I am falling in love with my friend’s sister

Dear Suzie, I feel foolish, but love makes fools of us all. So here goes. Im a bright single man, without children or previous marriages but with quite a few relationships.

My last relationship started 10 yrs ago, this relationship fizzled out but we remain close friends. We spend most of our time together and often visit her sister who is married. Simply put, I think I am falling in love with my friends sister. I do not know if these feelings are reciprocal. My gut feeling is she feels something, but this instinct is unreliable.

I spent 5 minutes with her yesterday in her garden, the wind blowing her hair, the sun lighting its colour , I was shocked by my own feelings for her and tried to be nonchalant and disinterested while my insides were in tumult. All I wanted, was to touch her and kiss her, not being able to, was dreadful.

She is married to a professional wealthy man, who provides her with everything she needs and wants (I am poor) but have many qualities. (modesty aside:) I understand that any kind of relationship with her is improbable (she is married after all )but I would like advise on how to deal with the situation and how to cope with the pain of unrequited love?

You deal with it the same way you deal with a stubbed toe or a broken leg. Bite your lip, swear and wait for it to heal.

It isn’t love that makes fools of us. It’s the myth that if you want it you should have it, and that any sort of suffering or denial is somehow intolerable. It isn’t. Small children who scream to have all the cookies they can eat won’t die from starvation. Nor will adult children who think just because lust has them in thrall they either should have the object of their desire, or expire.

She’s married. She has children. Why do you think your desire, however poetically phrased, is more important than either her husband’s, her children’s or indeed her feelings in the matter? She may have noticed you. She may like you. She may even think you’re a dish. That nowhere near means she is interested in having an affair with you.

And even if she did, the point of being an adult is this; true grown ups know that sometimes we want something but other issues are more important that our wants. Things such as fidelity, promises and children. Adults know that being married doesn’t mean you never notice other people, but it does mean you weigh up what is really important.

Do I sound harsh and unsympathetic? Maybe. I do sympathise with your feelings but over the years I have heard from so many people whose lives have been ruined by this excuse; “The wind blew through her hair and we couldn’t resist”. Oh yes you can. You may not be able to control what you feel but you can damn well control what you do.

Leave it alone. Go away and lick your wounds. Stop fuelling this fire and look for someone who is free to respond to you. Have a think about why you’ve fixed on her, anyway. Because she’s the sister of someone you once loved – is she a substitute for her, or is it simply that she’s a known quantity and you’re feeling scared about launching yourself on the open market again? It might help to ask for a chat with someone from Relate, just to get yourself on an even keel again.

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