Wait until he leaves Girlfriend?
Q: I am 18 and just got out of a relationship that was extremely emotional for me because I gave him my virginity. It's not easy but I'm returning to the dating scene very carefully. I've always been picky and I still am. I am not "looking" for a boyfriend... I'm just keeping my eyes peeled for a potential person to spend quality time with.
The problem is that I have feelings for this guy who has a girlfriend. He loves her very much and is very attached but I know that he has feelings for me too. I don't know if I love him because I am not sure if I know what love is. But I know that I'd never want to "steal" him away from his girlfriend and I want him to be happy whether that be with her or with me.
Our friendship is purely platonic, though we've talked about our feelings. I've had difficulty with relationships and he mentions how he wishes he were single so he could show me how a wonderful relationship can be. He's mentioned more then once how he wishes he were single so he could pursue me. My heart tells me that there is something extra special about him and I should wait it out; that he'll come around eventually. But my mind tells me to get over him and move on. I'm going to college soon, and I might find a guy there I'm interested in. What do you think I should do? Should I follow my heart and be patient? Or shall I stick to friendship with this guy and keep my options open for boyfriends in the future?
Dr. Susan: Not to demean any part of you, but your heart is only 18, like the rest of you. Not only do you admit you don't know what love is -- who really does, at 18? -- but you're going to college soon. A whole new world of possibilities is about to open up for you. There'll be lots of competition for this guy who is playing with fire without realizing it (or maybe he does realize it -- and that's a part of the kick for him). He wishes he were single? He wants to show you what a good relationship is? A good relationship is one in which he doesn't keep saying things like that to YOU, since it would devastate his girlfriend if she knew about his secret hankering to teach you a thing or two. What does it mean to "wait" for him? Does it mean you keep telling him about your sad relationship history and waiting until you both can't control yourselves any longer and you get physical? Relationships that begin that way have too many strikes against them. It's great to have friends of the opposite sex, but once you start wanting each other in earnest, it's time to stop spending time alone together if one of you is attached. Cool down the friendship and face forward toward your future. There are plenty of unattached men out there to spend quality time with. This one's taken and just a teensy bit weasely besides.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.