How do I distance myself from someone who has feelings for me?
Thank you for your question. Your feelings are correct, and it was wrong to allow your friendship to go so far. The poor guy probably wants to marry you, and now his heart will be broken.
Please see the rules of gender interaction here. Following these rules ensures that relationships do not develop unnecessarily and end up in broken hearts. Islam is eager to squash temptation to avoid sin at the very outset, and this applies especially to online friendships and digital communication. Please see the details of the gender interaction rules here:
Cut Him Off
Cold turkey is the best way to go. The pain that you cause him now will be forgotten with time, but dragging it on will make him suffer more. Tell him that you appreciate the friendship but that you want to restrict yourself to only female friends. He will most likely respect you for that and then propose, so you should tell him clearly that you are not interested.
However, pray istikhara before rejecting him. It may be that this man is the best for you, and you do not know it. Does he fulfill all the requirements? Does he pray and have a good job? Not being emotionally attached is a tremendous advantage, and you should consider the possibility. Oftentimes people do not know what is right for them until another points it out! May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.