What It's Like To Be Hopelessly In Love With Your Best Friend's Ex

by Candice Jalili

The flight from San Francisco to New York doesn't cross the entire earth, but it's still very long.

This Thanksgiving break, I sat next to a girl around my age on the plane ride back to New York. Neither of us could figure out how to get the Wi-Fi to work, and neither of us felt like spending money on a movie. So we were left with no choice but to become friends.

You would be surprised how close you can become to someone when you have literally nothing to do but talk for six hours. By hour three, our conversation shifted to boys. And my friend (let’s call her Jocelyn*) started telling me about her current situation.

Jocelyn is a beautiful girl with an electric personality. She is the sort of girl you expect to be too pretty to have a personality -- until she opens her mouth with a joke so unexpectedly vulgar that you find yourself shocked between fits of hysterical laughter.

Jocelyn’s story was about Kristen*, Jocelyn’s best friend. From the sound of it, they’re very similar. Both are funny girls who love to have a good time. Both are low-key and don’t do a whole lot of drama. They're from the same town, became best friends in elementary school and remained close through college, though they went to schools a country apart.

Kristen was once in love with a guy named Robb.* How did she meet Robb? Well, Robb was a good friend of Jocelyn’s. Jocelyn introduced the two of them years ago when Kristen* came to visit her one weekend in college. The two hit it off immediately and started dating soon after.

The only problem is that Jocelyn failed to mention to her best friend that she was very much in love with Robb.

So every day, while Robb and Kristen were doing long distance, Jocelyn would hang out with Robb and find herself falling more and more in love with him. She never acted on her feelings, of course. How could she? Kristen was her best friend in the whole world, and Jocelyn was not sure that the feelings she had for Robb were in any way returned.

But last year, Robb and Kristen broke up after a tumultuous three-year run. Robb broke up with Kristen out of the blue, and Kristen was devastated.

Jocelyn was there for her best friend first and foremost, but she was left in an awkward position -- not just because of her feelings for Robb, but because she was friends with him, too.

They had a friendship completely outside of his relationship with Kristen, and Jocelyn now felt like she had to choose.

She said the breakup recovery lasted for about six months, and it was difficult, but she successfully managed to be there for both friends. She even found herself interested in someone new and started to get over her deeply rooted feelings for Robb.

That is, until two days before our flight, when she received a text from Robb asking if they could meet up for a drink. And about three drinks in, he leaned in to kiss her.

Under any other circumstance, she wouldn’t have done it. But she had loved him for so long, and she was a few drinks in, and he was broken up with Kristen! So she did. She kissed him back.

And now she’s racked with guilt. WTF is she supposed to do now?

Now all of her feelings for him are back. And apparently they are mutual. But Kristen is her best friend. She can’t do this to Kristen.

I couldn’t stop thinking about Jocelyn’s position. It’s very "Something Borrowed," right?

More importantly, though, it f*cking blows if it has ever happened to you.

You hate yourself for how you feel.

When Jocelyn was telling me her story, the biggest thing I heard was her guilt. Just real, passionate, visceral guilt so strong that it was almost palpable. She hated herself for feeling the way that she did.

But the problem here is that you really have no control over how you feel. Jocelyn tried to turn off her feelings for Robb. But it just wasn’t that simple. She couldn’t cut him out of her life -- he was dating her best friend!

What was she supposed to tell Kristen? “Sorry I can’t be around your boyfriend because I am madly in love with him and have been feeling this way since before you were dating”?

No. He was part of her everyday life, and every day she found herself simultaneously falling more deeply in love with him and feeling more disdain for herself.

Your life turns into a tragic love story that will never be.

Jocelyn’s situation is a lose-lose. A real modern day tragedy. Either she keeps her best friend and never knows what it would have been like to be with the love of her life -- or she finds a deep and passionate love but loses her best friend in the whole world.

For Jocelyn, the answer is simple. She can’t lose her best friend. And I think most of us would agree.

But that leaves her life as a depressing love story with no happy ending.

You can’t help but resent the timing.

Maybe if she had met Robb at another time in life, she would have had the courage to tell him how she felt before Kristen got to meet him.

Maybe if Kristen never came to visit that weekend, the two of them would have never dated, and it would be Jocelyn who was with him now. Maybe if he had kissed her five years ago when they first met, she wouldn’t be in this position right now.

Maybe if the timing was just a little different, everything could have worked out perfectly.

You are forced to question which love is more important.

The love of your life or your forever best friend?

* Name has been changed