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Is all really fair in love and war? By Alpa Saujani

All is fair in love and war - ever wondered where and how that phrase came around? According to a number of online sources the original quote was "The rules of fair play do not apply in love and war" and not surprisingly come from a Renaissance English poet and playwright John Lyly's 'Euphues' (1578). Whilst this all sounds romantic in theory, how does it fare in the real world of Asian dating where you’re seeking a match from the same pool as a friend? The following are three situations that took place in the last month where I was asked for my opinion...

Recently Geeta attended an event with a friend and they both liked the same guy. The guy in question had an engaging conversation with both ladies but did not ask either of them for their number. On the way home, Geeta’s friend was first to pipe up and say that she really liked him and would contact him via the post event messaging system. This left Geeta in a bit of a dilemma; she too really liked this guy and was planning to contact him. Should she now confess her feelings to her friend, or bow out gracefully because her friend called 'dibs’ first?

After attending her first event, Simran really liked Sunil. She was excited that she had met someone who was attractive and 'ticked a lot of boxes’. Through their conversation, Simran discovered that Sunil had booked to attend another event in a few weeks. She too was attending this event and decided that she would wait to see how things pan out. A few weeks later Simran arrived at the event with a friend where it transpired that her friend and Sunil had dated a few years ago. Disheartened, Simran continued mingling at the event, she felt that there was no way that she could now pursue her interest in Sunil, or could she? Technically, her friend was never in a committed relationship with Sunil, they did not appear to harbour romantic feelings for one another and furthermore they dated 3 years ago. But surely it would still go against the 'mate’s code’, wouldn’t it?

Having been on a popular Asian online dating site for a few months, Tina’s inbox was usually full of interest from men living outside of the UK, unable to spell and old enough to be her dad (and in some cases her granddad!). Filtering through her responses, Tina spotted an interest from a man who actually appeared to have some potential. She reciprocated the interest, a few emails and phone calls later they had a great first date. High on cloud nine she called up her friend to share the story. Within minutes her bubble burst! Her friend had been on a date with the same guy earlier in the week and equally liked him! So what should they do now? Toss a coin? Continue dating the same man until he decides which one he wants to commit to?

Have you been in one of these, or a similar situation? They’re clearly not great positions to be facing but if you’re on the Asian dating scene with friends of the same gender and similar age, the chances are that at some point you will both like the same person. So what’s the etiquette in these situations? Fundamentally, it comes down to each person’s moral compass, how much they value their friendship and what consequences they would be happy to live with. Personally, I would not be willing to risk a fall out with a good friend over a date with any guy, including one where she called 'dibs’. In that particular scenario I would bow out gracefully and let fate play it’s part. If I was interested in a guy that a friend of mine had dated in the past, I would enquire how serious it was. If it was no more than a few casual dates, I would be honest and ask my friend whether she would mind if I went on a date with him. I would respect her answer either way but equally hope that my friend would be mature, appreciate the transparency and give me her blessing as she was never interested in that guy. On the other hand, if it had been semi-serious and, or they had been intimate, I would let it be and move on. In a situation where my friend and I had unknowingly been on a date with the same guy who we equally liked, I’d hope that we both would have enough integrity and respect for one another that neither of us would continue seeing him.

Is all really fair in love and war? Arguably not when your friends are in the equation. Admittedly, the dating game can sometimes be challenging and just when you have a glimmer of hope it get’s dashed. It's not because you’re incompatible but because the opportunity to find out is taken away. It can be upsetting and frustrating but if you think about it objectively, it’s negligible compared to the possible loss of a good friendship. You’ve also go to question whether a potential relationship is meant to be, or worth it, if it is surrounded by issues before you’ve even started. More often than not, in these situations the best thing to do is to let go of any resentment and walk away because...

“If you like something, set it free. If it comes back, it is yours to keep. If it doesn’t, it was never meant to be."

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@Single Asian Men, as a woman I would say that I do agree with you. Probably why my circle of female friends is small and very selective. I can't be bothered with all of the drama!
#TJ - I agree with you but I think that men can be a lot more objective about these issues than women based on stories that I have heard from my sister. Women take things to personally (naturally wired that way!) and can get quite mean and competitive. Single ladies do you agree?
It is all fair in love and war...what is more some of these moral dilemmas only apply in Asian circles and would not be issues in non-Asian circles....basically once you have been honest with your friend you should have the right to pursue a potential relationship....but as long as you think there is a good shot of a future in it...give fate that helping hand! If they really are a friend you would not lose them....or is that perhaps a bit naive? Perhaps differs amongst different genders....
Great article! This is one of the reason that I sometimes choose to go to events alone. I know a lot of women like to go with friends but sometimes I find going by myself a lot less stressful and more beneficial. Also just to add, thank you for the great events that tantric club hosts, which makes it even easier to come alone compared to other asian dating events.
I think men are better at handling these types of situations than women. We would probably toss a coin in that last scenario and not take it to heart in the same way that a woman would.


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