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I like him and he likes me and I love her and she loves him.
January 8, 2013 10:27 AM   Subscribe

A complicated love triangle between me (25/f), a guy (30/m), and his really good friend (30/f) who is also my good friend. What's the generic protocol in this situation?

Here's the breakdown. It happened in graduate school. The three people are me, A=girl, and B=boy. A and B started together 6 years ago and had been good friends since then. A is a guy's girl - she smokes cigars, curses like a sailor, is 5'11" and built like a lumberjack. She also happens to be the most awesomely warm person ever, totally lovable, and deadly loyal to her core group of friends.

I knew B first. We shared an office and slowly became friends, and from the beginning of getting to know him, I was fond of him; as I got to know him continuously, the feelings grew. I could tell he liked me too, but we were both somewhat shy and by the time either of us made a move, he was graduating and neither of us wanted to start something that would end so soon. But we stayed friends, occasionally getting in touch, hanging out at conferences or visits to one or the other town. When I know he'll be somewhere at some larger gathering, I always look forward to it as a/the highlight; he gives the impression that he does, too. Over the course of this time, my feelings have at least stayed the same if not grown for him, and about 6 months from now, we will both be moving to within 2 hrs of each other. The prospect of dating could become a real possibility.

In the next year, I became friends with A. We had been acquaintances, but during the course of a summer in which she let me stay on her couch for about two months while I finished up my research assistantship after my lease ran out, we became close friends and confessed our life stories. Part of her life story was a brief relationship between her and B about a year before he left town, around the time I started grad school. It was initiated and terminated by B. Despite her words, I could tell she wasn't over it and still held onto strong feelings. They remained friends after that breakup and are still fairly close. Along with a few others, they periodically reconvene as a group 3-4 times a year for a weekend, regardless of their now-dispersed living locations. Since the past summer, I've been welcomed into that group. I love being part of it, belonging, and have lots of fun with them.

I've never told A about my feelings for B. I feel that they represent a form of betrayal to her, especially if acted upon without her blessing. I felt a substantial sadness in hearing her describe that it didn't work out between A and B since they're both good people who I care about, and have a remarkably strong friendship. But my feelings also represent a deep and abiding "fondness" for B. I've never related to someone so well, connected so effortlessly; every time we meet, regardless of how long we've been apart or whether we've talked at all in the interim, we always slide back into a near-perfect fit. We have very similar tastes, relatable backgrounds, and am inspired by who he is. If he still feels any inkling of the same thing, I feel like this could be something big.

You may ask, why didn't you tell A about your feelings when she confessed their relationship? Partly why I didn't was because we've never done anything more than hug and make googly eyes at each other, and they slept together for a couple weeks. Saying "I like him" sounded juvenile. But the second reason is that I feel like she's ostracized people who've dated or been involved with him in the past post-breakup. I was afraid she might do the same to me. This may be unfair, but that was how I felt. At the end of the day if I *had* to pick between them, my loyalty would go to her, not least because I think he acted irresponsibly and carelessly with regard to their relationship. But it would be very reluctant because I've known him longer, our friendship is a bit deeper, and I really really care about him.

TL;DR: Is there a way to navigate this that doesn't result in implosion or hurting A terribly? How should I approach it? I feel that both options I see are impossible: forgetting him, or disregarding her.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (36 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: poster's request. -- jessamyn

 
Be honest. You can't be responsible for other people's feelings.
posted by empath at 10:31 AM on January 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I would do nothing right now, because nothing is going outside of how you feel. If you & B hook up or start seriously dating, that would be when you should give A the heads-up.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:34 AM on January 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


..um this isn't a "love triangle" this is two people who dated for a brief time (You say weeks when you've known both these people years!) and a girl (you) who has a crush and is over-thinking things.

Get over yourself and stop making all kinds of forecasting judgments about how your other friend is going to behave if you start dating. If you are that worried about what you have decided without much evidence must be A's "real" feelings, just tell her you have a thing for B and ask if she would be ok with you dating/asking him out.

Seriously this would be like the worst romcom ever.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 10:35 AM on January 8, 2013 [17 favorites]


Depends.

If B is leading A on in some way, they're still friends, he calls to chat as a friend does, and he knows she's still into him and he won't give her the space to get over it. Well, is that the kind of guy you're into? Someone who'll keep dangling a former lover?

Why is it that A isn't over B yet? Also, how does B really fit into your life? Is he in your area? Can you date on a regular basis? What does B say he feels about you? Sounds to me like you have a crush that's reciprocated when it's convenient for B.

The way I see it, there are two women who are pining after B, for no good reason. He may be a hell of a guy, but is he the only man in Christendom?

Date other people, interact with other people, enjoy your friendship with A. Trust me, if you give it time to cool and stop being so bajigity about it, your thing for B will fade and your friendship with A will be stronger.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:36 AM on January 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


about 6 months from now, we will both be moving to within 2 hrs of each other. The prospect of dating could become a real possibility.

Our definitions of "a real possibility" must not align. 2 hours is an incredible distance to begin a romantic relationship across. Let's say you do date each other--if the distance does sour the relationship, there goes a good friend, with the possibility of tainting your friendship with A.

Keep looking.
posted by MangyCarface at 10:42 AM on January 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure what you really could do at the moment, given how up in the air everything seems to be. Six months is a long time from now, and being two hours apart doesn't exactly make for an easy transition into relationship mode - there's no real guarantee that you and A are going to end up together.

Like ThePinkSuperhero, I'd suggest holding off on taking any sort of action right now - see what actually happens when you and A are living two hours away from each other, and revisit this then.
posted by DingoMutt at 10:42 AM on January 8, 2013


Is anything happening between you and B? If not, and it doesn't sound like it, you don't need to talk about this.
posted by Miko at 10:44 AM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


The prospect of dating could become a real possibility.

Um, maybe? Two hours apart is a long distance relationship in my book. You need a little more indication from him that he's into you - from your question, I don't think he is, but I could be wrong - before you bet the farm on this turning into anything.

You have a crush on B. He may like you, but he hasn't really given you strong signals either way and , and he and A dated a while ago. A might have some residual feelings for B.

BUT THERE IS NOTHING GOING ON BETWEEN YOU AND B. If you want to date him, make a move. Otherwise, get over it and find some guys who live in your neighborhood/closer than two hours away.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 10:46 AM on January 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


This all is so complicated that it sounds exhausting.

What do you want to happen out of this? Do you want a real relationship? Really good ones don't come from love triangles and desperate feelings. Reevaluate what you really want out of all this.
posted by discopolo at 10:48 AM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, if he really wanted to date you, he would have asked you.
posted by discopolo at 10:52 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


From what I've read you haven't mentioned any to make us believe he's made a move on you. But your our options are:

1. Take your chances on B and see if there is something there, talk to A about this choice and let her decide whether or not she wants to still be your friend.
2. Say nothing and look outside of your group of friends for a potential significant other.

What's more important your friendship with this gal or the possibility of maybe having a relationship with a guy who currently hasn't made a move?

If you are asking the question here its that the guy is that important to you that he is still a possibility for you in your mind and I say this because if your friendship with the girl was that important you never would have asked this question. I vote go with choice 1.
posted by xicana63 at 10:56 AM on January 8, 2013


Well, the standard advice in the situation outlined at the start of your question is to choose one. The standard advice to the rest of your question is, as people already have said, to stop counting chickens.
posted by OmieWise at 10:59 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


This does sound very graduate school, and it sounds like a mess.

My gut response is "be wary of graduate school guys who send mixed signals to younger women". The difference between 25 and thirty isn't unbridgeable, but it's enough to start making me wonder, especially with the failed thing with A and the milieu - I have known many, many older graduate school guys who relied on younger women as friends and partners precisely because they could not sustain relationships with women who were age and academic peers. (This isn't comp lit or some form of cultural theory, right? I mean, no one is reading Lacan or Deleuze or anything? You do not want to date an older dude who is doing comp lit.)
posted by Frowner at 11:01 AM on January 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Actually, I don't think this is complicated at all. What happened between A and B has nothing to do with you and anyway is over now. Nothing is happening between you and B now, so there is nothing for you to report or feel disloyal about.

If at some point in the nebulous future a relationship begins between you and B, then yes, you should give that information to A while being sensitive to her feelings. It would take the form of "A, I know you and B used to date, so I feel a little awkward about this, but you should know that B and I have been seeing each other. It's important to me that we can all get past the awkward bits and carry on with being friends."

Until that day, though, this is a lot of borrowed and unnecessary drama over something that may not ever happen anyway. Let it go.
posted by Andrhia at 11:02 AM on January 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Lemme re-state this more simply, and give A and B names rather than just letters.

1. You got to know Ben first, and he was an "almost".

2. Alice actually dated Ben for a couple weeks but it didn't work out.

3. There is a bit more of a possibility things could heat up with Ben, but you're afraid that Alice is gonna be hurt by this.

In this case, I think that waiting 6 months may help you in more ways than you think - not only will it make you wait to see whether there really IS a "there" there with you and Ben, like everyone says, but it will give Alice that much more time to get over Ben herself. Because seriously, a two-week hookup?

It will also give you time to figure out whether you WANT something to happen with you and Ben all things being equal. I've also got a "Ben" in my own life, and things have heated up briefly a couple times over the past couple years, but I've come to realize that...ultimately it really would be bad news if my own Ben and I were to actually for-realz get involved, and staying friends - albeit, occasionaly having to take cold showers to do so - would be best.

The other option, of course, would be for you to call Ben right now and talk about how you want to handle that, but that would require you having a conversation about "so, do we wanna....y'know?" in the first place. And if you think it's too soon to do that, then....this situation is too soon for you to be even worrying about anyway.

You're sweet to be concerned for Alice, but by the time it seems like anything COULD happen with you and Ben, Alice would probably be over it anyway. (And if she's not....that's a whole different problem, but you can't know whether it will be a problem right now.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:09 AM on January 8, 2013


On the rare occasions that I want to go on a date with somebody who was involved with a close friend of mine, I privately get the friend's permission before asking her out. That is not only the most ethical way to show loyalty to your friends, but it also negates drama almost entirely.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 11:13 AM on January 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Anything could happen between now and then. When you move, that's the time to start exploring whether or not a relationship could happen between you two. In the meantime, you go on like he's just a friend because that's what he is right now.
posted by DoubleLune at 11:45 AM on January 8, 2013


Are y'all in the same program?

Seriously: don't shit where you eat. This should be Module #1 of whatever your capstone or foundations course is.

All that ends up happening is that you, and every other grad student in the office, turns into drama rama llamas over all this. It injects a whole lot of weird into the grad school experience.

Consider treating your graduate program like you would your job. It is your job, actually, if you're funded. Do you shit where you eat at your job? I hope not.

Be friends with A, enjoy B as a social connection, and go find yourself a lovely barista/office worker/grad student in a totally unaffiliated discipline to canoodle with.
posted by vivid postcard at 11:50 AM on January 8, 2013


Go after what you want. A has no right to feel betrayed. If what you want is B, go get em! Then tell A about your relationship sensitively.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:53 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


don't shit where you eat.

I hate this advice. If you shit in the kitchen, that's the new bathroom. They can go cook somewhere else.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:03 PM on January 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Are y'all in the same program?

Seriously: don't shit where you eat. This should be Module #1 of whatever your capstone or foundations course is.


B is not in grad school anymore. It's in the question.

To the OP: you are thinking too hard about something that may not even happen. And if it does, you're worried about a friend who had a two week fling with another friend a few years ago. It's not sensible that B would never be able to date any friend of A's in the future, years after their short-lived affair. If the opportunity come up, that is the time when you mention it to A. Six months from now, she may not care at all.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:09 PM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think that so much of this is just avoidance of the reality and the point.

Look. Regardless of how long she and B were involved, and how long ago it was, and what a manly lumberjack she looks like compared to you, and how many people think she should be over him by now, or whatever - she's not over him. That's just a fact. She hurts when she sees people get involved with him. Regardless of whether anyone thinks she has the right to feel that way or not, it is just a fact.

It seems that she doesn't want to be friends with people who get involved with him. Now that is, unquestionably, her right.

You're not obligated in any way to avoid getting involved with B just because A will feel hurt. But the simple fact that she will feel hurt is something you know in advance.

Quite honestly, I don't think it is very nice to continue playing friends with someone when you know, well in advance, that you are planning to do something that will hurt them, regardless of how "justified" that hurt is. I think it is quite a bit worse to continue to accept her hospitality, or other forms of assistance from her, or to use her in various ways including access to her friend groups.

This seems like a pretty big factor for you:

they periodically reconvene as a group 3-4 times a year for a weekend ... Since the past summer, I've been welcomed into that group. I love being part of it, belonging, and have lots of fun with them.

....

I feel like she's ostracized people who've dated or been involved with him in the past post-breakup. I was afraid she might do the same to me.


To be very honest, based on what you wrote, it seems like a big part of the reason that you didn't tell her about your feelings/intentions towards B is not even that you feared losing her as a friend per se, but that you feared losing your access to her friend group that she welcomed you into.

I just... I'm sorry, but I just feel like that is so selfish and not the action of a real friend at all. These are her friends and probably her support system. Whatever you do with B is your business. The fact that you know she wants him doesn't change that at all and you have the right to do whatever you like with him. But the fact that on top of it, you have to have her friends *too*? It is very, very wrong to me. I mean, you could say that they are your friends too at this point, but if that were really true, she wouldn't be able to get you "ostracized."

I think you should tell her NOW what your intentions are WRT B and just let the chips fall where they may. I think that is the only honorable thing to do, the only way of treating A with true care and consideration.

I'm sorry to be so blunt, but I think it would be better to come from me than to come from A after shit hits the fan.

Now a final word on something else:

I've never related to someone so well, connected so effortlessly; every time we meet, regardless of how long we've been apart or whether we've talked at all in the interim, we always slide back into a near-perfect fit. We have very similar tastes, relatable backgrounds, and am inspired by who he is. If he still feels any inkling of the same thing, I feel like this could be something big.

Consider that this is probably exactly how A felt, and he got her hopes up (he was the one to initiate things with her, right?) and then dumped her just as fast. I have an inkling that you may think it is just different with you, that you are a "fit" with him in the way he wasn't with her, or something like that. Just... just be prepared for the possibility that this isn't his first time at the rodeo, that creating this feeling with someone and then ditching them once he's got them could be something he's done more than once before.
posted by cairdeas at 12:27 PM on January 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


You have a right to pursue something with Ben. Alicia has a right to cool off toward you if you and Ben start dating, I guess, though if I were her I would have a long break with Ben until I got over my unresolved feelings about our very brief affair, and worked through whatever was going on in my head about feeling angry or betrayed when he dated other people.

Never have I been so glad to have left academia as when I read this question. This sounds like a cult more than a program of study. "Everyone dates other people from the program" is a bug, not a feature.

My prediction is that the OP is going to go for Ben, and when he dumps her after a few weeks she and Alicia will reunite with the additional bond of Ben-bitterness.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:36 PM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I guarantee I will feel the same way in 6 months.

You can't make this guarantee. Past performance is no indicator of future results. You may meet The One tomorrow and make all this academic. You may contract a rare tropical disease and spend your last years on earth seeking the wild sturgeon. You may have a terrible rift with a professor and leave your somewhat incestuous-sounding program and join the circus. Who knows? Not you. Not anybody.

This seems more and more to me like one of those great fantasy relationships that makes life feel more interesting while distracting you from your studies. Those are nice. You don't have to do anything about them, though.
posted by Miko at 12:38 PM on January 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


It is not disloyal to Alice to (potentially) date Ben. They dated for two weeks. Two weeks, somewhere in the neighbourhood of THREE YEARS AGO, if I'm reading this right???

I respect your morals and values about loyalty. But if this is a problem for Alice (and that is by no means certain), her inability to get over a brief and stale fling has nothing to do with your values. Is it possible that Alice will feel betrayed? Yes. Would that mean that you had abandoned your values? No. Alice's (at this point, hypothetical) unwillingness to move on is not your fault. I wouldn't guarantee your friendship with her would last, but if it didn't, I believe your values would be intact. You are not responsible for her feelings.

Also, I don't think asking Alice for her blessing is a good thing to do. It's a no-win situation for her. If she's as good a friend as you say, she would feel like a tool for warding you off Ben, even if it did genuinely bother her. So now she's in the position of feeling like shit because you're dating Ben, or feeling like shit because she was a lousy friend to you.

IMO, your choices are A) date Ben, tell (not ask) Alice if it goes anywhere with him, and let the chips fall where they may; or B) accept that nothing is ever going to happen with Ben and move on.
posted by dry white toast at 1:14 PM on January 8, 2013


"Why should A feel bad? It was only two weeks!?!?"

Honestly I feel this is silly. They've been friends a long time, have a deep relationship; physical consummation =/= real emotional or romantic attachment or caring. They continue to be friends by mutual affection, and at A's absolute insistence.


This makes no sense. Because you are long time, deeply attached friends with someone doesn't mean that it follows that you would be hurt when that friend hooked up with another friend. For many people, having two people they respect and care about become romantic is a great thing- far better than having someone you love become involved with someone you are indifferent to! I also have no idea how anyone can absolutely insist on "mutual" affection either. What you just wrote makes A seem incredibly controlling, so you may want to re-think how you express this friendship in writing. And as far as I can see from what you've written, you have no idea how A may feel about you and B getting involved, and you have no idea what A may be up to in six months. She may have her own romantic relationship at that time. I feel like you're assuming a lot about A and her feelings without giving her the benefit of the doubt- most people get over their two-week romances after time has passed, even when they remain good friends with that person.

I feel like she's ostracized people who've dated or been involved with him in the past post-breakup. I was afraid she might do the same to me.

To be very honest, based on what you wrote, it seems like a big part of the reason that you didn't tell her about your feelings/intentions towards B is not even that you feared losing her as a friend per se, but that you feared losing your access to her friend group that she welcomed you into.


Okay, this sounds like absolutely the most uncharitable reading of this question that I can imagine. The OP has said that they don't want to lose their friendship with A over this. That statement should be taken at face value.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:23 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


On non-preview, I guess not.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:24 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I apologize for reading incorrectly; I was under the impression he had moved to a different campus or work site.

I mean, technically, he's fair game. Grad groups/disciplines can be pretty tight, though, so if anything were to happen, I would guarantee that A would find out about it. I suppose a courtesy mention of your intent to pursue might be appropriate here, then, because she may want to hear it from you, as opposed to the dramatized version that trickles down the grad wire.

I do agree that you and B aren't dating, and that the assumption that you will be is premature, so you may want to keep that in mind, as well.
posted by vivid postcard at 1:41 PM on January 8, 2013


grokfest, since you're here in the thread, can you say why you described her looks and self-presentation? It's so jarring.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:06 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


OK, here's the thing: you really, really cannot predict the future. You say you can guarantee you'll feel the same way in 6 months that you do now, but you honestly can't. You also can't predict how A will react. You also can't predict whether or not B will even want to date you, or want to be in a long distance relationship.

I worry a bit about your assertion that there's no way you'll feel different in 6 months, because that puts you in a pretty powerless role where you are sort of "locked in" to your feelings about B. What if B's behavior changes? What if he starts dating someone else? What if you meet someone else?

It seems like right now you're doing a bit of "future-tripping" - playing out a scenario that might happen in the future and trying to plan for it. There's nothing wrong with playing out scenarios as a daydream kind of thing, but worrying now about it and trying to plan as if it's a done deal seems unnecessary and can actually be sort of counterproductive and drama-creating.

If you were my best friend, I would advise you to just sit on this for a while. Wait until you and B are living closer, and see if things start heading in a more romantic direction. Then is the time to start thinking about A.
posted by lunasol at 2:19 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think my main reasoning was that I assumed before she told me that despite being such close friends, they just weren't each others' type.

I see this a lot on MetaFilter, and I would like to call you out on it (as nicely as possible, but still):

When you like someone, and you dismiss someone else as "not their type," you have to realize that there is an element of uncool/jealous/women tearing other women down going on. It's not a neutral observation.

I am a conventionally attractive lady, and I have to keep myself from assuming that I will get the guy because I'm not fat/have long hair/pretty, etc. The last guy I really liked was actually into girls that sound a lot like your friend A.

You can keep playing out reasons to keep the drama going, or you can just cowgirl up and tell A that you like B, and tell B that you like him, and see what happens. But stop reading so much into things that, ultimately, probably don't mean what you think they mean. You can't predict the future, and you can't read anyone's mind.

But really, unless B has told you that he feels strongly about you and wants to be with you, bear in mind that making a move and hanging out with you a lot doesn't necessarily mean anything. You have to ask him how he feels and tell him how you feel - it's a risk, but reading into the tea leaves isn't getting you anywhere.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 2:25 PM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


And as far as ethical obligations, if you really want things to progress with B, you need to take the risk of damaging your friendship with A. I think that she might be a little miffed, but she'll get over it.

It's not unethical to date your friends' ex. It is, however, a possible case of not being able to have your cake and eat it, too.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 2:32 PM on January 8, 2013


It sounded like you were tearing her down. And I'm not telling you not to pursue him - just do it or don't. But you won't know if you don't stick your neck out.

Life is messy.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 2:33 PM on January 8, 2013


Why would you assume she wasn't his type or he hers because she was tall and sturdy and blustery/jovial/tough? Butch and androgynous women aren't necessarily lesbians, nor are straight men necessarily not attracted to butch and androgynous women.

In all kindness, grokfest, I think you have some unexamined assumptions about romantic and sexual relationships that aren't likely to be to your benefit. That said, I think Alicia needs to work on actually moving on from her breakup with Ben. But honestly I think Ben is playing you both, and that you're going to end up hurt as well.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:35 PM on January 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Grokfest you don't have to answer these folks derailing this question if you don't want to. Asking an Askme question is not a license for being analyzed by amateurs.

NEVERTHELESS HERE IS MY ANALYSIS: You are too deferential. Think about your own feelings! You need to actually start dating this guy before having it out with A otherwise you're going to cause a big to-do potentially that goes nowhere! But also, you deserve to be with someone you like. Meanwhile, sounds to me like you and B have this will-they-or-won't they thing going that you actually might be enjoying a little bit more than an actual relationship. This hesitation about A is just an excuse to continue to not actually kiss him! So just go ahead and kiss him first before proceeding to Steps C-Z! That is all! This is the sound of a gavel.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:06 PM on January 8, 2013


Well, I know one thing for sure: True female friendships and supportive friend groups are rare and precious. Men come and go. But I, and most of culture, see female friendships and friend groups are a sort of prerequisite base from which to venture into romance. This strikes me as essentially universally true, maybe especially for women, whether we’re talking about teenage girls, widowed old ladies, or brides facing the possibly sad situation of getting married with no bridesmaids.

I learned this lesson young, with my first love and high school boyfriend. I chose to alienate my friends in order to spend more time being twitterpated and I deeply regret it. I no longer talk to that ex: however, I have reestablished contact with some high school girlfriends and I know many women who are friends with their first girlfriends for life. Since then I live by “hos before bros” or “sisters before misters” (forgive the crass expression) NOT for the sake of the “sisters” but for MY sake, and I am honestly 100% happier and healthier for it.

Men come and go. Putting aside blame, putting aside hurting people’s feelings, I honestly believe 100% that YOU will regret it for YOUR SAKE if you weigh in the balance friendship and romance and decide to go with romance. I would give this same advice in nearly all situations unless the man in question was a perfect 100% sure thing marriage prospect and deeply in love with you and you were about to move across the country and make new friends anyway. And even then, it might make for a sad wedding. And maybe he’d get struck by lightning, and then what would you have? You know?

On another less uplifting note: Life experience has also taught me to be deeply suspicious of late 20s/early 30s men in humanities grad programs as they tend to become surrounded by women in a sort of pseudo-harem. And, using their eloquent language skills, convince each one in succesion that she, not all the ones before, is the deeply intellectual artist that REALLY understands him. This time it’s REALLY love… times 20, ad naseum. Many men when in a mostly female environment will not pick the “prettiest” or “smartest” or “most soulmate-y” woman, but will instead default to a preference for switching around between women who are “sort of okay” but at least they get variety. Does that make sense? You may very well be better suited to him, in other words, and he may even know that, but it STILL doesn’t matter because he’s not looking for the “one best girl” anyway. This is hard for many women to understand, I think. Even David Foster Wallace slept with students, and I’m positive some of them were convinced they had a “unique soulmate connection” when it was no such thing on his side. Remember that.
posted by quincunx at 5:44 PM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


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