Style & Substance: Conflicting Loyalty

Dear Style & Substance: 

I am in a little bit of a pickle. I have mouth-watering, earth moving feelings for this guy. He is smart, classy, funny, attractive and very exciting. He made a move to take our friendship further a few months ago and I resisted because one major obstacle is we have a mutual friend who also adores him and they had a fling for a few months. This friend also confides in me about how much she misses him and how much he meant to her during their time together. I have never told her of my feelings for him or that he had shown an interest in me back then. I have a short window to make a move on this situation as he is considering moving from the area. I’m afraid if I do, I might hurt my friend more than I can anticipate. I know there are a lot of “fish in the sea” and friends out there, but they both are great people. I am afraid I will regret either choice. Can you shed some light?

-Conflicting Loyalty

We will agree with you, in that this is a pickle! Being very conflicted with your loyalty to your friend is very admirable and very telling – in that there are other feelings to consider. If you believe that there are two sides to every story, and that the truth could lie somewhere in between, it would behoove you to take some time to investigate a little further without a commitment!

We think that a first step may be to tell him that you’d like to say “yes” to a date but that you have a dilemma you would like to talk to him about in person. This gives you a chance not only to investigate how he responds; it also gives him the opportunity to explain his feelings, past and present, for your girlfriend. This conversation can also help you to check the temperature on your feelings for him. See what he says and does...as his expressions and body language will tell you much more. Don’t treat it like a court case or inquisition, but more about loyalty to your friend and trying not to hurt anyone in the process.

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