Keeping Secrets Ruins Relationships

*Names have been changed to hide identities

I met Aaron my freshman year of college. I don’t quite remember the day that we shook hands and said hello, but my earliest memory of us was his 18th birthday, and all I said was “Happy Birthday”. I didn’t think much of it then because I was a freshman in college and I had my sights set on Senior Boys, not some 18 year old boy who played too many video games and got drunk a little too fast. However, his first memory of me was my reaction to having to take public transportation for the first time when a group of us from our dorm went ice-skating. He never let that one down. But from the moment he started making fun of me for being afraid of the bus, I knew that we’d be best friends.

Best friends we were. From December on, I spent so much time with him and our other guy friend- it was slightly ridiculous. It was me and them. All I’d have to say is “guy’s, I’m hungry. Do you like In N’ Out” and off we were. It didn’t seem to matter what time. I probably spent more time in their cars during the night then I did in my own bed. We’d go to the beach, to different cities and restaurants or just spend three hours driving around. They taught me how to ghost ride the whip, taught me more bad words than I’d like to admit, and taught me how to be friends with a guy. After a while, they were my guys. My best friends. Brothers from other mothers. Me and them. Them and Me.

Then something happened. I started falling for Aaron. It was not a “oh maybe I like him” type of thing. I fell hard, to the point where I’d write my name but use his last name on my shower door and dream about him when I would fall asleep at night. But wait. He was my best friend. I couldn’t like him. And because I couldn’t read his feelings either, I shoved the thoughts away and just continued to be friends. If it was meant to happen, it would, right?

Then summer happened, and I ignored him and started “seeing” someone else. Of course my summer fling ended with summer, and I returned back to school with a broken heart and a need for my best friends.

But something had changed. He had gotten older, wiser and more attractive. All of a sudden, people liked him. And my fear of us not being best friends started to become a reality. Of course, I wasn’t the girlfriend, so I just hid in the corner watching and getting upset until I realized something. I really liked Aaron. Like a lot. And it was getting to a point where I thought that the only reason he started being a jerk to me again was because he liked me too. So I sent this text “do you like me?” with which I got a reply of “I can’t.” WHAT? What does that mean exactly?

I had gotten his attention. I made him open up those thoughts that he too had pushed away, not wanting to ruin a perfectly good friendship and by January 2013, we had started secretly dating. Secretly being that no one knew. Not even our closet friends. Not even our parents. I’m sure that people did know, to be quite honest. I’m not the most secretive person. But I wanted it to be a secret. If it were up to him, we would have told people from the beginning.

I was scared. I was scared about what would happen if we made it public. If we made it public, did that mean that I couldn’t hang out with other guy friends? What happens if we fall in love? What happens if we break up? What about our friends? Was I ready to be one person’s girl for the rest of my life? These thoughts ran through my head constantly. But even though the real answer was there all along, I still refused to believe it.

Honey, You love him. Be with him.

But instead of being with him, instead of telling the world that I was crazy in love, instead of screaming it from the rooftops, I decided to make my life, and his, as crazy as possible with the hopes that he’d break up with me so we could just resume our friendship. Because to me, I would have rather had him in my life forever as friends, then date him and lose him in a breakup.

From January to September, I ended things with him about 30 times. And during one of these breakups, I went on dates with two other men. These dates were terrible, and I would run back home into his arms crying about how stupid men were and how they only wanted me for my body and how I wish more men were like him. This of course did not help the situation, and about two weeks later, I went back to him.

But things were never the same. I hurt him when I went on dates with these guys. I saw it in his eyes. As much as I tried to fix things, the pain didn’t go away. I would try to cover it up and be the best “secret” girlfriend that I could be. But I knew what he really wanted. He wanted me to make if official and to be able to tell our families and friends that we were together. Yet, the fear of losing him held me back.

Unfortunately, me not telling them made me lose him. We broke up officially in October and instead of just losing a boyfriend, I lost my best friend. He had become the man that I would run to in times of crisis. He taught me how to whistle, and would laugh at me every time I tried to roll my tongue. He knew my deepest fears, and my greatest wishes. He was always surprised whenever I showed him a new talent, and we would spend hours wrestling to build up my strength. I knew when he was upset and by his face I could tell why he was upset. I knew when he needed to be cheered up and I also knew when he needed to be left alone. I knew his secrets, and he knew mine.

And then he was gone. He couldn’t handle the secret I had forced him to keep anymore. 10 months is a long time.

My heart has never been this broken. My eyes have never cried this many tears. But the person I’m mad at the most is myself. I wish that I had had not been afraid of losing him, and had taken the chance of allowing us to be in a real relationship.

So Aaron, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I wasn’t a better girlfriend and I’m sorry that I was a coward. I wish with all my heart that I had told the world the truth, but because I didn’t then. I’m doing it now.

You were the best boyfriend in the entire world. I loved you, and still do, with all my heart. You were my best friend, my support, my comedian, and my cry buddy, and for that, I am eternally grateful. If I could go back right now, I’d tell the whole world. I’d scream it from the rooftops. I’d even make it Facebook official because if that means I could keep you even one day longer, it would be worth it.

I dated Aaron. Because of my stupidity, I lost him. Don’t let yourself do the same. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

More From Thought Catalog