Social Question

Mariah's avatar

Can you give me some personal advice on being around a friend I have a crush on and his girlfriend?

Asked by Mariah (18398 points ) November 16th, 2011

Sorry about the length of this…

I’m in an awkward position. I attended two months of college in the fall of 2010 before getting ill and taking a medical leave of absence to get surgery. I don’t go back to college until January, but I’m already stressing about what it’s going to be like to hang out with the guy who was my best friend there during those two months. We had a bit of mutual attraction going on for a while, but in my absence he got a girlfriend and over the summer they traveled all over Europe together and they’re very happy together. I still had feelings for him when I found out about them, so I tried to just turn those feelings off. It didn’t work, though. I haven’t seen him for over a year and I still have dreams about him at night. Pathetic, I know.

We don’t talk often these days but he and others in our group of friends have made it clear that they want me back when I come back, which is nice. But I just don’t know how it’s going to feel to hang out with him now. It makes me very sad to even think about. I know if I want to keep him as a friend I have to be happy for him and his girlfriend, and I know I can fake that. I’ve already told him that I’m looking forward to meeting her. I guess what I’m worried about is that being friends with him at this point might be more painful than it is nice. I’m pissed at my disease for making me need to take time off from college because I think he and I would be together today if I hadn’t had to leave. Seeing them together will just make me feel that sense of loss a hundred fold.

All my friends there are his friends too, and I will probably be living in the same building as him too. I don’t think it’ll be easy to make new friends coming in in the middle of the year. So even if I did decide it’d be better to distance myself, it would be hard.

Can you give me advice on how to cope with these feelings, or anything I can do to make this easier? I’m trying to remind myself about the other fish in the sea…

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10 Answers

wilma's avatar

Gosh @Mariah , I’m so sorry that this has happened.
There are other fish, and you do need to be looking for them. Don’t close your mind to other people and concentrate of the one that got away.
You are a smart and sensible woman. It probably will be difficult to see him with another girl, but it might also be hard for him to see you.
Keep your smile on, and try not to mourn for him.
You never know what will happen. You just never know.

nikipedia's avatar

I don’t know how helpful this is, but your perspective might change significantly when you get back to school. Right now, you haven’t seen this guy in months (right?) so the reality of him is probably receding and becoming replaced by Fantasy Guy. When you get back to school and hang out with him again, you might find that your feelings for him aren’t as strong as you thought they were (hopefully he’ll pick his nose or wear hideous sweaters or something to help you out, there). If I recall correctly you have been mostly stuck at home and were unable to be up and about for a while. That sounds like the perfect situation for a bad crush to fester.

Or maybe you’ll get back to school and your feelings will be just as strong, or stronger. It’s possible. If you get there and you really can’t stand it, you’re allowed to stop being friends with him for a while, and then maybe you can go back to being friends eventually. That’s ok, too.

marinelife's avatar

First, just acknowledge that it’s going to be hard (which you are doing).

Then, do keep an eye out for new guys to like and to hang out with. Be open to it.

Who knows, you may find that he just doesn’t hold up to the test of time.

Fill your time with studying and with other friends so you don’t have time to brood about it.

Try to enjoy school, and don’t waste time regretting your circumstances. You can’t change the past.

Good luck!

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I say befriend him AND the girlfriend… even her more so.

say “yes” to the automatic no’s in your life. nothing more liberating than facing reality.

Mariah's avatar

Thanks for the advice so far.
@wilma I definitely haven’t closed myself off to the idea other “fish.” There’s a 3:1 guy to girl ratio at my school so that makes my chances are pretty good. :) Hopefully I’ll be able to stop myself comparing everyone else to him, though. I don’t know how to expect him to react to me being around again. I’ve been wondering about that. Especially not knowing anything about his girlfriend and what kind of person she is. I worry a bit that maybe she’s the jealous type and if she knows about what close friends he and I were before he met her, she might really not like having me around again, and he might feel obligated to stay away from me so as not to upset her. That’s the worst case scenario I think. More likely I think we’ll be friendly but there’ll just feel like there’s an awkward elephant in the room all the time. Thank you for your kindness.

@nikipedia It’s super helpful. I’ve been thinking something along the same lines. I keep trying to remind myself that at the end of our two months together he wasn’t actually being such a good friend to me. Over the past year, I have mostly focused on the good times we had and it’s true; he’s become Fantasy Guy. It helped a little when I saw a more recent photo of him on Facebook and he had grown bad facial hair. :) I agree my isolation has probably contributed a lot. Thank you for your words.

@marinelife Thank you. I agree being busy will help. Right now I am about as un-busy as anyone can be and it’s just way too much thinking time.

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Thanks…I don’t want to be a third wheel, but maybe I’ll find when I get there that doing as you advise would make me happy. It’s so hard to try and guess now what things will be like.

EmptyNest's avatar

Awwww, I’m so sorry. This is hard. I have read the thread and all the advice has been really good. Here’s something else to consider. The other guys in the group may have been just waiting for an opportunity to be with you. Now that the other guy is out of the picture, they will most likely be braver about asking you. It’s true that being at home and alone is a breeding ground for bad feelings. Once you get there, keep your eyes open to everything around you. You may notice someone you hadn’t before. xoxo

Mariah's avatar

Thanks @EmptyNest. I do think everyone who knew my friend and me considered me “off limits” because even though we didn’t have anything “official” yet, they could tell what was going on. When I think about my other friends there I don’t feel anything besides platonic love, but you’re right that I should keep myself open to change in that regard.

mazingerz88's avatar

Sometimes it helps to lessen the sad feelings you have about a friend by simply sighing and say, oh well, he’s my friend and I’m happy he’s happy. Easier said than done though but if it works, it works perfectly; and all your regrets and concerns would one morning be all gone away and you’re up for a fresh start.

HungryGuy's avatar

Hook the girlfriend up with with another guy. Then be there for him as a shoulder to cry on when he finds out his girlfriend cheated on him.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

Whatever you do, respect him, his girlfriend, and his relationship. It sounds like you already plan to do that, which is quite admirable.

Here’s something else to think about: You and his girlfriend have something in common—you’re attracted to the same guy, maybe for the same reasons. If you don’t have jealousy problems, you might even find her to be a joy to be around. She can’t be that bad. I mean, they did travel to Europe together and they seem to have made it back in one piece and be absolutely smitten still.

It is possible that what you are really afraid of is the unknown—you are not in a place where you have the convenience of knowing how you’d feel if you were there and hanging out with them, so I can understand your worries and concerns.

Something else to consider:

If you ever want to be with this guy, it may be wise to never get close to his girlfriend. Not even a little bit. Not even at all. It might end up being awkward if you and his girlfriend become friends and they break up and you and your friend end up dating.

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