He’s smart. He’s funny. He gets you. Witty banter happens naturally every time you guys hang out and you really, really like him. Except he’s also your friend’s boyfriend.
It’s hard to control who we fall for. And while we usually feel guilty when we crush on someone who’s taken, we probably feel guiltier when he happens to be taken by a gal pal. After all, chicks before d*cks, right?
But if you’re in this position right now, you may also be feeling a host of other things —angry (at yourself), confused (about what to do) and maybe even jealous (of their relationship).
But it’s actually understandable that you’re attracted to your friend’s man. Because if you and your girlfriend get along really well, the two of you probably share similar tastes. And though it’s not always the case, it’s not unusual to also share similar taste in men.
The question is, what should you do about it? For that matter, should you do anything at all? We got Jessica Lamb, a psychotherapist and mediator at Relationship Matters, to help you figure it out.
You should… take some space from them
It’s important that you reflect on your feelings for him. This can help you understand if you like him for who he is, or if there are other reasons you haven’t yet realised.
According to Jessica, some of the questions you should ask yourself include:
• Are you longing for love, and so his friendliness makes him feel like a safe option?
• Is it comfortable and fun hanging out with him and your friend, and so those feelings draw you to him?
• Could it be that the friendly attention he pays you builds your self-esteem?
You shouldn’t… cross the line with him
“Any contact between you and him that you wouldn’t feel comfortable telling your friend about is a line crossed and red flag,” says Jessica.
This includes texting him in private or initiating a meetup that doesn’t include her. It’s tempting to want to talk to him, but you’ll basically be betraying your friend’s trust.
“[Crossing the line] can result in a lot of heartache, and your friend is likely to be more upset with you than him as she’ll feel that you actively pursued him.”
You shouldn’t… take advantage when they’re having problems
Maybe they fight a lot. Or your friend just doesn’t get his jokes the way you do. Either way, much as you may have some judgment, you should stay out of their issues.
“It’s better to stay out of it and let their relationship run its course. Besides, other friends will find it hard to take your side if you [actively] stepped in,” says Jessica.
If he actually has a crush on you too…
If he’s made it clear to you that he reciprocates your feelings and wants to date you, ask him to be the one to call off the relationship.
“Let him be the one to end his relationship with her before beginning something with you. Your friend is likely to feel betrayed and deeply hurt if you make a move on him while they’re still dating,” advises Jessica.
“Also, at least you will know that their relationship ended because he wanted it to, not because you came between them. This will make it easier for you to trust that he’s not going to do the same thing to you in the future, and to lessen the guilt of hurting your friend.”
Besides, if you’re the first to act on your feelings, it could lead to some painful repercussions, such as humiliation if he changes his mind.
Sure, it sucks to have to hide your feelings, but it might just do you more good in the long run – or for as long as they’re still together.
“Denying your feelings could also be painful. However, you will find it easier to recover from the pain of a romantic fantasy than the reality of the fallout that might come with [acting on your feelings],” adds Jessica.
An earlier version of this article first appeared in the February 2018 issue of CLEO magazine.
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