What It’s Like To Secretly Love A Guy Who Will Never Love You Back

Guy with hat looking over water
Samuel Zeller

He’s there. It’s obvious, you know, the way your behavior shifts trajectory when he’s within earshot or within conversation. Hoping, but not hoping. Anticipating, but not anticipating. Definitely not wishing for more.

It’s devious, you know, scheming and plotting your paths to intersect on a daily basis. Your days become defined by whether you see him or not, with additional points granted for a) eye contact, b) greetings, c) conversation. It’s all-consuming, you know, when you catch your tender gaze drifting back to him as your subconscious mind wanders. Staring into space has been replaced with staring at him.

It’s pointless to pretend “oh, didn’t see you there” when he’s the first one you recognize amongst the crowd. It’s cowardly, you know, hiding your intentions behind the disguise of camaraderie and friendship. You want the relationship to be mutually beneficial so he’ll keep you around – you’re the one breaking so the opposing team is being favored. You’ll tease him, you’ll treat him with playful derision – what are you, a kid? But this cover-up is a double-edged sword which comes back to cut you. It’s inauthentic, you know; even if your feelings may be authentic, they’re swathed with layers of fear, stubbornness, and denial which render you opaque. At times, translucent at best.

You need to learn to turn down the opacity. Second guessing your actions, double checking your words, to ensure that not even a hint slips through. It’s delusional, you know, creating scenarios that play full-screen high-quality resolution in your mind’s eye for an audience of one – you. Filmed, directed, and produced by yours truly. Sometimes you wonder if you like the idea of what could be more than actually going through the motions. It’s bordering fully-fledged infatuation now, not that you’ll ever let on.

The rationale you were so skilled at holding onto is in danger of slipping – you never meant to wear your heart outside your ribcage. But you know that it’s for the best, so you keep your closed mouth upturned and your eyes a little too bright. You don’t enter a losing battle; you don’t break a functioning relationship. And before you know it, it’s just another wound to add to your scarred existence. The self-inflicted injuries made in the aftermath of each unacted upon encounter.

Your self-destructive behavior is the means to closure. Too hesitant to reach out for fear of missing, when missing is the default repercussion of staying static. “I don’t want to get hurt,” you say. “I don’t have to get hurt,” you convince yourself. “I’m fine with the way things are.” Transparency was never your forte. TC mark

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