Ask O: The Advice Column (September 15, 2021)

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Dear O:

My name is Eric and I attend a university here is Mississippi. I won’t beat around the bush and get right to the point. My best friend (I’ll call him Mitch) has a girlfriend named Tammy (not her real name) and I’m secretly in love with her. I didn’t mean for this to happen but it did. About a year ago Mitch and Tammy began their relationship and they would always be around me. That’s when my feelings first became apparent. Mitch treats Tammy great and they’re a wonderful couple but the fact still remains that I want her to be mine. She’s intelligent, ambitious, a great conversationalist, has a great personality and overall just a magnificent human being. I try to act as though I don’t have feelings for her when she’s around me but it’s becoming exceptionally difficult to hide the way I feel. I find myself thinking of her constantly. Mitch is like a brother to me and I don’t want to hurt him but this is becoming unbearable. O, what should I do? Should I tell Tammy how I feel about her? I don’t want to see anyone hurt in this situation but it’s eating me up inside.

Secret Admirer

Dear Secret Admirer:

Hello, Eric. A part of maturing and self-care is acknowledging your feelings. You have to acknowledge your feelings whether they are good or bad, whether they will build someone up or unfortunately tear them down. There will come a point where if you continuously brush everything off at the expense of other people’s feelings, you will leave yourself in a bind.

On the contrary, I have to be 100% realistic with you. If you call Mitch your brother, his girlfriend shouldn’t be a young lady you look at from that perspective. No matter how charming, beautiful and intelligent a young lady may be, if she is with your friend you shouldn’t be attracted to her with hopes of being with her just from the loyalty you have with your friend. If you have such strong feelings for your friend’s girlfriend, maybe you should question and re-evaluate the status of you and Mitch’s relationship. Is he really like a brother to you?

However, the fact that you are hiding how you feel because you don’t want to see others get hurt speaks volumes about your character. Although I asked you to re-evaluate your relationship with Mitch, if you are loyal to your friend in the right areas, and if anything becomes unbearable, you should always choose you. Acknowledge your feelings. Free your mind.

In the end, no matter how anyone feels about your decisions, even me, don’t feel bad about your feelings or who you are attracted to. In life we can’t control who we love, but we can control who we hurt, who we are loyal to and the decisions that we make.

Your supportive Friend,

O

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