when worlds collide
I have two friends, one a serial monogamist (he’s always serious and it never lasts) and the other a devoted commitment-phobe (she’s always juggling two or three guys and never really seems attached to any of them). Both are great people, and lately their orbits have been coming closer and closer together. A hookup seems inevitable.
I’m not worried about them, they’re both grownups, so I say have fun and deal with the inevitable heartache later. My question is this: They don’t know each other well, but they both know me, and they’ve both started pumping me for information about the other. How much does my friendship with each obligate me to answer? (They both want to know what the other is like, who they’ve dated, etc.) How much does my friendship with each obligate me to conceal? (Neither would want me sharing intimate details of their personal lives, and generally I don’t do that anyway.)
What do you think?
The Omniscient One says: I would remember what Confucius said: “Silence is the true friend that never betrays.” Or perhaps, that other great sage of the Orient, Charlie Chan: “Better to slip with the foot than the tongue.”
Smart Money says: Keep your effing mouth shut! Just sit back and enjoy the show when everything blows up. That should be amusing.
The Practical Cogitator says: Zip it, pal. Keep quiet and change your orbit. I’m sure you have other circles of friends, so start making plans and keep yourself busy in a different solar system. If their stars align, then super. They might be the perfect couple for a while—a brightly shining supernova. But, if their stars collide and create a black hole, you’ll be stuck in gossip, heartache central. Forever.
The Gay Perspective: Share this letter with them and then stay out of it.
The Designing Woman says: Nothing for you to do. Just let it happen. Set up a happy hour and invite a bunch of friends including both in question. See what happens. It’s a neutral site. If they hit it off, great. If not, your hands are clean and life goes on. No need to get too involved for obvious reasons and you never know—it could be a happily ever after scenario.
Strictly Classified says: They are both grownups, so tell them both to figure it out.
Dr. Sigmund Fraud says: If your friends are as you describe, the relationship will not last—in the event it ever takes off in the first place. This “serial monogamist” fellow is likely too judgmental to stomach the ways of a spirited woman who’s always “juggling two or three guys.” He will want to control her, and she will not wish to be controlled.
It reminds me of the situation with the Greek God Apollo, who became smitten with the nymph Daphne and pursued her relentlessly. She fled his advance, and prayed to other gods for assistance. As Apollo was at her heels, their solution was to transform Daphne into a laurel bush. According to Ovid: “a heavy numbness seized her limbs, thin bark closed over her breasts, her hair turned into leaves, her arms into branches, her feet so swift a moment ago stuck fast in slow-growing roots, her face was lost in the canopy. Only her shining beauty was left.” Ultimately, the laurel wreath became the prize bestowed upon early olympians—a symbol to remind competitors that “victory” is fleeting and everchanging. The prize transforms as we reach to clutch it.
But this is not all bad news. The Daphne myth is well known by both legitimate and unlicensed psychoanalysts like myself. Since the woman in your narrative likes to juggle a few guys at a time without ever developing significant attachments, she sounds like an ideal candidate for some of my more experimental and controversial therapies. It will require us to share, say, a weekend alone in a romantic location. It’s also likely that repeat sessions will become necessary over time—a concept widely accepted in clinical psychiatric circles as “scratching that itch.”
If the guy in your story can’t handle it, well then, he just must not care that much about her overall mental and emotional well-being.
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