Friends Without Benefits

I have written before about how Billy Crystal was right about men and women not being able to be friends, and how he was right. Well, in case you wondered, he is still right.

Recently I parted ways with a male friend after I finally decided I couldn’t deal with just being friends. It started out with a sort of agreeing to not talk or meet up. We still stayed Facebook friends, and he would like statuses or pictures I shared, and every time his name popped up on my notifications my heart skipped a beat, knowing he was still there. It became though that I would open up Facebook to look for likes from him.

On Saturday, I was making lunch when I had this sudden urge to unfriend him on Facebook. I get these feelings sometimes, you could call it a kind of sixth sense, an intuition which is trying to tell me something, and in fact has happened with him on more than one occasion. It also happened with the last guy I was really into; I dreamt that he left his wife and was seeing someone else just a week before I approached him to find out where I stood with him. Of course, he had left his wife and was seeing somebody else, and wondered why this crazy girl was sat in his office asking whether anything was ever going to happen between them, when “nothing had happened”. He was right, of course, nothing had. But he had given me a tiny bit of hope some two years before, and believing that he was my soulmate, the one I was supposed to be with since I was 12, I had gripped that hope so hard for so long my knuckles were white. I couldn’t let go until I was far away, in a place that didn’t remind me of him. A place where I could move on. But I didn’t move on, not really. Because a few months before I had that conversation with him, the first face-to-face conversation we’d ever had, I had met the man I truly believed was “the one”. And that guy was my male friend.

We met on a dating website on Christmas Eve. A few days later, we had a wonderful first date over coffee, and I remember how he kissed me for the first time, and told me how he wasn’t disappointed at all in meeting me. It’s funny how I remember him saying that. Perhaps it’s because internet dating is full of disappointments, and I’ve had so many unsuccessful dates since that I cherish that one date where the guy was so positive about meeting me.

Anyway, less than a month later and it was over, and though we made an agreement to stay friends, we didn’t live nearby so our friendship was mainly limited to the occasional game of Words with Friends. It wasn’t until we both found ourselves living in London that we really spent more time together. Too much time really; a lack of other friends and direction in life for both of us chained us together. I poured my heart out to him about all my problems living in London, over living situations, work stresses, even disastrous dates. He was always there for me, offering advice and a shoulder to cry on. It became more than that for a while, although it was nothing more than friendship and sex. But very amazing sex, certainly the best I had ever had. But that came to a stop when I had to admit that I harboured feelings for him, feelings that he could not return. Once again we still remained friends, and I clinged to the hope that one day he would realise that I was the one he loved, the one that was stood right before him. He was only supposed to be in London for a year before moving back up North. As the end of the year approached, I started to feel panic that he would leave without me, and I would have to face up to the fact that he still didn’t have feelings for me. It started affecting me in a big way. But then his contract got extended by two months and he started talking about staying in London. And panic was once again replaced by hope. And this time the hope was big.

But hope was not enough. Because I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had to face the facts. That he didn’t feel that way about me. Whether he stayed or not, it was becoming time to face reality. Sadly, this realisation coincided with him meeting somebody else. And I realised that I had been so wrong, because he had never felt about me the way he did about her.

Back to Saturday. As I opened Facebook to unfriend him, a photo came up that he had shared. One of those stupid memes like the ones I myself have been sharing lately. And this one made me mad, so I made a snotty comment. He made one back, then I made another. Twelve words later, and I had unfriended him over handbags. And I found myself wondering why I hadn’t listened to my intuition and just unfriended him in the first place, before our already fragile relationship could deteriorate further.

Since then, I have been ok. Mostly. I still think of him though, and worse, I think of him with the girl he has met.

Last night he sent me a message on What’s App, asking how the flat hunting was going. I replied, he wished me luck, and I replied thanks. But today I have found myself checking What’s App, seeing when he was last online, hoping for another message from him. And I realise how hard this separation process is going to be. Because I have to be the one to walk away. Staying friends is not an option. Facebook friends is not an option. What’s App friends is not an option. So with a heavy heart I stop writing this blog to block him on What’s App.

Enforced distance is the only way I can get over this. They say absence makes the heart grow stronger, but I disagree. Absence makes you forget. It numbs the pain. And removes all traces of hope.

I listen to the heavy rain outside, and know the same rain pours in my heart. I have lost a friend because I can’t deal with the pain of feelings unrequited. The friend who always offered me an umbrella when it rained. Now it pours, and it is all I can do to stop myself getting soaked to the bone.

How Am I Supposed to Live Without You – Michael Bolton (1990)

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Spring Forward, Fall Back | 33andlostinlife

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