“Should I Confess My Feelings Even Though He Has a Girlfriend?”

Over the summer, I started chatting with one of my future grad school classmates. We realized that, come fall semester, we would be neighbors (same apartment building across the hall) and then when school started, I found out that he is in all my classes. We’ve hung out a ton since – one on one and in groups. We tease each other a lot, and he’s a very thoughtful guy (always asks if I need anything from the grocery store, puts together my furniture, helps me with homework when I need it). I developed a crush on him right away, and it’s gotten to the point where I have strong feelings for him.

The bummer is he has a girlfriend who lives in another city (about 4 hours away). As the semester has gone on, I’ve wondered if he might be feeling the same way. A few girlfriends who know I like him (and have hung out with both of us) think it’s pretty clear he has some feelings for me, and a few people on campus have asked if I’m his girlfriend. We’ve joked about dating before, but there is equal probability he’s just joking or he means something more. I’ve tried dating other guys, but I’m secretly hopeful he has feelings for me.

I’m not sure if he would end things with his girlfriend based on the strength of our friendship, but I wonder if he would if I told him how I felt. I was thinking I might tell him before the holiday break starts, and we won’t see each other for a month and a half. Either he’ll feel the same way, not be sure or he won’t reciprocate at all. And if it is either of the latter two, the break will be a good time for him to think about what he wants or for me to get some distance. I figure if he isn’t interested, it’ll suck, but at least I can move on. And I think (I hope) our friendship will only be awkward if I make it awkward – although, maybe I’m being naive and it will change a lot (maybe his girlfriend won’t want me to hang out with him anymore, maybe he’ll feel too awkward, etc.). But the upside would be so great!

Is it a terrible idea? When I like someone, I tend to read all his behavior with the slant that he likes me. So maybe the fact that he has a girlfriend and hasn’t ended things is reason enough that he’s not interested.

I feel like you’re going to give me tough love which is good because I think I am seeing this situation too hopefully. — Ready to Tell

No tough love. The guy has given you enough signals that your feelings may be reciprocated that you two getting together isn’t some far-fetched idea. You’ve given this a lot of thought, weighed the consequences of confessing your feelings, and seem — rightfully so — to think the potential benefits of being honest outweigh the potential drawbacks. I say go for it! Just make sure you’re OK with possibly losing this guy as a friend (which would probably happen anyway if you continue harboring unexpressed feelings for him) and for things to be a little awkward until this blows over.


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


  1. Hmm. I don´t agree with Wendy on this one.
    I think if the guy liked you back (and thought you might like him) he would not be with his GF anymore. At least if he had any intentions of dating you.
    It could be that he doesn´t like like you, and is just a decent guy. Or it could be that he DOES like you, but doesn´t want things to be awkward if things go badly, since you´re neighbours, and classmates.
    If I were you I´d up the flirting a little, and see where things go from there.

    1. I don’t think it’s right to flirt with a guy knowing he has a girlfriend… I dunno that just seems wrong to me. It’s one thing to be up front and honest about your feelings, but to just “up the flirting” seems underhanded and manipulative to me….

      1. I have to agree. He’s taken, flirting with him is not appropriate.

      2. I just meant it as a way she could let the guy know she was interested (in case he does like her but is playing safe by staying with the GF), without having to come out and say it.
        Personally I think it´s a crappy situation, and LW should back off. But since she asked if she should say something, I said what I think would be a better option (and one that wont leave her feeling so bad if he isn´t interested).

      3. Yeah, I know you weren’t suggesting that she try to “steal” him or anything. I just think this isn’t the type of situation to be putting out feelers or playing any sort of games. She either needs to keep her mouth shut and move on, or be up front and honest about how she feels and leave the ball in his court.

      4. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with flirting either. If he doesn’t like her that way and is still in love with his girlfriend then he won’t reciprocate. If he does reciprocate then I would go ahead and tell your feelings. But don’t become a side piece!

    2. I disagree with this. There are a lot of people who stay in relationships just because they are comfortable. He may be putting out feelers there for the LW but won’t dump the girlfriend until he knows he has someone else. It’s not that he dislikes the girlfriend, it’s that he likes someone else right now. And a lot of guys are of the mentality that if a relationship is easy may as well stay in it.

      I’ve had a guy friend who liked me, told me, and when I said no continued to stay with his girlfriend (they are still together). And I’m pretty sure one of my boyfriends a couple years ago did this to me. Dick-ish and cowardly move for sure. But I think he likes the LW.

      1. GatorGirl says:

        “There are a lot of people who stay in relationships just because they are comfortable.”


    3. I understand what you mean, JK. You’re not advocating cheating or anything terribly inappropriate, but just changing her behavior a bit to get a better gauge of whether or not he’s interested before spilling the beans.

      I’m with Wendy, though. I think she should go for it! And right before break is a good time. I’m assuming he’ll see the girlfriend. Maybe he can break up with her in person, or if that’s not his first thought, have time to re-evaluate the relationship.

      1. Thank you Cats! I didn´t think my suggestion was that bad, and I would definitely test the waters before going full out confessing. But that´s just me apparently. 🙂

    4. I rebuttal your statement. This is because he might actually like her but he doesn’t know that she likes him so it makes no sense to leave a relationship for a girl you don’t even know likes you. So I agree with Wendy that you should tell him.

  2. LW, you might be the stand in girlfriend here. I have seen this happen ALOT. So when someone is in a long distance relationship, they miss that day to day interaction. So they replace it with someone they like as a friend but are not attracted to. He likes his girlfriend enough to try and make long distance work and he has been away from her for a whole semester.

    If it was me, I would feel compelled to go for it because I believe you regret the things you don’t do far more than the ones you do. However, I would be prepared to get a no.

    1. This seems like the grad school equivalent of a work spouse situation. Still, she might as well go for it, as long as she’s prepared herself for him not to be interested and for the friendship to cool. If he’s interested, great; if he’s not, she needs to move on anyway.

      1. That is exactly it! I have had several work husbands over the years.

    2. Thank you for this post. I’ve had subconscious tendencies toward doing this and you’ve made me more self-aware.

      1. This happens all the time. People just want to feel connected. I don’t think it is a bad thing unless you are just using a person who is in love with you because you are lonely.

  3. I don’t know, he might like you, or he might not. But, really stop and think about the consequences if you do tell him and he doesn’t like you as more than a friend. More than likely it will be really awkward for awhile and his girlfriend probably won’t be comfortable being around you. He might decide he can’t be friends with you any more. I’m not sure that staying friends while pining for him is very good for either of you though. If you decide to not act on it I would probably suggest scaling the friendship back and expanding your current friend circle. I would also suggest trying to date other people.

    And if you do decide to tell him, be prepared for the response to be very negative. And not just from him there is the potential for the group you hang out with together to become awkward too. I think you just need to be really prepared for that and the idea that the friendship might be more than awkward, it might be over.

    1. and i meant to say his girlfriend won’t be comfortable with him being around you. although i doubt it they stay together you’ll be her favorite person either.

  4. lets_be_honest says:

    Why is it that just because someone of the opposite sex is a friend to you, there must be feelings there?
    I find it tasteless to confess your feelings for someone who is in a relationship.

    1. Yes. You basically said what I was trying to below, much more succinctly.

    2. I fully think men and women can be and often are very good friends. But I also think there is no harm in being honest about things.
      If she tells him and he doesn’t want anything more than friends, maybe it will compel him to think about how he is acting while his GF is away. Or maybe it will make him realise he wants to be single for bit. Or maybe in the telling she will see another side of him that she doesnt like (like suggesting they have an affair). I think if she has the guts to tell him, why not? As long as her expectations are hella low.

      1. Guy Friday says:

        If she tells him and he doesn’t want anything more than friends, maybe it will compel him to think about how he is acting while his GF is away

        Maybe you didn’t intend it this way, but that comes across like you suggesting that what he’s doing is inappropriate or should be reconsidered. If this was a male friend and not a female friend — and while we (and I include myself in this) are assuming the LW is female, there’s nothing in the letter that clearly states as such — would any of these things this guy’s done been cause to believe he had romantic interests? I mean, he helps the LW with homework, he asks the LW if she needs anything from the grocery store when he goes . . . that’s just common courtesy. And they’re both grad students, so chances are they’ve developed the kind of tight-knit “us against the world” friendship that you see most grad students of any subfield do. Hell, I regularly helped my car-less friends get to and from the grocery store or pick up furniture or whatever when I was in law school, and it didn’t mean I wanted to jump their bones.

        The truth is that if I was in a long-distance relationship with a girl and another guy “confessed his feelings” to her, I’d probably be VERY uncomfortable with my girlfriend hanging out with him. And it’s not because I don’t trust her; it’s that I wouldn’t trust him not to be a dick and try to take advantage of her. And, honestly, I think that’s exactly how this guy’s girlfriend would feel if this LW opens up like this. LW, I know it’s going to suck, but hold off on the feelings-confessing for a bit. If he breaks up with his girlfriend, go for it. But are you really ready to risk losing not just this friend, but all of your mutual friends over this? Because, honestly, I think it’s going to come across as making a play on a taken guy, and that’s not something a lot of people take lightly.

      2. I know what you are saying about his actions, but to be honest, I slept with two guys who were my study buddies/tutors and both happened to be in the hardest classes I took in college. Those intense environments + young bodies + hormones = a mess. And if she thinks there is a real shot here, then there have to have been a few moments and lines crossed. So I assume that he will start to question every interaction they have had if he wants to stay in his current relationship. The times they both leaned over the same book, that time he gave her a shoulder rub, that time he crashed on her couch when studying late, you get my point. They might all be innocent in his eyes but he will no doubt, question them.

      3. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        You see what you want to see. She even says she tends to see things guys she likes in a slanted viewpoint. It doesn’t mean it’s actually there.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        And the whole ‘everyone asks if we’re a couple’ thing? Quite immature.

      5. GatorGirl says:

        I don’t know if it’s immature. If they really are carrying on in a way that other people are wondering if they are dating then I can understand why it would be mentioned. I know this guy and girl who carried on to the point that everyone was asking if they were dating…but both of them were too scared of rejection to say anything. Once they got over being scared they dated for 3 years.

        I also figured out my now ex boyfriend was cheating on me while abroad because of other people wondering if he was dating the girl based on the way they were interacting.

      6. i think what LBH meant was that its immature to list “people think we are a couple” as a reason why he has feelings for her.

      7. GatorGirl says:

        I can see both sides of it, but I do think that there is something to people asking if they are a couple. Either there is something going on between them or one of them (or both of them) is acting inappropriate. Either way I think it needs to get cleared up.

      8. i agree. its probably torturous for the LW, which is why i think she needs to tell him and just kind of jolt herself out of the fantasy world she is likely creating in her head, and go back to reality where she can know for sure what his feelings are..

      9. It sounds like the Bonnie Rait song, “Lets give them something to talk about.”

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        Idk, the last time I heard that phrase I was in 8th grade I think.

      11. Guy Friday says:

        If they really are carrying on in a way that other people are wondering if they are dating then I can understand why it would be mentioned.

        Let’s be fair here: it’s mentioned because in society today NOBODY believes that a male would do nice things for a female (or vice versa) unless there is an ulterior motive. Ever. EVER. So when a guy is considerate or sweet or helpful, people are going to ask “What’s really going on between you two?” That doesn’t mean that what either of them are doing is inappropriate, and it doesn’t mean that she’s not immature when she doesn’t recognize it as gossipy speculation based on a flawed premise. In fact, she concedes this very point when she comments that she sees EVERYTHING through the slant of “He must want me!” So where others might say “Wow, you’re so nice to her; I hope whomever dates her is that nice!” she hears “OMG you guys are perfect for each other! Where’s the wedding!”

        Questioning his actions based on her delusions and misinterpretations is unfair, especially when she’s openly admitting that they’re very likely delusions and misinterpretations.

      12. This.

      13. to quote Chris Rock- “Good morning- you want some dick? Let me get that door for you… you want some dick?”


        but seriously, its true. and annoying.

      14. GatorGirl says:

        I respectfully disagree. There is an abundance of people who do nice things for others (male or female) with no ulterior motive. I do nive things for people all the time with out concern for their gender and I have pleanty of male friends who do nice things for me. For example my guy friend has picked up my CSA share and brought it over to my apartment twice in the past month because I haven’t been able to make the time slot. Do I think that means he wants to date and/or sleep with me? Hell no. I think he just enjoys fresh veggies as much as I do and is helping a friend (a female friend) out.

        The LW might be seeing the world through rose colored glasses but there are lots of people who disprove your first statement.

      15. he didnt say that people cant have relationships without ulterior motives, he said that society in general doesnt see those relationships as valid. society in general sees them as pre-relationships (oh, you two look so cute together, whens the wedding? were just friends… sure.).. its true, and its annoying. men cant be friends with a woman without wanting sex (a la Chris Rock), ect. the stereotypes are out there..

      16. Guy Friday says:

        Katie took the words right out of my mouth. I fully believe men can do nice things for women without wanting to sex them up; I tend to be one such guy. But the general societal viewpoint is the opposite of that.

        Using your analogy, there are plenty of people who’d view a “personal drop off” as a sign that something was going on between you and your friend. How would you react if someone else — your significant other, maybe — saw your friend dropping off your CSA share and blew a gasket and accused you of having something going on with him? You’d be pissed that they’d jump to that conclusion. Well, how is what this guy is doing any different than what your male friend is doing for you? After all, he is “carrying on in a way that other people are wondering if they’re dating.”

      17. Conversely, people tend to think me and any male friend I go get coffee or dinner to catch up with are dating. People automatically lump ‘guy and girl spending time together’ as ‘must be dating.’

      18. True, but also, he could be extra affectionate friend just because he is lonely.

      19. This ties in with what I was going to say. I wouldn’t like it one bit if some woman made a play for my BF. I think the guy is just being nice. But if he does anything more with the LW while he has a girlfriend, he’s a dick and does she want to be with a dick? Remember LW, how he treats his girlfriend is how he would treat you if you were together. Put him in the friend zone for now. If, as Guy Friday says, he breaks up with his GF, then make a move if you’re still interested. Until then, leave him alone.

      20. i agree.

        i think that thinking his actions “mean” anything other then the fact that he is a nice person and a good friend is a very immature thing that women (and perhaps men, although i cant say ive ever seen it) do.

        i mean i literally wrote this shit in my diary when i was young… OMG he looked at me today- we are going to get married for sure! OMG he helped me with my homework- we are soulmates! ect.

        there is nothing wrong with either of them- there is nothing wrong with developing feelings for a friend, and there is nothing wrong with being a good helpful friend to someone of the opposite sex. what i do think is wrong is for this LW to assume that his actions “mean” something, and then to let this situation get out of control in her head. the actions dont mean anything. its very rare that actions ever “mean” anything other then the absolute meaning of the action.

      21. I was in an LDR for almost 6 years. If you can’t trust your SO in the relationship, and worry about OTHERS coming in and influencing your SO, that they can be so easily influenced and “taken advantage of,” then you shouldn’t be in an LDR. There are always temptations – innocent and not so – and it isn’t other people in the world’s responsibility to be respectful of your relationship.

        A woman says she has feelings for him, he can respond in an appropriate, respectful manner without all the drama that seems to be implied. The only drama would come from the LW escalating into stalking or crying or something – which doesn’t seem the case – heck she’s trying to time it so that there are 6 weeks of no see time so she can deal with the letdown!

      22. WMMcG said!!

      23. WOO! The WMMcG said is so nice and affirming… Yeah positivity… thank you 🙂

      24. I agree. I think just telling him isn’t crossing any boundaries.

      25. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        Love this comment.

      26. Exactly.

      27. You said what I mean, but more betterly 🙂

      28. The thing is that they haven’t known each other for very long and he’s doing those things. It’s not that they are not friendly things to do but I just think it’s a bit much for a new friendship that is honestly just a friendship

      29. lets_be_honest says:

        When I moved into an apartment a few years ago, the woman who lived downstairs from me was pretty old. Any time I would go to the grocery store I’d ask if she needed anything, starting from the 1st week I moved in. When I was in college, the first week I’d always try to make friends to study with.

      30. She’s not crazy to think he may have feelings for her. And no, I don’t think the old woman thought you had feelings for her. Look just because it happened with you one way doesn’t mean its; going to happen for the LW and this guy that way. He could very well be nice and helpful and see her as a friend or he could be nice and helpful and have feelings for her.

    3. It’s funny, I was just having this argument with someone the other day. This guy thought that a guy and a girl cannot be just friends unless one of them is either gay or in a very committed relationship. I completely disagree. I’ve been friends with lots of guys in my life that I’ve had no interest in being with romantically. Some women just relate better to guys than to other women.

      1. Yeah, but according to “When Harry Met Sally”, those guys still wanted to bone you. 🙂

      2. Anna, i tend to relate better to women than guys, and I always had more female friends than male. It was a source of some suspicion when my wife and I became exclusive. Regarding the “When Harry Met Sally” principle, Wendy recently posted a link to a study that suggested that same thing – that men and women cannot REALLY be friends because sex is always lurking there. That’s half true. Did I/do I feel lust for many, perhaps all the women I encounter in the world? well, i am unfortunately male in that regard. But I only acted on these feelings or let the wmoen know if i was prepared to have a real relationship (ie – virtually never). Instead, I acted like a friend, enjoyed their friendship, and that’s all. And consequently, i think this counts as real friendship, because my words and actions were honourable, appropriate and friendly. Because let’s face it, if men (and women I suppose) acted out on every lustful feeling they ever had, we’d all be in jail. (Probably a very sexy jail-type scenario, now that I think about it.)

      3. In all my conversations with men around this topic, the truth that has bubbled to the surface is that a man is totally capable of having a strictly platonic relationship with a woman – but that at one point or another, he did think of boning her. NOT had a crush, NOT been interested in actually boning her, NOT even necessarily been *attracted* to her…but from all I’ve been able to gather, it’s quite normal for the “Would I bone her?” question to pass through a guy’s mind no matter who the woman is or what their relationship is or whether he has any feelings for her.

  5. I agree with Wendy, especially after I realized them both being in grad school meant they were not teens, but had the life experiences of getting through college and getting degrees.

    This is not an uncommon dilemma. How does one approach a guy in this situation? Do you say something like, “Sometimes I wish you didn’t have a girlfriend”?

    Any thoughts? Suggestions?

    (j2 getting out paper and pen to take notes!)

    1. If it was me, I would make a flirty comment like you said and see if he bites. If you sit him down and have a serious conversation, then I think it is harder to bounce back. If you make a comment like, “I wish a got to you before your girlfriend did,” with a smile and he goes, “you were just a day late.” then you know he isn’t interested and you both move on. If he says, “oh really?” and you follow up, “well you are nice, make me laugh, and are hot, what is there not to like.” then it can become a real conversation from there.

    2. Avatar photo theattack says:

      I personally hate the “I wish you didn’t have a girlfriend” approach. A handful of people have said that to me before (except boyfriend, not girlfriend), and it’s made me furious every single time. Maybe it’s just me, but I would not say that. I guess just read through all these comments, because people have very differing opinions about it.

      1. But if a guy sat you down and said,” I like you and want a relationship with you.” and you didn’t like him, do you think a friendship could survive it? I argue that that noone could remain friends after that kind of rejection.

      2. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I agree with you. But there’s always a risk involved when you confess your feelings to someone. You have to weigh it out. Btw, I don’t think it’s appropriate to pursue someone in a relationship anyway. That’s what makes me mad about it.

      3. oh, I thought it was the approach that made you mad. I guess I think giving someone another option doesn’t seem bad to me. There are alot of bad, unhappy relationships out there.

      4. theattack says:

        Well the approach makes me mad too, because it assumes that if I didn’t have a boyfriend/fiance, I would be dating/sleeping with them. It’s almost always guys that I wouldn’t be dating or sleeping with in any scenario that say that.

  6. Er. I mean, I do agree with Wendy that telling him–at this point– might be a good idea. If only as a way for the LW to get over her feelings one way or another. But I have to admit, these “I secretly have an intense crush on my guy friend who’s taken” letters rub me the wrong way. And since Wendy didn’t go the tough love route, I don’t mind giving this lady some of what she expected.

    Sorry, LW. But like, really? There are no other guys in this grad school community for you to help yourself get over this one? I’ve felt those all-consuming crush feelings before, & it sucks, but when I realized my crush was inappropriate, I really, really TRIED moving on. I didn’t half-heartedly try while secretly imagining all the ways *I* was the one my crush truly wanted. To your credit, you’re aware you might be viewing things with a skewed lens, & I’m sorry if I’m kinda lumping you in with others who have written in.

    I dunno, in regard to the “signs”– I just think that most people still have this childish part of them that sees opposite-sex friends together & thinks “OoOohh, they must LIKE-like each other!!” When both parties are actually friends (you know, not harboring secret crushes), that shit actually gets annoying. Like, “NO, we’re not DATING! Geez.” So yeah, the fact that everybody assumes you’re “with” this guy probably means nothing.

    Of course, he COULD have feelings for you! People in relationships get crushes, too. But why do you want the one who’s already in a relationship? Wouldn’t it feel sort of uncomfortable if, say, this guy DOES share your feelings & he’s willing to leave his current girlfriend over a passing crush?

    Although Wendy’s saying you’ve “given this a lot of thought” like it’s a good thing, I personally just see you as being calculating. Your plan is to tell him right before he leaves for break? So, what, while he’s with his girlfriend, he’s brooding on how much he’d rather be with you or something? Look, I’ve had wicked thoughts like that, but I didn’t act on them. I feel like confessing is a pretty Not Cool move.

    BUT, but, but, if you really want to do it, make sure you’re doing it because you’ve reach a peak & need to get over that hump one way or the other. It might help you get over this guy instead of continuing the fantasy.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      “Wouldn’t it feel sort of uncomfortable if, say, this guy DOES share your feelings & he’s willing to leave his current girlfriend over a passing crush?”

      Exactly. Pretty much the last person I’d want to be with is someone who left their current SO for me. Even if he broke up before anything happened sexually, don’t you think what goes around, comes around? You really like the idea of your boyfriend setting up his next girlfriend before being done with you?
      I totally agree with everything you’re saying Fab.

      1. I disagree. There are millions and millions of people out there in blah relationships. Most of those people are involved in society, and interact with other human beings, some of whom they may click with and develop feelings for. It’s not always setting up a next girlfriend; it could just as easily be a matter of meeting someone you could really have a great relationship with and/or recognizing that your current relationship is not cutting it.

        I mean, why even date? Why not just marry the first person that comes along, if breaking up and dating someone else is such a horrible thing to do?

        Full disclosure: I met my wife in college, she broke up with her long-distance boyfriend because she had feelings for me. We were much more compatible that she was with her previous boyfriend. Nothing’s “come around” yet. The other guy found and married someone that made him much happier. I’m not seeing the problem.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        There’s a huge difference between just dating around and having an actual serious, LDR girlfriend though.
        I think its also pretty presumptuous to assume that anyone is in a “blah” relationship, so you should just help them out by placing yourself in it and removing the other person.
        I’m curious, when your wife broke up with her boyfriend, did she do it on her own, or after you told her you were into her? Do you think it even matters?

      3. We have no idea how serious this LDR girlfriend is. I certainly wouldn’t assume any LDR is by definition serious.

        LW doesn’t have any power to remove LDG from her relationship. That’s up to the guy. Like I said, I’m with sampson – if the LDR is strong then LW is no threat; if it’s weak then there’s no harm and lots of potential benefit in putting herself out there. I don’t think “I like you and I want to be with you” is quite the same as getting him drunk and taking advantage of him, or doing whatever devious and manipulative people do these days.

        As for me, my wife broke up before either either one of us said anything – it was partly that she wanted to clear the decks for me, part of it was that seeing how awesome I am gave her a kick in the butt in terms of seeing the problems in her relationship. I would guess that’s not uncommon.

      4. My husband was in a relationship when he met me and dumped her immediately. I think you are right, alot of people are simply in a relationship because it is available and the person doesn’t want to be lonely.

      5. I know a ton of people who were in relationships in the beginning of grad school, either LDR or they brought the person with them across the country to start school. Most of those relationships didn’t last very long. It can be very hard to turn a “serious college” relationship into an actual serious relationship, and a lot of people try. Who knows in what camp the LW’s friend is in.

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        Don’t you think if he’s telling the LW he’s in a relationship, that it might be a little more than just dating around? And that maybe that should be a massive flashing red sign to the LW that he’s not interested?

      7. I didn’t say anything about “dating around”. Just that a lot of people TRY to make college relationships work in grad school, and they can drag on longer than is truly necessary. Sometimes when that happens, they need a trigger to end it. For me, it was my boyfriend finally cheating on me, maybe for him it would be the possibility of a new romance. And if he IS serious and happy in his relationship than her telling him she has feelings for him won’t rock that.

      8. Trigger is a perfect word.

      9. GatorGirl says:

        Totally agree kf. My fiance and I have a story similar to yours. Everyone is MUCH happier where they are now. Some times dating relationships don’t work out. Some times you meet the next person you date before ending the previous relationship. Things like this happen. (And just to clarrify- I’m not advocating for cheating, just that some times things aren’t so cut and dry.)

    2. I just don’t see any harm in telling him, as long as she is prepared to face the consequences. So far, nothing inappropriate has happened. Yes, he COULD just be acting like a good friend and she is misinterpreting it. But why shouldn’t she be able to communicate her feelings? She has no idea what the state of his relationship is, and if they’re secure and happy, then him knowing her feelings won’t do any damage to his relationship. The only “harm” it might do is to their friendship – which LW has to consider.

    3. I think it would be hard to trust someone that I had poached from someone else while he was in a relationship. LW, he might really like you but if he has any self-respect, he will end it with his long distance girlfriend before starting to date you assuming that he likes you. You deserve to have a nice guy who will be faithful to you.

      Here’s an idea: start volunteering or join a new extra-circular activity on campus or off. You need something to distract you from this charming guy friend of yours and occupy your mind. By opening up your social circle more you will meet new people of both sexes. You’re not a bad. Also be sure to make a point to never be alone with him until your crush for him dies out of respect for his relationship. It also sounds like you might have him on some sort of a pedestal to some extent.

  7. Skyblossom says:

    I personally believe that if you respect him then you respect his relationship. You need to let it run its course and see if it falls apart on its own. He will probably see his girlfriend over the break and either their relationship will be strengthened by the contact or they will realize that it isn’t working. Even if it isn’t working that doesn’t mean they will breakup immediately. If they are serious they would probably try to make it work for a while. Think about it, if the guy breaks up with her just because they are in a long term relationship and you happen to be available then he would do the same to you if the two of you ended up in a long distance relationship. Getting a guy to dump his current girlfriend because you’re interested isn’t the way to build a long term relationship based on mutual trust. If you don’t respect him and his current relationship you’ll never respect him.

  8. I’m with Wendy, I say tell him how you feel, but be ready for things to not work in your favor.

    I had a friend in college who was in a lot of my classes, and we used to hang out every day. Everyone thought we were together. We’d hug and snuggle (but never more than that), and he’d get upset when he knew I was hanging out with other guys. I was in love with him, and I thought he was just too shy or scared to make a move. So I told him. And he shot me down. We continued to be friends for YEARS until once again, I couldn’t take being his “girlfriend”, but not being his girlfriend, so once again I told him. And he shot me down again. Somehow we remained friends, and we’re still friends to this day. He got salty once I met my husband and got serious about him, but now things are back to normal.

    I’ll never know why he didn’t want to be with me. I never got a straight answer from him… But at least once I put my feelings out there (the 2nd time) I could know for sure that I had no chance and get some sort of closure. LW, you’ll feel better once you know where you stand, and if he’s not into you, then you should really cut back on the intensity of your relationship a little… Please learn from my mistake on that one!

  9. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be with someone that would end one relationship just to jump into another one so quickly, assuming he and his LDR are serious and have been together for a while (verses a few months). I know not all dating situations are the same, and that there are some exceptions, but now that I’m older, I look for more loyalty and emotional maturity than that. That being said, it’s possible that maybe he’s in his relationship out of comfort or habit, and meeting you made him realize that there could be more for him out there. However, it’s just as likely that he is using you as a proxy gf to get all the benefits of the companionship of a relationship under the guise of friendship. Tread carefully. I’ve been in the position of realizing I was in a dead-end relationship when I met someone who seemed so much better, but that was mostly a symptom of a bad relationship. After it ended, I definitely wasn’t ready for a new one, even though I thought I was at the time.

  10. I agree! I think you should tell him. He might just be coasting along and enjoying you AND gf-in-other-state which isnt fair to anyone, you included.
    If he doesnt feel the same way, at least it will pull him up short to re-evaluate what he does in a friendship with a woman – possibly give out the wrong signals?

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      See, I just don’t get what’s so difficult about just being friends with someone of the opposite sex. If these were two girls, but one had a boyfriend, would you say she’s being totally unfair to the other friend? Of course not. Why is it assumed that she’s a “proxy gf?”
      Is it really impossible to believe this guy just thought he was a friend, seeing as how he acts just like one?

      1. I said possibly. I’m not making any assumptions, the things she describes do just sound like regular friend things. But maybe they arent? Maybe he is being like this so that no other guys can compete? I’m just throwing out ideas. I have always said men and women can be great friends and friends only, but I dont think it works if there are feelings on any part. If she is willing to discuss them with him, I think it might help both of them think about what they want in a friend/partner.

      2. It’s not impossible to think this guy just thinks of her as a friend – but she doesn’t think of him that way – so this isn’t a general situation of members of the opposite sex being friends… this is when one of them doesn’t want to be friends anymore. So why should she fake it? Why can’t she be honest – she seems to even get that it likely won’t work and so she can come clean and start fresh in the new year.

        Either that or she should just fade out, which also seems disrespectful to me.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        What’s the point of coming clean though? So she ends up with a guy who would willingly leave his current gf for the next one?
        If this guy liked her back, he would’ve (or should’ve) broken it off with his gf. He didn’t, so I’d tone it down.

      4. They are good enough friends that he’s running errands for her, spending a lot of time together, etc. so wouldn’t it be rude just to fade out for no reason and leave the guy wondering what happened? She doesn’t seem to want to remain with the status quo so why do you think it’s better to leave the LW pining in an unfulfilling friendship that is leaving her hanging/hoping and potentially preventing her from meeting others??

        What’s wrong with a “I’m developing feelings for you, and know you are in a relationship, so I’m going to give myself some space — just didn’t want you to think you’ve done anything wrong, and I hope we can be good friends again in the future” ??

      5. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        Running errands for her makes it sound like he’s going out of his way. She’s his neighbor and they’re friends. It’s nice of him to ask if she needs anything from the store if he’s already going. It’s not out of his way. It’s not inconvenient. It’s being nice.

      6. I’m friends with lots of people – I don’t go grocery shopping for them, and I sure as shit don’t help them put together furniture or move unless there’s beer and pizza involved.

        Regardless of his intentions, why can’t this LW be honest about her feelings? we get so many letters that deal with women not being truthful or honest with themselves… maybe she has built it up in her mind – but she seems to have laid out a really respectful way of figuring it out so she can check the box and move on.

      7. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        See I’d be offended if you wouldn’t help me out. I cannot put furniture together. I’ve tried and it does NOT go well. I want friends who are willing to help me out without needing something. I would offer to make them dinner or something, but it would bother me if they expected something. If I lived across from a friend, I would offer to pick up something from the store if they needed. Difference of opinion.

        If she wants to say something, fine. Would I? No. But if she wants to, whatever. I just don’t see a lot of evidence pointing to him liking her. That’s all.

      8. And I would expect a good friend to ask me to help out, and then I would be happy to… but we are talking about the actions of someone who has known the LW for what – less than 6 months? I know friendships can develop quickly but they have only been neighbors for 2 months, and I think that his actions are a little more than I would expect from someone I had known less than a year…

      9. i think you just need to remember that just because you wouldnt be a super helpful friend after 6 months doesnt mean that if someone does they automatically have feelings for the other person..

      10. Also, grad school is different than, “I just moved in the apartment next door.” People do build that intense friendship because coursework is difficult, pay is low, hours are long.

      11. lets_be_honest says:

        I didn’t suggest a fade out. I suggested toning it down. If she’s developed feelings, its on her to deal with them, either the way some are suggesting by telling him, or finding a way to tone down the feelings by spending less time together until she feels like the crush has dissolved.

      12. But in theory, he doesn’t know that he is liking “her back”. He doesn’t know she likes him. So if there is a friendly girl in his class that he likes but has no idea if she likes him more than a friend, why would he throw a relationship away over a fantasy? I think that Adam Levine is hot, I will not leave my boyfriend over that. If Adam expressed his feelings for me, it would be a real choice then.

      13. You can be friends with someone of the opposite sex – but sometimes you can also have feelings for them too. She has feelings for him. She can tell him that and he can do whatever he wants to do with that information… including cutting her off because he IS so in love with his LD girlfriend. No one is going to see about your happiness but you. If the LW is willing to risk losing him as a friend then that is a decision she will have to make and that decision will have consequences she will have to live with. This is his girlfriend – not his wife or mother of his children. There is no family involved here or vows before God and country being broken. Is the girlfriend’s happiness worth more than her own? Perhaps if the girlfriend was a friend of hers it would be. But, all things being equal, should she place a premium on someone else’s happiness over her own? There is right and wrong certainly – and flirting with or attempting to seduce the boyfriend would be wrong as MissDre said – but honestly confessing your feelings to see if he happens to feel the same? That is just life. Things happen in life – your relationship either is strong enough to weather them or it isn’t. If he is happy with his girlfriend then there is no issue other than the LW trying to rebuild a new friendship with him – if he even allows that. There are always going to be risks and rewards. If your want the big rewards then sometimes there is risk associated with that. I say go for it LW – as long as you are okay with the consequences.

      14. lets_be_honest says:

        I can’t deny any of the things you are saying, but that still doesn’t make it cool in my book. I think some people live life putting others first and some put themselves first. I’m not going to say what I think is right or wrong. (Well, I guess I am, lol, for me at least)
        However, I still feel like if he liked her, he’d have dumped the LDG already.

      15. Here is why it is hard. SO they like each other, have a good time, make each other laugh. All great things. All that is missing is sex. So many friendships look at each other going, “you’re great, why wouldn’t we sleep together if everything is so great. ” Some relationships break up because they are physically bad but honestly, most break up because they are emotionally bad. That is why staying friends after a break up never works.

  11. Tell him. putting your furniture together, grocery shopping etc.. sounds more than friendship to me. I had a guy friend who was very much like that – turns out he had feelings for me. So go for it and if it doesn’t work out well you can make other friends out there.

    1. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

      I disagree. It seems like someone being nice. Grad school is crazy, but it’s made a lot easier if people in your program support each other and help each other out. Going grocery shopping to get one item is really annoying, especially if your neighbor is already going and offers to grab what you need. I can’t put my furniture together. Getting help from someone means they like me as a person and know I’m incompetent to put it together and are willing to assist me, not necessarily that they like me. And helping with homework…THAT’s a sign of liking someone? If so, I’ve definitely given people the wrong signs. I might take these things more seriously if they didn’t live across the way from each other, but the proximity just makes me feel like it’s a matter of convenience and not signs that he necessarily likes her.

      1. Skyblossom says:

        I helped two guys in my grad program with their homework and their was no romantic interest between us. They were both happily married and I was engaged but we helped each other because that is the type of people we were. Nice people help their friends, both male friends and female friends. That’s what friends do. I’d call someone that I know but don’t help from time to time an acquaintance.

      2. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        Exactly! I’m in an MFA program for Creative Nonfiction. Next semester I’m taking a fiction workshop. I’ve never really written fiction. I’m nervous. I talked to one of the guys focusing in fiction and he offered to read some rough drafts and give me feedback before I hand my story out to class. He has a girlfriend. I have a boyfriend. There are no feelings there.

      3. I didn’t mean the homework on its own. I meant everything taken together. I think she should tell him because this friendship isn’t going to work out anyways with one party having feelings for another

      4. If I was his gf and I found out he was doing those things for another girl I would be uncomfortable with it – even if they said they were just friends. That’s why I believe they mean something more. I don’t think his actions are all that innocent and I think there’s a possibility that he may reciprocate her feelings.

      5. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        Well there’s a possibility for anything, but I just don’t think the examples laid out here, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE THEY LIVE SO CLOSE TO EACH OTHER mean too much.

      6. THANK YOU FOR PUTTING IT IN CAPS. I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THEY LIVED NEAR EACH OTHER UNTIL YOU DID THAT. Seriously, I realize they live close together but I still think that he may have feelings for her too.

      7. Skyblossom says:

        Many people feel good about themselves when they help other people. It makes them feel valuable and needed and kind. Helping others establishes self-worth and a positive attitude. It builds friendships and provides companionship at the same time. If helping others was usually or mostly a way to build romantic relationships then no one would receive much help from others.

      8. But he lives across the damn hall. It’s pretty much common courtesy to be like “Oh, running to the store now– need anything?” And if this guy is anything like MY boyfriend, he would feel like a douche not helping out a friend who needed a hand with furniture. Men are called on all the time for that sort of thing…I don’t think it necessarily means he’s giving her special attention.

      9. See, my husband *is* the type of guy that did these things for everyone of both genders before and after we met. He drove his girl friends to the grocery store because they didn’t have a car after we started dating. He helped one of his friends pack up her whole apartment because her parents bailed. He does the same thing for his guy friends too. If one of his friends interpreted this as him “liking” her, I’d have to laugh because they clearly have no clue what kind of guy he is. The LW just met this guy this fall, she has no clue if this is just how he is.

      10. I love that mandalee.

        My sis’s boyfriend helps me out when I need it. He’s a nice guy. Nobody has ever interpreted it as anything different. I certainly haven’t.

        Also, he is involved in this organization full of women and has a lot of female friends from that. There is a conference in a little over a month and he’s sharing a room with a female friend. Of course, he asked my sis first. And of course, she was ok with it. Because she just knows that he is a friendly guy.

        I absolutely love that my sis and her boyfriend are comfortable like that and don’t worry. I hope one day when I find mr. right, we’re similar. I couldn’t imagine living in a world where I’m always concerned about others actions. Ick.

      11. preach.

        and if these actions really *meant* what everyone seems to think, ive had multiple, multiple affairs in the past… and dont even get me started on the super affair that was friday nights with zach, getting drunk and giving each other backrubs…. what a jezebel i am.

      12. I never said they were having an affair! I said that his actions indicate that he may have feelings for her and while it’s not a definite they show that he thinks about her needs/wants. There’s a possibility that he’s just being friendly but I don’t think she’s deluded in thinking there may be something more there…

      13. Both points of view are valid. The whole thing is she doesn’t know if he has feelings for her or not. Maybe she read him correctly – maybe she read him completely wrong. We certainly can’t tell. She will know if she tells him. She will either look the fool or they may decide to start a romance. We only get to know in the update…

  12. in the big picture, you confessing your feelings like a romcom isnt going to play out like a romcom. like, its not going to be some dramatic scene where he realizes he is in love with you, ditches his bride, and you two run away into the sunset. so if that is what you are imagining (or any variation of that), stop.

    the reality is that itll probably be a messy blip on the radar. i think its a fairly common occurrence for people to be asked out, whether or not they are in a relationship. you could argue that because you *know* he is in a relationship its a little shady to do, but if his relationship is anything that he takes seriously, he is going to graciously decline, and your friendship will either fade out or be over in that second (potentially messy). if he does like you, he will either have to break up with his girlfriend “for you” (messy) or he will start cheating on his girlfriend with you (also messy).

    you know, you do also have the option of ending the friendship, with or without telling him why… and that is what i would tell you to do. he is off the market- you know this. hanging out with him and developing these feelings was not a good idea, although you couldnt 100% control that, and its not healthy for you. so honestly, i think you should tell him, “i am developing feelings for you. we cannot be friends anymore because this is unhealthy for my mental well being. i do not want to break up an (apparently) happy relationship. im sorry, i dont want to be doing this, but it is best for everyone”. i would do this so that way, he knows what you think, he can do what he wants with that information, and you dont put any pressure on him to “choose” between you and his girlfriend. but, im sorry to say, my guess (if he is the nice person you think he is) is that he will laugh with his girlfriend over his friend who he cant hang out with anymore because she fell in love with him because hes just *so awesome*.

    1. Avatar photo theattack says:

      THIS!!! WKS! I was wondering why no one had suggested that yet.

      I’ve had guys say things like “I wish you didn’t have a boyfriend/fiance” before, and it does NOT go over well. It makes me feel like they disrespect me and the lines I’ve drawn for them, and it assumes that if I didn’t have a boyfriend/fiance, they would get to date me/sleep with me. And it feels so arrogant when someone confesses that they like you, half expecting you to rearrange your life because of it. The most someone can do is to rearrange their own life choices in response to reality; they can’t ask anyone else to make them happy.

      The LW needs some space to get over this guy, so being upfront about that will be a much cleaner break for her. Plus it gives a very clear message to the guy that if he wants her in his life, he knows what to do. It’s also the only respectful thing to do, IMO.

      This is what my fiance did when I was dating another guy. It made me realize that I couldn’t imagine my life without him, and the thought of him exiting my life because I was dating someone else I barely liked made me sick. Sometimes it does just take a little push for someone to realize, but this is the only respectful way to do that.

      Sorry my thoughts are all over the place. You’re definitely right though, katie!

  13. EricaSwagger says:

    Leave it.

    Men aren’t just these helpless little creatures running around waiting for women to tell them what to do. If he likes you enough and wants to ask you out and break up with his long distance girlfriend, HE WILL. He doesn’t need your permission. Your confession of feelings for him won’t spring him into action. If he hasn’t done anything yet, it’s because he doesn’t want to.

    I’m 100% sure he already knows you like him. And as LBH mentioned above, it’s pretty rude to try and ruin someone’s relationship for your own benefit. Trust me, if he wanted you more than he wanted his GF, he’d let you know.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Such a good point about if he had feelings for you, and was a decent person, he would’ve left the gf already and been with you. Don’t we always say on here if he wants to be with you, he will find a way?

    2. I was trying to figure out how I feel about this letter. And I’m leaning towards this and what LBH said.

      I think if this dude wanted to be with the LW, he would. I also think that, as others have said, he likes the attention and is using the friendship to fill certain needs since his girlfriend doesn’t live close.

      I would really like to read what a guy has to say about this.

      1. It could go either way; we don’t know enough about the depth of the LDR relationship. It might be that the guy is in a great relationship and is (very understandably) filling certain needs with the LW, it could be that he is staying with his girlfriend out of some sense of obligation and would be much more compatible with LW. I’m with Iwannatalktosampson below – marriage is marriage, dating is dating and there’s nothing wrong with letting a non-married person know how you feel.

        My advice would be that LW doesn’t want to be in limbo forever, she should dial down this friendship, and tell the guy why she can’t hang out with him as much. He can take it from there (or not).

      2. I agree. It could. I totally see and understand iwtts’s post below. Heck, I even liked it. And I wast the first like.

        I honestly don’t know what I would do in this situation. Personally, I would lean towards do nothing. But I’m also not one to put my feelings out there. I would let things progress naturally and think if this dude and miss ldr really weren’t meant to be, they won’t.

      3. See what I mean. I’m too wishy washy on this letter.

    3. You are right, but every romantic comedy ever written would tell you that you are wrong 🙂

    4. I love this so much a “WESS” just isn’t enough. I know a few people who confessed their feelings to friends in relationships and it ended badly for all of them. And by that I mean that their friendships ended because no one worthwhile is going to suddenly dump their significant other and jump into a new relationship. This happens in movies, but it’s not real. LW, please respect this guy and his relationship and MOA.

    5. I agree. I think men are typically not really the type to waffle around when they’re deciding to leave a relationship or not. If he wanted to leave his girlfriend, he would have, period. I think we have too many romance comedy movies where we are brainwashed to think “if he/she just knew how I felt, suddenly their current relationship wouldn’t mean anything and cue happy ending for me”.

      I’m also sure the LW isn’t being very discreet with her feelings, if mutual friends know how she feels about it. I can’t imagine a scenario where a group of close knit people in graduate school hang out/study/go to class/party together, and somehow someone hasn’t slipped this information to him or that her feelings aren’t so transparent he already knows?

      Also, I would never trust most friends to be a true barometer of how a guy feels about you unless they are known for being blunt and truthful. I can’t count the number of times my friends encouraged an unrequited crush in college and high school by saying things like “he opened the door for you, he totally likes you”.

      1. i so agree, and for some people that encouragement goes on much longer than their early 20s. some girls over analyze every little thing and as long as they have one person saying oh yeah that totally means he likes you, they won’t let go of it.

      2. I have to disagree – I have an ex that most definitely waffled because he didn’t want to be the bad guy… ended up staying way to long to the point where we were fighting terribly and in the end he justified cheating on me because I would “always be able to convince him to stay”. Ugh. What a jackass…

        my point being is that there is plenty of info out there about men not wanting to be the bad guy and doing things that make the girlfriend act and be the breaker-upper… not the coolest behavior but not the most abnormal either. For all we know this is an old HS sweetheart on something that he hasn’t had the balls to break up with because she’s so close to his family.

        We don’t know, but let’s not make sweeping generalizations about men being so clear with their feelings about relationships 😉

      3. I didn’t say all men, but I think most men are perfectly capable of ending a relationship as our most women without the intervention of a third party confessing their feelings. If he wanted this relationship to be over bad enough that he was crushing on the LW, he would be doing more about it at this point. I just don’t think, given the information we have, that he is anywhere near that point. The LW is doing a lot of assuming because of the feelings she has.

      4. EricaSwagger says:

        Or I mean, even if he didn’t have the balls to end the LDR, if he wasn’t feeling it anymore and WAS interested in the LW, then he may have cheated or at least confessed to her that he has feelings for her, or any number of things that would indicate he really doesn’t want to be with his GF anymore. But he hasn’t done ANYTHING to show that he likes her the way she likes him.

      5. Sorry, I guess I never realized that there has to be a threshold of interest displayed before you can be honest with your feelings – especially with a friend you’ve been getting close to. It’s not unusual for friends to develop feelings for each other. What’s bad for a friendship is dishonesty, and if this is a nice guy he can politely decline and they can get some space.

  14. Iwannatalktosampson says:

    I find it strange that considering how often you hang out with him you don’t know more about the state of his relationship.

    I am of the opinion that when you’re dating you’re dating – not married. Now if you confessed your feelings to a married guy I would think you’re a shitty person. But the purpose of dating is to see if you’re compatible for the long term. And honestly if they are going to make it the distance your confession will have no impact on their relationship. If you are a threat then they aren’t meant for each other anyway. So I say go for it – but understand there’s a huge chance you could lose him as a friend. I know you are really hopeful but I would enter the situation hoping for the best but expecting the worst.

    1. Addie Pray says:

      She probably doesn’t know more about the state of his relationship because… the relationship is not going well! Or he’s a douche, one of the two. Remember Engaged Balls? That guy I used to see on a monthly basis because we had a case together and then we started talking about non-case stuff and then we started getting coffee and talking about life and this and that and then we would get dinner and whatnot? … He NEVER talked about his girl. And when they got engaged, he still didn’t want to talk about it. I congratulated him and he actively said “I don’t want to talk about it.” Wtf? Anyhoo, I think in Engaged Balls case, his relationship was not great but he just wanted some emotional connection on the side. I eventually confessed my feelings which was great – because he stopped inviting me to dinner and whatnot. I think by confessing my feelings, it made what he was doing per se wrong. Because now he was not just meeting up with a girl, he was meeting up with a girl who liked him and he knew it. I guess he was not douchy enough to cross that line. If LW continues on like I did with her Engaged BAlls (though I take it he is not engaged, yet), it’s going to get really tough for her. And he likely falls in the middle – not douchy enough to cheat, but not confidant enough to figure out what he wants and make a change (assuming his relationship is not what he wants). …. I am so glad to be out of all that “oh does he like me? oh maybe this means he likes me?” drama. It’s exhausting.

      1. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        Funny I was actually thinking about engaged balls when I wrote my reply. He sucked.

    2. Yes, yes, yes! I completely agree… if he were married, totally different story. But they’re dating. Yeah, that’s a committed relationship, BUT to me it’s not the same thing as marriage. They’re young… trying to figure things out, the guy is in an LDR and fact of the matter is, relationships end for all sorts of reasons and it is what it is.

      I’ve seen plenty of relationships end because someone fell for a friend. It sucks, but it’s not a big deal. It’s happened to me and vice versa.

    3. I wish I could like this a thousand times – couldn’t agree more. We aren’t talking about seducing a married man… which some of the comments make it seem like.

      1. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        I just don’t know why people put so much pressure on dating! It should be fun and easy. If some girl confessing her feelings to your boyfriend ruins your relationship how do you expect to survive marriage?

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        I don’t think anyone is saying that would ruin your relationship (aside from him dumping you 🙂 if you are in a good relationship. Its just not a cool thing to do, in many people’s opinions.
        I think you really lump together dating, went on a few dates, dating for 6 months, monogamous years long committed relationship all into one term: dating. I don’t think that’s totally fair.

      3. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        I agree – we need some new words. But if anyone uses the term “pre-engaged” I’ll puke, haha.

      4. Isn’t that what all those girls on wedding bee are attempting to be – the ones in the forum where you are hoping to be engaged or whatever and already planning a wedding!?!

      5. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        See I think people that are dating and consider their commitment like marriage or pre-engaged to be extremely disrespectful. This is why I want gay people to have the right to get married. Everyone should have the choice. And then if they’re not we know they’re just dating. Just dating. Haven’t said the vows – and not because they’re not allowed to but because they’ve chosen not to.

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        I generally agree 100% that there is no such thing as almost married or the dreaded, we’re practically married! I too hate pre-engaged. You’re either: seeing many people, dating 1 exclusively and committed, or you are actually married. 3 very different things.

      7. I guess the way I would look at it is that it isn’t a cool thing to do the second time… once it has been explained to you that the feeling isn’t mutual and a request for the respect of the relationship has been made… but to bar anyone who is dating from ever hearing about other’s interest in them seems a bit much. It isn’t up to me what the status of you relationship is – and if I misread it as being more casual, the responsibility lies with the person in the relationship to say “I’m in a serious relationship” or whatever.

        If the LW wasn’t willing to risk losing the friendship I would counsel otherwise, but she says she is, so let’s built her up for wanting to be honest and respectful, not tear her down like some hussy who only chases unavailable men.

      8. do you really think she’s ready for the friendship to be over though? from reading her letter i got the feeling that she’s kind of in denial that the friendship might actually be over after she tells him. she says she’s ‘naive’ and maybe it will end, but she’s hoping it’s just awkward. that to me means she’s setting herself up for major heartbreak that she might not be prepared for by telling him.

      9. Maybe she really isn’t ready, but she’s gonna have to and learn an important lesson in the process 😉

      10. let’s just hope she deals well with the rejection if that’s what happens and doesn’t become ‘that girl’ who can’t let go. because, in the few situations i’ve seen like that, that’s what happened. and it was awful for everyone.

      11. GatorGirl says:

        You’re so right. When I was 4 years into “dating” my now fiance I felt like an idoit calling him my boyfriend. We’re adults in a committed serious relationship that just hasn’t gotten to marraige yet. There is such a myriad of stages that fall under “dating”.

        I vote pre-engaged 😉

      12. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        Why are people always in such a rush to skip the steps? It’s okay to just be dating. If you’re seriously dating then fine – this LW doesn’t change anything. Ethan and I were in the garage yesterday and Sampson got out and a neighbor drove by and said to Ethan (she couldn’t see me) “hey I think your girlfriends dog got out” – it made my day. Look at me such a studly little girlfriend. Why does everyone want to go from meeting someone to being turbo committed? I don’t get it. Enjoy the phases of life. Be more secure in your relationships. No one can ruin your relationship for you. It’s between the two of you – and if one of you falls out of love because some random girl confesses her feelings it just wasn’t meant to be. Move on. You’ll find someone who will never shake a tail feather at this LW because for them there’s only you.

      13. GatorGirl says:

        I totally agree with you that too many people rush it. I think what I said vs what I ment came across strange. There was definitely a phase of my relationship that was casual, then a more serious phase, then the living together phase – all of which we were “dating” for. The last part dating didn’t seem like the right term.

        My fiance refered to me as his wife the other day to his students at an acedemic function and it made my day.

      14. lets_be_honest says:

        I do feel silly calling my boyfriend my boyfriend. Its a juvenile term, but accurate nonetheless. I have to say I don’t like the term pre-engaged though. I wish there was a term for a serious, committed relationship of adults that aren’t married. Oh well.

      15. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Pssssssh boyfriend implies that you are newly in love and banging a lot. Enjoy that, haha.

      16. lets_be_honest says:

        Very good point!

    4. GatorGirl says:

      110% agree. If you’re dating you’re dating. You’re giving things a test run so to speak.

    5. “And honestly if they are going to make it the distance your confession will have no impact on their relationship.”


      this, is true. go for it.

    6. You can be in a committed relationship without being married.

      My BF and I have been together for several years and are 100% committed, however we are ambivalent regarding marriage.

      Our relationship is not a test run.

      Since they are in a LDR it’s impossible to know how committed they are based on their current situation, ie “just dating”, not living together, etc.

      1. I agree. You can be very committed and not married. If I am in a committed relationship, I am with that person only and I expect him to be with me. If he strayed, in my mind that’s cheating, with or without a marriage certificate.

      2. YES. THIS. Glad someone who is actually a relationship like this finally spoke up. I find all the distinctions between “married” and “just dating” really irksome. Sometimes, dating is just dating. And sometimes — certainly more often than most posters are giving credit for in these responses — there is not “just” about it. I think it’s so very presumptuous and rude to assume that the label a couple gives their relationship ought to determine whether or not someone is crossing a line in terms of respecting what a couple has going on between them. All of the “Well, if he were MARRIED that would be one thing, but this is JUST a relationship” comments are really troubling; some people get married after only a week of knowing one another, but just because they signed a fuckin’ contract, their relationship is that much more sacred and worthy or respect than, say, an engaged-to-be-engaged couple that has been together for almost a decade but aren’t married yet because they both have student loans? Bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit.

      3. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        Ummmm why would student loans stop you from getting married if you BOTH have them? Bizarro. And yeah marriage is marriage and dating is dating – get over it. The obvious exception is gay people. Which is why I support gay marriage. But other than that if you were that serious you would get married. Or if you’re together forever and ever but specifically chose not to get married then why would this LW have any effect on your relationship? Everyone needs to stop being so insecure in their relationships.

      4. I actually know plenty of people postponing marriage due to loans. Here’s an article about it if you don’t believe that this is something people are doing; there are plenty more where that came from. It was just an example I came up with. There are plenty of reasons people wait to get married and their relationships are just as valid as, say, your marriage. Your views on marriage are ignorant to me. Sorry. From where I sit, nothing screams “INSECURE!!!” like someone who needs a piece of paper to prove that they’re committed.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        While those relationships should be respected and “valid” (whatever that means??), those people STILL are not married. For whatever reason (excluding gays), they are CHOOSING to not marry. If they had the most understandable, legitimate reasons to not be married, including not believing in marriage, they STILL are not married. They may seem LIKE they are married, they may act like a married couple, they may have their finances mingled and spend every holiday together and have children together, but they are still not married. Just because someone behaves the same as a married couple, it doesn’t equate to the same things as an actual married couple. Same argument can be had for people who are “practically engaged.”

      6. From where I sit nothing screams “INSECURE!!!” like someone getting their panties in a wad because other people say a relationship is different to a marriage.

      7. Eagle Eye says:

        Eh, that’s not very nice. A relationship is different than marriage but that doesn’t necessarily make it less legitimate, as a friend was complaining to me the other day, her relationship has outlasted other friends meeting, getting married and who are now getting divorced, but somehow her relationship means less?

        I don’t know, like families, relationships come is so many different shapes, sizes and forms, can we really say that one is unequivocally more meaningful than another?

        Also, I feel like whether you’ve been together for many years and not yet (or ever) married or married, the relationship itself isn’t actually different, just how society perceives you as part of the relationship is different. But, its still the same two people existing together. That’s the part that actually matters.

      8. I guess what Copa said WAS nice?
        ANd yeah, the interactions might not necessarily be different, but legally and in society, relationships are different to marriage. And thats just the way the cookie crumbles.
        If you dont want to get married for whatever reason you can´t complain that your r/ship isn´t considered as important as a marriage.

      9. Eagle Eye says:

        I missed that part of Copa’s post, I’m sorry, so no it wasn’t nice either.

        Marriage, as an institution, has just meant so many different things over its history, I guess I just think that its nearsighted to think that the model that we have now is not only how it always was but also how it will remain indefinitely. So, yes, as we stand now, marriage means more because it carries legal and religions connotations, but I would probably bet that within the next generation or so, much of that is going to change.

      10. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        Also I find it interesting that the only people that are saying that dating can be exactly like marriage are people that are not married. It is insanely different. Yeah you might love each other the same amount but the practical consequences on your life are outrageously different.

      11. Um, WHO said that marriage is ging to be the samey way indefinitely? I find some of the arguments being forwarded by the people against marriage are so ridiculous.

      12. Eagle Eye says:

        To respond:

        First of all, I’m personally for marriage, I would love to get married myself someday, I just like to keep an open mind when it comes to other relationship formats.

        Secondly, I have two good friends who just got married, we all talk about a lot of weird personal stuff, I’ll have to ask if they feel different!

      13. Society, for good and bad has set some basics to help us all navigate through life a little better. I think marriage is one of those things that is there as a sign to others (why else do married people wear rings to ‘broadcast’ their status to others) that so and so is pledged to another. It doesn’t make the relationship less or more on individual levels, just a signal to others that I am off limits in some manner in a clear, unspoken method. Now, the signs vary by culture of course, Americans/Europeans wear rings, Hindu women have the red in their hair and a necklace etc. But, the message is to all who you encounter, I’m not available as a marriage partner–we’ve outlawed polygamy. Historically, the same cannot be said for ‘dating but not marrieds’ because technically in the eyes of society, they ARE available for lack of a better term. I mean, look at census forms–Married, never married, separated, divorced, widowed.

        I mean, society is changing and I think marriage on the whole is on the decline, but for now, I think it still is something I aspire to, and won’t settle for ‘everything but the paper’ as the paper still carries some cultural significance and can be easily obtained, grandiose wedding party aside.

      14. Eagle Eye says:

        Yes, I do agree with you, and I would like to get married to my current boyfriend some day because that, for whatever reason, is meaningful to me. I would also like to be married before having children, even if its with the same man and ostensibly with the same children, getting married before having kids also means something.

        I guess, I just like to be aware of the biases that society places on me, whether or not I choose to conform to them. I think of issues like gay marriage which is now beginning to come around (finally!) but forty years earlier would have been seen as impossible given societal constraints. So, I guess my argument is just to be aware of what marriage means now and to understand that its an evolving aspect of our society? That its meaning has never been set in stone? And to then use that open mindedness to interrogate our existing biases?

        Maybe that’s what I’m looking for?

      15. Totally, I mean its not that long since interracial marriage has been legal too. And thats just crazy. I’m all for the individuals creating their versions of what it means to them, but socially I for sure want that societal stamp. Haha, Its a rabbit hole for me to ponder all of society’s biases. Gender, race, culture, religion, geographical location, parental views, peer circle preferences, exposure to the media, access and desire to differing views, beauty standards etc. SO MUCH THINKING. But its fun to think about when work is really boring 😉

      16. Eagle Eye says:

        Hah, yeah, I’m an academic whose really interested in weird gender stuff, so I spend a lot of time thinking about my own personal societal biases so that I can approach different works with as much of an open mind as possible.

        Although sometimes I think that it makes me a little weird…

      17. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        From where I sit nothing screams immature than people complaining that WAAHHHHH my relationship is valid we’re dating it’s exactly like your marriage. Um, no, sorry it’s not. If you think it’s the same as a marriage you’re insanely naive. You did not get up in front of your family and friends and say you would be together forever and ever even when shit gets rough. When you’re dating you can walk away. IN A MARRIAGE YOU CAN’T WALK AWAY. You have to go see lawyers, divide assets, change names. Be embarrassed.

      18. Uhh. You can absolutely walk away from a marriage. People do it all the time; the divorce rate is ridiculous, and that doesn’t even account for all the unhappy marriages out there. And all these people stood up in front of their friends and family and promised to be together forever. And failed at it. It’s more of a hassle to walk away, but you can do it. There is no legal requirement to seek legal counsel for a divorce nor do you need to change names when a marriage ends.

      19. I see both sides of this coin, but isn’t it equally naive to assume that as someone who is still so young that you know as much about marriage as you seem to think you do?

        FWIW I recently learned that two states I’ve lived in growing up (CO, TX) allow common law marriages. No ceremony or vows required!! Woooo did I just throw a kink in the system to stop all the arguing???

      20. Common-law, in Canada at least, certainly carries more rights and responsibilities than dating but still not the same as being legally married – and our common-law provisions are very progressive on the whole.

        I don’t see what IWTTS’s age has to do with anything? She is not espousing the secrets to longevity in marriage. She is saying marriage is different from dating, it involves – buy it’s nature – more commitment (not fidelity – commitment) and that given the legal nature of some of those commitments you cannot just walk away from it. You have to extricate yourself from it. It isn’t a question of packing a suitcase, slamming a door and eating a pint of ice cream. You have to undo a legal contract, allocate assets, and perhaps custody. For the life of me I can’t see what the issue is in admitting that being married is a different type of relationship from dating, that it involves a different level of commitment – again commitment – not fidelity. This is just fact. Where is the social censure that some of you seem to be reading into it?

      21. FWIW I´m older than IWTTS and I happen to feel the same way. And, like Firestar has pointed out, Common Law is still not the same as actual marriage.

        And don´t take away the arguments! That´s part of what makes DW so awesome. 🙂

      22. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        And Copa you went to law school, no? Surely you understand how a marriage drastically impacts a couples relationship. I’m not saying people that are married are “more in love” (probably less so amiright?!) but you cannot deny that marriage is a serious thing and a serious relationship. The ultimate seriousness.

      23. I think that was the issue some people were having. They felt drawing the distinction between being married and being ‘just’ in a relationship was tied to the feelings of love and commitment. Marriage comes with commitments (including legal ones) that being involved…doesn’t. But that says nothing about the level of love or fidelity in a relationship. And, not for anything, if fidelity isn’t an issue for those deeply, madly, passionately involved – regardless of the stage of that involvement – then who cares if some chickee tells your boyfriend/fiance/husband she is interested. Because if he loves you and wants to be faithful to you – he won’t care and you two can giggle about it after.

        And can we all agree to never utter engaged to be engaged again? I think we had this discussion before. And we all decided we were all pre-pregnant, pre-retired and pre-dead by the end of it.

      24. Awesome.

      25. 🙂

      26. As a pre-dead, pre-pregnant, pre-married person, pre-retired female, I fully support this!

      27. Eagle Eye says:

        Yes to everything! 🙂

      28. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        Comment of the week. I am also pre-Thanksgiving drunk.

      29. Now I keep mentally adding pre- to everything. This is worse than getting a song stuck in your head! Though i note that pre-orgasmic sounds more optimistic than pre-menstrual, no matter how far either is in the future…

        Ladies, please pardon my pre-fixation on these matters.

      30. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        I am also in a permanent state of pre-hungry.

      31. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        You’re right this is fun.

      32. For me, the issue isn’t about whether or not married couples have legal rights that unmarried-but-still-committed to don’t have (because this is a FACT) or whether or not married couples are more in love or more committed (because I don’t think duration or status accurately measures either). I never said I believe that I don’t think marriage isn’t serious, or doesn’t impacts legal rights, or is a reflection on the presence of more love/greater commitment. The responses I’ve gotten assume I’m saying those things, and I’m not.

        I take issues with the idea that marriages deserve more respect from outsiders (and insinuating . IWTTS said that IF the guy LW is interested were married and she went through with her plan, then obviously LW would be a shitty person (even though she simultaneously believes that nobody owes another person’s relationship respect because that is up to the partners (unless it’s a marriage, apparently)). THAT is the idea I take issue with. Maybe marriage is a bigger deal in the eyes of the law and society, but I don’t think that means unmarried couples deserve less RESPECT from someone who is on the hunt for a new relationship. Everything about this letter boils down to respecting others. Namely, respecting your friends and their relationships (as would be the case for LW) — be they married, dating for a decade, dating for a year, dating for a month. Everything I’ve said here stems from the fact that I respect all relationships equally regardless of the paperwork involved, vows taken, or difficulty of getting back OUT of the relationship — and I think others should, too. It’s the whole, “If he’s married and you go for it, you’re AWFUL” vs. “He’s been with the same woman for a decade but hasn’t legally committed to her, so you’re just playin’ the dating game!” mentality that I find in very poor taste. Yes, the point of dating is to find someone compatible and relationships can be ended without the legal drama, but why does this mean that couples who can’t or don’t want to get married ought to be respected less? Even if it’s a choice for some not to participate in the institution of marriage despite having the option, why should they be respected less for their choices?

      33. *insinuating that posters like Amber’s are in relationships that are somehow lesser just because they’re different or not legally official.

      34. If your argument is that a marriage of 20 years should carry the same respect as a relationship of 3 days then I do not think you see the shades of gray in life. You are free to take an all or nothing approach but, I think, as with most things in life, there are degrees. Approaching someone married is asking them essentially to undo their legal contract with someone else, separate your assets, go to court, get a decree, make announcements to joint family that they must now undo their emotional bonds, bear the shame of disrupting all of those lives, asking someone who has children is asking him to walk away from a family and to now have a more restricted access to his own children – this is infinitely different than asking someone to break-up his girlfriend – and all that is implied in that – disappointing mutual friends, hurting family members’ expectations perhaps. It is not asking someone to undo a legal contract, to separate assets, to do any of those other things. And it is those other levels of additional commitment that tie into what you are really asking someone to do. For you it seems it is the same question you are asking whether you ask it of a boyfriend or you ask it of a husband or of a father – for some of us those are wildly different questions because of the implications of what you are asking.

        For me, personally, the issue isn’t in the asking – I cannot control what others do – it is in the answer. And if your three day relationship would yield the same answer as a happy 20 year marriage then wonderful! You don’t have thing to worry about… but the two certainly aren’t weighed the same from where I stand.

      35. I think the distinction is that to outsiders, someone who is married is obviously off-limits (although there can be exceptions). As you said, there are many states of “dating” and if you don’t know much about a person’s relationship you can’t make any clear assumptions.

      36. Yes, thank you! I love that there’s this line where “Oh, marriage? Can’t screw with that,” and “Oh, no ring! Free game, maybe he’ll go for me!” and in between there’s this very large continuum of commitment. An old classmate got surprise-married to an eastern european girl in Vegas. Does that make his relationship more sacred than my relationship because we’ve been dating 5 years?

  15. Addie Pray says:

    I agree with Wendy 100%. (Sorry, JK!) You really don’t have anything to lose. Your friendship is doomed because there is nothing worse than carrying on with unexpressed feelings for a friend like that; it will only become worse for you! But I think you should think long and hard about how you want to word it. You don’t want to make a move (obviously), and you don’t want it to sound like you’re encouraging him to dump the girl or that you think he’s led you on or that he crossed a line or something. Know what I mean? It should/could be something more like “Hey, pookie [no, don’t say that], I really value our friendship and feel close to you, so I don’t want you to feel awkward, but over the past couple of months I’ve developed feelings for you. When I see you I get that tingly sensation in my panties [no, don’t say that either]…” Someone help! I feel like how LW confesses her feelings is critical. But I am not helping at all.

    1. I agree with the expressing her feelings without leading him to think he has crossed a line or that she expects him to make a certain choice. Maybe tweak your statement to, Hey Dude, I really value our friendship and feel close to you, so I don’t want you to feel awkward, but over the past couple of months I’ve developed feelings for you. I’m having a hard time remaining friends and just needed to get that off my chest. I don’t know what this means for the future of our friendship but I had to say something.

      And then let him have some space. And unless it’s a made for tv movie it’s probably going to end with I need some space and the friendship will probably fizzle out or be a shell of what is was before….Just in my personal experience, having seen friends go through something similar.

  16. Nopeeeee not into this. Long distance relationships are rough enough without having to contend with deliberate temptation. Maybe this is just me, but when you’re in a heavy relationship you’re in like, girlfriend(or boyfriend)-mode and if you’re away from your partner for an extended period sometimes someone else will get caught in the crossfire of your loving feelings.

    Dude’s trying to make it work long distance (here’s a trick: if he’s still dating her, he’s still trying to make it work**) why try and complicate things but trying to snatch him away. Maybe he has feelings, and you’re the girl that’s in the same city as him so you’re catching them at the moment, but when it comes down to it he is prob actually in love with someone else at and is unconsciously (or consciously?) using you as a receptacle for his pent-up boyfriendliness.

    ** Unless he’s a spineless douche in which case, what a catch..

  17. LW, I am in grad school, and I saw this play out many times in many different ways over the first year. Tons of people came to school in long distance relationships, and many of those people are now in relationships with classmates. I came to school in a long distance relationship, and I am about to marry one of my classmates. There was a common theme among the people who ended a long distance relationship and entered a local relationship: the person in the LDR was the one to initiate the change. Always. Without fail. Sometimes the transitions were messy, sometimes the two relationships had significant space between them, but the person in the LDR was always the one to initiate it. There are so many variables here. This guy could really really want to make it work with this girlfriend, he could be considering ending the LDR but doesn’t want to date you, he could prefer not to date classmates (it’s not easy dating/marrying a classmate). If people can see that you like him, he probably has an inkling of it as well. And if he hasn’t acted on that, there is probably a reason why. You can tell him your feelings, but even if he is starting to develop feelings for you, he may not be ready to act on them. I saw so many heartbreaks, failed friendships, etc., through the messiness of first year. For what it’s worth, if he is going to end things with his girlfriend on his own initiative, there is a good chance it will occur between November and February (that was breakup season at my school).

    1. The flipside to that is that I saw many relationships that ended with grad school, because the two people had to go in different directions to pursue employment or post-doc. Either they had to give up all the plans for which they went to grad school or they had to give up the relationship, or go LDR for a while and then give up. That being said, i met my sweetie in grad school, and because the relationship was more important, we both changed our life plans to include the relationship.

      How’s that for saying a lot without giving any real advice?

  18. I agree that she has to respect the relationship, but she still needs to be honest about her feelings – either with herself, him or both. She is falling for him, and seems to realize that it will create problems and make their ability to be friends difficult for her. Why can’t she be honest and take a step back from the friendship until she’s in a better frame of mind? Would a random fade out be preferable??

    If I was the friend I would want to know why someone I thought I was close to was checking out on me – and being honest about feelings, and since he is in a relationship make the assumption that they are not reciprocated, seems like the most candid and respectful way to go about it. She’s not trying to break them up, but she can’t keep pining away while folks on campus ask if they are together. I think it will give her the space to move on – which will be good for both of them – and if the time is ever right they can be friends, or more, in the future.

  19. I’m not a fan of the idea of telling him. I have a strict rule for myself not to tell guys with girlfriends that I’m interested in them. I mean, when I find out someone is in a relationship, they kind of drop off my radar anyway and are off-limits. I mean, put yourself in his girlfriend’s shoes. Not only do you have a LDR, but then your boyfriend’s female friend is off telling him all the feelings she has for him. Honestly, I just doubt this guy is waiting for you to spill your heart. If he has feelings for you, too, then he KNOWS he’s in a relationship and that he’s the one standing in the way of you guys getting together. I just feel like if he’s not doing anything about it, then you probably have your answer.

    1. “…when I find out someone is in a relationship, they kind of drop off my radar anyway and are off-limits.” Exactly!

      I honestly don’t get how people mire themselves in such intense crush-emotions after finding out the person is already in a relationship. But I’m not really someone who believes in that whole “you can’t help your feelings” thing– I think you need to actively indulge in your feelings in order to get to this point.

      1. I’ve figured that out too–but it took long years for the light bulb to come on and for me to realize that I was stoking up all my torches by indulging in them–the initial spark might have been involuntary but I was building it up by mooning.

      2. Right!? I feel like once I know a guy is in a relationship, he becomes asexual to me or something. Haha. Unrelated but slightly related anecdote: my ex was a very jealous person. He’d pretty much flip out at the idea of me going out alone with an old friend of mine from college, even though that friendship was forged because he was a college friend’s ex boyfriend and had a girlfriend at the moment in question. Our conversations would go like this:

        Ex: He just wants to date you! He wants to be alone with you so he can hit on you!
        Me: I’ve known him for a long time, that’s not how it is at all! I was first introduced to him when he was a friend’s boyfriend, and from that moment forward, he became an asexual-gaybestfriend-bigbrother-girlfriend hybrid friend!
        Me: He has a GIRLFRIEND!
        Ex: He wants a girlfriend on the side!

        But really, in all seriousness, this is generally how I feel about men who I find out are in relationships early on. I always go forward with that mindset. Even if I have thoughts like, “Oh, he’s so nice,” it’s immediately followed by the thought, “…but he has a girlfriend,” and I can’t recall off the top of my head ever falling for anyone HARD under those circumstances.

    2. guys in relationships are also automatically off limits for me too- they always have been.

      also, guys my friends/sister have dated are automatically off limits… but im starting to learn that is really quite rare…

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        You surprise me sometimes. I was sure you would be in the IWTTS camp.

      2. haha.. i mean, i see sampson’s argument, and i do get it.. i guess i just see myself, who is not married, and i feel just as strongly about my relationship then married people might, you know? there are un-married people who are very committed, and there are married people who wouldnt give their marriage a second thought if something presented itself.

        this is one that doesnt have a hugely clear cut answer, i think thats why there is such good debate today! haha

      3. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        You didn’t say any vows. Yes you’re exclusive so you shouldn’t cheat – but otherwise it’s a lot less serious. You haven’t said that you will forsake all others yet. You haven’t said that you will be together in sickness and in health. And when shit gets rough. You just haven’t taken it to that level. That’s the whole point of dating. To see if you love someone THAT much.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        So would you say its cool up to the day before the wedding?

      5. or cool for anyone not signing legal documents?

      6. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        Well if you know them well enough to know that they’re engaged it’s murkier. I kind of think that’s not okay. They have accepted a marriage proposal. But at the same time there’s a reason peopel walk away the day before a wedding. They haven’t made the commitment YET. I think if more people thought more aobut this stuff and considered their options before getting married there would be fewer divorces. And like I said if this guy and girl are turbo committed this LW will have zero impact on their relationship – so it’s still not disrespectful. But if they’re married you KNOW they’re committed. You know they’ve said those vows.

      7. i just think thats a really disrespectful stance to take on anyone who isnt married.

      8. @ Katie – Why?

        What marriage may or not mean to you might be drastically different to what it means to others… and I’m not seeing where disrespect comes in. Lots of folks wouldn’t agree that my husband and I are married because we didn’t take our vows in a church under god, does that make it less valid to me? Nope. Lots of folks purposely don’t get married for personal or financial reasons… doesn’t make their committed relationship less important, it just makes it so that an initial assumption made by society (marriage = more committed, therefore unmarried = less committed) has to be overcome…

        Perhaps I am also seeing this through the viewpoint of several couples I know that were legally barred from getting married until recently, they were still in committed relationships for years, but marriage was also a dream and an extra step they wanted to take to demonstrate their commitment to the world.

      9. because the “status” or “label” of a relationship doesnt make it serious- the people in it and the manner in which they act make it serious.

        there are terrible shitty married people who married for money or for citizenship and who cheat on their spouses, and there are very serious relationships that are committed forever but will never have the “legally married” title. the title/status doesnt mean a thing.

        also, its kind of annoying to know that my 3+ year long relationship is fine for some outsider to come and meddle with because we arent married, but kim k’s 47 day marriage was somehow more “valid” for those 47 days, so no one should try to intrude on her relationship.

      10. Katie. I can’t reply to your comment so I’m attempting here. No one is invalidating your relationship. I’m just saying each person/couple can define their relationship, boundaries, monogamy bs polymorphy, etc. In their own way and one couples perspective can be different from another. All we know is the guy is in an LDR and he and the LW have been getting closer in recent months.

      11. Well if the advice changes not based on commitment, but based on status of marriage, I’m pretty sure you are saying that one is more valid then the other.

        I get that marriage is serious, I think it is also. But I can’t then make the leap that’s it’s ok to go after a “committed” person but it’s not ok to go after a “married” person.

      12. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I do agree that it’s easier and more acceptable to walk away from an engagement than a marriage, and from dating than an engagement, etc. That’s very clear. But to me that doesn’t change the way other people should behave around you. Friends should respect each other, and part of that is respecting their decisions to try to make their relationships work. It’s not up to the general public to decide how serious your relationship is. When someone says they’re exclusive with another person, that means they’re off the market to everyone else. That means that they’ve made their decision and drawn the lines.

      13. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        I think it’s up to the people in the relationship to respect the boundaries. If this guy and his girlfriend have those boundaries this LW will change nothing – she’ll be embarrassed but that will fade. She might ruin the friendship but it seems like that’s a risk she’s willing to take. I mean you said that you had an emotional affair with your current fiance right? I mean you wouldn’t blame him for your stepping out of the bounds of your relationship right?

      14. Avatar photo theattack says:

        My fiance did what katie and I are both saying the LW should do. Tell him “I have feelings for you, and that means we can’t be friends anymore.” not “I have feelings for you, so what do you wanna do about it?”

        I’m not at all suggesting that the LW will ruin their relationship. It won’t make a bit of difference. I just think it’s disrespecting her friend to tell him her feelings and hope for something in return. It does sound like she’s decided that she doesn’t care about their friendship, but I think it’s selfish of her to only consider what she wants here. I think she owes him the respect of bowing out.

      15. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        But either way your fiance let you know of his feelings. He told you he liked you – I thought you were advocating against her telling him. I guess I just don’t get what the difference is. The ball is still going to be in this guys court as it was in your court. And had your relationship been meant to be nothing would have changed for you – and same for this guy and his girlfriend.

      16. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Telling him and simultaneously bowing out acknowledges his choice to be with his girlfriend, and it isn’t asking for anything in return. It’s respecting him and his decision, choosing to walk away in a healthy way (because obviously these two shouldn’t be friends anymore with all of this going on), and simply giving him a reason for why they can’t see each other anymore. Confessing her feelings to him like she’s planning on doing is basically asking him if he wants to leave his gf for her, but he’s kind of already made that decision by dating his gf. If he does happen to have significant feelings for the LW, this gives him a chance to reevaluate things, but I dont’ think the LW should expect it.

      17. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        I think we’ve all told her not to expect it. It’s a shot in the dark. But I still think she should take that shot. She even seems to understand that it likely won’t go anywhere since she assumes it will end their friendship – and she’s okay with that. From an outsiders point of view it seems exactly like your situation.

        (Although LW I would not expect that result. It is far more likely that he’ll be all awkward around you now and you will lose a friend)

      18. I’m with sampson. The difference between telling someone in a relationship “I have feelings for you so we can’t be friends anymore” and “I have feelings for you…” is semantic. Both have the same effect and are asking for the same thing, though one phrasing is less explicit.

        And while I do think one should respect other people’s choices for monogamous relationship, I think that if you feel something real for someone and feel like they may feel the same way and are willing to risk losing them as a friend, then go for it. If the relationship is strong it will make no difference. Dating is for finding the right person. Marriage is for committing forever. Leaving someone you’re dating can be shady depending on the circumstances (and it often is shady if there’s overlap of relationships or lies going on), or it can just be deciding that someone else is better for you.

        It’s like when Michael told Jim when he found out he was pining away for Pam… “big whoop, engaged ain’t married”.

      19. Sue Jones says:

        Nope, if you really love someone, and I mean really and truly LOVE them, and you value the friendship, then you RESPECT their relationship. Period. How is it being loving to disrespect their relationship, and to put them in an awkward position and possibly confuse them? It is not being loving. It is being selfish. I have nothing nice to say about a 3rd party who attempts to bust up a committed relationship for their own selfish reasons. Married or not. Continue hanging out, let the LDR end on its own, and then make your move. And Wendy, how would you have felt if while you and Drew were LDR, if some woman was throwing herself at Drew?

      20. This is how I would have felt: If Drew had been spending scads of time with a woman who was harboring a secret crush on him I would have welcomed the opportunity for him to tell her, “No, I’m not interested in you that way. I’m deeply in love with my girlfriend.” Then, the truth would be out and Drew, respecting me and our relationship, would have stopped spending scads of time with a woman who had now confessed her more-than-platonic feelings for him. That’s how I would have felt about that.

        Have you ever been the woman in a relationship who has a gut feeling that there’s another woman who has more-than-platonoic feelings for your guy but when you say something to him, he’s all, “Nah, we’re just friends!” At least if the other woman were honest, the man who, let’s face it often doesn’t see the forest for the trees, would wise up and could make a better informed decision about whether to continue the friendship.

      21. Yeah, this is exactly how I feel about this!

      22. Sue Jones says:

        See, I disagree with this. If the LW enjoys the friendship and would rather maintain the friendship and has the strength of character to morph the secret crush feelings into good friendship feelings, then she can keep the friend while being integrous and respectful of the guy’s relationship. She likes the guy. He may be a great person. Wouldn’t you like to stay friends with someone like that? Heve someone that wonderful on your friends team? Why risk ruining the friendship? Personally I like a clean break and would only date guys who were available. Too much drama the other way! (Believe me, I know! Yep, in my 20’s had a lot of messy relationships.) But then again, if she has a taste for drama and is willing to lose the friendship, I say she can go for it. Still, not the cleanest way to possibly start a relationship if he goes for her. I tend to think these messy overlapping relationships are a bit tainted from the start because who is to say that someone wouldn’t go and mess with her relationship down the road? Karma is a bitch.

      23. But you asked me how I would feel if, while Drew and I were long distance, some female friend of his had feelings for him. My perspective as the girlfriend — which is the perspective you asked me to consider — is that I would want the friend to express her feelings so my boyfriend would know what he was dealing with to make a better informed decision about whether to continue that friendship.

        If you were asking me what my perspective would be if I were the female friend in the situation, I simply wouldn’t hang out with someone I had a secret crush on if he were in a relationship. I’d either make my “secret” crush not a secret anymore and give the guy an option to tell me my feelings were unrequited, or I would quietly fade out of the picture. It really would depend on what kind of message I was getting from the guy. Most likely, I’d just fade out of the picture.

      24. Sue Jones says:

        OK, got it Wendy ( I posted in the wrong place so that is why you are seeing this twice…)

      25. Yes! And it made me feel a little nutso (as in, seriously, you can’t tell that she likes you?!).

      26. Lots of folks would be better off if they used the wedding planning process as an indicator of how their “real lives” are going to be… too much focus on the party leaves people ignoring warning signs and “just going through with it because grandmom already bought a flight” so yeah – right up till the second vows are taken I think people have a right to change their mind. Fact is if there are that many doubts, the engagement should probably have never happened in the first place.

        Instead of focusing on labels, can’t we just agree that the terms mean different things to different people in different phases of their relationships – so without knowing for sure what his view of an LDR is and how serious it is, etc. – what’s the harm in stating what might be the obvious and (likely) moving on when he informs her that he doesn’t feel the same way?

      27. All that’s true. But, to me, it doesn’t change the fact that these two people decided that for the time being they only want to be with each other. If that changes, then they can break up and go back “on the market.” It just seems like a waste of time and energy to pine after someone who is not looking for a relationship (because they already have one).

      28. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I think the problem with that is that there are huge differences in the different stages of dating relationships. The very beginning stages of dating aren’t truly committed yet, but the later stages where the couple knows they’re in it for the long haul definitely are. There are plenty of reasons people postpone marriage, and we know a very plausible one for this guy’s relationship: long-distance! People don’t just get married the moment they realize they want to go through thick and thin together, and it doesn’t take a piece of paper to change the level of emotional commitment.

      29. “but otherwise it’s a lot less serious” — WHOA! Are…you kidding me with that? You realize that not everyone is legally allowed to get married, right? Or that some people don’t need or want the paperwork or legally binding paperwork to make a lifelong, loving partnership “official”, right? I find broad generalizations like this very off-putting because they do nothing but diminish the status of relationships that aren’t LEGALLY official for whatever reason. Not to mention, it also makes it sound like the only reason anyone should behave in a marriage is because they signed a contract to behave…

  20. What are the odds that he’s just waiting to see his GF over the break and break up with her in person instead of on the phone? Slim? Figured. Honestly, I don’t see the harm here. The guy’s giving her pretty clear signals that he likes her more than just as a study buddy. Fixing her furniture? Maybe I can see it if she asked. But grocery runs? Yeah, I’ve never asked my apartment – not dorm – neighbors if they need anything from the store. Also, the fact that she doesn’t seem to know much about the GF means that he’s probably not talking about his GF that much to her. Grad school is a time of flux, when you meet many other people who have the same interests and goals as you have and it’s a time to really think about where you’re going. Many LDRs don’t survive them. I’d say MOST of the LDRs that my law school classmates started out with didn’t go the distance, particularly the ones where people were just dating. I’m not suggesting that the LW put on a leather bustier and bust into his place all seduction mode, but letting him know where she stands seems like the best course of action. If he’s interested, then the ball is in his court. If he’s not, no harm no real foul. It’s embarrassing for a bit, then it’s done.

    1. Thank you! LW you’re not deluded in thinking that there may be something there because his actions show he thinks about you. Maybe he is just a very helpful person. Or maybe not. But it’s not a real friendship if one of the parties doesn’t actually want to be just friends (you). So go ahead and confess before the break.

      You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

  21. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

    Lets say this guy does like you and he leaves his girlfriend for you and you are dating. Do you really want to date a guy who doesn’t have the guts to end his relationship and be single first before starting another? Aim higher.

    1. Why is he cheating all of a sudden? She can confess, he can end his relationship if he chooses, and then they can start a romance. No cheating.

      All she is doing is telling him she is interested. Doesn’t this happen every day? To all of us? I get hit on all the time. It doesn’t disrespect my relationship with my husband if someone hits on me. All they are doing is giving me an option – like the LW is giving the guy – I can take it or I can leave it. I don’t see the sin in asking. The boyfriend isn’t pursuing her. She isn’t seducing him. She is just telling him how she feels. If the level of commitment between you and your partner isn’t strong enough to withstand someone else asking for a chance with you – then I would argue you made the wrong choice and that person isn’t really for you anyway.

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Yeeeeeeeeees. Is this the apocalypse. We’re agreeing?!?

      2. I know, right? This must be the universe’s way of telling us we are right. 😉 Either that or the four horsemen are next…

      3. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Except I never get hit on.

      4. no one believe that…your picture used to be up on here.

      5. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        I never said he was cheating. I just think that if he wanted to be with the LW he would break up with his girlfriend and ask her out. I don’t like that (if he does like her) he would be staying with his girlfriend as back up until someone better comes along, which is spineless, IMO. I think that people dating should give the other person the courtesy of being broken up with once they realize that they don’t want to be with them anymore.

        And while I don’t get hit on everyday (everyday, really? Damn. I am not that hot) it has no effect on my marriage. In fact, my husband takes it as a compliment. If he up and left me because some chick hotter than me hit on him then THAT would say something about him.

        So, it’s not the LW that would really be in the wrong IMO (because he’s just dating, not engaged/married. There are different boundaries there.) but I wouldn’t look too kindly on “yeah, sure. Just let me break up with my girlfriend first.”

      6. I agree with you in an ideal world everyone would be single, they would have ended their previous relationsip some time ago and would already have processed the breakup and could start dating when one asked the other out. Sometimes life is messy though. This – this is messy. One of the happiest couples I know met while dating others. When it got to the point where one confessed feelings for the other – they each went home, broke up with their partners and have been together ever since. About 14 years ago now. I would infinitely rather “let me break up with my girlfriend first” to me “what iffing” for the rest of my life.

        And I’m sure at least one of us gets hits on every day…that was a collective hitting on more than autobiographical! Though my husband asked me once how often I get hit on and when I asked him how often does he think he told me 5 times a day… and I totally let him believe that!

      7. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        I have been hit on everyday before! I once worked with a kid who would outrageously hit on me everyday right before I got married. I thought he was teasing me but took it in good fun. My husband thought the things he said was hilarious. After the kid quit my coworkers told me that he was, in fact, serious. Which kinda made me feel like a jerk. But really, I was planning my wedding and not exactly going to leave my fiancé for a teenager who still lived at home.

        But not so much anymore. Now people are saying “oh, not getting much sleep lately?”

  22. Avatar photo thewriteway says:

    Don’t do it. I was just there and got the t-shirt to prove it. It pretty much sucked to watch the guy I had developed feelings for be in another relationship (which went LDR about a year ago) and have a dream, fairy-tale type of relationship. All I heard about was how perfect it was and how he had been with this girl for awhile and they seemed practically married.

    I ended up cutting contact with him on social media, but I did not tell him how I felt. Honestly, cutting him out was a huge relief, as I have nowhere near as much worry as I did when he was around constantly. I still wonder if he knew and never said anything, but I’m just glad I was able to do the right things. I would discourage the LW from doing the same, as you don’t know what the fallout could be. For me, I just didn’t see any benefit in telling this guy how I felt, as yes it would be off my chest, but I’d also be embarrassed and feared that he would be angry or something.

    1. I think the big difference between your situation and the LW’s is that we don’t have any information on the LW’s crush’s relationship, other than it exists. If he’s constantly telling her how awesome his GF is and how much he loves her, then she should not say anything because it’s obvious how it is going to go. It doesn’t sound like that is the case, however. The LW seems thoughtful, reasonable and she’s gotten the opinion of several other classmates. If it were that clear to everyone that Crush Guy was so in love with his GF, then I don’t think her classmates would encourage her or that other people would assume she and Crush Guy are an item. Clearly, he’s seeking out reasons to hang out with her. And, clearly, their relationship is such that it’s already got the gossip going. So, in this case, I think it’s worth the risk of a little embarrassment or that the guy might be upset to just get it out there and know once and for all. The LW cannot cut this guy out of her life, anyway. He’s part of her grad program and obviously they are friends, so any effort to draw back or create distance is going to prompt a discussion anyway. Might as well bite the bullet before the break and have a built in recovery time if it’s needed.

      1. Just because he doesn’t gush all over how awesome his gf is doesn’t mean he doesn’t love her/is happy with her. I’m in a LDR and I don’t really talk much about my bf unless ppl ask me about it. I’m just not the type to go around telling everyone how awesome my rs/my bf are. And my bf is pretty much the same. We are very private ppl. Maybe this guy is the same way or the LW forgot to mention that part.

      2. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        Agreed! And maybe he doesn’t want to be that person always talking his significant other. That gets annoying and makes it seem like that’s all he cares about. Not much fun to be friends with that person. If she doesn’t ask because she doesn’t want to hear about the relationship the guy she likes is in, then she wouldn’t necessarily hear a lot about her!

      3. Maybe. But the fact that he’s joking around with her about them dating, some people in their classes think they’re dating, her friends think he wants to date her and he’s clearly looking for ways to be around her – furniture, groceries, etc. – combined with the lack of information about his GF is important here.

        My college BF/now husband went to law school one year before I did and I stayed behind to finish my last semester of college and then I moved down to go to law school the following year. So, we did the LDR thing for about 4 months. And, everyone that he knew at law school knew about me, I’d met them, they knew I was coming to law school the next year, and my then BF/now husband is about as private as you can get. The point? When you want people in grad school to know all about your SO, they do. When you’re spending a lot of time with a fellow classmate, joking about dating them and people think you’re dating or that he wants to – that’s a big signal that something is rotten in the state of Denmark, so to speak.

      4. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        She knows about the girlfriend. It’s not that she doesn’t know she exists, but it doesn’t mean that he’s talking about the details of their relationship because it’s bad. Everyone in my program knows I have a boyfriend and if they ask me about him, I talk about him, but I don’t go around talking about how great our relationship is. It doesn’t mean our relationship is good. I just don’t really see many signs that something is actually there. Friends tell you what you want to hear. Some friends have that friendship that they joke about dating because they are that close that its funny to joke about. It just seems like she’s reading into it too much. If she wants to tell him, fine, whatever. I just don’t see much there to indicate that he wants her.

      5. I think that he is at least giving her pretty mixed signals, enough so that she’s not delusional in thinking that there may be something there. If not, then she just sucks it up and moves on, but she has her answer.

      6. i think that knowing what kind of “humor” personality he has is also something to think about… my boyfriend has his “work wife” (who is married with a kid, if anyone is wondering), and they joke break up and stuff. its just funny, thats his “humor” personality… it doesnt mean anything more then that.

      7. So if he is in love and committed to his girlfriend, he can tell the LW that and they can distance themselves. The LW is not responsible for his relationship (and I’m 5+ years into an LDR), and if he makes decisions based on what’s best for his relationship – good for him – and the LW can move on.

  23. GatorGirl says:

    Eh, I say go for it.

    While we are not proud of it, my fiance and I were both in realtionships when we “started”. We weren’t having a physical affair, but very much an emotional one. I was in an abusive relationship which I finally left after meeting my now fiance. He was “dating” a girl who was more of a friend/roommate/party buddy. With in 3 months we were both out of our previous relationships and happily dating. So it can happen – but don’t get your hopes up.

  24. landygirl says:

    LW, put yourself on the other end of the LDR and think about how you’d feel if some girl confessed her feelings to your boyfriend with the intention of breaking you up so she could be with him. There are plenty of men out there that are available to you. If this dude ever breaks up with his girlfriend then go for it, otherwise, leave it be.

    Also, just realize that if he is acting this way with you, if you were ever in an LDR with him, he would act the same way with another girl.

    1. I keep seeing this idea that “once a break-upper (is that a word?) to go out with someone else, always a break-upper to go out with someone else” and I disagree, actually, given where these people are in their lives. If he breaks up with the GF first, then I don’t see a problem. Even if he breaks up with the GF to go out with the LW. Crush and the GF are dating. That’s it. You’re allowed to break up with people you’re dating to date someone else without being branded for life.

      And, this happens all the time in grad school because grad school is such a transitional time in your life. It happens so much so that I’d encourage anyone whose SO is going to grad school to go with them and not do the LDR thing, if at all possible. And most of the time, the relationships created in grad school go the distance. So many of my law school classmates broke up with SO’s and married fellow lawyers it’s ridiculous.

      1. landygirl says:

        I didn’t mention anything about once a breaker-upper (we shall make it a word) always a breaker upper. We don’t even know if this guy likes her, he may just be using her as a surrogate girlfriend while is actual LDR is so far away. The LW should consider how she would feel if the circumstances were reversed.

        If it were the GF writing in about some girl her LDR was hanging out with we would most likely have negative things to say about the usurper friend and how she has no respect.

      2. yea- this is just like when a woman writes in about her cheating boyfriend and the “slut” who he is cheating with. the other woman is not the problem, the other woman has not made promises to be monogamous/vows to you… but we always say that she is still a shitty person! if you know for an absolute fact that someone is in a committed relationship (and i would say married or not- committed is committed, “marriage” is a state of mind more then anything), it is kind of a shitty thing to go after them. it IS pretty disrespectful, and if the situation was reversed you bet she would think so.

        and besides, saying “almost all grad school relationships end, so go for it” is not really that smart. half of marriages end too, so should we just all not respect the fact that people are married because its probably just going to end anyway? i dont think thats a logical argument..

      3. I may get flamed for this, but marriage is not just a state of mind. It’s a legal relationship, with consequences, that allows you to hold yourself out to the rest of the world as part of a union. It’s a symbol of commitment internally, but it is also a signal to the rest of the world that you are off limits. So, I see a huge difference between being married and dating. Revealing your feelings to married people is, in my opinion, something you should never do because the object of your affection has already found someone that they clicked with enough to make a clear and formal statement that they are taken in the eyes of not just society, but the law, and that should be respected. I’m not saying that people who never get married aren’t just as committed to their relationships, of course they are or can be, but I am saying that to the outside world, it doesn’t appear that way. They haven’t taken the stand, so to speak.

        And, that’s particularly true when people are young, in transition periods and are figuring out where they go from here. Like in grad school. Or, sometimes in college. Or when you first enter the work force. Or what have you. I see no disrespect, rudeness or moral ambiguity about the LW simply telling her Crush Guy how she feels, regardless of whether he is dating someone or not. As has been mentioned countless times, if he is committed to his GF, then nothing will come of it. But, if he is interested in her, then now he knows how she feels. That said, all I would suggest the LW do is say she is interested. And then wait for him to break up with the GF, if that is what he chooses to do. I don’t advocate cheating, dating, married or whatever.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        Nothing to be flamed for! I just know many people who choose to not marry, ever, but are in totally committed relationships. Lets assume were talking about a gay couple in a state where they cannot marry. Would you feel its appropriate to share your feelings about one of them just because they are not legally married?
        If you are dating around and not monogamous, then you are leaving yourself open to others. If you are telling people you are in a relationship, you aren’t. I think its as easy as that.

      5. Your gay example is why I’m a big proponent of gay marriage, actually, because it’s not the same thing is it? I can choose to get married and legally show my commitment to the world, but if I could not, then that’s a different question. So, I see a difference between gay couples who cannot legally get married and straight ones who can, in terms of what other people should think about or how they should regard their relationship. It’s dicier, for sure, and I’m not sure how to answer that scenario. Fact remains that this isn’t a gay couple. It’s a straight couple in a LDR where Crush Guy is giving LW some signals she thinks are mixed. Since he’s not married, and he could be if he wanted to be, so I see no harm in going for it. Maybe he tells her, sorry no dice me and GF are committed forever. Then she should back off because she’s got her answer. Maybe he and GF are stuck in a holdover relationship from college and he wants to explore other possibilities.

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        This is an interesting thread for me. Its pretty clear that some people just think this is wrong, and some so no harm. I don’t think anyone’s going to change their opinions much on this.

        fwiw, I’m in a committed relationship for many years now, but am not ready to marry, not sure if that’s something I can/want to do. However, I still would be pissed off if some guy friend of mine showed such lack of respect for my obviously committed relationship that he let me know if I’m up for dumping my bf, he’s ready for me.

        Have you ever been out with friends and a guy hits on you, but you say I’m taken and they’re reply is something like who cares?/well he’s not here now. I have and I think its obnoxious. I wouldn’t give that person a second glance. So isn’t that whats going on here, but worse in a way because they are friends?

        I just have to stand by the idea that if I wanted someone else, I wouldn’t be in a relationship. If it took someone else coming along to get me to leave my relationship, then I probably should not be in one since I am not mature enough to be in a monogamous relationship.

      7. WLBHS. marriage does not equal automatic seriousness, and not-marriage does not equal automatically casual.

      8. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Thank god, someone else feels that way too! I said it above already, but it truly does feel disrespectful when someone does this. People can argue that it’s not an outsider’s responsibility to keep their relationship together, and I agree with that. But if you’re friends with someone, you should respect them, and part of respecting the individual is respecting the choices they make and the relationships they’re in. Saying something to him hoping he’ll leave his girlfriend is disrespectful to him as a person, not just the relationship.

      9. ” I still would be pissed off if some guy friend of mine showed such lack of respect for my obviously committed relationship that he let me know if I’m up for dumping my bf, he’s ready for me.”

        You have an obviously committed relationship, but it’s not at all clear that the relationship in question here has anywhere near that level of committment. I assume you wouldn’t be offended if a casual friend or acquaintance who had never met your partner asked you out or expressed interest in you.

        If LW hits on the guy and he says no thanks, he’s in a relationship then you’re right – she should back off, and if she pulls the “well she’s not here right now” routine while stroking his thigh, then she’s being skeevy. There’s no indication that this is what’s going on.

        I’m approaching this from the angle that it’s extremely unlikely that the major players are all 45 years old, LW and Guy are in law school pursuing second careers and the LDR is LD because the “girlfriend” has been with the guy for 20 years and is long distance because she’s overseas with their kids for the next two years on a State Department detail. I’s a lot more likely that they’re all 21 or 22 – of *course* they’re immature! Relationships are a lot more fluid at this stage of life, and they should be.

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        “If LW hits on the guy and he says no thanks, he’s in a relationship then you’re right – she should back off”

        The fact that he has already told her he is in a relationship should be a clear enough message.

      11. Avatar photo theattack says:


      12. how is this guy’s long distance relationship NOT an obvious committed relationship?

      13. Why is the fact that it is long distance means it serious? I don’t understand why that assumption is made… it could mean a higher level of commitment, or it could just mean a couple is still casually dating from a different geographic place.

        I was in an LDR with my now husband the entire time we were courting/engaged… we knew each other from lawschool but reconnected a few years later. The first 6 months to a year we were together was not that serious as we got to know each other better, we were committed in terms of monogamy/safe sex but other than that – I was just dating him – just from 500 miles away as we figured out if we really wanted to pursue something long-term. There was definitely a switch around the 1-2 year mark as we really started to get serious, families were involved in meetings, etc. — but I hesitate to just automatically say LDR = SERIOUS based on my personal experience.

      14. well, i get that marriage is more serious. i do, but i just dont see how it is totally fine to go after a guy in an LDR vs a marriage.. i just see them as *pretty much* the same. one isnt legal, sure, but that doesnt make it any more or less valid, i guess, is what i mean.

        i agree with you that telling him how she feels is fine. there is nothing wrong with that. and i agree that it would be wrong of her to actively pursue him while she knows he is in a relationship- any exclusive, committed relationship… i guess its just that fine line of actively pursuing someone vs just throwing it out there that you have feelings and backing off. i see those as different.

      15. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Yeah, there’s a big difference between “I have feelings for you, so do you want to do something about it?” and “I have feelings for you, and since you have a girlfriend, I think it’s best if we stop seeing each other.”

      16. landygirl says:

        I guess what it comes down to is that this guy, paper trail or not, is in a committed relationship. He wouldn’t need the LW to prompt him if he actually wanted to be with her. She shouldn’t even consider him a prospect out of respect for his relationship.

        People make their lives much harder by making stupid decisions instead of being logical. The LW should find a single guy to date, not pine over someone who isn’t available to her.

      17. “If it were the GF writing in about some girl her LDR was hanging out with we would most likely have negative things to say about the usurper friend and how she has no respect.”

        NOT I! I wouldn’t have a thing to say that wasn’t directed towards the person in the relationship… the usurper friend or whatever is only a problem if the SO you are in a relationship with doesn’t respect your feelings or isn’t willing to compromise.

      18. well, historically on DW, everyone pretty much agrees that what the other woman is doing is not admirable in the least, but your (as one half of the committed relationship) problem is your other half of the committed relationship, so worry about that, not about the other woman.

      19. @katie – I know and I disagree with it. It’s the same impulse that causes women whose boyfriends cheat on them to blame the other woman (in some cases try to fight or otherwise bring crazy to their lives) and then end up taking the boyfriend back. That slut took advantage of him!!! Or he was so vulnerable and it ended up happening one night!?! TOTAL BS – your SO didn’t respect you enough to remain faithful – end of story.

        If you don’t like who your significant other is talking to or spending time with, how they behave in public or when drinking, or the way they leave you at the bar to go onto the dance floor with another woman — the common denominator is the failure of the person in the relationship to respect it — outsiders have nothing to do with it and if they do your relationship wasn’t strong to begin with.

      20. Not me either MMcG. An outside party can’t end someone else’s relationship. The making or the breaking of it has to come from the people inside of it.

      21. Thanks FireStar! I know it was a very hard lesson to learn for me, and something that can prevent people from growing in relationships if they are always looking outside the couple for people to blame their relationship failures on.

      22. Skyblossom says:

        I think the situation and how he handles it reflects who he is and how he handles relationships in general. If the relationship with his gf isn’t working and he realizes that he likes someone else more than the gf then he needs to have the communication skills to tell the gf that it won’t work and breakup. He needs to be emotionally mature enough to recognize his own feelings about his relationship and be mature enough to breakup. If he needs a nudge from someone else he doesn’t have the maturity for a lasting relationship. If he breaks up with his gf it needs to come from him alone because that indicates his emotional and communication skills exist at the appropriate level. He is in grad school and should be old enough, mature enough, to break up if that is what he wants to do. If he can’t do that without input/desire from someone else then he doesn’t have the necessary relationship skills.

      23. WSS. i was trying to figure out how to put this into words… perfect.

  25. Just because a guy asks you if you want anything from the store doesn’t mean they like you. I never had this happen to me because I don’t live near any of my college friends (we don’t have campus). But when we are studying at the library and one of they guys (male or female taken or not taken) goes down to buy something from the kiosk or the cafeteria (not sure of that’s what you call it), they always ask if anyone wants/needs them to buy something. Which is kind of the same thing.

    Same thing with helping you out with your homework and your furniture. It’s like thinking that just because the guy drove you to a bus stop or whatever it means he has feeling for you. That would mean one of my friends has feelings for every girl ever, and that is not the case.

    If you REALLY REALLY need to confess your feelings you really need to be prepared for the possibilities. And if he does like you and breaks up with his current gf for you, are you sure you would be ok with that? I know I wouldn’t. But that’s just me.

    Now, my opinion is, maybe distance yourself a little so that you can get over him. I don’t think it’s ok to flirt or to just right out tell a taken guy (or gal) that you have feelings for them. Again, that’s just me.

    I’ve been in a ldr with my bf for almost 5 years now ( D:) and while I do trust him, I would NOT be ok with him being friends with a girl that has a crush on him.

  26. He has a girlfriend, that’s all you need to know. I think you should scale back you friendship with him, expand the rest of your circle of friends, and try dating other guys. Going after a guy who has a girlfriend, even if he might have feelings for you, is just not right.

  27. ele4phant says:

    Meh I disagree. I am of the opinion that if someone is in a relationship, that is the loudest and only important “sign” that they are not interested. Yes sometimes people stay in bad relationships, but that’s on them. Would you really want to be with someone who doesn’t have the courage to leave a shitty relationship unless they have a back up? I wouldn’t.
    LW if I were you I’d take the fact that he’s not available at face value and assume he’s not available to you. If he ever becomes single well then by all means go for it.

  28. This reminded me of that episode of New Girl where the roommates told Nick that “just friends” do not help put together furniture and he shouldn’t put Jess’ furniture together because she was using him as an emotional boyfriend. Anyone else remember? Anyway, as others have mentioned, maybe this guy is using you as an emotional girlfriend while he’s in this LDR? I mean, he could like you, but I don’t know. I’m conflicted on whether to say “Yes, just tell him and see what happens” or “No, don’t say anything, it’s not appropriate bc he’s in a relationship”. A part of me does think he would’ve already made his move if he was interested. But I’m not sure. In the movies they always end up getting really drunk together one night and something usually happens. You could try that, but I think it would probably get pretty messy 😉 I’ve never had a guy friend put my furniture together unless he had a big crush on me…so I’m kind of leaning towards you should say something and see what happens. Just be prepared to lose your friend if he doesn’t feel the same way.

    1. Hahaha, Yep I was just commenting on the New Girl connection!

  29. I know if I was in this situation, I would find it impossible to stay “just friends” once I had developed such strong feelings, but we are all wired differently when it comes to male/female friendships. The hanging out one on one and the going out of his way to help her out are what speak to me the most. I have plenty of male friends who I live near that never offer to do that stuff, but maybe they just aren’t as nice.

    Reminded me of the New Girl episode where Nick is helping Jess put furniture together and realizes he is her stand-in boyfriend. But that is TV and we all know they will end up together in the end, so it probably doesn’t apply here.

  30. Don’t. Even if he really likes you ‘that way,’ he still loves his girlfriend. Focus on getting your school done, move on, and it will sort itself out.

  31. You know how sometimes we get those letters saying “I’ve kept a secret from this person for so long, and it’s eating at me and I just want to confess so I can apologize and get closure”?

    To my memory, the overwhelming response to such letters is that confessing something (usually in these letters it’s something minor) just to make yourself feel better, even if it is the “honest” thing to do, is kinda selfish and not cool. What feels like an act of closure to you, is a big disruption to the other person.

    I think the same logic applies here. Don’t meddle in his relationship for the sake of “honesty at all costs.”

    1. ele4phant says:

      Agree. If the costs to honesty are mostly for the recipient, pretty shifty of you to decide to unburden yourself.

    2. lets_be_honest says:

      Oooh, I like this twist. Agree!

    3. I agree. I can’t tell you how many times I wish that I had not been on the receiving end of “honest confessions.” The best person to be honest with is yourself.

    4. Agree! One of my closest guy friends decided to get wasted and confess his feelings for me right before Winter Break our freshmen year of college. He knew I had a boyfriend and was happy in my relationship. I felt bad about it, but I was also kind of pissed he made it super awkward next semester because we worked together and were in the same major. I felt like I couldn’t even study with him alone in a public setting without the awkwardness that he might be reading more into my actions than was really there.

    5. I disagree, it’s not meddling in the relationship, it’s being honest about her ability to be his friend. I think that this situation is different – and if I was her friend I would appreciate the honesty as opposed to wondering what went wrong. The whole premise is that they will be in school together – so which situation is potentially less awkward, him knowingly giving her distance or him avoiding him like he has some communicable disease?

      1. *her avoiding him like he has some communicable disease.

      2. There’s middle ground between those two options.

        Maybe she could back off a bit because she’s clearly become fixated. Notice I say “back off a bit,” not “avoid him like he is diseased. It could be as simple as spending less time with him one-on-one and more time in a group with their mutual friends. And say they all go out for pizza or to the movies or something, she can choose not to sit right next to him, keep a healthy distance so she won’t be so distracted by her crush, without setting off awkward alarm bells with anyone.

        If he ASKS her at this point why she’s distancing herself (if he even notices), then she can give him the speech others have outlined above – “I noticed as we spent time together that I was starting to develop feelings for you but I respect your relationship and don’t want to behave inappropriately” or some variation on that theme.

        But should she just up and volunteer the information? In my opinion, no. If I were the friend and I was not interested in her romantically, I’d rather live in blissful ignorance of her feelings (or maybe suspect she has feelings) than have them laid out for me in black and white. If I were the friend and I WAS interested in her, I would know damn well it’s my move, not hers.

        As I see it, the ball is in his court. Maybe he’s just dribbling it for now and not lining up to take a shot in either direction, but it’s still his move. I don’t think she should just steal the ball and run for the basket because she’s desperate for him to take some decisive action.

      3. I really like this plan KKZ. I think it is a good middle ground and it goes along nicely with my philosophy of just letting things work themselves out.

        I really think if someone who I had always thought of as a friend confessed his attraction to me, I would be weirded out. Then I would start acting different. Then I would lose a friend. This would be true whether or not I had a boyfriend.

      4. We will have to agree to disagree – I think the fade out/take a step back/etc mode is just too passive aggressive for me, especially since it seems like she won’t really be able to just dial it back to one day a week (or with friends – the same group that keeps asking if they are a couple) – and if she is willing to put herself out there and except the negative consequences so be it.

        All this ducking of feelings and slow fade out stuff just seems more complicated than it is worth, rip off the bandaid, spend the holidays nursing your crush, and come back ready to find a new boy to crush on 🙂

      5. Agreeing to disagree.

        I guess I just don’t see a crush as something that *must* be acted upon, you know? Of course they’re intense, but they’re not life-or-death, and crushes do typically fade in time. The pain of ripping off a bandaid is necessary because the bandaid must come off. In this case, the bandaid can stay on and no harm would be done. If acting on the crush could cause drama, and if the LW can tolerate staying silent, then I think that’s probably the best course of action.

        Distancing herself to test if he will even notice and gauge whether he’s interested in her WOULD be a passive-aggressive mind game. But that’s not why I suggested it. I think creating a little distance between her and her crush is a wise move to keep her crush from escalating to the point where she just can’t stand to stay silent anymore. It may or may not get his attention, but that’s not the point, the point is to stop her fixating on this guy.

        In other words, she should behave the way she would if the GF in question were not in another city several hours away, but right there on campus with them, hanging out in their group of friends, accompanying Dude on his trips to the grocery store, etc. Surely she would hold herself at a distance in that situation so as not to be inappropriate or let her crushy feelings get the better of her. The fact that GF is not close by shouldn’t matter.

      6. The more I think about it, I think this is less like pulling off a bandaid and more like picking at a scab.

      7. If she was able to maintain the status quo I would agree – but she isn’t – and pretending to not have feelings and continue this very close relationship with her neighbor seems really unhealthy – in a squash your feelings to avoid upsetting others kind of way – and I think that rather than fade, all you have to do is acknowledge that you’ve been seeing some mixed signals and are getting some space. He lives across the hall – he asks every time he goes to the grocery store if he can get something for her, etc. etc. – is she supposed to not answer the door? Pretend she’s washing her hair? They are becoming friends and she is going to alter the dynamic, why not just be upfront??

        Others have mentioned the small group think dynamics that could be in play in a grad school program and I think the clear mature winner is honesty, as opposed to this guy polling everyone in the class to ask WTF happened to the LW and why she has a stick up her ass all of a sudden and acts too good for him?

      8. In your scenario KKZ the only scab I see being picked is the LW… the well-meaning neighbor classmate continues along acting the exact same way that lead the LW to think he had feelings for her… and she will just ignore it and put on a happy face every single day to avoid ruffled feathers. Meh

      9. Well, I didn’t get the impression from her that it would totally kill her to NOT tell him and maintain the status quo. She asked “Is this a terrible idea?” and expected some tough love. I got the sense she wants to tell him but suspects that could be a bad move, and she was expecting Wendy at least to tell her not to, almost like she wanted Wendy (and us) to talk her out of it. So from that, I conclude that she’s at least willing to consider not telling him. And I don’t think holding back on a crush is quite so traumatic. But then again, it’s been a long time since I had a crush, what do I know.

  32. sarolabelle says:

    If someone who had a girlfriend was acting this way with me it’s not someone I would want to date or be in a relationship with because whose to say he won’t do the same thing to you?

    I say keep him as a friend but don’t go out one on one with him anymore and when he asks why say “I don’t feel it is fair to your girlfriend.”

    1. Acting what way? Like a friend?

  33. Another thing, if a friend came to me and told me they have feelings for me when they know perfectly well that I am in a rs, I would probably get mad at them.

    1. i think that getting mad is a pretty typical response. i feel like for all the examples of, but it worked out for us, there are more examples of this that happen. and usually when it works out there is more going on than there is in this letter. kind of like what mandalee is saying below. he hasn’t done anything beyond be a friend. and as much as she or others think it’s not going to catch him off guard, because obviously everybody knows they like each other based on her what she notes are her skewed perceptions*, it probably will. and when that happens he’s probably not going to be happy. she needs to be really prepared for things to go south in their friendship after she tells him. if it goes the other way great, but she has to prepare for him to get angry at her and for him to want the friendship to end.

      *and you have to wonder what she meant by when i like someone i tend to read all their behavior as they like me. does this mean something similar has happened before?

  34. You know what’s missing in this letter to make me think there’s little chance this guy is projecting the same feelings as the LW, the emotional/romantic things that people who want to be more than friends, even when they are in a relationship do.

    All she mentions is him being a thoughtful, helpful guy and some flimsy things about mutual friends and random people thinking they’re dating. Where’s the mention of overly friendly comments about how she looks cute in a certain outfit or cute notes/texts or some borderline “is this a friend or not” comments/actions? Even if someone is in a relationship and a generally good person, when you’re attracted to someone, these are the kind of things you do almost without thinking. If these things aren’t occurring, then I think there’s an even slimmer chance that this is all going to end well.

    1. Ooh. Good call.

      The LW didn’t mention flirty text or e-mails. Or him finding ways to touch her, i.e., hand on knee while at a bar drinking, or small of back, nothing gross.

      Anway, if I thought someone liked, liked me, I would be sure to mention those things. And I sure as hell do that kind of stuff when I like, like someone.

      1. Eh. All that means is he hasn’t read any of those how-to-pick-up-chicks books. Not everyone does the “touching”/flirting thing, and if they’re in grade school, there’s a fair chance the guy is a bit of a nerd and maybe not the most socially aware person in the world.

        And I would say if she speaks up, it will likely end well either way. Either they’ll be on the road to happily-ever-after or he shoots her down and she moves on, either is better than the limbo she’s in right now. The key is to take no for an answer and move on, not keep pressing the issue as others have commented.

      2. I actually honestly think she’ll be moving on if she tells him how she feels. But then I guess she’ll at least know.

      3. I don’t really think it has anything to do with not being a socially aware person or knowing “how to pick up chicks”, it’s just natural that people display signs of liking someone in a romantic way without even thinking about it. And if the LW admits she reads into things, I would feel she would have included something like that if that were the case. I’ve dated a few what people would consider “socially awkward” guys and it was clear as day before we started dating that there was romantic feelings involved. Blushing or being awkward about me or oversharing or *always* somehow ending up next to me in a group. Even if you take out the touching part, if he hasn’t done anything beyond being a helpful neighbor, friend, and classmate, then I just don’t see the overwhelming evidence that he likes her, or likes her enough to end a relationship with her emotional confession being the *sole* reason it happens.

      4. I don’t see overwhelming evidence that he likes her either. I just don’t think there’s overwhelming evidence that he *doesn’t* like her.

        Whether he likes her or not doesn’t really matter too much. She likes him. She should speak up (and then back off), or spend the rest of her life wondering what could have been. The point of her speaking up is not to get him to like her, it’s to find out whether he does, and what happens from there.

      5. Another benefit of honesty – he learns his new opposite sex friend at school tends to read into actions and behavior, and he can also adjust his expectations and actions accordingly as well if the friendship continues. A simple “I’m just a really friendly guy, always helped my sisters, whatever – had no idea my actions could be interpeted that way and I’ll be mindful in the future. Thanks” is all it takes!

  35. Jessibel5 says:

    Definitely want an update on this one, if you’re reading the comments LW!!!

  36. I cannot wait for the update on this one. LW, don’t leave us hanging!

    1. (Oops. Jinx, Jessibel!)

  37. Older and (hopefully) wiser says:

    When I first met the guy who I ended up marrying, I thought he was too cool for me and he thought I was too hot for him. We both ended up in relationships with other people. It took about 5 years for us to finally confess our real feelings for each other.I was kind of shocked because I really didn’t know, despite our flirty friendship.My point is that Wendy’s right. Tell him.

  38. First, I think him “joking about dating her” is a good indicator that things aren’t peachy keen in his LDR. If he was happy with his girlfriend, he probably wouldn’t be making those jokes. I find a lot of time, there is truth hidden in jokes so if he’s saying this, maybe it’s his way of hinting at something?

    Second, the LW mentioned that she’s tried dating other guys (to no avail) but maybe this guy sees that as her not being romantically interested in him. The guy doesn’t want to dump his girlfriend because he’s scared of ruining his current comfortable and familiar relationship for a gamble with the LW. Maybe the LW telling him her feelings will be the push he needs to go for what he wants. I’m not saying it’s commendable for him to stick out his LDR for the sake of comfort, but so many people stay in average relationships for that reason alone.

    And I agree with everyone saying that if his LDR is strong then the LW’s confession won’t have any effect, aside from making things awkward between the LW and the guy. for awhile.

  39. No. No no no no no. Do NOT tell him your feelings. My now ex boyfriend (that’s still really hard to say…) had a girl who was pining after him when we were together. It was stupid. I know I’ve written on here before about that particular situation. She confessed her feelings for him, he said he had me and wasn’t going to risk losing me over her, she kept on pressing it. We were long distance at the time too. I was pissed at her. Telling him won’t do you any favors. Honestly, just move on and find a single man.

    1. Iwannatalktosampson says:

      Eh it sounds like you’re doing a little bit of projecting. That relationship was doomed anyway if that girl was the reason you broke up. If it had been a stable relationship she wouldn’t have made a single wave.

      1. in L’s defense based on some forum posting, that wasn’t the reason the relationship ended.

      2. You are correct, jlyfsh.

      3. landygirl says:

        I think a lot of projecting is done on a lot of letters on DW.

      4. That absolutely was not the reason my relationship ended.

      5. If she was okay with destroying their friendship over a guy who is already committed, then it means that his friendship was less important that the (much less likely than someone who is single) chance of a romance. I would be pissed if someone was ‘pressing the issue’ on confessing their love to my boyfriend.

  40. Avatar photo Brown-eyed NoVA Girl says:

    Geez… Wendy should rename this “Readers dilvulge their unrequited graduate school relatioships” because, seriously, I’m adding mine to the pile.

    I was in graduate school a few years ago, and I, too, started with a serious (read five years) LDR out of college. I met this guy in my classes, we’ll call him Pete, and we had EVERYTHING in common and I quickly developed a major crush on him. Looking back at it now, I think what I liked about Pete was that he was completely different than the guys I went to ‘well known Catholic University’ with, and, as opposed to my then bf, he actually wanted to travel the world. It was like everyone knew we were dating… except for him. But the thing is, I didn’t end my LDR because of him. Like someone else said, college relationships sometimes don’t last too long outside of South Dining Hall or football games. And it also turned out that Pete wasn’t that great of a guy, anyways. He knew how I felt about him and exploited it, I think. Of course, now he’s still living with his parents and going nowhere, so I like to think karma came into play there.

    Anywho, LW, long long story short: I agree with Wendy, rip off the band-aid and tell him how you feel. Most likely, he will say “I’m flattered, but I’m in a relationship.” Then, with all the embarassment, you probably won’t want to hang out with him anyways, leaving you with more time to pursue other, actually single men at school. OR, you know, focus on that grad school eduation that you’re probably going into a lot of debt for.

    1. “OR, you know, focus on that grad school education that you’re probably going into a lot of debt for.”

      TOUCHE! Well said.

      1. Avatar photo Brown-eyed NoVA Girl says:

        Thanks MMcG. I know that line sounded snarky, but I just know how exhausting unrequited feelings can be. After that whole thing with Pete was out of my system, I found the energy I needed to focus on SPSS/stats and writing my Masters thesis.

  41. Whew! I can’t keep up with this letter and all the comments. I’m honestly not sure why this has sparked such a huge debate. I think it’s crazy to expect that everyone always will respect your relationship boundaries (except for the people IN the relationship – they of course should respect boundaries). I also think it’s crazy to think, whether you’re married or not, that another person will not flirt or develop feelings for your significant other. Whether or not they choose to express these feelings is out of your control. How your significant other reacts to this information is also out of your control, but if you both are happy and secure and committed and blah blah blah then it shouldn’t have any negative effects on your relationship. (And yes, for the record, I do think that marriage is a clearer boundary as far as whether or not one might flirt and/or express feelings; a married person is more clearly “off limits” by most people’s standards).

    For this particular LW, I don’t think she has anything to lose by expressing her feelings. She is mature enough to accept the consequences of unrequited feelings and ending the friendship (or backing off) if necessary. No one is saying she should come onto him or “steal him away” – just to tell him how she feels. I think the purpose of this is to see if he might possibly return feelings (we have no idea what the state of his relationship is), and if he doesn’t, she has a clear answer and can move on. What’s so wrong with that?

      1. 😀

    1. And THIS is why I <3 you, CM

      1. Aw, shucks.

  42. I’ve been on both sides of this: as the other woman, and I did LDR in grad school with a boyfriend who was in grad school. Honestly, this guy sounds a little like how my guy acts around his female friends, too. And she didn’t say how long or small her program is, but my recommendation is to not confront the guy.

    If it’s a gossipy environment (b-school, law school, etc.) or small program, this will get around, good or bad. Does she really want this to affect other relationships she has with others in her program? If this works out, does she want to be known as the woman who broke up a relationship? And she said she tends to read things into situations, so remember she might be doing that. The “life is short, go for it” advice probably should stay far away from any situation that could affect your future job prospects – since it’s around people in her field, who knows if someone in her program will be on her hiring committee one day and remember her only by this anecdote?

    If this relationship doesn’t work out, she should let it happen without her. I’m glad I waited when I was the other woman, and when I was the LDR girlfriend, it messed things up for all involved in ways that messed up mutual friendships that haven’t mended years later. Believe me, you don’t want to be stuck in the rubble of an LDR. It’s like being the rebound, but worse.

    1. Yes, I agree with this advice 100%. I think the LW is thinking of this ending two ways: 1. happily ever after and 2. we’re not friends anymore, and that’s okay. There are so many other possible endings to this story, that are all varying degrees of shitty. Yeah, he may break up with his girlfriend and then maybe only want to hook up with her and break her heart. Or stay with his girlfriend and give her some vague answer and keep her hopes up. And all of this will play out in a close knit professional group of people that will be her field of choice, with her looking possibly not so great.

      I’m not saying it might not work out one day, but things are a lot less messy if you let a relationship dissolve on its own, if that’s even what’s going to happen, and then see where someone’s feelings are for you then. I mean she’s only three months into this grad program, why invite all this possible drama in so early for one unavailable guy.

  43. I say don’t tell him. Partially because I think it’s tasteless and tacky, as others have said. Partially because I think if polled, most people would say that they wouldn’t want someone else to do this to their relationship. I truly think you should have just backed off way, way sooner if you knew he had a girlfriend (which tends to come up soon when meetnig new people) and knew you were falling for him (which you say you did immediately); this is a situation you put yourself in.

    As far as the whole married vs. “just dating” thing goes, I think you should assume that anyone trying LDR is serious enough to want to make things work. Most couples I know don’t bother with LDR if they haven’t been together for awhile. LDRs are HARD. And maybe because of the distance, their relationship isn’t quite as strong as it was when they could see each other whenever they pleased. But so what? Does that automatically make you the better fit because you two can be goofy in person rather than on Skype? It seems like manipulating a good friend to take advantage of your closeness vs. his girlfriend’s distance to try to have a relationship with him.

    The only reason I’d say “go for it!” is if you can HONESTLY say that you wouldn’t be absolutely livid or hurt if someone girl did this to your relationship. Maybe people don’t OWE other relationships respect, but wouldn’t you at least want to treat someone’s relationship the way you’d HOPE someone treats yours? I mean, we don’t OWE strangers kindness, but most people aren’t complete jackasses to strangers just because we don’t OWE them that, then turn around and defend our jackassery by saying, “The only person who owes you respect is you, NOT me.”

    1. Also, is it just me, or is too much emphasis being put on how a strong relationship wouldn’t be affected by this kind of confession? While this is very true, it isn’t the issue or the point here and shouldn’t be the focus. The real question is, “Should I do something that is generally disrespectful to my good friend and his girlfriend because I have something to gain by doing it and don’t owe them more?” Quite frankly, I think if LW’s love interest’s girlfriend had trust issues, LW wouldn’t be good friends with this guy at all because his girlfriend would have put down some limitations or he would have complained about it by now. (The other possibility is that he’s the kind of boyfriend who lies to his girlfriend about how close he is with his lady friends or who doesn’t tell his girlfriend who he is with all the time. Huge. Red. Flag.)

      1. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Yes!!!! I totally agree. It’s irrelevant whether or not it affects the relationship, because it’s about respect.

      1. My first WCS! 🙂

      2. Love your cat avatar too by the way. That image is one of the first-ever LOLCats that had me in tears laughing when I first saw it (with the caption: “You rang?”)

      3. landygirl says:

        WCS!!! That’s two!

    2. @ Copa: I’ve generally been on TEAM Go For It as opposed to TEAM Respect the GF on this thread today, but I just had to say that I agree with this statement a million percent:
      “I truly think you should have just backed off way, way sooner if you knew he had a girlfriend (which tends to come up soon when meetnig new people) and knew you were falling for him (which you say you did immediately); this is a situation you put yourself in.”

      I still think what’s done is done in this case and remain on TEAM Go For It, but I hope your comment makes the LW really think about how she got to this point.

      1. Eh. While I am on TEAM Respect the GF, I’m way more on TEAM Respect The Guy You Say Is Your Close Friend By Respecting His Relationship. It seems like this guy has done nothing but be kind to her and it doesn’t sound like she’s had any indication at all that he’s unhappy in his relationship; that said, I think she should back off so his relationship can take its course on its own. As his friend — his GOOD friend — I do think she should respect his relationship instead of trying to come in the middle of it. If their friendship is as strong as she says, shouldn’t the support he’s shown her be reciprocated?

      2. I was going to say exactly this. There’s no mention of him being unhappy in his relationship, or how long his relationship is. If they’re in grad school, they could be just going for the long haul. Some grad school LDRs are temporary as well.

  44. Letter writer, I was you. Exactly.

    My first semester of grad school I became friends with a guy who had a long distance girlfriend and it became obvious that there was a mutual attraction between us (our friends would point it out, we’d hang out all the time on the weekend, spend hours talking online, etc.). Especially in a rigorous graduate program like ours, you tend to stick close to your classmates in those first few months because they are the only ones that really understand what you are going through. That contributed to my initial feelings of closeness, plus the fact that he seemed to really care about me. The first time his girlfriend came to visit that semester, I was out of town so I didn’t get to meet her. However the report from mutual friends was that she wasn’t very nice, and I selfishly starting hoping they’d break up.

    After we came back from Christmas break, he told me that him and his girlfriend were on very rocky ground and that it wasn’t going well. He trash talked her to me all the time (warning sign) and I thought she must not be that great and it would certainly not work out. I’m not proud of it, but one thing lead to another where we basically confessed our feelings towards each other and started something. Soon after, he broke up with his girlfriend “for good”, invited me home to a wedding with his family, introduced me to his friends, etc. I was pretty pumped and this seemed like what I wanted…but there was still a nagging feeling I had that I shouldn’t have ignored. That spring, the girlfriend came into town (to visit family) and wanted to get coffee with him to get “closure”. They did and I didn’t think anything of it because things were still good…but soon after that, he started acting a bit withdrawn. Then, in the middle of a grueling final exam period, I got an *email* from him telling me he loved his girlfriend still and that he couldn’t talk to me anymore (icing on the cake, and not to be offended that he was defriending me on facebook). I should have seen it coming, but at the time it really broke me up.

    So here is what I’ve taken away from the whole thing with my 20/20 hindsight…graduate school is a huge huge challenge on any relationship, especially a long distance one. Probably for the exactly reason you and this new guy are bonding…it seems like no one outside the bubble understands your life. At the time I was kind of too young (right out of college) to get the impact that grad school can have on relationships where one person is not along side with you. In the years that have passed since this experience, I seen this same “graduate school effect” challenge and break up the relationships of other friends of mine. My point is…. I’m not trying to excuse the guy in my story for being shady, I think he was just confused about what he wanted. Its a bummer cause it would have been nice if we could have just stayed friends, but we went down a road that you really couldn’t reverse.

    Just…be careful no matter what you do, listen to your gut and realize that you could lose the friend over this if it doesn’t work out. And realize that your grad school “honeymoon” period will calm down as you get adjusted, get used to the grind and remember life outside the bubble.

  45. Hi all, LW, i haven’t read all the other comments, so i apologize if this has already been suggested. Two quick things. A. It’s not nice of you at all, regardless your attraction, to step on the girlfriends toes and come in between their relationship. B. IF you’re to come clean and tell your friend about your strong feelings towards him, might i suggest that, you wait until after the holiday break to tell him? I think it would really be unfair to put that kind of , possible, stress/decision on him during his time away from you to enjoy time with his current g/f during the holidays, i don’t think i worded that correctly but i am sure most get what i am trying to say here.

    1. landygirl says:

      C. Get over him and find an available guy to date.

      You are making your life difficult by going for someone who is attached. Look deeper as to why you would prefer a guy who isn’t available over a guy who is. The grass isn’t always greener.

  46. Eh. I hope Wendy and none of the other commenters take this the wrong way but…

    Why would you encourage someone to confess feelings for someone in a relationship? How would you feel if you were the SO, and someone was telling another lady to confess her feelings for your SO in the hopes that it would work out? Just saying.

    I’m not lambasting the LW, and think it’s good that she was asking for advice on what to do. But that’s just my personal opinion.

  47. Sue Jones says:

    Respect the LDR. You do not want to create bad karma. What goes around comes around… But if things end between LDR GF and him, then I say Go for it!!!

  48. I know someone who was in this situation and now she’s married to the guy. she didn’t say anything when he was with someone, but he wasn’t happy, eventually got out of the long distance relationship and … you know. they are very happy. the other person found someone else too. i know this is just one story and probably completely different, i have been in lots of long distance relationships and wouldn’t have wanted someone to have been actively flirting with my significant other, but sometimes some things work out and other things don’t. does he talk much about the girlfriend/the relationship? if you spend so much time together I would think things (positive or negative) would come up.

  49. I would not do it, this is coming from someone who has been where your male friend is.

    I was in an LDR and hung out a lot with a male friend. We’d been friends for a long time, and eventually it got out (heard from another friend) that he’d had a crush on me and had been finagling to be my boyfriend. He didn’t confess his feelings but I was ticked off. I wasn’t interested in him at all, and here he was thinking that if he played his cards right I’d realize how special he was and dump my boyfriend. It made me even more angry since they had met and were friendly, but that didn’t stop him from seeing my boyfriend as an ‘obstacle.’ The one saving grace was that he had been advised to not confess his feelings. If he had tried to make a move I definitely would have cut him off. I thought I spoke a lot about my boyfriend, mentioned that he was really important to me, and talked about our future plans enough but he was totally convinced that I’d dump him any minute.

    Long story short, be prepared for him to pull away if it’s not what you think. Just saying.

  50. What is there to debate or dissect? Sure, tell him, as long as you understand that he might feel the same and he might not. If he does share your feelings, it’s up to him to decide what to do about it.

  51. Iwannatalktosampson says:

    This is my last comment on this thread. Or maybe my tenth last comment on this thread. It is really irritating to me that everyone keeps saying that dating is the same as marriage. It’s not. Marriage is per se more serious. Duh. The simple fact that you’re married makes it more serious. You cannot legally walk away in a second. All this exception arguments are irritating. Yes this does not apply to gay people who do not have the right to get married in all states. It also doesn’t apply to the kim kardashians of the world. This does not include the people that get married for citizenship. People abuse marriage – yes. But those are the exceptions, not the rules. How many people do you know in real life that didn’t get married for love and because they wanted to make a commitment in front of their friends and family to stay together forever and ever. If that shit isn’t serious I don’t know what is.

    1. And there are couples who are 110% serious about their relationship and want to spend their life together but don’t believe in marriage and they might also find it irritating that ppl who believe in marriage put their rs down because they are not married.

      I’ve been with my bf for 5 years and we do plan to get married in the future. But I wouldn’t say we are “dating”. We are in a serious rs. When you say “dating” it sounds like a very new, just casually going out type of rs.

      Now, we have no clue how long the guy and his gf have been together or how serious they are. The LW didn’t give any information about it and maybe she has no clue herself. But to me this should not matter. She knows he is in a relationship, and as a friend she should respect that, which is why I, personally, am not ok with the idea of telling him how she feels.

      It’s also not about how her confession should not cause an impact in the guys rs if they are actually serious about it. It’s about how she (LW) is not respecting her friend (and his gf). Like I said in a comment before, I would feel very disrespected if a friend that knows I am in a rs decided to tell me they had feelings for me. And I would more than likely get mad at them.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        I agree with you both, if that’s possible.
        Am I in a serious, long term, committed relationship that I hope others respect? Yes.
        If my SO dropped dead today (God forbid), would I have any rights to his assets or the handling of his funeral, etc.? No. Same if he were hospitalized.
        If we broke up today, would it be terrible? Yes, aside from grief though, I would be in the exact same position I am in now: same home (in my name only), same bills (again, my name only), car, etc.
        We know these things, and have CHOSEN not to marry yet (ok, I have chosen, but he’s waiting it out).
        There are massive, undeniable differences between “dating” and marriage. Sure, there are many types of dating, but there is one type of marriage. You can’t dispute that.

  52. Sue Jones says:

    OK. got it, Wendy!

  53. Are you a grad student at the University of Texas? Because my grad school bf just had feelings confessed to him by his best girl friend while she was away doing fieldwork. So, I am in this situation as well….just the girlfriend role.

    I had a hard time making my boyfriend understand that women will interpret his nice deeds (he’s just a nice guy!) as more. He is just the kind of guy who will drive people to the airport at midnight. Now he knew she liked him, but kept hanging out with her anyway thinking he had made himself clear just by being with me. He was wrong. I let him know that was a kinda douchey thing to do.

    Now in your situation you say he jokes about dating you. That is a flag to me that our situations might be different. Is it, “Oh yeah that’ll never happen in a million years” jokes, or “Yeah I guess it is funny how close we are, we should date…” I mean those are weird jokes to make if your in a serious LDR, but if you initiate them then they mean nothing.

    I asked my bf to keep his distance from his best girlfriend for awhile, and if they are truly friendship material then they will redevelop their friendship in a more honest place. I’m just not cool with it, and I felt very disrespected by this woman I had never met. She knew about me, but I guess like you, had developed this whole scenario in her head. I blame Taylor Swift. You need to be prepared for that.

    Really, I don’t think I even needed to say that, because it is awkward now between them, despite my bf’s insistence it wouldn’t be. My bf expected her to just stuff her feelings deep inside, and for me to stuff my feelings down deep inside, so things could keep on going as they had been. But not everyone works like that, I certainly dont, and his gf might not either.

    I guess what im trying to say is this is complicated. You put the gf in an awkward position because “guys and girls can totally be friends!” and you know its true but this is YOUR heart and YOUR bf and you don’t really give a damn about what is nice because the cavewoman comes out in you and then your anger has nowhere to go because you are looking at two people who were close and now are very awkward around each other, and then you feel bad. Having feelings suck sometimes.

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