the consolation prize

Reader K. D. asks:

If you are ever in a relationship and yet have feelings for someone else… can you make those feelings known, before ending the first relationship? Or is this completely taboo?

Dear K.D.:

Sure, you can make your feelings for someone else known if you’re already in a relationship.

But I think that’s both tacky and cowardly.

rolling the dice

Image: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What you’re basically saying is that you like the person you’re with OK, but you like this other person better. So if the other person would have you, you’d dump your current relationship for the new one. But if the new one doesn’t like you back, you’ll stay with your consolation prize.

Here’s the kicker: nobody really wants to be someone’s consolation prize. If your current sig-o ever found out that you talked to someone else about liking that someone else, he/she would be totally crestfallen. And if he/she had any self respect whatsoever, you’d be dumped.

Unless what you’re thinking is that you want to tell your current S.O. that you’re interested in someone else. That’s probably not going to make the relationship last very long, but it would be the courageous and honest thing to do.

If you’re interested in someone else, other than the person you’re dating, I think you have very few options:

– Be honest and break up with the current one and THEN talk to the new one. Don’t tell your current S.O. why you’re dumping them. That’s just cruel. When it comes to standard, run-of-the-mill relationships, you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. UNLESS…

– Look into being polyamorous. Some people are capable of sustaining romantic love for more than one person at a time. If you really like your current S.O. and like the other person at about the same level, maybe you’re polyamorous. However, being polyamorous can be like playing with fire. It’s hard to find other people who are polyamorous, and it’s equally hard to find people who will accept polyamory as a legitimate lifestyle. What I mean is, you probably won’t end up with either of your current love interests, unless you’ve talked about polyamory with them beforehand.

But from the way you worded your question, it seems to me like you’re dissatisfied with Lover #1, but would rather have Lover #1 than no lover at all. That’s weak. Be strong. You shouldn’t settle in relationships. If you’re really interested in someone other than the one you’re with, you’re probably not interested in the one you’re with in the first place.

Furthermore, it’s not fair to Lover #1 to play with them like this. Let them find someone who can be happy with them and isn’t scheming behind their back to get someone better.

It’s somewhat normal to like someone else when you’re in a relationship already. Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you lose your ability to have crushes. However, wanting to tell someone that you like them is another step beyond just liking them.

So man/woman up. Be honest. Tell your current fling you’re maybe not ready to be with them really. And then talk to the real object of your affections. Sure, you may lose on all fronts. But at least you’ll still have your dignity.

And no, I don’t buy the “if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with” nonsense in this situation. Sorry. It’s a cop out to not owning your feelings.


2 Responses to “the consolation prize”

  1. 1 Damfino
    December 20, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    I’d dump the b@stard who made it clear I was 2nd place.

    But would I dump Lover #1 if I was interested in Possible Lover #2? Yes. Did #2 work out? Hell to the no. Was my conscience clear? Yes.

    Good column, Kat. As always. ^__^

  2. 2 Zkeller
    December 27, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Kat, I just saw this. So good thing I’ve never told you that you are the love of my life, and I’d wait an eternity for you to feel the same. I guess that would be a bad idea, huh? 🙂

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