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Ask Athena: I've Fallen in Love With My Best Friend


Published May 17, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated May 30, 2017 at 4:09 p.m.

Dear Athena,

I recently fell in love with my best friend. The only problem is that he's in a partnership with another woman (also my friend), and they have a young child together. I know he's in love with me, too, and we don't know what to do. If we get together, so many other hearts will be broken, but we can't deny our feelings. We want to rush into this, and I know I'll treat him better than his current partner does. Could this work? What do you think?


Crazy in Love

Dear Crazy,

Love often finds us when — and where — we least expect it. Have two friends ever fallen in love and made it work? Totally. In fact, falling in love with your best friend has the potential to be the best scenario ever. You already know you're compatible, and you already love each other — how convenient.

Except when the object of your affection is with someone else.

Maybe you two haven't yet indulged in your love affair, but the fact that it's happening in your hearts is going to feel like cheating to his current girlfriend. So it would be in his and your best interests if he ends things with her right away. If you're longing for an eventual "happily ever after," it has to start with honesty right now.

You can't choose whom you fall in love with, but you can certainly choose what your next move will be. It sounds like you two know what's coming if you declare your feelings publicly. The current girlfriend will no doubt be hurt and angry and feel that you have betrayed her; do not expect her to be accommodating. Also, no matter how in love you are, she is and always will be the mother of your guy's child. That situation could get very messy.

Your relationship will force a big adjustment on everyone involved — including other friends and family members — so be prepared to navigate dramatically shifting dynamics. In fact, there's a risk you could be socially ostracized, at least initially.

Regardless of your own desires, it's paramount to proceed with respect and to give your two friends the space they need to end their relationship on their terms. They must be the ones to negotiate that and to set parameters with regard to the child. Do not try to get in the middle — that part is not about you.

Clearly his current relationship was not meant to last if he was susceptible to falling in love with you. But that doesn't make the transition any easier for anyone involved. You'll need to be patient and supportive. And, down the road, perhaps you'll find a way to salvage your friendship with her, too.