My sister is seventeen and has been best friends with this guy since third grade. She now wants more from the relationship but also has another guy she has been talking to for a while. How can she let the first guy know she cares without hurting the second?
Thank you Peter, for everything.
Tough situation because everyone involved is young and very likely to see what's going on. If they were all out there living separately it wouldn't be a problem because she could easily date both guys casually. Right?
So if there's no chance of the guys interacting then it's NOT a problem.
There's nothing wrong with dating several men at once and it's highly recommended to avoid committing too early AND to achieve a more personal completeness without the added pressure and responsibilities of being in a relationship.
Honestly speaking the only time she should be concerned with hurting a guy is when it's done with deceit, lying, and manipulation.
Other than that whether or not the guy's going to get hurt is kind of up to him, isn't it?
If he really likes her and has developed some deep feelings then if she ends up with her long time friend, he's going to feel awful. But that doesn't mean she should not follow her heart.
If he has not expected or accepted anything more than a casual possibility then I'm sure, if he's hurt at all, he'll get over it quickly and move on.
My first suggestion, as it will always be... is to set up dates apart from each other and don't do things which give either guy a reason to believe it's a relationship.
They both must accept half the risk of being hurt and it's very likely either one of them could be feeling it for some other girl too. Who is to say?
Let me put myself in the mind and body of both guys:
Here's my good friend who I've known forever and is starting to give the impression she wants more than a friendship. Since we're good friends I already know there's this other guy she's been "talking" and although I'm a little concerned, I understand it's her right to do whatever she wants.
Here I'm this other guy. Just maybe I have suspected that her best friend is actually more than a friend. It sucks. We've talked a lot lately and just when I feel like we're getting closer, I'm starting to really see what's happening.
Yes, it hurts a little. Yes, I would rather not have it happen. BUT it's not something I have control over anyways.
A woman will do what she feels is best for her and if she believes she'll be happier with him, then so be it.
Granted that's me.
However, if you assume a guy is mature enough to handle and take responsibility for their lives then you shouldn't have to worry about hurting someone, just because you like someone else more.
My point is, if words must be said, honesty is what's best and whether or not the second guy is going to be hurt should only matter a little. Personally I've been the second guy, sort of, and her honesty worked best for me.
There's no need to draw it out and pretend IF that's what she wants.
My second point remains the same, I see nothing wrong with getting closer to her friend and see what happens first. Slowly let things evolve by getting closer BUT remain non-committed to either guy.
We're talking about dating here and since I wouldn't recommend anyone so young committing just yet anyways, I feel it's best to stay casual with both guys until later on, when it's time to consider something more.
IF she's already committed to the second guy, the not one her friend, then we have a problem... in that case she needs to break it off first.
After it all settles out then she can begin to tackle the new thing with her long time friend. I would never suggest she keeps one around "just in case".
Hopefully this will help her get headed in the direction which is best for everyone and wish her the best of luck for me.