honorable. He’s planning on going to Bible school and becoming a missionary. He started really following me around during the last few weeks of my stay, giving me flowers, offering to show me around the town, buy me coffee, help me carry things, etc., and sent me text messages such as “good night” and “God bless you.” I told him I appreciated everything, but I didn’t want a boyfriend, to which he said Okay, friends would be fine. I think it would have been wise to stay away from him more and set some boundaries, but unfortunately, he was the only kid in the orphanage who spoke any kind of English, so when I went to a few Thai Christian camps and was away from the English-speaking orphanage staff, I had to rely on him almost all the time for translating and schedules. I think I ended up fostering our “relationship” just because of that.
Well, the last week I was there he told me he liked me, and the week I went home he started sending me Facebook mesages saying how much he missed me. Now, I like him a lot as a good friend and I even think he’d be a great husband and father, but I’m not interested in him romantically. But apparently, after I left, his crush got even worse. I was really really hoping it would fade away when we had some physical distance, but it’s been two and a half months and nothing’s changed for him. He’s posted messages (in Thai, apparently not for me to read, but I can translate them) that say, “Love her yesterday, love her today, and love her tomorrow. Love always.” and “Some people say true love is defeated by distance, but for me it is extremely stressful and I lose part of myself when I’m away from her. Still remain in hope to meet her again.” He even sent one directly to me: “Do you actually know that there is a person over here who misses you very much? I am very concerned.” – Serious stuff. Since May, I’ve gotten about 10 of these.
Mostly I’ve tried to ignore them or send back generic replies (yes, I miss everyone at the orphanage too), but it isn’t working anymore. I really don’t want to hurt his feelings by telling him to stop because he has been a good friend to me. But I am frustrated because he’s exacerbating his own crush by sending me all these messages and I’m making it worse by ignoring them. Whether I stay silent or whether I tell him to stop, I fear this is going to end poorly.
To top things off, I’ve been invited back to the orphanage to help, my whole family supports it, and I’ve already arranged to go back there this September. There are 35 other kids I could help, I can’t stay away just because of this one guy, but how am I going to handle this crush once I get there? Please advise, and thanks so much!