Dear Auntie Sparknotes,
So my freshman year I met this guy. We really liked each other and he asked me out. But because of household rules, I wasn’t allowed to date him until the next year when I turned 16. So he said he would wait for me and we kept up a “flirtationship.” But a couple of months later he decided I wasn’t worth the wait anymore and he went and got himself a girlfriend.
Now I am in my junior year and he’s still with her. However, he has continued to flirt with me throughout these years. (My best friend told me that, recently, he has also tried flirting with her too!) I still really like him but he shows no signs of breaking up with her anytime soon. What is up with this guy and how do I deal with him?
Oh, blaaaargh. That's a lousy way for things to shake out, Sparkler, and I'm sorry. (I'm also adding this to my ever-growing list of reasons why blanket bans on dating until you're a certain age, regardless of maturity or interest, are such a dumb idea—because even in the best-case scenario, it still results in useless pining and confusing situations just like this one.)
But disappointing as it is that this guy didn't hang in there til you could join the dating pool, here's the unfortunate truth: that very few red-blooded teenage persons, male or female, would be interested in spending a full year—as in, 25% of their entire high school dating career—waiting around in Heartsick Yearning Station for the Relationship Train to pull in, on the off chance that by the time it does you'll both still want to ride it. That's not appealing. And for your crush, who wanted a girlfriend and not just an IOU for one, examined his options and, understandably, chose the one most likely to pan out before 2013.
And yes, blah blah blah about how if he truly loved you he'd wait for as long as it took, but let's be real, this is real life in the 21st century and not a languorous Gothic romance by one of the Bronte sisters. (Thankfully! Or we'd all be lusting after our first cousins and coughing our nasty consumptive guts all over the blustering moors.)
And as for what's up with this guy, more or less: he likes girls in general, he likes you in particular, and—in all probability—he especially likes your casual flirtation... which he can take part in without damaging his relationship with the girlfriend, who he really likes and possibly (probably?) loves. (Just a guess; you haven't said much about her, but high school couples don't usually last so long unless there are serious feelings involved.) And maybe that makes him a cad, or maybe it just makes him human, but what it makes you, my friend, is out of luck.
So deal with him however you like—enjoy the flirting for what it is, or don't, or tell him you think it's sleaze-tastic, or don't—but do it with the full knowledge and understanding that what you see is what you get. And when it comes to real, actual dating, stop carrying a torch for this guy and take a page from his playbook instead: by setting your sights on someone available.
Have you ever pined for someone who was coupled up with someone else? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.