Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Ask me Anything: Dating someone in a relationship

Monday, February 21, 2022
Graphic by Emma Kratky

Todayís question: If I like someone who is in a relationship, but seems like they may be interested in me, how should I approach them if I want to be in a relationship with them? Or should I drop it?

Iíve gotten a few questions about how to approach someone youíre interested in without making things weird. And I get it ó these things can be really tricky subjects. If you didnít straight up match with someone on Tinder, gauging if someone is into you isnít usually easy.

But I want to step back for a sec and focus on the ďtheyíre in a relationshipĒ part. I know going for someone whoís taken can be tempting. Exciting, even. And not to rain on your parade, I know this might not be the most exciting and fun answer, but from the other side of the fence, itís a bit of a different story.

I was taken when I went to college, but very early on, I met another guy. It seemed like we had so much in common, and he was impossibly charming ó always telling me how pretty I was and how much better he would treat me than the person I was dating.

He was my first real friend when I moved more than six hours away from home, and at the time, he was my best friend and a big part of my support system.

So I started developing feelings, more intensely than I let myself acknowledge. I debated for weeks about ending my nearly two-year relationship. I finally decided I couldnít continue in good conscience when my heart was elsewhere.

And I did. It was difficult and soul-wrenching, but it felt good to finally be single. But then: the other guy ghosted. All the attention, love and hints about how well he would treat me were gone almost immediately after my breakup.

Iím not friends with him anymore. Thereís a lot of reasons that went into that decision, how he treated me when I was in a relationship being one of the biggest. It took me a long time to realize it, but I donít want to be friends with someone who doesnít respect me or my boundaries and who played a big part in ending my relationship for his own gain.

So, reader, let this be a cautionary tale. I think itís pretty reasonable to say that itís never, ever, ever a good idea to try to break up a relationship for your own sake. If youíre interested in someone, the best thing you can do is be a good (and let me say it clearly for the people in the back, PLATONIC) friend to them. Text them, initiate public hangouts or even ask them to hang out with a group of friends.

And once you establish a platonic relationship with them, if things do end up going south with their partner, give them time to grieve, and be there for them while they process. (Trust me, rebounds donít usually work out. Iíve been there).

If youíre still interested, be respectful and read the room if/when you divulge your feelings for them. Nothing sucks more than a good friend declaring their undying love for you when youíre *clearly* less than interested.

My big takeaway is this. If youíre with someone who is willing to break up with their partner for you, thereís no reason why they wouldnít do the exact same thing to you if someone more exciting came along. Do everything you do out of respect for the other person, and if itís meant to be, it will be.

Dating is hard. But I think in many ways, looking at it more like making a new friend makes it a lot easier. Good luck out there, readers, and be kind to one another.

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