I have this friend that has been straight, and then, just this past year, she really started to like this girl. She knows that there's no chance with her, but she can't keep her mind off her and can't get over her. What would be good advice for her in this situation? Please help.
Obsessed with The Unavailable
My first reaction is, if she doesn't see this as a problem, it's probably best for your friendship if you let her muddle through her feelings without attempting to "advise" her about how to do so better.
I do, however, have two thoughts about the situation you describe. One, is she comfortable with her recent discovery that she is, indeed, attracted to women? Dealing with our sexual orientation, choosing to embrace the reality of our feelings, is hurdle number one. One of the ways that we deal with our fears, and our discomfort about our same-sex attractions is to only fall for those who are entirely unavailable. This attraction allows her to get used to her same-sex attractions, without having to take risks to explore her feelings in the context of a relationship.
Two, when we wish to "keep our mind off" someone, we must create clear boundaries that remove the object of our obsession from our life. If, for example, it's a friend - she may have to end the friendship to allow her amorous feelings to dissipate. When we become attracted to someone, a series of chemical reactions occur within our body (see Helen Fisher's book, The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love for a thorough understanding of this) that literally encourage obsessive thoughts. To reduce the power of this chemical process in our body, we must separate ourselves from the source of our obsession as much as possible.
Lastly, if you find that your friend is obsessing about this to the point that it's negatively affecting your friendship, tell her so. You may need to request that she not discuss this with you. All you have control over in this situation is your friendship with her and how you participate. Focus on what you can control here - which is certainly not her feelings about another woman. (Unless, of course, "she" is you.) ;)
by Michele O'Mara, LCSW