Love FAQ

Love FAQ
Don’t Take It Personally, Babe, It Just Ain’t Your Story

Lara Crigger | 29 Jul 2011 12:00
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LoveFAQ is a weekly advice column for geeks, by geeks about love, life and maxing out your romance meter. Got questions for LoveFAQs? Send them to [email protected].

Dear LoveFAQ,

I've known the woman of my dreams since high school. While we've had our ups and downs in our respective lives in the five years since then, she still means the world to me.

I told her how I felt four years ago. The main reason we haven't done anything is because she was in an unhappy relationship, and she lived about two thousand miles away.

Recently I found out she was being deployed to Kuwait, and I'm worried that if I don't say something (again) before she leaves, she won't know how I still feel about her. She's got six weeks left, and I still don't know what to do. I don't know if she still knows how I feel from before, or if I should just come out and say it again. Any advice?

- The One Left Behind

Dear The One --

You neglect to mention whether she is interested in you. Judging by the fact that it's been four years since you confessed your feelings and you two are still not together, I suspect the answer is no. After all, boyfriends can be broken up with, and 2,000 miles is just a plane ticket away.

Indeed, if she weren't going off to Kuwait, I'd tell you to just cut your losses and move on. End of story.

Yet her deployment complicates things for you, doesn't it? Because in fairy tales, right before the hero goes off to slay the dragon, the love interest usually confesses her love, and it gives the hero something to live for, something to fight for. I can't blame you for thinking this might apply to you, too.

But life isn't a fairytale. (Thank god. Characters in fairytales never get to have sex.)

Your friend isn't a dragon slayer, of course; she's a soldier going on active duty. And while that makes her no less of a hero, chances are quite high she'll come back in one piece. Kuwait isn't a combat zone. Even if it were, women are rarely put on the front lines.

Still, right now, she's probably nervous, even terrified. What she needs now more than a boyfriend is a friend, and the support of those who care about her as she faces this long separation with everyone and everything she knows.
I say this as kindly as possible: Don't make her deployment about you or your feelings, because it isn't. These last six weeks she has Stateside should be about her.

I do, however, encourage you to voice your care and concern to her explicitly. Indeed, it would probably mean a great deal to her to hear something like, "I want you to know that, no matter what, I'm here for you, and I'm always willing to listen you need to talk."

But now is not the time to ask her to give you anything. That includes awkward replies or rejections, should you decide to tell her how you feel.

In the meantime, move on. Find someone else. That doesn't mean you must stop caring about your friend, or stop being there for her. But you're not doing yourself any favors pining after a girl who can't (in the case of her deployment) or won't (in the case of the past four years) reciprocate your feelings.

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