“Help: My roommate and I are both crushing on the same guy!”

Dear Sarah,

I’m a college junior and I recently transferred to a new school. I live in university apartments and have five other roommates. We recently started getting friendly with the people in the apartments around us. There is this one guy I’ll call Adam. He’s super nerdy, has a great personality, and loves the outdoors. I wasn’t that into him before, but he seemed perfect for one of my roommates, who I’ll call Kate. Recently, I invited him rock climbing at our campus gym. He had a new hair cut, and I didn’t even recognize him at first. He looked HOT!

I feel nervous about going for it though because:

  1. He’s 24 and I’m 20.
  2. He’s more competitive and sporty than I am.
  3. I’m a total virgin (never been kissed, nor dated)
  4. I don’t want to infringe on my roommate Kate since we all said how cute they would be together.

Now I can’t get him out of my brain! I think talking about it with Kate would make things awkward between us. She’s starting to really like him.

What should I do?

Nervous Wreck in California

Dear Nervous,

You seem so sweet and kind that you are even questioning what to do that there’s this rah-rah girlfriendy part of me that wants to say, “Just go for it! Who cares about this Kate person, anyway!! They aren’t actually together yet, so he’s fair game!!!” But that’s not right. Your instincts are.

Forget your first three reasons for hanging back. The age difference isn’t so big, you are both students. So what if he’s sportier, that’s his thing. And as for being a virgin, well, nature usually sorts that out, and women your age are more emotionally equipped to have positive first experiences than younger teens. The real obstacle is your roommate, and, I assume, friend. That term “sisterhood” —here’s where it applies; basically, don’t screw over another woman for a guy you may or may not be truly compatible with (yes, you have a crush, but its too early to know if a relationship would work).

Since you all encouraged Kate and now she’s falling for Adam, I’m afraid you are going to have to sit back and chill—as uncomfortable and icky as that may feel—while you see how it plays out between the two of them. If you are thinking, “Geez, Sarah is being such a buzzkill!” This is one of those situations where you merely have to reverse your role and Kate’s for about two seconds and you, being the thoughtful person you are, will know exactly what to do.

Meanwhile, you are in glorious California! At a new school! With lots of other people to meet and have fun with in your classes and housing. Sounds pretty sweet to me. Don’t let your crush on Adam hold you back from hanging with other guys. If the situation is making you crazy, unload on a friend who doesn’t live with you—or better, doesn’t even know Kate or Adam. You don’t want this to become the subject of dorm room (FB, video chat, etc. etc.) gossip.

Love, Sarah

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(Image via NBC)

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