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Why is my guy friend acting so strange? would really appreciate a male perspective?

Anonymous
To make a long story short, I have been friends with a guy for basically my whole life. Since we were little kids. Our families are close and I’ve spent a lot of time around him and his family. When we became teenagers, he started to express romantic feelings towards me several times but I turned him down over and over again because we tend to butt heads and get in arguments over small things. I did not feel a romantic relationship would work.

A few days ago, we ended up meeting in person as we usually do just to catch up and get food/hang out. Out of nowhere, we ended up kissing and it was a long passionate kiss. I ended up staying the night at his place cuddling (nothing sexual happened) we kissed some more and then I left for work. I think it caught us both off guard as the kiss kind of just happened?

Anyways, I brought up the other day to him to ask him how he felt about the whole thing and I asked him if we should try to pursue something more and he responded with “I am not willing to risk our friendship for something more. I do not have romantic feelings for you and we will be best friends and that’s it”

This answer really surprised me considering how he’s told me in the past he has strong feelings for me. Is he saying this because he’s afraid he’ll be rejected again? Is he afraid to lose me? I don’t understand why he said that.
p. s. I am happy with just being friends with him I just want to try and understand his behavior. Thank you!
Why is my guy friend acting so strange? would really appreciate a male perspective?
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