Auntie SparkNotes: My Friend Is Dating My Secret Crush
I met this girl about 6 months ago and I really liked her. She wasn't really into relationships and dating, and had a sort of "exclusive" friend-with-benefits arrangement with some guy from her college, which is out of town. Our mutual friends told me she would not want a relationship, and I figured they would know better than me. They said that she was only giving signs that she liked me cause she is just a really friendly person, and probably didn't mean anything by it. Eventually, I stopped seeing her around. It really sucked, 'cause even though she was out of sight, I still had some feelings for her.
Fast forward to now. My best friend of about 6 or 7 years meets the girl. He tells me he likes her. I tell him the same thing the others told me. (I didn't tell him that I have feelings for her, because I believed she was still involved with the same guy still and didn't think it important at the time.) A few weeks after meeting her, he tells me they have gone on a few dates, and she said she would like to be his girlfriend.
Now, this was obviously shocking, since I was given the impression that she simply doesn't date. I can't blame either of them, since it was I who didn't voice my feelings, but is there anything I can do at this point? He has a history of kind of driving his girlfriends away. I, on the other hand have never had a girlfriend. I think, had I made it known, he probably wouldn't have asked her out, but now they are a couple due to my hesitation. I can't break them up, but I can't wait for them to break up either. I can't go and date her after they break up. I would just feel scummy. He probably would understand the situation if he knew how I felt, but I don't want to cause them unnecessary stress or risk angering him. It just sucks hearing constantly how much he likes her, and all the "cute" things she does, and all of the other PDA, because I was THIS close to having that for myself. Not to mention, she still acts very "friendly" to me. I just don't know what to do.
Do I have any options, or do I have to just suck it up for their sake?
Oooh, oooh! What about the option where you hire a dude to kill your friend and make it look like an accident, and then mack in on his grieving girlfriend, only to be thwarted by the restless spirit of your now-dead friend, who has employed a charlatan psychic from Brooklyn to help expose the truth behind his death and...
Oh, no, wait. That's not an option, it's the plot of a ridiculous early 1990s movie called Ghost. My mistake!
So actually, no, you don't have options. You only have the inevitable process of accepting this situation's crappy outcome and then moving on. And obviously, there's a useful lesson here about how the only way to know for sure if a person is interested in you is to ask that person yourself—and how, as you have just found out in the most unpleasant possible way, the failure to be assertive can really bite you on the buttocks.
But even then... well, I'm not even sure that's what happened here. You've framed this as a simple question of speed and initiative, where the only reason your friend got the girl was that he got to the girl first. But while you're standing there seething—"That could have been miiiiiine!"—it's like you've forgotten the part where the "that" in question is another human being. This girl is a person, y'know? She's got thoughts and feelings and preferences, too, and she made a choice to pursue your friend as much as he made a choice to pursue her.
Or in other words, they're not a couple due to your hesitation. They're a couple because they like each other; whether or not you missed the chance to date this girl yourself is beside the point, and more than that, it's a mystery. Is it possible that you two could've been a Thing, if she were only aware of your feelings? Of course. But it's also possible that she was aware of them—and that the reason your friends all told you she wasn't interested is because she was, in fact, not interested. In fact, if her "friendly" behavior hasn't changed a bit since becoming your best friend's girlfriend, then you might reasonably conclude that she was never flirting with you to begin with. (That, or she's a mammoth jerk who hits on her boyfriend's friends.)
Either way it'll be better for you—not just now, but in general—if you accept that this was a situation over which you never had total control. And due to forces beyond your control, you are now crushing on a girl who is not only unavailable, and who is not only unavailable because she is dating your best friend, but who also would not even necessarily be interested in you if she were available—a question you cannot determine the answer to without violating all the laws of both bro culture and good taste.
Perhaps it's time to start at least considering the possibility that there are other girls in the world to crush on, yes?
Because there are. A lot of them. And when you find one you like, you'll know that the best way to find out if she likes you—and to avoid missing the boat on a potential romance—is to just ask her.
How would you handle this situation? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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