When I think back on my romantic history, it's largely a repeating pattern of my crushes choosing my friends over me. From the multiple guys in high school who got close to me only to eventually ask out my best friend, to being set up on a blind date with a guy who was clearly head over heels for the mutual friend who had set us up, to my current crush sleeping with a "friend" of mine who knew how I felt about said guy and still chose to sleep with him.
All of this has left me with a major case of “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” syndrome. How do I get over this feeling that I'm just the discount version of my friends, when everyone seems to only want name-brand? And how do I fight the resentment that's bubbled up in my chest toward the friends who are always chosen over me by no action of their own?
Any advice would be much appreciated,
27 Hypothetical Dresses
Dear 27 Hypothetical Dresses,
As many tweetdeckers’ recycled hits can attest to, no one likes to be a second choice, least of all time after time. What the hurt in your letter slides past, though, is that it’s not an inherent flaw within you that’s bringing these situations about. These dating non-starters can largely be chalked up to these crushes’ inability to communicate their true feelings, then bringing you into the crossfire. The exception being your “friend,” who has shown her true colors by crossing a boundary you clearly set up. May the door of your good opinion hit her on her way out!
I urge you to look past the surface of this pattern because it goes without saying that you deserve better than someone who walks past the light of your infatuation. It is tempting to take these series of quasi-rejections and turn them into a tool for self-flagellation, but adding that to the pain of an unrequited crush is not the way to heal. If your crushes did not even know how you felt, then it is unfair to utterly vilify them, unless one of them was a professional mind-reader.
If you did submit to the mortifying ordeal of having your feelings known beforehand, then I applaud you for trying to be honest in an era of ghosting and callous casualness. Remember, however, that even when your crushes turn to one of your friends and you have to witness the happiness secondhand, you aren’t lesser. Perhaps you weren’t that man’s type, or he wasn’t ready for a relationship when he was talking to you. Neither of those things are yours to control, nor should you entertain the urge to think about how you size up compared to the girls who did secure the relationship.
There is nothing lacking in you, 27. You are a thousand name brands yourself; you just might not be the one that your crushes are looking for.
If your friends do happen to be the “right” ones, remember that this designation is intensely specific. They are “right” for this one person, just as you will be “right” for someone else. Feeling left behind is natural when others are experiencing a phase of life that you are trying to break into, but you know that you won’t always move at the same pace as everyone else. Take a deep breath when this resentment bubbles up, and remember: You are valuable and will experience the reciprocation that you hunger for. Until you get there, revel in being a Thierry Mugler instead of a Louis Vuitton or Chanel. Treat yourself gently. I believe in you.