Dear Captain Awkward,
I seem to have found myself in what I think is an unspoken romantic FEELINGS triangle. I have two friends, B (a lady around my age, early twenties) and T (man-type person, mid-late twenties). I am also a lady. B and T have been friends for maybe three years now and are, by all appearances, best friends. I entered their social circle about a year and a half ago.
From the beginning, I have had feelings for T. I did a little bit of flirting, but he never seemed to respond, so I cut my losses and began dating someone else. T and I are very close now, the wonderful kind where we forget about the time when we hang out. We have brunch every other Saturday or so and watch movies and talk.
My relationship of about a year ended about a month ago. There were sympathy-brunches with T and, during the most recent one, he kissed me. This was not unprecedented. He had been getting flirtier and I apparently had thought enough of it to talk to a mutual friend of B, T, and I, and her reaction surprised me.
“If you want B to like you, you won’t pursue T,” she told me. She wouldn’t say much and was very vague, so I inquired more closely about it because, those feelings for T? Still very much there, it turns out.
From what I can tell, B has maybe had feelings for T for ages but never acted on them? And that’s it, really. No one will say much.
So now T likes me and wants to see where things go. Despite not wanting to boyfriend/girlfriend each other right away (neither of us are in that headspace right now), we are both very much infatuated with the other and want to explore it.
When I asked, T told me he and B were not and had never been involved romantically and he was unaware of any unspoken feelings. I get an inkling that he knows how B feels about him (if she does? I don’t know) but doesn’t want to address it.
So here is my possible FEELINGS triangle. Do I have a responsibility to bring this up with B? T and I talked about how we’d keep this discreet unless we decide we want to boyfriend/girlfriend each other, but this feels important. (Maybe it only feels important because people are getting cagey about it?)
Dear Captain, please help me decipher all this. I really would like to pursue things with T because he is ever so lovely, but I am getting weird vibes from this whole situation.
(P.S. B knows nothing about this at present time.)
Sexy Typewriter here.
If there were such a thing as The Track Meet of Friendship, RC, you would win the blue ribbon every year while the rest of us selfish jerks would only get those ugly purple-and-gold participation badges. You are a seriously lovely human for considering and anticipating the needs and feelings of your friend.
That said, there’s such a thing as being too kind and considerate. Really. Like many kindhearted people, I think you are forgetting that your desires are as legitimate as those of your friends, neighbours, relatives, etc. And when it comes to certain things (such as, I don’t knowwww, the possibility of achieving true romantic love?), you probably should not sacrifice your own potential happiness just to keep things from becoming awkward for B.
Here is some perspective: B has had three years to make a move on T. Three years. Would you like to know how long it takes to say, “Hey T, I really like you!”? Three seconds. (I timed it and everything.) And yet, the two of them have been platonic this entire time. And B has never once hinted to you that she harbours Important Secret Feelings for T. Oh, and T has made his mutual interest in you clear. All signs point to “Game on!”
If you feel weird or backhanded for seeing what naturally unfolds between you and T, why not just use your words and ask B how she’d feel if you and T started dating?
Our Captain Awkward is good at scripts, so here’s my shot at one: “So B, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this, but T and I have lately developed some more-than-friend feelings for each other. We haven’t decided what we’re going to do about this yet, but if we do go the dating route, I’m wondering how you’d feel about that.”
Note that you are not asking for permission. You’re merely giving her a heads-up and gauging her feelings. In an ideal world, she’ll be thrilled for her friends. Orrrrr (more likely), B might go really quiet. Or voice concerns (that may or may not include shit-talking T’s dating past). Or maybe she will just absolutely detonate a FEELINGSBOMB in your general vicinity. Be gentle and understanding (as if I need to tell you that, Friendship Track Meet champion) and let her know that you value her friendship and will be as discreet as you can about your romantic relationship with T, if it comes to that.
You and T are adults, and if you are both feeling feelings and want to date each other, I say you damn well should.
Your feelings for T are just as legitimate B’s, RC. Someone else’s Top Secret Unrequited Romantic Feelings do not get to be the boss of you.
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