My friend and I had a great debate about this topic as we were watching an episode of a TV show. We got onto arguing, “What do you do when you have feelings for someone taken?”
We weren’t talking about being vindictive and going after someone already in a committed relationship with the sole intent of breaking them up because that is really disgusting behaviour. We were specifically referring to that situation where you find yourself unintentionally having feelings for someone, and now have to figure out what to do.
He argued that you should tell them:
“Because why not tell them? Why should you hide your feelings? Essentially, it’s still their choice what to do with the information. If you tell them you're into them, they still get to decide whether they want to stay with their partner or not. You're not forcing them to leave their partner for you; you're just providing them a choice. And if they love their partner, then their choice is simple. Isn't denying them the right to choose more selfish? Haven't you, by not telling them, made their decision for them? I think that's what's selfish.”
His point above is pretty self-explanatory but it all comes down to the fact that - you should give them the decision of what to do. If they are happy in their relationship, then they would be flattered by your feelings for them but politely reject you. You should be honest and not keep how you feel a secret; once you know how they feel and then you go from there.
I argued that it was selfish to tell someone as your main motive for telling them would be to make yourself feel better. You are putting another person in a precarious and awkward situation because you could not keep your feelings to yourself. This is someone who is already taken and is off the market, but you just had to tell them how you feel??? For what? Sure you didn’t intend on developing feelings for this person, but telling them accomplishes nothing.
I maintain that telling someone who is already taken about your feelings is not a good idea. It could also be seen as making a move on someone else’s relationship, and then when the significant other finds out, it will likely cause immense emotional harm.
Telling them only does more harm than good.
I decided to write about this because I felt it was a pertinent topic of discussion given that it is that time of year where people feel brave enough to confess their feelings and focus on all the Valentine’s Day stuff.
I posed this question to a few of my friends and these were some of their responses:
Lara: “It’s okay to tell someone who you have known for a long time. You shouldn’t do it if you barely know them, but if you’ve known someone for a really long time then you should tell them how you feel.”
Sam: “If you can see that they are happy together then don’t do it. You don’t want to be the reason their happiness is destroyed. You will feel terrible if you do.”
Alastair: “I say you should tell them if you know that the secret [of not telling them] will cause you both to have more problems than what the truth might bring.”
Chelsea: “Tell them if they’ve been in your life for a while and you know they will still respect you if you tell them. Don’t tell them if you can see they’re happy with their partner and the news will just destroy something really good that they have. It’s a difficult situation to be in though and you can’t avoid choosing between selflessness and selfishness but I would say that those are good guidelines for deciding what to do. Always assess the potential damage before you admit something like that.”
Something struck me about what Chelsea said because you are essentially trying to decide between being selfless and selfish. No one wants to come across as selfish, but you also want to be true to yourself. You should definitely assess the potential damage because it does not only impact you, but has a ripple effect.
Either way, it’s definitely a sticky situation where there is no right way to handle it. More a case of “to each their own” - you have to decide for yourself what to do.
For me, I’d zip my mouth, lock it tight, put a padlock on and throw away the key.
Theo. Over and Out.