I am a firm believer in that we don’t choose who we love, or how we love them. We don’t choose when or how we fall for them, and we certainly don’t choose who gets to take a piece our hearts. We hope, that that person, or persons, are gentle, careful, and safeguard that piece of us as if it were a part of them. But, that would be too easy; too obviously perfect and true. We hope, that the person who we welcome into our hearts and consumes our every thought, takes ownership of our irrefutable happiness, is also our best friend; someone we want nothing more than to spend time with, laugh with, and love with our whole self.
This love, a love so perfect, unfathomable, really, doesn’t come along often. Sometimes you think you have found it, but then, it flees so quickly, it’s as if it never existed; that person you thought you loved becomes a stranger to you, but a permanent occupier of your subconscious “what ifs” and “should haves.”
People always say that you should marry your best friend, but marrying your best friend requires you to fall in love with them, and that can often be a decision we can never unmake.
I fell in love with my best friend. No, it didn’t happen overnight and no, it didn’t end like the perfect romantic comedy. It happened gradually and had the potential to be one of the greatest decisions of my life, but love has its costs. We traded our friendship for intimacy and chemistry for the familiar. But here is the catch, when you fall into a comfortable pattern with someone you already know so much about, your desire to take risks and step outside of your comfort zone is almost non-existent, making it impossible for this love to be unique or exhaustingly interesting.
Looking back on it now, I believe I am the one who is ultimately to blame, for I fell in-love with him, before he and I even became the friends we were. I was already so comfortable with the idea of loving him, being in love with him, that when the opportunity to do so happened, I dove in. For any normal person, when you explore your feelings for someone for the first time, you usually tip-toe around them, because you yourself are still trying to figure all of it out and you constantly worry about whether or not the feeling are worth it, or will be returned. You fear that you are crazy if you fall for them too quickly and become a tad insecure if they are not moving at the same pace as you.
I was comfortable loving him, loving this new relationship that we found ourselves in. I expected too much, too soon, because I assumed we were on the same page, as we usually were with everything that we had ever done before. But that, that is the biggest problem with falling in love with someone who has carried you home from a bar, listened to you complain about previous relationships and held your hair back while you threw up the previous night’s bad decisions—they have already seen you in a vulnerable state; it’s almost as if nothing is surprising to them anymore. You can’t surprise someone who can predict your every move or who loves you, unconditionally, because they are your friend.
And that is one of the biggest problems of falling in love with someone who is your best friend—you know them often better than they know themselves. As a love interest, you compare yourself to girlfriends or boyfriends past because you lived it; it was your duty as the best friend to experience that with them. So, when you become the girlfriend or boyfriend, you compare your relationship, through no fault of your own. You know too much, and expect too much, too.
When you fall in love with a best friend, you never want to hurt them—as you have seen them hurt before. You bite your tongue too often and begin becoming less and less honest. You choose your friends, and it is that choice that is an unavoidable raincloud in any relationship that grows from friendship—you do everything you can to be the umbrella, and protect them but you forget that getting caught in the rain never hurt anyone.
“I love you, but I am not in love with you,” was the phrase that still feels like a dagger in my heart. It’s not that those particular words hurt me or that they were difficult to hear, it was the realization that came after that hurt the most: our friendship will never be the same. It happens all the time—you tell yourself that if it doesn’t work out you can still be friends; but that is just naïve. Things never work out exactly as planned, especially when you begin thinking with your heart and ignoring the thoughts in your head.
I am not sure how long it will take me to come to terms with the realization that the love I had for someone was unreciprocated, at best, or that my best friend did not feel as though I was deserving of those feelings. But there is one thing that I know for certain—I didn’t choose to love him. At least I knew what it felt like to love someone, and for that, I will always be thankful.