Best Friend or Boyfriend?

Dear Jitters,

Back in August, my best friend introduced me to her boyfriend. I asked for his number because I was worried about her (he’s a year older and goes to a different school) and he turned out to be really nice. They broke up a couple weeks later, but we continued talking. He’s like a brother to me now, and we’ve spent time together among mutual friends. Recently, he asked me out. I feel the relationship would be amazing, but I don’t want to say yes and lose my friend! She’s already pretty upset we’re still talking, but understands that we’re close. I don’t want to ask her if that’s okay, because that feels unfair to him, asking his ex if I’m “allowed” to go out with him. I don’t want to lose either of them, but I really like him. Help!

Signed,

Flattered but Frazzled

 

Dear Flattered but Frazzled,

Hi there. It looks like you’re at a bit of a crossroads with a potential romantic partner on one side and your best friend on the other. Believe it or not, this is not a rare circumstance. It’s easy for you to feel as though you must make a decision, losing one or the other in the process. Well, here’s the good news: you shouldn’t have to. You obviously value your relationship with your best friend, but don’t want to demean her ex by asking for her permission to date him. Try simply talking to her about it, regardless of whether or not she approves of your current friendly interaction with him. Remember, that’s why we have best friends in the first place. Instead of asking her if you’re “allowed” to date him, try letting her know he wishes to advance the relationship, why you feel it would be a good idea to accept, and that you understand why this might make her uncomfortable. Her feedback may just surprise you. If it doesn’t, make sure to stay strong in your convictions by not giving in simply because she disapproves. This would only show her that she has power over you and your decisions (which does not make for a very healthy friendship). If you find that, after you’ve spoken with your friend, she disapproves of your pending relationship with her ex-boyfriend (possibly threatening the loss of her friendship with you), you should take some time to mull over the situation and decide whether or not you’re willing to lose a best friend over a boyfriend. Truthfully, if this culminates in a choice between the two, it’s obvious that neither are willing to fully understand or accept how much you value the two of them.

Never, ever compromise those you value.

Signed,

Jitters