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Romantic feelings for a friend's girlfriend/wife

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After the relationship with my last girlfriend broke down, I was feeling miserable, assuming(incorrectly) that the many friends I had met with her would be obliged to choose one of us over the other, and such a choice would not favour me. I was wrong, and found that a certain couple among this group of friends was especially supportive and social, something that helped me recover much faster than I otherwise might have. T

Sounds good so far, right? Well, here's the problem: I have fallen for the women in this couple. Hard.

These sorts of feelings had existed prior to the break-up, but didn't really develop as I was so focused on other pursuits. These vague feelings have increased hugely since that time. I find myself thinking of her constantly, even dreaming about her. These dreams are especially painful, as they are so often wish-fufilment fantasies which leave me miserable upon awakening.

What makes it even [sarcasm]better[/sarcasm] is how long standing, and apparently loving their relationship is, which makes me feel like crap for even thinking some of the things I have.

I don't want to loose the friendship of these two people (Which I value immensely), but at the same time I feel like I'm lying by omission when it comes to the romantic feelings I have.

My question is this: What the hell do I do?

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These sorts of feelings had existed prior to the break-up, but didn't really develop as I was so focused on other pursuits. These vague feelings have increased hugely since that time. I find myself thinking of her constantly, even dreaming about her. These dreams are especially painful, as they are so often wish-fufilment fantasies which leave me miserable upon awakening.

This is the heart of the problem or at least part of it. You must stop indulging these sorts of fantasies.

Dan had a good article a while back on a proces he's found for demoting a relationship. As you can see it involves just this, removing yourself from the situation until such time as you can control those feelings. Whether to tell one or the other what you're doing... hmmm not so sure. it depends on whether they'd be tipped off and act differently just by virtue of the fact that you said something.

You however MUST act differently.

If you value their friendship, then you must put that value in the forefront of your mind and act consistently with it.

I think that one aspect you need to consider as well is the proper role of fantasy. Fantasies are great in certain contexts, but they are disconnected from reality. Sometimes we indulge them to the point that we can find fulfilling attracions just based upon our fantasies. A critical aspec in real world relationships to continue to spark feelings of attraction is reciprocation. IMO, an emotionally healthy man does not long hold feelings of romantic admiration for a woman who does not return the sentiment. This is an egoistic thing. We do not ultimately respect someone on that sort of level who cannot see us for what we are and want to be seen for at that same level. This basic check is what your fantasies are circumventing.

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My advice is different than the above. If this woman is worth it, and you think that you are objectively "the better man"... pursue her and then let the chips fall where they may when it comes to friendships, etc.

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My advice is different than the above. If this woman is worth it, and you think that you are objectively "the better man"... pursue her and then let the chips fall where they may when it comes to friendships, etc.

"worth it..."

worth what exactly? And by what standard should he judge this?

This line of advice requires that he be thinking pretty clearly about the whole situation, most importantly that he be able to evaluate the other parties involved probably without complete information about them as people. This is a pretty dangerous course of action, as to begin to investigate this path will almost certainly destroy something he values before he is able to confirm his actual evaluations of the woman involved. The outcome for descruction of a friendship is almost certain; the outcome for success in his evaluation is far from it. It's why going around trying to break up marriages, on the premise that you know the parties involved (from your vantage point outside their relationship) better than they do is generally neither a good way to pursue lovers nor keep friendships.

One pretty clear indicator of whether she's worth it is if she sees that he's the better man, i.e. if she reciprocates. This is the other reason that reciprocation is a pretty good indicator of the situation.

IMHO, there might be situations where this would be the proper course of action, but without more context, this line of advice is crap. The evidence given so far would indicate that many prerequisites to pull this off correctly are not in place, and he risks more than he stands to gain.

Edited by KendallJ
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It doesn't sound like you have this situation sorted out objectively yet. You just had a relationship end, and you are probably feeling very insecure, that is -- not confident and clear in your thinking. Hold off on any actions right now and avoid both of them for the present moment.

Do you really want this *actual* woman? Or do you want what you might be projecting onto her? You see her as very efficacious in her relationship -- she loves to be loved, and she reciprocates wonderfully with her partner. And you want that for yourself. So do you want her -- or do you only want that kind of relationship out of context (without regard for the consequences of either breaking them up or alienating both of them from you)?

If I were you, I would not be hasty. I would write everything down, read it, and re-read it. Then in a couple of days, read it again, make more notes and ask yourself more questions. As the saying goes -- be careful what you wish for. And I would add, understand all the aspects of what you are wishing for before acting.

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If I were you, I would not be hasty. I would write everything down, read it, and re-read it. Then in a couple of days, read it again, make more notes and ask yourself more questions. As the saying goes -- be careful what you wish for. And I would add, understand all the aspects of what you are wishing for before acting.

Great advice Amy!

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Great advice Amy!

I agree!

The decision to take a good man's woman is not to be taken lightly.

We all know the wise words of the philosopher Jagger: You Can't Always Get What You Want.

But here, that's just a gentle reminder of the greater truth: that which you want is often the last thing you should pursue.

Guys (and gals too) often cringe when advised to introspect (arg!), and IN WRITING, ON PAPER (DOUBLE ARG!).

But Amy's advice is worth it's weight in your future happiness.

--- Robert "been there, several times, on both sides, learnt th' hard way" Nasir

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"worth it..."

worth what exactly?

Worth persuing as the woman he wants to spend his life with.

And by what standard should he judge this?

He should judge by the standard of his own independent judgement of what he finds valuable/desireable in a women.

This line of advice requires that he be thinking pretty clearly about the whole situation...

I would never advise anyone to do anything without thinking clearly.

This is a pretty dangerous course of action, as to begin to investigate this path will almost certainly destroy something he values before he is able to confirm his actual evaluations of the woman involved. The outcome for descruction of a friendship is almost certain; the outcome for success in his evaluation is far from it.

That depends on his value of freindship with the guy versus what he might expect as a gain in value from a romantic relationship with the lady.

It's why going around trying to break up marriages, on the premise that you know the parties involved (from your vantage point outside their relationship) better than they do is generally neither a good way to pursue lovers nor keep friendships.

I wouldn't advise people to go around being homewreckers, but in certain contexts it may be the correct line of action.

One pretty clear indicator of whether she's worth it is if she sees that he's the better man, i.e. if she reciprocates. This is the other reason that reciprocation is a pretty good indicator of the situation.

I completely agree here.

IMHO, there might be situations where this would be the proper course of action, but without more context, this line of advice is crap.

Thanks for being blunt... lol.

The evidence given so far would indicate that many prerequisites to pull this off correctly are not in place, and he risks more than he stands to gain.

Maybe, maybe not-- that's for him to decide after fully the full context of his knowledge of this situation.

Let me amend my advice, think hard and long about what you value most about these two different people taking into effect the full context of your knowledge, gains vs. losses ,etc. and then make the decision that best fulfills your perogotive.

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It sounds like a pretty classic case of rebound to me. You're lonely, you're upset, and she's There For You. Ergo, you're feeling a strong attachment and you've decided that you're in love with her. Happens all the time. I know of what I speak because all of my friends are male and when I'm particularly depressed or lonely I tend to get clingy. In order to avoid acting like a twit, I decided that I'm just not in the market any more. I can enjoy the attachment I share with my friends, but I don't let it get to me.

That, and if you're going to fantasize, it may help if you stick with fictional characters. Far fewer complications that way.

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I don't want to loose the friendship of these two people (Which I value immensely), but at the same time I feel like I'm lying by omission when it comes to the romantic feelings I have.

Regarding your feelings, I suggest re-reading Atlas Shrugged, particularly focusing on the relationships of Dagny with

Francisco, Rearden, and then Galt and the continued romantic feelings between Dagny and Francisco and between Dagny and Rearden after each of their relationships. The scenes in Galt's Gulch through Dagny's radio address and meeting with Rearden upon her return may be particularly helpful.

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