forbidden relationship

Postby studentofthegame » Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:33 pm

hi all.

it's been a long time since I've posted on here. would love to hear some thoughts on my issue.

myself and my GF of 3 years split up a month or so back. we are both OK, and on good terms.

Since about 3 months into that relationship I noticed that I found one of her best friends attractive. over the next 3 years, that feeling only got more intense. truth is, I might be in love with her. I have strong feelings for her, to say the least.

now, she is in a relationship with someone else. and she is one of my ex-gf's best friends. these are two massive barriers to anything happening, that's on the assumption that id have a shot with her anyway under different circumstances.

i think i could make peace with the fact that anything happening between us is a long shot, if i was to simply let her know how i feel about her, then walk away. no pressure on her to give me a follow up. i just want her to know. she can do with that information what she pleases.

how on earth do you communicate something like this to this girl in a way that is decent? people's feelings are at stake.

all the best.

SOTG.
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:01 pm

studentofthegame wrote:now, she is in a relationship with someone else.

how on earth do you communicate something like this to this girl in a way that is decent? people's feelings are at stake.



There is no decent way. You only have two potential motives in communicating your feelings. Either:

-1- You rationalize to yourself that you have no intention of screwing or interfering with her current relationship, but you want her to know in order to claim a sort of dibs. You want her to know in case her current relationship doesn't work. You rationalize that if her relationship doesn't work out organically, that you want her to already have your card in her back pocket. Your fear is some other guy is operating in the background and you might miss your chance. Her relationship begins to falter and she dials the number of someone else, instead of using the shoulder you are willing to provide.

-2- Worse...you want to be the other guy and actively offer yourself as an alternative. You want her to know and hope the knowledge that you are interested in her is enough to make her have second thoughts. You actively want to drive a wedge in her current relationship.

Both options are not decent. Both options is something you would not want any other person to ever do to you if you were in a relationship. You would not find it decent of another man to ever express his love for your current intimate partner. You would find it inappropriate, unethical, and in bad form.

Instead, the only decent thing to do is to keep your intimate feelings to yourself.
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#2

Postby studentofthegame » Wed Jul 18, 2018 1:00 am

Hello Richard.

Yes, it is a bit like that really. Both rational schools of thought.

I don’t know if i love her or it’s just an infatuation. But the feelings have only got more intense over the years. If i love her, then it would drive me mad for her not to at least know that i have something for her. As i say, she is free to do with that information as she pleases: she can never talk to me again if she sees fit, but i will not have to live with the ‘what if’. Living with this is very hard sometimes. I don’t want to look back in years to come and think that we could have had a chance but i sat on it. Again, even if it’s hopeless, it would be such a relief for her to know.

It’s a bit of a nightmare situation. Thanks for your thoughts
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#3

Postby studentofthegame » Wed Jul 18, 2018 1:05 am

To untangle the web for a second, what are your thoughts on if her current relationship comes to an end? The fact i was in a serious relationship with one of her very good friends is a huge complication; i couldn’t do anything until i knew my ex had moved on. But even still, im well aware that their friendship would be at stake. Once again, it would be her information to do with as she pleases. She might never speak to me again, she might tell my ex, who knows. But i would not have to live with the ‘what if’ because id have my answer, one way or another.
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#4

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:02 am

studentofthegame wrote: The fact i was in a serious relationship with one of her very good friends is a huge complication;


Why?

It might be a complication for her, i.e. she may choose that she doesn't want to damage or complicate her relationship with her good friend, but it is not a complication for you. The only way it can be a complication for you is if you don't want to potentially complicate the relationship with your ex which is odd given she is by definition no longer your girlfriend.

i couldn’t do anything until i knew my ex had moved on.


Why?

Again, why do you believe you owe an ex? You are suppose to wait for her to find a relationship before you can date a single woman?

***
Between the initial post and this most recent one it seems you have created a set of beliefs that almost intentionally sets up unrealistic ethical barriers. It is like you have some sort of double standard.

I think it is more straight forward to use the simple rule, do onto others as you would want them to do onto you. This means...

-1- Don't interfere with another persons relationship. I wouldn't want someone to do that to me, so I don't think it is decent to do that to them. If she breaks up with him, then she is fair game to pursue.

-2- Telling her your feelings when she is single is not a complication. I would have no problem if a friend wanted to date an ex, so in my world the reverse holds true.

-3- I would not expect my ex to wait for me to be in a relationship before I move on, so the reverse holds true.

The above is based on my personal "do onto others" ethics. You might see things differently which means...

One, if you had a friend and your ex was interested in dating that friend then you would have a problem with it and two, that if you were okay with your ex dating your friend she would still need to wait until you "moved on".

Is that what you would expect of your ex if the situation was reversed? You would expect your ex not to pursue your friend and you would expect that your ex would wait on you to find someone?

In other words, don't set up some double standard here. Apply the same ethics and expectations for others that you set for yourself. Don't consider your ex somehow different or weaker than you. Don't apply some special set of ethics for yourself, that you would not expect your ex to follow. Whatever ethics you would expect of your ex if the situation were reversed, apply those same ethics to yourself.
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#5

Postby studentofthegame » Wed Jul 18, 2018 1:41 pm

To address the quotations you made,

you are right. the fact I was in a serious relationship with this other girls good friend is her complication, not mine. I shouldn't make it mine.

on me not being able to make a move until my ex has moved on - there has been some indication from my ex that she wants to revisit the relationship when we are both in a better place - we both have some challenges in our lives and although I can see the logic in this thinking, I'm also aware that either of us could meet someone else. I don't believe that a relationship can be 'put on hold' - either you are together, or you are single and free to meet new people.

but if my ex still has a candle for me, then me pursuing her friend would make me feel pretty terrible. i'd rather know that my ex has moved on, which should soften the blow for her.

thanks for helping me to clarify things here. I think you are right - the one true barrier to me pursuing this other girl is that she is in a relationship with someone else. the fact that I was in a relationship with a friend would be her problem to navigate, not mine.

another question. if the girl I am into becomes single, what is a sensible way to approach the subject with her? i'm not sure that revealing the extent of my feelings for her is the right thing to do, and wouldn't be even if I hadn't previously been with her friend. coming on too strong too soon isn't healthy as we know. but at the same time, surely she'd need to know that I felt seriously about her if she's even to consider dating her friends ex. that the potential loss of a friend is worth a risk because I am seriously into her, and not just after a casual fling.

would be interested to hear your take on that.

thanks for your help so far.
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#6

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:17 pm

studentofthegame wrote:another question. if the girl I am into becomes single, what is a sensible way to approach the subject with her?


You ask her to grab a cup of coffee. Presumably you have knowledge of her likes/dislikes, so you approach it by offering to do things together, e.g. going for a hike, going out for Thai food. You offer to spend time with her as friends, with only the two of you.

If she rejects your offers, she is not interested in you as other than a friend. Use the 3 strike rule. Offer once, twice, three times and if she rejects all offers then move on. If she accepts, she is at a minimum open to the idea. She will have already considered how spending time with you will potentially impact her friendship with your ex.

If she accepts the date, the relationship should move forward naturally. If the time spent together with her went well, offer up another date. If there is mutual chemistry it will work, regardless of your past relationships.
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#7

Postby studentofthegame » Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:31 pm

That seems the sensible approach.

Am i misjudging the situation when thinking that i should be indicating to her that ive been feeling strongly about her for some time? If she thinks i’m just asking her out on a whim, she might think it’s not worth risking her friendship with my ex. Whereas if she knew how i felt, she’d at least understand how serious i am, and be able to make a decision with that info.

To address the point you made, i guess i wouldnt object to a friend dating my ex - as long as i was fully over the ex. And maybe if they asked me first whether i am over her.

Thank you by the way for the advice. I have been struggling with this for 2-3 years now.
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#8

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:10 pm

studentofthegame wrote: i guess i wouldnt object to a friend dating my ex - as long as i was fully over the ex. And maybe if they asked me first whether i am over her.


This provides you a clear moral/ethical compass you must use in order to uphold what you believe to be decent conduct.

To be a decent person in your own mind you must fulfill two conditions in sequential order:

-1- Don't interfere with another couples relationship. Your role is platonic friend, nothing more.

Only IF she becomes single THEN;

-2- You must ask for permission from your ex.

studentofthegame wrote: Am i misjudging the situation when thinking that i should be indicating to her that ive been feeling strongly about her for some time?


Until the above 2 conditions are met, you are getting ahead of yourself. There is the saying, don't cross the bridge until you get there.

Emotionally you are trying to figure out a way to violate the above two conditions and still see yourself as being decent. You don't want to accept the above two conditions, even as you recognize this is what you believe is the ethical application of a "do onto others" morality.

You can't force -1- and still be decent. And until -1- you can't resolve -2- and until -2- you can't take the 3rd step which would be to indicate your feelings. You are in the forum trying to figure out the 3rd step, before steps -1- and -2- have been resolved.

You need learn to accept you are currently in waiting mode and start working on other goals in life. You need to move forward and focus on other areas, allowing yourself to gain new experiences, new knowledge, and meet new people. This will allow you to grow and possibly modify what you want in life while monitoring this goal of expressing your intimate feelings to this friend.
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#9

Postby studentofthegame » Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:37 pm

The last bit is very true and the wheels are in motion. I’m not sittinh around waiting. There are other areas in life just as important.

I don’t think my rationale behind wondering if she should know a little of the extent of my feelings does violate the two conditions we have talked about. Even if the girl is single, and my ex has consented, there may still be some doubt in this girls mind.. ‘sure, she says she consents NOW... but who’s to say if our friendship would ever be quite the same if i cross this line and date her ex?’ It may be a risk she isnt willing to take. But if she has some idea that i’m serious about her, she might possibly be more willing to give it a shot.

I hope this point makes sense. Perhaps i’m over thinking this hugely, which is a habbit of mine.

But, this conversation has been helpful. I’m a lot clearer on the important stuff. Many thanks
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#10

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:43 pm

studentofthegame wrote:I don’t think my rationale behind wondering if she should know a little of the extent of my feelings does violate the two conditions we have talked about.


I agree. It is action not thought that violates your ethics.

It is perfectly normal and there is nothing unethical or indecent to simply think about "what if" scenarios. I only submit that having presented the question, you face an ethical challenge that is only resolved in a sequential process.

That is life. Sometimes you can't physically put the cart before the horse. You can only put a roof on a house, not a house on a roof. In certain cases in life, there is a certain sequential process involving physics that makes certain things impossible.

With ethics, it is not so clear cut. While ethically a husband might believe that he should divorce his wife before engaging in a new relationship, this sequential process is not always respected, i.e. the husband acts against his own ethics and initiates an affair.

But if she has some idea that i’m serious about her, she might possibly be more willing to give it a shot.


And based on your ethical standards, giving her some idea is only possible at the 3rd step. Until step -1- occurs and then you act upon step -2- you are in a situation where you would violate your own ethics if you do anything to tell this friend how serious you are.

Again, if you were in a relationship with a female you would not want some other guy throwing hints her way. You would not want some other guy communicating how serious he was to the woman you are currently dating. You would find that pretty crappy and unethical that some other guy would do this. So, respect this other guy that is currently dating her, respect her, and respect your own ethics.

And if I'm the female that is targeted by some other guy that believes it is his duty to explain his serious feelings while I'm in the middle of a relationship, I lose total respect for this guy. You might be my friend, but if while I'm currently dating someone you think it in anyway appropriate to express your serious feelings for me, I immediately reevaluate the friendship, because that is not what my friends do to each other. I don't care how my friend tries to rationalize or justify their need to tell me their serious feelings while I'm with someone else. I consider that to be inappropriate and selfish on their part.
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#11

Postby n01 » Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:53 am

I don't see what difference it makes to you that the girl is your ex's friend. So what if you HAD been in a "serious relationship with one of her very good friends"? That's over. How does it complicate things now? Unless you mean on a practical level of if this girl hangs out a lot with your ex and if you were to become a couple then it might be awkward hanging out with your ex??? But I don't think that's what you mean.

As for the girl you want to go out with being in a current relationship, then for me it may depend upon how long she has been with her guy. If they've been going out for say 3 months and he is not a friend of yours then absolutely it's ok to pursue her, nothing at all indecent about that. You owe the guy nothing, it's fair game. Sure it will give rise to hard feelings for the guy if he loses out to you, but that's life, he can deal with the fact that his (ex)gf preferred you over him. That's the nature of finding a preferable mate. You should give her the respect that she is quite capable of choosing what she prefers, given a choice.
If the boot was on the other foot and some guy was hitting on my girl and we didnt have any kids together then that's life if she chooses to go with the other guy who she prefers - it's all on her, not him, I have no relationship with him, he owes me nothing (least of all sacrificing his own happiness/feelings for mine). She owes me the respect due from being my girlfriend, and if she wants to jeopardize our relationship or end it then that's up to her, I don't hold him responsible for her choices.

If however they've been married for 10 years and have 3 young kids then sure, that's not the same situation, and before actively pursuing her I'd really have to be sure that she is unhappy, sees the relationship as flawed, and really knows what she is upsetting/jeopardizing (ie what they have built together).

And just to clarify, the above holds IF YOU FEEL STRONGLY about this girl. That makes you a genuine rival. If you didn't have any genuine feelings for her then no I don't think it's good form to go messing around with someone in a couple.

Anyhows, all this is kind of hypothetical -- don't you have any inkling about how she feels about you? Over the 3years or so that you've known her have you ever felt a frisson or sparkle in her eye or anything for you? I know she would likely do her utmost to hide that (coz of her friend) but did you pick up anything at all?
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#12

Postby studentofthegame » Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:57 am

Richard - what I'm getting at in particular at this point is the approach I make to the girl i'm into - assuming the conditions we have talked about have been met. she's single, and my ex has given her blessing. However, would asking this girl out for a coffee be the best approach? I wonder if she would be reluctant to date her friends ex (me), even with full blessing to do so, because of the risks to their friendship, having been casually asked out for a coffee. However, if she had some idea (not the full picture, which may scare her off) that I felt quite seriously about her, she may be more willing to take a shot on it, and navigate the potential risks to their friendship.

n01 - thanks for your thoughts. the complication of pursuing one of my ex's best friends is that I feel, for many people, dating a best friends ex is kind of a no-go area. I think the girl I am into is a very decent person and would have serious concerns about jeopardising her friendship with my ex to date me. But, as I have discussed with Richard, it's not impossible.

as for the girl's current relationship, she's been in it for two years. there is no marriage and no kids. for reasons I won't go into, suffice to say neither of those are on the table in their relationship. she's quite young, in her mid 20's, while i'm in my 30's. I was of the same mindset as you - that giving this girl the information (I feel strongly for her) and letting her do with it as she pleases with no pressure for a response was fair enough. after discussions above with Richard, i'm inclined to respect her current relationship and keep my mouth shut, at least until the point if she became single.

And to another of your points - I have felt some attraction back from her over the years. Catching her gaze, sometimes just a feeling. I could be wrong, of course. I feel strongly enough about her, and have lived with the burden of it for 3 years, that I could live with her at least knowing how I feel, even if nothing comes of it.

Thanks for your thoughts. This forum is a good resource.
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#13

Postby n01 » Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:41 am

I understand that you think that, but why? This is an assumption on your part about how someone else sees it. Why do you think it jeopardizes their friendship when the relationship with your ex is over? It's as though you believe you / your ex still have dibs on each other. You don't. Or rather, you believe that your FRIEND (girl you want) believes that you & your ex still have dibs on each other. You still don't. Doesn't compute for me. If I'm the friend (the girl you want) and I like you and have similar kinds of feelings for you that you talk about yourself, then for sure I'd be happy if you came on to me - the relationship you had with my friend is passed, over, insignificant. She had her chance. It didn't work out.

I haven't read all of Richard's replies and dont know what was persuasive (didnt see it), but I'm glad you have different points of view to listen to.

Just to re-state with the actual info then: 2 years and they have no kids and I feel strongly that she and I might make a good match.... yes for sure I'd have no moral qualms whatsoever about pursuing her. I should pursue her! I'm a genuine rival to him. I'll give her the choice. I'm not going to sacrifice my life-long potential happiness for joe bloggs (if he was a friend of mine it would be different). I'd give her a genuine choice and respect that she is capable of deciding what's best for her. It's not even contentious in my mind.
But people are different.
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#14

Postby studentofthegame » Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:01 am

Thanks n01.

On the complication about this girl dating her friends ex, maybe i should elaborate a bit.

The girl (that i’m into) and my ex are close friends and have been before i met my ex. I met the girl shortly after meeting my ex, and was immediately attracted to her. As the years have gone by, my feelings towards my ex lessened and my feelings for the girl grew.

This girl is the friend that my ex always turned to when we had problems in the relationship. My ex was open about this, and the girl was very fair and wouldn’t always take my exes side. Therein is the problem as i perceive it; their closeness. This girl has been involved in intimate discussions about our relationship, my ex has trusted her to be the person she confides in.

Rationally, it it was handled properly, i know that the door is not shut on me and this girl on the basis of her friendship with my ex alone. But it would surely effect their friendship in a negative way.
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