A shoulder to cry on... and a friend to cheat with

A shoulder to cry on... and a friend to cheat with


Monday, February 24, 2020

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Dear Counsellor,
My friend has developed strong feelings for me. She just got out of an abusive relationship and I am there for her when she needs a shoulder to cry on or someone to talk to. The problem is, I have also developed an attraction for her, but I am in a relationship and I don't want to lose focus.

My friend and my girlfriend are close, and she encourages me to support our friend through her period of distress. We have kissed a few times but as much as I enjoy the experience, I am feeling uncomfortable as I don't want to mess up my relationship. What do you suggest I do?

After a traumatic relationship experience that culminates in a break-up the victim in the circumstances can suffer emotional and psychological impairments that make them quite vulnerable and attached to people who provide them with emotional support. It is not unusual then for your friend to develop an emotional attachment to you as she goes through her period of healing.

Being the emotionally stronger one in the situation, you need to demonstrate self-control and not allow yourself to be drawn into a romantic relationship with your friend. You must establish and maintain boundaries that will ensure you remain faithful to your partner while extending humanitarian efforts to your friend.

Your partner has given you the go-ahead to reach out to the mutual friend which would suggest that she trusts you to conduct yourself appropriately, so you must not betray the faith she has in you.

As much as your friend needs love and affection, you must maintain your role as a member of her emotional support system and not take advantage of her moment of weakness. So even if she is an active participant, you need to back off and not roll with the feelings. The kissing and close physical contact will only intensify the emotions and cause instability that will negatively impact both your relationship with your partner and your friend.

Keep the contact with your friend at a distance which could be by telephone, and when you go see her invite your girlfriend to join you on the visit.

Being alone with her is not advisable at this time so stay strong and hold your position.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to agapemft@gmail.com. Check his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/.

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