ROOTIN’ & TOOTIN’: How Do I Move On From Loving A Friend?

Rootin' & Tootin': Real advice from a pretend cowboy.

Howdy Hogs,

I’ve been in love with the same person since we were both seventeen. He’s also been dating a mutual friend for that whole time, and while they had a pretty rocky start, they seem really happy now. I care about them both and I don’t want to do anything that would hurt them – the problem is, it’s been a few years. They live eight hours away – I see them every few months for a day or so, on average, and every time I still feel the same. It’s getting a little silly.

What can I do to get myself to move on?

Lou from Adelaide

Howdy there Lou, and thank you for trustin me with this here pickle you find yourself in.

Once upon a time I knew a farmhand by the name of Hercules – no relation to the strong Greek feller s’far as I know – who, before he was slain by the horn of his most ornery bull, was positively brimmin with perspicuity on matters of love and the heart. He was a man who loved with some intensity, and it weren’t always reciprocated the way he mighta liked. He once said to me that love is a beautiful gift from God, but that sometimes the Almighty sees fit to levy a great big tax on it. And when the tax collector comes, we ain’t always happy to pay him his due.

I don’t pretend to understand quite what he meant by that particular wisdom, but I think it fits your predicament some.

There ain’t much in this world which puts an ache to a lonesome heart more profoundly than pinin for someone who has found a happy life in the arms of another. It goes especially if you find yourself carin about the both of em, which you most clearly do. Havin that particular feel suggests to this tired old dog a rare kind of maturity on your part, and I tip my hat to you. Some folk’d let a real mean grudge simmer over somethin of that nature.

First of all, you can’t let yourself feel guilty for what you feel, no matter how inconvenient it might be. That goes especially for somethin as long-standin as what you describe in your letter. Just as those newfangled motorcars are tantamount to a horse with an engine, love and friendship are often just a difference in degree. Remember that.

Sounds to me like you’ve got somethin real nice with this feller, and he’s got somethin to cherish with his own partner; forged as it was through trial and tribulation. Y’all have a lot to celebrate in the friendship you got, even if it ain’t exactly what you’re wantin in the here and now. You can fight the current of a ragin river, or you can swim with it.

There’s another sayin I got in my belt which might sound like a cliche, but it’s worth rememberin all the same: this too will pass. This kind of unrequited love might seem like it’ll last ’til the sun gasps its last breath, but things rarely turn out that way in practicality. You’ve got to trust in your own self that you’ll find greener pastures. I believe if you’re willin to put your feet in the stirrups and get back out on the wide open sprawl of the prairie, you’ll be able to look back on this youthful love in your sunset years and smile.

It’s a big ol’ leap I’m askin of you. But by acknowledgin the happiness of your friends in the lives they’ve found, you’re already halfway down the dusty trail to findin your own.

Sincerely yours,

T. Bartholomew “Hogs” Hogswallop