Don?t Take It Personally, Babe, It Just Ain?t Your Story


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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Dear Love FAQ,

There’s this girl. She’s the best friend of my best friend’s fiance. At their wedding, she will be the Maid of Honor, while I will be the Best Man.

I’ve known her for four years now, just as acquaintances, but this summer the four of us have been hanging out a lot. I’ve seen a different side of her, and I’ve grown to like her.

My question: Is it better to ask her out now, when we are still mostly acquaintances? Or is it better to become friends first, before trying for a relationship?

I should also say I’m hesitant to discuss this with my friend or his fiancé, because I dated one of her friends in college, and we had a nasty break-up. I worry that that experience might have turned them off to me dating this girl too.


Sidekicks Need Love Too

Dear Sidekick,

This is an easy one: Ask her out. Today. Right now. Go on. I’ll wait.

Look, you like this girl. You know you two have a lot in common, that you can get along in stressful situations. And you already know you like her friends (and that she likes yours).

Life’s too short to pass up a chance like this. So just stop waffling and ask her on a date already.

The worst case scenario is you two have a passionate, torrid affair that ends messily – something that could happen in any relationship, mind you – and you have to put up with a snarling psycho hose-beast until the wedding is over. It’s a risk, but … so what? You’re an adult. If it happens, just put your Big Boy Pants on and act like a grown-up for a few hours. If divorced parents, Democrats and Republicans, and Sony and Microsoft fanboys can do it, then so, too, can you.

Given the situation, though, I think it’s only fair you give the bride and groom a head’s up. But don’t ask their permission. It’s not their call. It’s yours. What you did years ago back in college doesn’t matter; clearly your best friend’s fiancé has forgiven you, if she was ever mad at all, and it wasn’t her business to begin with anyway.
Besides, people change. They grow up. I assume you’re smarter now, and would make every effort to avoid the same mistakes you made when you were in college. So don’t let the 19-year-old you rule your sex life today.

Just remember one thing: Whatever happens between you and the Maid of Honor – whether you fall madly in love or you can’t stand each other in six months – the wedding itself is not about you. It’s about your friends and their happiness.

As long as you keep that in mind while you’re on Best Man Duty, then do whatever the hell you like, with whoever the hell you like, in your off hours.

Disclaimer: LoveFAQ is written by Lara Crigger, who is by no means a trained psychiatrist or therapist or even a middle school guidance counselor – just a smart gal who wants to help out her fellow geek. LoveFAQ is meant for entertainment purposes only, so don’t take it as a substitute for professional advice. If you have real problems, consult your physician.

Got a burning question (or a question about burning) for LoveFAQ? Send your emails to [email protected]. All submissions are confidential and anonymous.

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