Meeting someone you’re attracted to is always exciting, but it can get complicated when the person you’re attracted to is your date’s friend. There are a few factors you should keep in mind if you find yourself in this situation, and following these tips will help you make sure that you’re being cautious in making any decisions.
Once you’ve been in a relationship for a while — say, to the point of mutual “I love you’s” — it’s natural to feel attracted to other people. If you feel attracted to your partner’s friend, just excuse it as a normal development that happens between friends. In other words, it would be a bad idea to take the attraction too seriously because you are already in love with someone else.
But what about when you’ve only been out with someone a short time and you then meet their friend to whom you feel va va voom attracted? Should you take these feelings seriously? What if you feel more attracted to the friend than you do to the person you just started dating?
Short answer: Give it time. Think of the number of people you have met and felt attracted to, only to get to know them a little bit better and totally change your mind. If you’re attracted to your date’s friend, you probably won’t continue to feel attracted to them a few months down the line. If the attraction is very strong, ask yourself the following questions.
Do I tend to idealize people I just met?
If you idealize someone, it means that you project all sorts of positive characteristics onto them. So, imagine that you meet someone new. Do you fall very quickly for them? Do you feel confident that you know this person from the start, or do you take your time and use healthy caution in getting to know him or her? If you’re someone who tends to fall for someone new quickly and without a lot of hesitation or caution, it means that you probably tend to idealize people to whom you’re attracted. Over time, however, you come to see the real person, and rarely does the idealized individual live up to all those great qualities you projected onto them at first. If you idealize people you’re interested in, definitely do not take it too seriously when you meet a friend of your date’s whom you like. The great chances are that you will soon see qualities in him or her that turn you off, so it’s not worth jeopardizing the dating relationship you already have going.
Do I tend to be fickle in my romantic attractions?
Not long ago, I saw a male client in his late 30s who told me about how he attended a learning seminar and met a woman to whom he felt extremely attracted. After the seminar ended, he walked the woman to her car and they shared what I like to call a “movie moment.” They looked at each other longingly, and he swept in for a deep kiss. (Yes, she kissed him right back.) My male client had hair-trigger sexual attraction, tending to fall in love hard and fast, only to find himself distracted by another shiny new thing a few weeks later. For my client, it was as if he lived his life in the middle of a music video – you know, clutching and kissing in the pouring rain because the passion is that intense. Sadly, this kind of lust doesn’t last, which is why it’s much savvier to take things slowly and not force it when you meet someone you like. But if you are someone who tends to switch affections quickly, you must understand that you can’t take it so seriously when you feel that rush for someone new. If you meet a highly desirable friend of the person you’re dating, do not make any major decisions quickly.
Dr. Seth’s keep-it-real reminders
Mental reminders (what therapists call “self-talk”) are some of the most helpful things most people never use when it comes to their personal lives. Sure, we all make notes about the grocery list, but what about writing down the reminders that have to do with the personal changes we need to make? Jot down the reminders below and put them somewhere you’ll see them every day.
- You’re already dating someone you like. Stop looking over your shoulder for the next best thing. Honor the dating relationship you’ve already started.
- Most people you feel attracted to from the start will no longer interest you once you get to know them better. (Sad but true.)
- Happy men and women are happy because they follow this mantra: The goal is to find someone good enough, not someone who is perfect. Remember, the fantasy does not exist in real life.
Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve