There’s absolutely no good way to tell your best friend you’ve fallen for him. I know from experience. It doesn’t happen the way you’d think it would. Movies and books have conditioned us to expect the fairy tale. Come on, you know the tale. The quirky, awkward girl realizes she’s loved the gorgeous sports star all along and finally gets the courage to tell him; their eyes meet as he realizes he loves her, too, then they kiss and then ‘happily ever after’.
I am in no way saying that I wanted the fairy tale, but I may have thought about a good ending, or a new beginning.
It doesn’t happen that way at all.
Eleven years ago, I met my best friend down at a pub in the Galleria. I’d forgotten cash for the cover charge and didn’t have access to any at the time, so I called our mutual friend. She noted that this guy was already down at the pub and maybe he could loan me the money to get in. She texted him, I met up with him and he handed me $10 over the outside deck and I got in. After thanking him profusely for saving my ass we proceeded to talk for the rest of the night. I remember asking him where he was from–his response was “Oh, you probably wouldn’t know it. It’s a small town in West Texas. Odessa?” (Which for those who don’t know, is my home town.)
At the time I thought he was insanely attractive (he still is), but at that time I really, really hated myself and didn’t ever think that someone like him could ever find anyone like me beautiful. I shoved those feelings down time after time in those first few months of knowing him. I told myself that I couldn’t look at him that way. Ever. I told myself that if I couldn’t be in a relationship with him, that I would be the best friend he’s ever known.
And I AM the best damn friend he’s ever known.
I introduced him to a woman he’d eventually marry. I cried all the way home from their wedding. I’ve never told anyone that before. I did though. I was scared of change and scared of losing him…..but I shoved those feelings down again and told myself it just wasn’t meant to be. I never told him how I felt.
Sadly, their relationship didn’t work out, but he moved on and started dating again, and we were okay. We went to rock shows, sporting events, all over this damn city together and had the best times and so many laughs. I’ll never regret any of it, except for hiding how I felt on and off. I didn’t always feel attraction, so it got easier to ignore.
It went in phases as he dated different people. Eventually I began to feel the worry of losing him, and what life would be like if he weren’t in it. I again shoved the feelings away–this is my best friend, he’s not going anywhere, he loves me no matter what, etc.
I’m a different woman than I was when we met in 2008. I’m confident, I know who I am, and I know my worth. I was still afraid to be vulnerable, but I ripped the Band-Aid off. Last week I told him I think we should go on a date. He responded with the most beautiful, eloquent “NO” I’ve ever heard. To which I responded with basically a “gotcha.” Internally I was screaming “STAND UP FOR YOURSELF.” I was conflicted with my normal anxiety, but I decided I was going to tell him exactly everything after trivia on Tuesday night. When I got there, he talked about the girl he’s been dating most recently, and it was a knife to my heart. I’d let myself be vulnerable, open, weak. I left without saying goodbye. It took everything I had to admit how I felt, and it was so easy for him to brush it away.
It was then I decided that I needed a long break. Why would I torture myself now? I can’t go back to the way things were, and I can’t hope for things that will never be, though some small part of me always will (stupidly). I’m tired of not being honest with myself and others about what I need. I cannot sit around and be a sidekick anymore or 2nd place. Not when I finally realize the depth of how I feel and what I deserve. The day will come when he falls in love again, and it will break me…..because what is more painful than knowing he’s the one I’d call if the world were ending, but he’d be on the phone with someone else?
I need to be first place in someone’s heart and life. For right now, I guess that’s me.
**7/5/19 I decided to say goodbye to him early in June. I miss him every day, but I know with time that will get easier. I don’t regret my decision; I’m surprisingly at peace with it. There will never be another person that could take his place; it is uniquely his own. We have tickets together for a concert in September (I purchased them in March), so I’m hoping I’ll heal and move forward during that time. I wish him every good thing and absolute happiness; I have no ill will toward him at all. I love him very much; I just love ME more.