How Do You Choose Between Your Best Friend And A Man You Can Maybe Love?

November 11, 2018


Dear Stuck,

While I’ve never been trappedin a love triangle myself, exactly, Ive definitely lost a friend to romance. There was a manI considered one of my best friends in the world for over a decade. I loved this mandeeplynot romantically (we dated for a period in college before settling intoclosefriendship), but as a critical partner in liferegardless. Today, I no longer count hima friend. We’re civil and we follow each other on social media, but we never even speak. Why? Because he started dating a woman who was extremely uncomfortable with our bond, and, I imagine,our history.

The first time my friend really snubbed me on behalf of his new girlfriend(by not inviting me to his birthday party), I was enraged. I called him up and screamed between sniffly tears. I told him that he was being a bastard and an idiotthat our friendship was precious and he was letting his girlfriend trample all over it because she was jealous.

Do you know what he said? I love her, Mlanie. Right then, I understood that hed made a choice. He haddecided to move on without me because the love he felt for this other womantrumped our friendship. It wasnt worth keeping me around if doing sowould complicate what had quickly becomethe most important part of life.

Now, as much as I miss my friendache for him, in fact, whenever I recallthe laughs and the good times and the secrets we sharedI have to respect hisdecision. He to let go of our friendship to make room for that other woman and toprove that he was committed to buildinga life with her. I dont know ifshe ever gave him an ultimatum. I don’t know ifshe ever clearly articulated her desire for him to unfriend me, or if he sensed, all by himself, that he had to sacrifice for . Whatever the case, my former frienddid what was right forhim,andI cant blame him for that.

The truth is that love often comes at a cost. In your situation, everyone stands to lose something no matter what happens. Alas, thats life. Love isnt practical or sensitive to everyones feelings or all that concerned about its victims.

What you have to do is make a very difficult decision. You have to think hard about your history with your best friend, and whether or not pursuing a relationship with this man is worth demolishing that. Because make no mistake: Pursuing a relationship with this man will definitely damage your friendship, maybe evenbeyond repair. If one thing is clear, your friend is definitely not over this man you’ve been sleeping with, and consequently developed feelings for. She might claim to be, but her actions screamotherwise. I sense that you know this already. I also sense that youre itching to know what might transpire between you and this man, which is understandable. A strong romantic itch is virtually impossible not to scratch. And because passionate connections are truly rare, its a pityto let them pass by unexplored.

Byfollowing your heart, you stand to lose a best friend. So you have to ask yourself: Is this hypothetical romantic relationship more important to me than my existing friendship? If this man turns out to beagreat love, the bond you forge will probably seem worth sacrificing a thousand friendships because great love reallythat monumentally awesome. If not, however, you might very well regret having given it a shot.

The thing is, if you follow your heart in the name of preservingyour friendship, you will probably end up resenting your best friend. I can sense from your email that youre already frustrated by her actions. You feel as if shes ignoring your happiness. Becauseshe is. Just as youre prioritizing your needs, shes prioritizinghers. Each of us isprogrammed to survive, which requires taking care of ourselves first in almost allcircumstances.

I agree that its childish of your friend to make demands about who you do ordo not have sex with, or date.But she’sprobably resorted to such measures out of embarrassment and/or hesitation to own her true feelings. Shehas the most to lose out of all three of younot one, but two dear friends. So try tosympathize with herdistress.

Theman in this equationseems to be in the best position withinthe group. What I fear is that he may be sending you and your friend slightly different messagesnot because hes a manipulative asshole, necessarily, but because its natural to want to keep two women who’re good for your ego around.Its nice to be wanted, so its in his interest to keep you bothhappy for aslong as possible.

So, what to do?

I think the only solution is for everyone involved tobe honest and straightforward, which might require sitting down together and coming clean about your feelings one by one. If your best girlfriend hears firsthand from you and this man that youre really into each other, how could she deny you the right to give it a try? And if this man fumbles and fails to stand up for your romantic potential in the moment, hes probably not worth the trouble.

All three of you need more information, it seems. As of now, youre stuck in a complicated web of emotions and mixed messages rooted in competing interests, and Im guessing youre all desperately trying to do damage control on multiplefronts simultaneously. At some point, somethings got to give, and youre all going to lose something along the way no matter what. But thats okay. You will all be fine. You will all live. I wish I could offer you protection from hurt, but no one can. Even the most beautiful relationships cause great pain.

Sincerely,
Mlanie

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