Dear Abby: I’m a woman who, a little while ago, got a girlfriend, “Darlene.” After meeting her, I thought that was what love felt like. But my old (bisexual) friend “Michelle” has me feeling differently. I have known her since kindergarten, but recently I feel my heart racing and butterflies in my stomach just thinking about her. When Michelle does my nails and holds my hand to steady them, my knees feel weak. I do not feel this way with Darlene, although I still care deeply about her. I don’t want to hurt her feelings by breaking up with her, but I think that if I were single, Michelle might consider going out with me. Darlene’s feelings are extremely sensitive, and I want to keep her as a friend. But just being around Michelle has me feeling happier than ever. Abby, this is driving me insane. Do I risk hurting someone’s feelings, or should I stay with Darlene and miss out on being with someone I am in love with? Am I a bad girlfriend just by thinking of this?—Lovestruck in Alaska

Dear Lovestruck: Your feelings are your feelings. You are not a “bad” girlfriend; You are a girlfriend who is ready to break up with Darlene. Before making any announcements, verify with Michelle that your feelings are reciprocated. If they are, then you must tell Darlene you want to see other people. Count on her being hurt and probably angry, so be as gentle as you can when you give her the news. It will be doing all three of you a favor. Breakups, while painful, are a fact of life. People do recover, and Darlene will be free to find someone who will love her the way she deserves to be loved.

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