Re: Dating a girl with a boyfriend
I think there is something to be said for being deliberate. Reading other people's responses got me remembering some of things that I went through when I was around James' age. There was a girl in one of my classes who, for reasons I will never understand (as I was very ineffectual back then), really, really liked me. And she was sweet and cute and all that stuff, but the more I got to know her and see her home life, the more I realized that it would be better to be her friend without expecting or wanting anything more, as it didn't seem to me like she had any friends like that, and she depended a lot on her boyfriends for escape from her very sad home situation. She had a boyfriend at the time (a real piece of work; looked and acted like one of those meathead types who would always try to run me and my friends over in the school parking lot), and knowing what a jerk he was made it kind of hard to listen whenever she said things like "If only I could break up with _____ (boyfriend) without everything going to hell, I would go out with you in a second", which she said a lot (to the point of becoming annoying to me). But again...I had realized, thank God, that I had more to offer as a real friend than as another negative/unstable influence in her life, and besides it is not about me and how I could potentially manipulate a situation to get something out of it.
So I really question this whole "it is okay for me to 'steal' a woman who is with a jerk because he is a jerk" idea. I don't think I'll go as far as saying that it's wrong, full stop (because, after all, had the surrounding circumstances of this girl's life been different, I'd like to think I would have done something different), but I dunno...I like being able to look back on that particular situation and still say now, about 15 years later, that I did the right thing. I heard from the girl (now young woman) in question about 6 months ago for the first time in about 13 years, and it did nothing but confirm that this was the right course of action: She'd been through one spectacularly failed marriage and about a dozen further boyfriends since I last saw her, and followed some of these cretins around the country because she was still in a "relationship-for-rent" kind of arrangement. God bless her, she's doing well now, but man...talk about dodging a bullet. Also, getting a nice e-mail from her saying that she remembers me fondly and hopes I'm doing well...well, not to get too darn sappy, but that means a lot. I know it might be hard to imagine, James, but some things really are better than getting to be with a hot girl for a little while before you drift apart and go to separate colleges, or she dumps you for some guy who's locker is closer to hers, or whatever other reason high school-aged boys and girls have for falling in and out of infatuation with one another.