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Wayne and Wanda: Letting go of the one that got away

Wayne and Wanda

Dear Wanda and Wayne,

One of my favorite people and closest friends is getting married in a few weeks and I’m really brokenhearted about it. I’m in love with her and over the past few months realized that I always have been. We’ve known each other for years, worked together for a while and been through some serious ups and downs together. It always seemed we were dating other people, though, so nothing ever happened with us romantically; we were always just close friends. But now that she’s engaged and the wedding is around the corner, I feel like I missed out on opportunity to be with the woman of my dreams. It’s all I can think about these days. Her soon-to-be husband is a total dud. I don’t think my girlfriend and I have what it takes to get married. I don’t even want to go to the wedding now. How do I get through this? Should I say something to her? Is it too late?

Wayne says: 

You shut up, that’s what you do. You missed your shot, buddy, and now is the time to go to the backyard in the middle of the spooky, rainy night, bury all of those feelings deep in the ground and never speak of them again. Or at least go see a shrink, get it off your chest and leave it all there. But if this goes public, you’re going to ruin a special day and scorch your relationship with your real girlfriend, and you still won’t ride off into the sunset with your dream girl.

Because I’m not sure what Lifetime movies you’ve been watching lately, but you don’t just stand up during the middle of a crush’s wedding and yell that you were meant to be together. This is her big day. You are the last thing she’s thinking about. So don’t be a selfish jerk. Don’t even go talk to her. In fact, don’t say anything to anyone else, unless you want to get beat up, verbally and possibly physically, by the father-of-the-bride/father-in-law tag-team. Instead, you dress up nice, go to the wedding, congratulate the happy couple, give them a nice gift card, dance with your girlfriend, go home and move on with your life. The end.

Wanda says:

You wrote that it “always seemed we were dating other people … so nothing ever happened with us romantically,” and then added, “we were always just close friends.” So let’s clarify: Nothing happened with you romantically because you’re friends -- not because you were dating other people. You’ve managed to spend all these years in the friend zone, and clearly the chemistry and affection between the two of you was never strong enough to tip the scales into relationship-land. Otherwise, it would have happened by now.

As nostalgic creatures, humans spend a lot of time looking back. We sort through our exes and the ones we almost got involved with and wonder if we’ve already overlooked our soul mate. Was there the one who got away? During an epic girl-talk session with some lady friends this past weekend, we probed this very topic, prompted by one friend’s recent reconnecting -- largely via texting -- with her ex-fiancé. The question posed to her was, if things hadn’t worked out with him over the last 20 years, why would they now? To which another friend chimed in and said, wisely, “If it hasn’t worked by now, it isn’t going to work.”

Be happy that you have a friend that stirs such passion and devotion in you. Channel that into being her buddy and if you can’t quash this crush, give it some space. But after such an impactful friendship with her, I do hope you can suck it up and attend her wedding. After all, this day is about her, not you, and real friendship is about being selfless.