Monday, September 10, 2012

Grand Illusions

You would think that as many times as I’ve fallen for friends in the past, who in no way wanted to be in any sort of romantic relationship with me, that I’d have figured out by now some way of not letting that happen.

A few months ago, I wrote about my love for a friend. I eventually disclosed my feelings to him and asked him if he’d be with me. I knew this was something I had to do because it was just eating away at me not knowing if he felt the same about me or not. It turned out he didn’t.

I was both upset and relieved that he didn’t want to be with me. I was upset because I really do love him and wanted to be with him. I was relieved because I knew he was a great friend and I didn’t want anything to ruin that friendship, and also because I still didn’t fully have it in my mind that being with another man is okay, which if we’d have gotten together I’m sure would have caused some problems.

When we first met, it was through email. He seemed to be in a very similar place in life that I was, and so I contacted him just to give him a bit of encouragement and let him know that he wasn’t alone. We ended up writing to each other a great deal more after that. I very quickly liked him, and thought it was nothing but a blessing from God that we’d ever met. I still consider it a blessing. He has been a wonderful friend; one of the best I’ve ever had. But, somewhere along the way, I began to not just like him as a friend. I began to love him as a friend. There is quite a lot to love about him. And I think it is good for people to feel love for others. However, those feelings, again, somewhere along the way, turned to feelings of not just love, but feelings of being in love. Maybe in some moments of loneliness, sorrow, arousal, or frustration, I wondered what it would be like for him to not just be a friend, but to be a boyfriend. Maybe he just possessed enough certain traits or qualities that I’d actually want in a boyfriend that it became hard not to wish he actually could be my boyfriend.

I fell in love.

I don’t think it was wrong of me, or that I necessarily did anything wrong, but I do feel that I put myself into some unnecessary situations and turmoil because of that. In hindsight, I think I should have known better. I should have thought a bit more about how impractical it would be for us to be in a relationship with each other, or how being with him could ruin one of the best friendships I’ve ever known, or how completely incompatible we are in a few regards. I can see now that it really is best that we only remain as friends, and nothing more. That doesn’t mean that I love him any less though. I’ve just learned to direct my love for him in a different direction.

It’s never easy or fun falling for friends who don’t share any mutual romantic interest in you though. So many of us go through this numerous times in our lives, and it doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight, it can happen either way. I think it happens because we see in our friends certain qualities or characteristics that we like and admire, and would want in any potential romantic partner. Then we combine that with enjoying our time with these friends; and the next thing you know, we’ve fallen for them. Certain looks, words, or actions take on untrue meanings, and then our entire perspective of what should only be a good friendship becomes misconstrued. We get this totally grand illusion in our heads that just isn’t so.

This is nothing to feel bad about though (unless you’ve become like Glenn Close’s character in Fatal Attraction). Most all people seek out affection and love at some point in their lives. Sometimes we get signals crossed. Sometimes we develop false realities. Sometimes we love and fall out of love. And sometimes we get it right and find the love of our lives. It is all trial and error.

Trial and error, trial and error…

It’s a tough thing falling in love with a friend who doesn’t feel the same about you. Sometimes this can mess up that friendship. Sometimes it can cause that friendship to grow. Sometimes it embarrasses. And sometimes it’s just funny. In my case, I hope it was something that only embarrassed me a little, can be laughed at now, and can grow our friendship. I hope my friend knows how much I love him. I will always love him. He will always be my brother, and he will always be my friend. And I will always be exceptionally happy if that is the only way I can know him. I just pray that if I do manage to fall in love with anyone else, that it might actually be with the person I’m supposed to be with, who can feel the same about me. I hope that I can also know the difference between infatuation, a crush, and actually being in love, because I think that matters as well. Perhaps if we could learn those differences a bit better, we’d spare ourselves much grief.


Jack said...

I very literally feel the same way about my friend. Funny because we actually started communicating much the same way as you did: first encouraging and then talking more via email and Skype. I even went out to visit him, after I told him about my feelings for him. And turns out, a very similar situation happened... he loves me as a brother and good friend.

I'm starting to learn to accept that. All that is to say that I can soooooooo relate with you in this post on soooooooo many different levels (it's uncanny how much of my story I can see in this post). Thanks for sharing, and I hope you (and I as well) learn the difference between infatuation, crushes, and actual love.

It's so difficult though, especially when these things just happen. When you just happen to fall for a friend. CRAZINESS I tell you... CRAZINESS!

Brandon said...

Craziness, indeed, my friend. Keep falling forward--in my case, stumbling. :)