Ask the Rev: Divided Loyalties

Dear Rev,

I’m really interested in this guy—the only problem is that one of my best friends used to get with him, and they have a confusing and emotional history. I know he’s interested in me, too, but I’m pretty sure that my friend isn’t going to approve, and she might even still have feelings for him. I don’t want to hurt my friend, but I’m interested in this guy. Help!

-A Friend in Need

Dear Friend in Need,

Your situation is definitely confusing, but you’re also not alone. If only our love played by the rules we set for it! But emotions play by nobody’s rules. The heart wants what it wants, and sometimes it feels like it will never be happy unless it get it. That’s when we suddenly find ourselves at odds even with our most instinctive logical values: for instance, that we must be loyal to our friends. Of course you love your friend, and perhaps you don’t love this other person in the same sense, but, good lord, passion can be a powerful, overwhelming force. Luckily, passion is a double-edged sword. It can be powerful enough to cut through some of your strongest moral fibers, but it also burns out like a shooting star, while your moral fibers will heal and anneal.

Before you keep going, take a nice, deep breath, and think about the situation. The most critical considerations are (1) your friend and (2) this dude. If your friend is particularly fragile, then you should just let it go and wait for the next guy you’re interested in, because I would bet that it won’t be long. (There are just too many people in this world.) It’s probably not worth it. Also, if the guy is just not that cute or has a weak personality, it’s not worth putting the strain on your friendship for something that will only bring you temporary gratification. Sometimes you just gotta let it go. Be strong, and you will have my respect.

On the other hand, if you have a strong relationship with your friend, you probably won’t end it because of a guy. In that case, if the guy is great and you truly dig him, then maybe you need to suit up and go for it. The first step you need to take is to suck it up and talk to your friend about it. You’re probably right that she won’t like it, but at the same time, everyone has experienced the rip currents of passion, and even if she doesn’t like it she’ll understand. Maybe it will even help her to move on, to let go of those old feelings and meet someone new. Things have a funny way of working out like that. And, if this guy is a good match for you and ends up making you happy, your friend won’t be upset for too long.

Life is short, and although your heart sometimes puts you at odds with your common sense, sometimes you need to just follow your heart, take that leap, and experience life. Good luck!


The Rev

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