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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Kingpin – 3/4/04

Q: Dear Kingpin,

I am seeing someone and our situation has turned rocky. To make matters worse, I have been asked out to coffee by someone to whom I am really attracted. Neither guy knows about the other. What should I do?

– Jane Doe

A: Dear Ms. Doe,

I think it is admirable that you are so concerned with the feelings of the guys you are seeing. That is a trait that too few people exhibit these days. However, I would caution you about putting the feelings of other people before your own happiness and well-being.

Life is all about experiencing situations, emotions, people, and relationships fully. You said that your current relationship has turned rocky. Perhaps this new guy will help you figure out what is actually wrong with your current relationship in a way that allows you to correct it.

My recommendation is that you go out on this coffee date with the other guy. However, I think it is important that you take some precautions to ensure your integrity with both men. First, arrange for the date to take place in the afternoon, while the sun is still up on any day other than a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. (Darkness has a way of adding a romantic element to any situation, and the weekend is prime date time.) Don’t let him think, even subconsciously, that this is a date. Control all the elements in this situation now, so you don’t have to play doctor to a more severe situation later. Then, make sure that you tell him about your current romantic situation. Let him know that it is rocky, and you are trying to figure things out. If he is not okay with your using him to explore your feelings, assure him that you would be okay with a friendship until a better opportunity presents itself. If he is okay with your situation, just continue to be honest and keep him in the loop as much as possible until you make up your mind one way or the other. Finally, I would keep this coffee date under three hours long, and I would keep the physical contact to a minimum. When you are getting ready to leave, say good-bye with a hug at the very most.

As for your current boyfriend, I would not say anything to him until after you have had coffee with this new guy. If you get together with your coffee date and there are no romantic feelings, you have not made a mistake. You were, in fact, just hanging out with a friend. If, however, your attraction is more than just physical, and you could see the potential for more with this new guy, you do owe your current boyfriend the respect of being up front with him before you take it further with the new guy.

By bringing him the new information you have gathered on this coffee date, you allow your current boyfriend the chance to help you resolve the situation in a way that benefits both of you if it is, indeed, something that can be fixed. If it is not something that can be fixed, you have not cheated. You have only been true to yourself.

Sincerely,The Kingpin