It had been a couple of months since I had last seen Hannah.
She had text me at lunch the day, and we arranged to meet up in the evening.
Sat in Regents Park eating our Yo! Sushi in the brisk summer sun, our catch-up conversation naturally progressed to our love lives.
For as long as I can remember (which is apparently only 3 years), Hannah has been dating Nick.
We’d all met whilst travelling and they had hit it off straight away.
At first Nick had been ‘just a good friend’ to Hannah, someone she could confide in about everything.
He was kind, thoughtful, considerate, loving, devoted, and intelligent.
Overtime, this friendship had naturally developed into something more.
“For the first year or 2 it was amazing. I adored him and thought I would marry him” Hannah explained as she dripped the soy sauce over her last bundle of rice. “We had fun, it was exciting”
In my eyes, Hannah and Nick had always been solid (solid, as a rock - to quote the song).
They had the type of comfortable love that you secretly envy.
“But for the last year or so,” Hannah continued “I’ve been feeling as if the spark with Nick has gone”.
Hannah explained that she had been reading my previous blog about the spark, and really connected with it (thank you!)
But as she discussed this ‘spark’ feeling more, I realised she had total misinterpreted something I once wrote.
“Men created the spark to get girls to sleep with them, right?” said Hannah proudly.
“But that isn’t what you and Nick have” I said with a sigh, disappointed that I may have caused her to doubt the integrity of her relationship. “What you and Nick have is much more than the spark: you had the excitement of a new relationship: the joy of getting to know someone and falling hopelessly in love”.
“Yeah, I suppose” Hannah reluctantly agreed “maybe it’s just the honeymoon phase wearing off. Or maybe he isn’t right for me?”
In the three years they had been together, this was the first time I had ever heard Hannah speak so dismissively of Nick.
She was usually so sure of herself, of them.
Something had changed.
Cue the difficult bit……
“And there’s this guy at work, Graham” Hannah remarked sheepishly. “He’s extremely funny, puts on a bravado in the office, but is sensitive and caring deep down”.
In my dictionary bravado is just another word for total prick.
I immediately dislike this guy.
Hannah’s face began to light up as she spoke about Graham in the same way it did when she first got with Nick.
““Graham and I have opened up a lot recently. He told me he needs me in his life and that I’m quickly becoming one of his best friends”.
“Really?” I said, trying not to sound too cynical….. Pass me the sick bucket please.
“Look I know I’m with Nick” she passively remembered with a taste of guilt “but I can’t help liking this guy”
“Has anything actually happened?” I questioned feeling somewhat uncomfortable.
Hannah paused like a school child dragging her feet out of the door in the morning.
“I’ve stayed in his bed a few times” she confessed “I know I shouldn’t have, but it just sort of happened”
Now, I don’t know about you, but personally, I find it really hard to be a supportive friend when you don’t agree with what your friend is doing.
And, despite the above, Hannah is genuinely a nice person.
As a friend she is thoughtful, loving, kind.
Hurting someone is completely out of her character and would always be the last of her intentions.
“So, basically, I'm wondering what you think?” she eagerly said, with the desperate hope I’d have an answer.
“I don't want to get hurt and don't want to hurt anyone” Hannah sighed “But it's making me so miserable and I don't know what to do?”
Unfortunately, for Hannah, I don’t have an answer for this.
I’ve literally scoured the internet for suggestions.
Googled ‘what to do when you love two people at the same time’
But everyone says something different.
You could tell her that staying with Nick is the right thing to do; this is just a rough patch. He ticks all the boxes and he loves her, why give that up?
Alternatively, you could argue that if Hannah is thinking other thoughts about someone else, then clearly Nick isn’t the one for her. Especially if she has spent the night in Graham’s bed. Hannah clearly isn’t in love with Nick anymore, so she should leave him.
Two entirely different answers to Hannah’s situation yet both as perfectly justified as a take-away.
Both of these answers are subjective at best.
Why? Because love is subjective.
The way I see it, is….
When it comes to meeting Mr Right, there is no rule book.
That’s why this blog is called ’52 weeks of dating advice’ and not ’52 weeks of dating rules’
Trying to apply someone else’s rules and opinions to your own love life is like comparing olives with grapes – it’ll leave you feeling more confused and with a very bad after taste!
Each relationship is different, and you should always follow your heart.
“But what if I don’t know what my heart wants?” Hannah questioned, with the desperate hope of a firm solution.
The solution is to follow the only dating rule everyone should abide by:
Treat others how you would like to be treated.
I am not saying that Hannah is treating Nick badly.
As I said earlier, Hannah is utterly lovely and wouldn’t wish harm upon anybody.
But, in order to find the answer she wants, Hannah needs to treat Nick how she would like to be treated.
That means putting herself in Nick’s shoes.
If Nick was having feelings for someone else and started to doubt what he had with Hannah, what would she want him to do?
There’s no right or wrong answer.
“Either way the decision is going to be hard. But you need to make a tough choice and stick with it.” I told Hannah as we made our way out of the park. “Otherwise, you’ll continue being miserable.”
Personally, if it was me, I would want Nick to split up with me and I most certainly wouldn’t get with this Graham guy! He sounds more troublesome than a Kerry Katona on GMTV.
But that’s just me, what you think might be different.
Maybe you would want Nick to work at it and fix things in your relationship before you give it up.
But that’s the only advice I can give you:
Treat others how you would want to be treated.
How you interpretate that is up to you.