Pursuit of Happiness Pursuit of Happiness Relationships

What I Learned from the Relationship I Never Had

By anonymous
 It’s always the same for me. Every time I like a boy, I keep it to myself for as long as I can before I emotionally (and even physically) can’t handle the burden of attraction anymore. Then, I confess. I’ve always been the one to confess. Not out of bravery or hope, but out of impatience and defeat. This all-too-familiar process began once again in the first few months of my senior year of high school, this time with a boy I’ll call C.
We started off as friends, as we all do, but quickly became more than that. We never talked about it or told anyone, but it was obvious that we had a connection. For about five months, I slept over at his house almost every day, told him my deepest fears, and became well-acquainted with his family. To this day, I have the keys to both of his parents’ houses and go shopping with his mom. For those five months of our “thing” (as relationships with no labels are occasionally categorized), I was constantly in a state of confusion and fear. What if C is just being a nice friend in a time of need? Isn’t sleeping with friends a normal thing to do? Am I overthinking what is supposed to be a casual friendship? I was never exactly sure of how C felt and what we had because neither of us had the courage to bring up the subject. Both of us were afraid that “the talk” would ruin the nice dynamic we had, though we both knew it was a necessary evil.
One night, while I was at a friend’s house studying, I finally snapped. I had to know where my relationship with C was going or if we had a relationship at all. After telling my friend that I was going to step outside for some fresh air, I got in my car, drove to C’s house, and sat in the car for an hour. I typed out an entire speech on my phone and rehearsed it over and over again until it was engrained in my head. I knew where to pause for effect, when to look up into his eyes, and how to enunciate every word. I had it all planned out.
The moment after I knocked on his door and before he opened it felt infinite. As soon as I saw him, the speech I had prepared became a jumble of words that I could barely make out in my head. I stuttered the parts that I did remember, forgetting to pause after the carefully crafted sentences and failing to look up at him even once. After I said all there was to say, about not knowing what we were and wanting to give us a shot, there was a long stretch of one of the most excruciating silences I have experienced.
“I like you too…”
I looked up, hopeful.
After hearing his reasons about going to college and not wanting to be tied down, I coolly accepted what had happened and left without a hug or a goodbye. As I started my engine and watched C go back inside, I thought to myself, “This isn’t so bad. I’m not even crying!” Then, as soon as I made a U-turn out of his neighborhood, it hit me: the gut-wrenching, throat-tightening, eye-blurring wail of heartbreak. The traffic lights turned to puddles and my face dripped a mixture of tears and snot as I made my way home. I cried myself to sleep that night.
Avoiding people in the real world may be easy, but trying to avoid someone who is in your high school classes and tight-knit group of friends is a different story. While it was initially painful to be forced to see C every day, in a way, it was also helpful because I was forced to deal with my emotions. Eventually, C and I became good friends again, and I still went to his house every day, though I didn’t sleep over. If anything, what I had with C, or rather, what I didn’t have, made our friendship that much stronger today because we know each other so much better. I also consider his family my second family because I grew so close to all of them, and that was something that especially meant a lot to me when my own family wasn’t there to support me.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that everything works out in the end, whether the result is what is intended or not. In retrospect, I don’t think I would have been happy at all if C and I had decided to start dating at the end of senior year. It probably would have led to a messy break up, and I wouldn’t have met my current boyfriend. I also don’t think I would have stayed in touch with C’s family if we had broken up during college because we would have been more distant during the time of the break up. All in all, everything that happened was for the best, even though it certainly didn’t seem like it in the moment.
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