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Shutting out 'crush' is their only solution

I had a very tight group of friends in college, one of whom ("Greg") has always had a thing for me. Now we are in our late 20s and are still good friends. Greg has kept up this crush with no encouragement on my end; in fact, I've gently suggested to him over the years that perhaps it's holding him back. Meanwhile I've always dated and am now with the person I plan to marry.

Well, finally, last year, Greg found a girlfriend and we were all thrilled for him. They moved in with each other almost immediately, and several times the rest of the group and I suggested we all get together. I always got noncommittal, yeah-we-should-do-that responses. Then I'd hear they all got together without me.

I found out the girl "hated" me, although we had never met. I finally did meet her, days after Greg proposed to her. I felt that she and I hit it off.

Now I am stunned to learn (from friends) that I am not invited to their wedding. It's not the wedding I am sad about. I am furious that he's throwing away a decade of friendship and doesn't have the guts to tell me to my face. Her insecurity has destroyed our circle of friends and I don't know what to do. I do not want to make things harder on him (she already checks his cell phone religiously) ... but how do I get closure on this friendship?

You provide it yourself, by recognizing that he finally heard you: You hold him back. So, he's doing what he feels is necessary to free himself from your (unintended) grasp.

Is it uglier than it has to be? Yes. Is it at your expense? Yes. Is it in fact necessary? In his eyes, so, yes.

But don't make the mistake of blaming the girl. Greg is blowing your circle apart - with the help of your spineless friends - since the only nuance he can muster, apparently, is between extremes and absolutes.

And, what's shutting you out is his insecurity (though hers is clearly impressive). He indulges her irrational hatred of you. He rushed to move in with her, too.

It's not malicious, it's sad. Because he is afraid of losing this girlfriend - the one he "finally" found, ouch - and that fear is more immediate to him than his fear of losing you. I'd hardly call that grounds for wedded bliss, but I would call it grounds for forgiveness. Bow out gracefully and wish the best for their wobbly bus.

Make intentions clear

I've been dating my girlfriend for 2-1/2 years, and she wants to get married. I don't mind getting engaged but want to live together for one to two years before setting a date. Is this unreasonable?

You "don't mind"? Lucky girl.

It's reasonable, and can be a good idea, provided you: want to marry her; are honest with her (and yourself); communicate well; put no pressure on her to relent; resist bogus promises; and follow through by making up your mind before she starts to hate you for stringing her along, making bogus promises, manipulating her and lying. I think you'd be surprised at how quickly this good idea veers into really bad faith.

Tell me about it! E-mail tellme@washpost.com; fax (202) 334-5669; write "Tell Me About It," c/o the Washington Post, Style Plus, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.

Washington Post Writers Group

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