Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Updates: “Ready to Tell” Responds

It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “Ready to Tell,” the grad student who wondered whether she should confess her feelings for a fellow classmate she’d become good friends with despite the fact that he had a girlfriend (and she didn’t want to ruin their friendship). Keep reading to see whether she told him how she felt.

It’s been about six months, and a lot has happened! I really appreciated people taking the time to comment although I respectfully disagree with those who said confessing would have been offensive and disrespectful. Ultimately, I didn’t tell him. I wasn’t ready to lose his (I’ll call him “Sam” to keep things clear) friendship — he’s my best friend in school, after all. Plus, Sam was spending winter break visiting his girlfriend’s family in another country, so I just figured they were more serious than he claimed they were.

In other news, I have a boyfriend! I went on a few dates with a guy before winter break – just four as I was super busy with finals – and over break, despite my constant traveling, we ended up talking every day. I spent my last week on the west coast (I go to school in the Northeast) and so he asked if he could fly out to the west coast to see me. It was, technically, only our fifth date! He’s a wonderful, devoted guy (I’ll call him “Pat”). It is worth noting, however, that, the first time Pat met Sam, he turned to me after and said – totally unprompted as I’d never told him about my former crush – “I know he has a girlfriend, but just so you know: it’s obvious that Sam has feelings for you.” I made a point going forward of making sure Pat knew that he was the priority, not Sam, especially when all three of us hung out.

Anyway, a few days ago, Sam came over and told me that he and his girlfriend had broken up. It was kinda surreal when it was happening because I’d spent so much time this fall hoping and waiting for this moment. And, for a second, I thought about “what ifs.” But honestly, I’m deeply in love with my boyfriend. He is by far the best guy I’ve ever known, takes care of me and nurtures me (which I’ve always needed in relationships but never had) and is looking for the kind of serious relationship I want. Sam isn’t very emotional or nurturing; he’s still a great friend but probably not a great boyfriend for me. And he isn’t ready for the kind of relationship I really want. Sure, I’m attracted to him and, yes, I’d probably go for it if I were single. This might be unromantic, but I tried to look past the chemistry and attraction – I know both guys pretty well- and know that my boyfriend is the better match for me.

I’m making it seem like it was this huge choice or something, but it really wasn’t – it just initially felt that way because it was something I’d told myself I wanted for soooooo long and then I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t want it anymore.

Anyway, I’m very happy because I have an awesome boyfriend and a wonderful best friend. Thanks for reading this super long update!

 
Thank you for the update. Glad to hear things have worked out well. Just a word of caution though: I know you said that you go out of your way to make sure Pat knows he’s a priority, especially when the three of you are together, but you may need to accept that a friendship with a guy who probably has feelings for you — and whom you once nursed a crush on — probably won’t (and maybe shouldn’t) retain the closeness it had in the past if you want to have a healthy and happy relationship with your boyfriend. But if you can figure out how to make it work with no one getting hurt, good for you.

***************

If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

28 comments… add one
  • avatar

    kerrycontrary May 6, 2013, 2:16 pm

    Great and realistic update!I think it’s very mature for you to look past the chemistry and attraction to judge who is a good match for you. This is how healthy adult relationships are started and maintained. I agree with Wendy that you may need to pull back on the intimacy/closeness with Sam, but I’m sure as you spend more time with your boyfriend this has probably happened naturally over the past semester.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle May 6, 2013, 2:18 pm

    Well, I’m glad you were able to find someone who was a better match for you (while letting the crush on “Sam” fade out naturally). Hope everything continues to work out!

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  • iwannatalktosampson

    iwannatalktosampson May 6, 2013, 2:43 pm

    Oh my gosh I just read through the comments on the original letter (haven’t read the update yet) and this was the day I commented like 300 times.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle May 6, 2013, 2:58 pm

      Yeah, same here. I was alllll up in this letter when it first posted, haha

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  • Lyra

    L May 6, 2013, 3:01 pm

    I do think you made the right decision in this case, LW and I’m glad you’ve found someone!

    I do have a question for you: have you ever been in a committed relationship and had a girl confess her feelings for your guy? Because it sucks. When it happened to me I became SO MAD at the girl because she had overstepped her bounds. If someone is in a committed serious relationship, they’re with that person for a reason. It simply shows respect for the people and for the relationship by letting them be and not causing unnecessarily drama or stress on the relationship. If something is meant to be it will happen in time.

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    • Lyra

      L May 6, 2013, 3:04 pm

      I forgot to mention I also agree with Wendy in this case — distance yourself from Sam for a bit so you can make Pat your priority.

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson May 6, 2013, 3:04 pm

      Ummm she didn’t confess her feelings for him.

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      • Lyra

        L May 6, 2013, 4:19 pm

        I was talking about how she mentioned she respectfully disagreed with those of us who found it disrespectful. I really wasn’t trying to cause a stir, just pointing out how much it sucks when this type of thing does happen so she could see that side of things.

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    • lynn

      lynn May 6, 2013, 3:13 pm

      She didn’t confess her feelings, but even if she did… my position stands as it did the first time around…

      Relationships end for all sorts of reasons. Shit happens. Whether it’s cheating or falling for a friend or falling out of love… whatever. You either get married (or decide you will be committed to each other for life) or you break up. I’ve had a boyfriend break up with me because he fell for a friend and vice versa. Yeah, it isn’t fun, but you get over it and you move on. Besides, I wouldn’t want to be with a guy who may have feelings for someone else.

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      • taurons

        atlimbo May 6, 2013, 3:31 pm

        My rule of thumb has always been “I won’t seek it out, but if I end up with feelings for someone who’s taken — they’re the one in the relationship, they’re the one who needs to behave as such.” I would never go out of my way to try to break someone up, but I think honesty about how you feel for your best friend isn’t doing that, you know?

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    • avatar

      temperance May 6, 2013, 6:39 pm

      It totally happened to me! It was really bizarre, though. Mr. Temperance and I were still in college, and he had a project group for one of his classes. One of the women in the group would make clumsy passes at him that he assumed were her trying to be friendly. Well, one day, she passed him a note that said “DO YOU LIKE ME YES/NO”.

      He apparently crumpled it up and threw it back at her and was like, WTF is this? She then asked him IN FRONT OF EVERYONE and he replied that no, he liked his girlfriend. Apparently the rest of the group started making fun of her after that.

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    • avatar

      6napkinburger May 6, 2013, 6:42 pm

      I still totally disagree. I totally get why you were so mad and I will agree that it totally sucks for the partner — though way more if the person they’re with decides to break it off to try things out with the confessor. But I don’t get how people think it’s somehow “disrespectful” for someone to declare their feelings for someone else. Sure, people are with each other for a reason but the “if he wanted to be with the friend, he wouldn’t be with his girlfriend” just doesn’t hold water to me as a reason why she shouldn’t tell. If he chooses to be with the girlfriend even after knowing about the friend’s feelings, that’s an educated choice. People don’t break up a decent relationship for the HOPE that someone may be out there who is a better fit… they break up because something is wrong, or because someone meets someone else who they believe they will have a better fit AND they think that person may want to enter a relationship with them. I just don’t see why you guys think the hypothetical friend “owes” it to that couple not to cause them extra stress, at the expense of her possible happiness and own feelings; why its more important that they have an undramatic relationship than that she/you find happiness and love.
      I totally agree that it SUCKS when it happens to you and I think you are justified in being pissed. But I don’t think they actually did anything “wrong” or “disrespectful.”

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      • landygirl

        landygirl May 7, 2013, 5:31 pm

        If you can’t leave a relationship unless you have someone else lined up then you’re just trading one problem for another.

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    • avatar

      Liquid Luck May 6, 2013, 10:04 pm

      I disagree with this, completely. I think it’s kind of shitty to confess your feelings to someone who’s married, but anyone who hasn’t taken that step yet is fair game. It’s not cool to repeatedly try to sabotage someone else’s relationship, but telling someone you have feelings for them in a non-confrontational way and letting them choose to do what they will (even if it’s nothing) with that information is in no way “overstepping [her] bounds”. It’s on the person in the relationship to keep the boundaries in tact and the behavior appropriate, period.

      And yes, I say this with experience both as someone who’s partner has been “confessed” to and as someone who’s been confessed to when in a relationship as well. Neither instance impacted my relationship (no unnecessary drama or stress) whatsoever, and neither one was an affront to the relationship. It happened, and everyone acted like adults. Shocking.

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      • FireStar

        FireStar May 6, 2013, 10:37 pm

        I agree completely. If vows or kids are involved that’s one thing. But confessing your feelings to someone and giving them the opportunity to do whatever they feel best? That’s just life. Choices are all around. Don’t flirt or hit on the person repeatedly – that’s disrespectful. Telling them how you feel? That’s a conversation. If your relationship is strong then it won’t matter.

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      • avatar

        BreezyAM May 7, 2013, 12:32 am

        One time this woman took my husband aside during an event to have a BigDeepConversation in which she basically told him that she has always thought they had this BigDeepSpecialFriendship and were developing something really cosmic and special, but that now that she saw him with me (I hadn’t attended an event with him in some time as we’d been separated –and at this particular event I was very heavily obviously 8 months pregnant) she realized she was just being silly and that he was actually off building something with me (well… yes…). We both thought it was utterly weird and bizarre. He’d had sex with her once a year prior, I mean wtf. But it didn’t make any impact on us or our relationship, nor were we offended, it was just… weird.

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  • avatar

    ele4phant May 6, 2013, 4:08 pm

    Yeah I still feel like unloading your feelings on someone with a relationship is a hugely disrespectful thing to do, but whatevs. Glad things worked out for you.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle May 6, 2013, 4:14 pm

      Yeahh, I (also still) feel the same way. I know she ~didn’t~ wind up confessing or anything, but I wish she would’ve explained her stance a little more (since she did take the time to be like, “BTW, I disagree!”)

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      • Lyra

        L May 6, 2013, 4:20 pm

        Yup, that’s why I wrote my spiel above.

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  • avatar

    ktfran May 6, 2013, 4:21 pm

    While working in Yellowstone one summer in college, I met a dude. We liked each other. And were together the rest of that summer and for two years after that.

    His ex-girlfriend, someone who had broken his heart and one of the reasons he spent a summer in Yellowstone – came to visit and basically told me, to my face, she was there to get him back. He knew it. I knew it. We all knew it. He went out of his way to make sure I was his number one priority and to make sure I knew he was choosing me.

    So, yeah, this has happened to me. And you know what we all thought of the person confessing her feelings? It was kind of like WTF? Why bother? If you want to be with someone, you will. Or, if someone wants to be with you, or or she will. Confessions like these are very third grade, IMO.

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  • Lindsay

    Lindsay May 6, 2013, 5:26 pm

    I’m glad the LW is happy, but I’m a little skeptical just because all of this happened so recently. This is the kind of thing that can play out very different weeks or months later. I’m also confused as to whether the dude actually confessed feelings for her or just told her about the breakup, which changes the situation a lot, I think.

    Regardless, I liked Wendy’s advice. Putting a lot of energy into making your boyfriend a priority over your friend who has feelings for you is a good thing, but not being in a situation where you have to try that hard is probably better.

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    • avatar

      Matcha May 6, 2013, 9:55 pm

      What I got from it: Her new boyfriend thought that Sam had a crush on her. Sam broke up with his girlfriend but there was no explicit confession.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay May 6, 2013, 10:35 pm

        Ah, OK, that makes sense.

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  • avatar

    Caris May 6, 2013, 6:03 pm

    Cool!

    I still think it’s disrespectful to go and confess your feelings to someone in a rs. (yes i know, she didn’t). Specially if you are supposedly friends with one or both of them. It just means, imo, that you don’t respect either one of them and their rs.

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  • sobriquet

    Sobriquet May 6, 2013, 11:38 pm

    I think a confession of feelings for someone in a relationship can be done in a respectful way, but more often than not it isn’t. You can do it respectfully by confessing feelings with the intention of distancing yourself (completely) if your feelings are not reciprocated. I see nothing terribly wrong with that scenario. You confess your feelings, either start a relationship with the person or move on.

    Because let’s face it… there is no in between state. You’re not 100% over someone if- when they simply inform you about their recent breakup, you contemplate what it would be like to date him. It sounds like the LW is in the process of moving on from her crush, but it’s disrespectful to her current relationship to hang out with him on a regular basis.

    And I say all of this having been in her position with one of my best friends since middle school.

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    • courtney89

      Courtney May 7, 2013, 11:05 am

      “And I say all of this having been in her position with one of my best friends since middle school.”
      Ugh, me too. Only my feelings for him didn’t happen until a few years ago. He is a great guy and just someone i click with. I let it go though because he only dates asian women (Seriously, throughout high school up til now and we are 23) and as a little white, freckled redhead I am 100% not his type. So meh. We are friends and nothing has ever happened between us. If he maybe didn’t have such a type, would I confess? Hmmm.. probably. Doesn’t mean anything would happen, and I would not do anything with him until he was single but confessing, casually, like “hey you know I feel like we just click, and there is something there”.. meh. Then he can either shut it down or say why didn’t you tell me when I was single haha. Aiyaya.

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      • avatar

        BellatheFrog May 7, 2013, 3:12 pm

        I would say that you should confess. You might not be his “type” but your connection can over-ride that. My boyfriend of three years is a redhead (not my type), but our friendship grew into something else. BTW, I now think he is the most attractive guy ever. 🙂

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  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser May 7, 2013, 6:55 pm

    Wonderful news! But I have to say that I disagree that it’s wrong to pursue someone who is dating someone else. Until a person is married (or engaged), he is fair game. Dating is a test to see if you want to make a permanent commitment to someone. If his relationship is serious, he has the right to say no thank you. But you have the right to ask. Anyway, I’m glad you’ve found someone you’re happy with.

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