If we were just friends, you wouldn’t ghost on me every time your girlfriend visits you, or you visit her. If we were just friends, you would be as relaxed with me in public as you are in private. If we were just friends, you wouldn’t encourage me to snap you photos of myself at night. If we were just friends, you wouldn’t grab my body as soon as no one else was looking. If we were just friends, you wouldn’t excitedly talk about going to concerts with me, about visiting me, about sleeping in my bed.
No, we are not just friends, but we are also not more. We are not anything to each other, but we are also not nothing.
We are best friends, but only sometimes, on some days, in some places, when it’s only us. The rest of the time, we have to pretend as if we are acquaintances, because none of our friends would understand why we are so close.
The fact is, we shouldn’t be more than friends, but we are. We shouldn’t be more than friends, because you have a girlfriend. You’ve had a girlfriend for as long as I’ve known you, and I rationalize our behavior because I know you have been unhappy.
And because I know you have been unhappy, I have allowed you to come to me for attention when she isn’t fulfilling your needs. And you have allowed me to go to you when you needed someone to comfort. We have gone to each other to soothe our wounds, to validate ourselves, to laugh, to cry, to talk about our passions and dreams and bad habits and vices and pet peeves.
But in coming to me, I made you a cheater. And in going to you, you made me the other woman.
And even as I was falling in love with you, I felt guilty about it. I wanted you to love me, too, but I knew that you wouldn’t, or couldn’t, because there was no room in your life for that. And I want to tell you how I feel, but I won’t, I can’t, because I know I have no right to do so. So instead, I have settled for this in-between, this nebulous existence of your “sometimes” best friend, the one you would talk to when she wasn’t around, or had broken up with you, or when it was late at night, or when you just wanted to laugh.
I just wanted a pure and true love, and never imagined that this seeking would bring me to be involved in an affair. It was an affair, whether you want to admit it or not, even though we were never intimate or even kissed.
Emotional affairs are funny things, because they sneak up on you. I’ve never heard anyone say they went out in search of one. But when two unhappy hearts meet and connect over the ways that they think they need to be fed, there is rarely any turning back. And we shared moments of closeness that never should have occurred between “just friends,” if that’s what we intended to stay. I lost track of our intention, of mine and of yours, in the midst of the playful remarks and photo exchanges and stories and plans. I looked forward to talking to you more than anyone else during this season, even when I was in my own brief relationship, and I kept going back to you because you seemed to understand me in ways that no one else did.
I became addicted to this understanding that didn’t require me to spell everything out like I had to with all others. We had an unspoken awareness of each other, and I didn’t want to let it go, even though I knew I should. You held on because… well, I like to think it was because I also gave you something of value that no one had offered before.
This whole situation has driven me insane, made me jealous, sad, and mad all at the same time. I’m tired of the games and of the hiding and of not being able to escape the cycle of behavior that I helped perpetuate.
I have been imprisoned in an unrequited love that at first built me up, but then hastily tore me down. This situation has made me doubt my ability to know if someone has feelings for me, has made me unsure what a male/female friendship truly looks like. I am tired of this weird friendship that is more than a friendship, but isn’t at the same time. I’m tired of being the one who is willing to openly communicate. I’m tired of feeling like I have to hide our exchanges and interactions because of your girlfriend and I’m tired of not knowing if you’ll ignore me because you’re with her. I’m tired of having someone that I consider a best friend that I have to pretend is a casual friend when around other people.
I just can’t do this anymore. I’m tired of dealing with the emotional manipulation. I’m tired of staying up way too late to keep you company when you can’t sleep. But tonight I’m staying up late to write this, with the hope that one day you will read these words and know that they are for you. I’m tired of making plans that never will or should come to be. I’m tired of having boundaries that I let you smash through with the slightest push. I’m tired of wishing that things were different. I’m tired of crying over my broken heart. I have loved you, but I am tired of you. I am done with dealing with it.
I don’t want to be done with you, but I am.