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Tumultuous Love Triangles

Dear Sugar
I've managed to get myself into a bit of hot water. Six months ago I came out of a six year long relationship. Just recently, I've started seeing one of my oldest and dearest friends. We go back about 15 years together and I am so happy with him. I don't know why we never tried dating before, he is such an amazing man.

I am now 28 years old and he is 30. We've walked into this very much with our eyes open, but there is one problem. My closest friend dated him 13 years ago for about a year. They never slept together and she cheated on him twice during their relationship. He was hurt and they eventually broke up, but they have still remained close friends to this day.

I'm frightened to tell her that we are dating because through all these years, she still carries a torch for him. Since they broke up, she has been in two long term relationships and is currently expecting her first child. He, on the other hand, has no romantic feelings for her whatsoever and has made this clear on several occasions over the years.

He has been single for the past four years and feels so lucky to have reconnected with me. I feel the same way about him. I've never a met a man like him before- I'm seeing him in a completely different light and I really want to be with him.

We are doing everything in secret at the moment, which of course feels terrible and is racking us with guilt. He feels that this is totally pathetic and thinks that she needs to get over her silly little teenage fling already! I, on other hand, agree with him, but I also don't want to hurt my friend's feelings. I feel terrible right now. Tormented Tori

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Dear Tormented Tori
Love triangles are always tumultuous. It can feel like a pretty heavy betrayal when one of your closest friends hurts you over a guy. She'll feel like you have chosen him over your friendship. Be prepared to go through a wide range of emotions with her: from anger, to hurt, to jealousy and even self pity, as she may want to wallow over the fact that he chose you over her.

Keep all of this in mind when you talk to her - and make it snappy. Prolonging the inevitable isn't sparing anyone's feelings here. There is a reason that you are feeling guilty, and it's time to clear the air if you really care about your friend.

In your talk be sure to clearly express your sorrow and remorse for hurting her. Also be sure to reiterate that you wouldn't have risked her feelings if this relationship wasn't getting serious. Make sure that she understands that this isn't just an in-the-moment lustful relationship, rather, you feel you've found a wonderful and trusted partner.

Lastly, let her know that you've kept this secret and private from everyone. This way she won't feel as if she's the last to know. Hopefully she'll be understanding and open to your new relationship. In time, maybe she'll even be happy for the both of you and put her own hurt aside. Just as you are worried about her feelings, I hope that she can join in your happiness too. Now that would be a tell tale sign of a good friendship. Good luck.

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