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      Digging a hole for myself. (LONG story, sorry!)


I just realized that I might be setting myself up for more hurt.

Well, let's get the basics out of the way: I'm 20, deeply attracted to (I hesitate to use the phrase "in love with") a close guy friend who I've known for about 5 years now. I developed a crush on him a few months after we met, and it's never really gone away, no matter how hard I've tried. If anything, my feelings for him have only gotten stronger throughout the years. So yeah, I've got a 4-year-old (and counting) attraction on my shoulders.

I remember having a conversation with him a few years ago. By that time, we had become really good friends. We had very similar interests, and could talk about almost anything together. This time, we talked about when we first met. He admitted to me that he had a crush on me around the same time I developed a crush on him. I guess we were both oblivious, because when I told him how I had a crush on him as well during that time (I neglected to mention that I STILL had a crush on him), he seemed surprised.

Then he said, "Well, it worked out better this way anyway. We were only acquaintances back then, but now you're one of my best friends. Our friendship will be stronger and last longer than any relationship we could have had."

To be honest, although I was happy that he considered me one of his best friends, and I could see the truth in his words, I felt despair. Because then, I had realized that my chance to be with him had been closed off forever. I was eternally stuck in the "good friend" category, doomed to never be thought of as "girlfriend material" by him ever again. I think a piece of my soul died that day.

But I tried to move on. I did my best to accept what he said, and decided that if I couldn't be his girlfriend, I could at least be a good best friend. And I guess I was doing something right, because last Christmas, he wrote this in a card for me:

"I am not sure what I can say in this card that you don't already know. You are my best friend. I care about you a lot and hope that our friendship carries on throughout the years ahead of us. Remember that I will always be here for you. Love, ***"

(Yes, I kept the card. I read it every once in a while, whenever I need a pick-me-up. Yes, I know that's kind of weird, thanks for reminding me that I have a problem.)

Just reading that second line, "You are my best friend," ... It makes me feel successful. Even with the struggles I was facing to stop being attracted to him, I still managed to become his best friend, instead of just one of them. It was one of the proudest moments in my life.

But now, things are getting harder. He and I are both in college now (the same college), and it's really helped him grow. He was always kind of quiet and reserved, even a little cold and off-standish in high school. But now in college, he's much more outgoing and involved with campus activities. It's made him an even more attractive person, and now many other girls are taking notice.

I wish I were kidding when I say that I know at least 5 other girls who have crushes on him at the moment. He's just a like-able guy like that. I mean, he's not perfect (obviously, who is?). He can be a jerk every once in a while, but when he realizes his mistake, he does his best to correct it and make it up to the person. He's also very affectionate and touchy-feely. He likes giving hugs, and manages to say just the right things to make you feel special. And he's sincere about it too, not manipulative or saying certain things on purpose to bait a girl (and sometimes I wish that weren't true, because it would make it a LOT easier for me to get over him if he were a sleaze). So I can easily understand why so many girls like him.

The problem is that he doesn't like many of them back, which is actually really stressful for him. I know, I know, it's hard to feel sorry for a guy who has girls crawling all over each other to date him, but think about it: if you had to turn down people constantly, and do it in a way that would cause the least emotional damage, would you be happy about it? Probably not. So he's always stressing out over the latest girl to profess her love to him, because he likes the girl as a friend and doesn't want to alienate her, but trying to figure out how to say that to her always puts him in a bad mood. He will literally lock himself in his room all day to figure out how to turn a girl down, and will not talk to anyone until he's figured out the best way to do so.

And THAT'S why I've never told him I'm still attracted to him. Because I don't want to be just another one of those girls who stresses him out. I don't want to put him in a bad mood. I don't want him to have to lock himself in his room to figure out the best way to turn me down, because I know the answer already. That conversation a few years ago was PLENTY of a reminder that he doesn't like me the way I like him, and he never will.

But at least I'm still his best friend, right?

... Right?

So like I said, college has been really good for him, girl drama and all. He's met some great people and made lots of connections, and overall it's made him into a happier person. And of course, in the mix of all the girls who like him, there are the few girls who he likes as well.

Above all, I have always wanted him to be happy. Even if his happiness doesn't include me, that's okay. So whenever I hear about a girl who he likes, I try to help in some way to get them together. It never really works though, because just as I and other girls have unrequited feelings for him, he seems to have a way of going for the few girls who are NOT interested in him. (And I feel bad, but then I start laughing at the karma and irony of it all.)

I have never felt "threatened" by any of his crushes, because I know I don't have a chance anyway.

Well, actually, I didn't feel threatened until recently.

Enter D. That's obviously not her real name, but that's what she will be known as for the rest of the story. D is one of his crushes right now. The two of them met at the beginning of the school year, and subsequently I met her too (because almost everyone he knows, I end up knowing).

D is a really cool girl. She's smart, funny, nice, outgoing, and an all-around great friend. She goes out of her way to throw surprise birthday parties for friends, even when the person's birthday is the week before midterms. She's passionate about specific issues, but doesn't look down on you if you disagree with her. She's down-to-earth, and can befriend almost anyone. I like D a lot, actually. So I guess it's not really a shock that he has a crush on her. I personally could not have picked a higher quality person for him to like, so good for him.

What really bugged me though, is that I heard him say one day, "D is my best friend," while talking to someone else. I know I shouldn't be so bugged about it as I am, but it really bothered me a lot. Other girls can be his girlfriend, that's fine, but I had always felt comfortable and proud in the knowledge that I was his best friend. And now, well ... I guess I'm not anymore.

I feel like I just need to get away from him, spend some time focusing on other things, and get over the fact that I've been demoted to "just a friend." I know I'm making a bigger deal out of this than I should be ... he probably didn't even realize the ramifications of what he said. I don't know.

And it would be a lot easier for me to avoid him if it weren't for the fact that a.) we have almost the exact same friends, and b.) I'm living with him next year.

Yeah, I'm living in an apartment with him next year, just the two of us. For a whole year. I remember having warm and fuzzy feelings over it when he first asked me to room with him. He said, "I don't think I could live with anybody else but you. We get along the best out of all our friends." Oh, how special I felt. But now I'm kind of kicking myself over saying "yes." I'm going to have to live with someone who is simultaneously the object of my affection and the source of my torture, FOR A WHOLE YEAR. What was I thinking?!

So yes, I do believe I have dug myself a nice hole to die in.


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