For some time I have been dating my best friend's sister, unbeknownst to him. At first I tried to deny my feelings for her, because her brother, T, once stated explicitly that she was off limits, and I didn't want our friendship ruined over it, but I soon found it harder and harder to deny the feelings I have for this sweet girl. Eventually I gave into temptation, and since then we have developed a common love for one another based on trust and understanding. We have even spoken of marriage. Yet the problem of breaking the news to her brother, my best friend, remains. He can be quite temperamental at times, and we are both worried about how he will take the news. Abby, what should we do?
-- Manny in Miami
Yours is not an exclusive predicament. Over the years I have received hundreds (if not thousands) of letters, from men and women alike, expressing grave anxiety over how a friend or family member will handle the news that they are dating a mutual loved one. My advice is this: your friend is only human, and he will eventually come to accept your relationship. Very likely he'll one day be happy for you, too. I know this may sound impossible now, but trust me; I've seen this very scenario unfold time and time again. Don't worry; you may be in for some stormy weather at first, but those clouds will soon pass, revealing the sunshine that is your happy union.
PS - I know it sounds ridiculous, but an elopement might in your case be just what the doctor ordered. Sort of like ripping a bandage clean off with one swift motion.