I'm in love with my friend's ex, what do I do?

So I'm caught in a pretty bad situation currently... I know this is a lot to read, but I don't really have anyone to turn to or get help from. Please take your time to read this, and give me some advice if you can.

As it turns out, I've fallen hopelessly in love with my best friend's ex. My love for him goes way back. A few months ago I transferred from a private high school to a public school. I transitioned pretty well, making a decent amount of friends and getting pretty average grades. A few weeks after I first transferred, I met this guy. Let's call him Max. Max and I were never really close, just distant friends. I had some connections with him and he seemed like an okay guy, but I hardly spoke to him and I didn't know him personally.

A month after I transferred, a few more kids transferred as well. One of them was a sweet but naive girl who I'll call Linda. Linda and I became great friends, we had a lot in common and she was a kind person. Neither of us were totally used to the school yet since we transferred during the last semester, and I was protective of her because she didn't really stand up for herself.

A few weeks after Linda transferred, Max asked her out. Out of the blue, he told her that he liked her since she first transferred, thought she was sweet, cute, ect. I didn't care, I was happy that she was adjusting and making friends, and I didn't really know Max.

Max and Linda were kind of an odd couple, they didn't have much in common but they seemed relatively happy together, giving each other hugs in the hallway frequently. I thought it was cute, and I was slowly realizing how stunningly attractive Max was the more he dated Linda. Max started hanging around our friend circle, and I got to know him pretty well. As a good friend of Linda's, I hung around Max enough to realize that he was practically a male version of myself. We had the same exact interests, same basic personality, same defense mechanisms, hobbies, political views, everything. We cracked jokes around each other all the time, our senses of humor are very similar. I developed a hopeless crush on him, but I never got too close to him because he was dating Linda. It saddened me on the inside, because every day I had to see the guy I had the biggest crush on, totally in love with one of my best friends.

Fast forward a few months, everybody sees Linda and Max as a basically happy couple. I'm still always supportive of Linda, and a good friend. A few weeks pass by and they don't seem to talk as much, but they still hug and kiss each other all the time. I never show my jealously because I know how to conceal my emotions and make people believe whatever I need them to believe, I continue being a good friend to Linda. But then something heart wrenching happens; Max's dad is killed in a car accident.

I tell him over messenger that I'm sorry for his loss, and that I hope he's okay. (I know how it feels to lose someone close to you unexpectedly.) He says thanks, and he opens up to me and tells me how sad and broken he feels, and that I was one of the only people to actually care about his dad dying. Apparently Linda hadn't supported him much since the incident. I console him and tell him things are going to be okay, but in a totally non-romantic way. The next day, he messages me and says he needs to tell me something....he admits that he has had feelings for me, which are entwining with his relationship with Linda. This makes me feel happy in a way, but also very confused.

He says that he has already told Linda, and I admit that I have strong feelings for him as well, but that Linda is one of my best friends. Then he starts going off about how him and Linda don't have anything in common, and how their relationship is awkward and filled with drama. He tells me that he wants to break up with her but he doesn't know how.

Call me a bad friend or whatever you like, but that's the part where I explained to him how to break up with her without hurting her feelings. I told him that he should only break up with her if he feels like it's the right thing to do, and then he did. We've been talking for about a week since his dad died, and I've been supporting and helping him. Yesterday Max asked me out and told me that he cares about me and wants to be closer, and I told him just one date so we can take things slow and see how things go. I still have very strong feelings for him, obviously. He's a genuine person with a kind heart who offers good advice. And through all this, Linda and I are still good friends. I came out and told her that Max confessed his feelings for me and I told her that I like him back, and she just said "that's weird." and continued on with the conversation like nothing happened. She says that she still loves him. I'm pretty sure Max is the guy I've been looking for, for a long time. I don't want to hurt Linda, but they were obviously not meant for each other and they're no longer dating. I also don't want to be hated at school by the people in our friend circle because I went out with my friend's ex right after he broke up with her. And the fact that she's so sensitive, cute, (and annoying to an extent) only makes me look like an even worse friend. What do I do???
Asked Jul 01, 2016
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Answered Jul 27, 2021

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