I've had this male friend for about a year. I met him in graduate school and he became a part of my circle of close friends. After school ended in May and most of our mutual friends moved away for externships, he and I continued to be friends. When we met, I was going through a messy break up and he was dealing with a messy divorce so we kind of bonded over our troubles and our new-found singledom.
I didn't feel attracted to him at all, but kind of thought that he might have a small crush on me. For that reason, I made an effort to maintain some distance and always made it very clear to him that I wasn't looking for a relationship. He never made a move. Months passed and we continued to be friends and I guess I kind of just got comfortable with him and decided that he probably wasn't ever going to make a move on me.
I think that I may have let my guard down a bit (without realizing it) because about two weeks ago he asked me out. I told him "no" immediately in the nicest but most straightforward way I could possibly think of and told him I hoped this wouldn't interfere with our friendship in the future. He took it very well - thanked me for being honest and to the point and saying that he also wanted to continue being friends.
Anyway, I do want to continue being friends with him, but the thing is that I now feel absolute disgust for him. Before, he was just a guy that I wasn't attracted to, but since he asked me out I find him repulsive. I've definitely never found him physically attractive but he is not repulsive or disgusting by any means, and I know that these feelings I'm having are totally irrational but I can't seem to stop them.
The fact that I feel this way makes me feel like a horrible person and I wish that I could just go back to seeing him as I did before - a wonderful friend - but I can't seem to do it. As things stand now, I have been finding excuses not to hang out because I really don't even want to be around him. This is even worse because up until now, he's been one of my very closest friends.
So tell me, has anybody else experienced this before? If so, what did you do? Did the feelings ever go away?