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Give your brother's fiancee a chance

Give brother's fiancee a chance even though you liked his ex

Q: My brother dated X in college, and they moved in together afterward. For five years, she joined us at family dinners, vacations, etc. We really loved her. Then my brother decided she wasn't the one, broke up, started seeing Y, and now, a year later, they are engaged. Y is a lovely person and has asked me to be a bridesmaid.

I know this is my brother's decision to make. I wish them happiness — but I can't really be joyful around them when I feel so bad for X. Is it okay to decline being in the wedding party?

D.C.

A: No, it's not okay. While you clearly love X and mean well, it's not fair to slap Y in the face just for not being X. And that's essentially what you'd be doing.

Even if your brother did something wrong — doesn't sound as if he did — your punishing him would also hurt innocent parties. Your family sounds close; maintaining that bond is a responsibility you all share.

If X loves your family as your family loves her, she'd tell you this herself: Please give Y the same chance you gave her.

A friend can drop a friend when the feelings aren't mutual

Q: "Mary" used to be my friend until I told her I felt stronger feelings for her than just "friends."

I don't think I told her in any kind of way that would tick her off, but she keeps telling me, "We can't be friends until you don't like me." She says it makes her feel uncomfortable that I like her.

It boggles my mind. I knew her for about two years before I said anything about having these feelings for her, so I don't think it was "creepy" or anything. She will text me every once in a while, just to see if I still have strong feelings for her. If she detects any attraction at all, she will go back to ignoring me.

I do not believe in pretending I don't like her just so we can be her idea of "friends," but I feel like I'll lose her if I don't keep my emotions in check. If a girl likes me more than I like her, I do not believe we can't be friends. I just go about my daily business and still show her respect by at least communicating with her. I do not see why she couldn't do the same.

Just Another Option

A: "Why" is a legitimate question, because understanding people is often the shortcut to finding a productive way of dealing with them.

But when you've tried to figure someone out, to no avail — and apparently done so through several cycles of her going silent, texting you, scanning your interactions for evidence of affection (!), and going silent again — it's okay to give up on understanding and take the facts at face value: In your current condition (i.e., smitten), she doesn't want you around.

So, it's time to write this one off.

If it helps, it is okay to assign a probable reason for her doing this: Mary isn't mature enough to withstand a period of awkwardness while you and she figure out whether you can remain friends. Useful not just with understanding her, but also with writing her off.

Give your brother's fiancee a chance 09/21/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 8:51am]

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