Dear Thelma: I like this girl but she's in a relationship with someone else

By Thelma
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Dear Thelma,

I am 35, male, and feeling hopeless at finding love.

My last girlfriend left me eight years ago and I told myself back then never to fall in love again.

Since then, I've done many things to improve my chances, like speed dating, online dating and attending countless events but I still failed to find the girl of my dreams.

However this year, I met a girl (she is 33) on Facebook and we share so many common interests. like music. We liked each other's posts and we even chatted a lot on WhatsApp. Unfortunately, she is in a relationship with somebody right now and I feel disappointed.

I tried to move on from her but there is no one else out there I can find as a substitute. The recent MCO has made the dating scene worse. But she still messages me occasionally on WhatsApp and Messenger.

I like this girl and recently I gave her something special on her birthday that even her boyfriend can't give, and she loved it. So what can I do about this situation?

Hopeless In Love

Dear Hopeless In Love,

The issue here is to find a balance between you expressing your feelings, letting her decide her feelings, and to recognise that there is the possibility of a hurt third party.

If she's married, then you must walk away. Marriage is a lifelong commitment and that trumps your crush. The same goes for couples who commit to each other without paperwork; it's the pledge that matters.

But if she's not made a commitment, then she has the right to know so she can make informed choices. Tell her (briefly) that you're interested, and see what she says. And if she says no, you can move on.

I do have a concern, though. Have you met this girl in person, or are you only texting?

If you've never met, there are two considerations. One is purely practical in that you may be terrific chat buddies but when you meet, find there is fizzle not sizzle.

It also brings up the possibility that you are infatuated because you are lonely. It's been a horrible year, and we're all a bit stir-crazy. In addition, you say you're a bit fed up looking for a partner.

If you haven't met, then I suggest you dig in deep and figure out what's going on. At the end of that, if you are convinced it's not a crush brought on by low feelings, then practically, I suggest you meet before making declarations - just in case there's fizzle.

Finally, there is middle ground you may want to explore. We tend to hang with friends who share our attitudes and interests. Therefore, you can tell her that you like her, that you would love to date someone like her, and ask if she can introduce you to suitable single girlfriends.

Pro tip: make it crystal clear that it's dating, not a first step to marriage. Say explicitly that you will be dating lots of different girls for at least a few months, because you need to be certain of the match before you go steady and commit.

And once you've said that, make certain you date three girls in one week, and be very, very open about it. That way, everyone knows where they stand and there are no confusing signals.

Finally, that bit about giving gifts that others can't afford: my dear, drop that attitude. I understand it probably comes from frustration, but come on. You can't buy love, and it's not a competition.

I hope this helps you make an informed next step.

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