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Teenage Problems/my brothers`s friend

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Hi,
My name is Yoana and I am 17 years old. My brother is 6 years elder than me and just finished European law in England so he is back in our country - Bulgaria. We became pretty close and I started going out with his friends. So here it is the problem. I was friend with one of his friends - K. but we realized we liked each other.We started seeing secretly. I forgot to mention the other problem - one of my friends was really in love with K.(nothing happened there). I cant tell my brother - he is going to go crazy. K. is 6 years older than me and my friend is going to be mad too. I don't know what to do. One day I am like : "I will just stop seeing him, it would be easier for everyone", but... I feel happy with him but I am sure my brother wont accept that. I really don't know what to do and don't tell me to be honest with my brother now because its too early and I am not ready to tell him anything so I am asking whether I should stay with him secretly(for now) and see where is this going or should immediately end it ? Please help :)

Answer
Hello Yoana,

It sounds like you're in a little bit of a tough situation. You want to be happy with K, but he's best friends with your brother, and your friend also likes K. So essentially, there are 3 relationships to maintain. Below, I've illustrated the best way to handle each relationship.

K: Your boyfriend is 6 years old than you. Are you sure that what you BOTH feel is love, or is it just infatuation? In other words, is it real love or are you in love with the idea with being in love? With a 6 year difference, that would make him 23, or close to 24 depending on when his birthday is. Personally, I don't know what you two really have in common other than the mutuality of your brother as a friend/confidant. I have a general rule when it comes to dating: 2 years older, 1 year younger, & no one who has a direct relationship to your siblings or friends. I.e. they shouldn't be your brother's best friend or your best friend's crush. For me, all 3 of those criteria have to be met. A break up can cause too many conflicts between friends and puts the mutual friend in the uncomfortable position of potentially choosing sides.

Your Brother: Your brother is someone that you've grown up with and know very well. Therefore, you should trust him. Before you even think about telling your brother about the situation with K, ask him his opinion on the two of you dating. See how he reacts, if he does at all. Judging by the fact that you mentioned that he would go crazy if he found out that you and K were dating, it would not be a far cry to assume that he's probably going to tell you that he doesn't want you two dating. This could be for 3 reasons:

         1. Most guys don't want their friends dating their sisters because (as I mentioned above) a nasty split between you and the boyfriend can put your brother in a situation to choose between you and K. He will probably not want to risk his friendship with K, especially if it is one that has many years invested in it, over a relationship.

         2. He knows K better than you do, and that being said, he may know things about K that you don't know. K could be doing things that your brother, and even you, wouldn't want you to be involved with. K could be involved in dangerous things and while your brother may take the risk, but would not want to risk your safety and is trying to protect you.

         3. The age difference. Your brother and K are both 6 years older than you. They are on a different level intellectually and mentally than you. They have probably experienced more than you have. They are both probably more experienced sexually than you and both probably know what to say or do to get a girl to fall head over heels into bed with them. Now obviously, your brother wouldn't use those tactics on you, but K could, and your brother will not want to see his sister hurt or taken advantage of.

Your Friend: If your friend liked him before you became interested in him, then K is already off limits, even if they never dated. Again, you mentioned that your friend would not be happy about you two dating. Some friends may not care if their friend dated a guy that she liked, but many do, and will sometimes end a friendship over it. It is considered a trust boundary when your friend likes a guy. She is banking on the fact that you won't go behind her back and date that guy, even if she never dates him. I learned this the hard way and lost a good friend over that. Now, I know that not every friendship is identical; however, it does happen.

Regardless, your happiness should be what matters to everyone involved with the situation, but due to the closeness of the others involved, it may be difficult to be 100% happy in your relationship with K, knowing that tensions could arise due to you two being together. I think to save yourself heartache of potentially losing/causing friendships (to end), it would be best to end the relationship with K. Be friends if you want to, or cut ties all together. A good rule of thumb: if you are in a relationship in which you have to keep it a secret from those closest to you, then it's probably not a relationship you should be in.

Teenage Problems

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Brittney

Expertise

I can answer any questions that have to deal with managing friendships between girls and boys. Question topics can include: dating, how to handle disputes, jealousy, how to know when one is being taken advantage of, healing friendships, and other topics similar to these. Other topics include how to handle disagreements with parents, or dealing with parent child relations in general. If you are a parent and want to ask a question, I can answer questions regarding how to relate to your kid in this generation, the best way to surprise them with that gift they've been wanting, etc.

Experience

Life has been my teacher. I have always been the go to person when friends had disputes and have successfully fixed many friendships between my friends and their friends. I grew up in a family with a doting dad and an emotionally distant mom, and I have dealt with emotional and verbal abuse from my mom for a few years. We have since repaired our relationship, and I have used my experiences with her to help friends deal with their issues with their parents.

Education/Credentials
I studied psychology in college. I was also a child development major for toddler through age 18. I enjoyed studying the periods of adolescence & teen years (10-18) because these are the years children start really figuring out who they are, as well as it being a time where maintaining friendships is important.

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