Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Just Like You But Not You

You know your really good friends of the opposite sex? The ones you’ve had forever and from time to time someone in your single life asks “Why don’t you just date so-and-so? You guys are such good friends.” Sometimes you even ask that question yourself.

Hmmm, he is a great guy. One of the smartest I know. I always feel at ease with him. We laugh. I can ask or tell him anything. He’s always there for me. Why are we not dating?

There is a multitude of excuses, of course. Too much water under the bridge. Wouldn’t want to ruin the friendship. I know too much about him. He knows too much about me. At a certain point, you’re such good friends you can’t imagine kissing him.

Yet these are usually the friends that populate the realm of the Back-Up. These are the guys we think “If I’m 40 and still single…” With 40 a scant few years away for me, these back-ups have been cropping up in my mind more often.

My most important back-up I met during college. I was dating someone, he wasn’t. We were drawn to each other. We became Just Friends. Not too long after, I was single again and of course he was dating someone. The ensuing years progressed much like this. We were never single at the same time but there was always that “but maybe if we were…” hanging in the air. Just hanging there. God forbid we ever actually said it out loud.

For a while I was engaged. And then he finally did say it. It was like it was finally safe to speak it aloud since I was officially taken. I was furious with him. Of all the cowardly, selfish ways to tell someone you possibly loved them. And what if we had been meant to be and now couldn’t be? I refused to speak with him for a long time.

I’m single again and now he’s engaged. And now I get it. I actually found myself sitting down to write him the same thoughts he’d sent me when I got engaged; prattling on about how I’d always adored him as a friend and had thought someday....and didn’t he ever wonder if we'd have worked?

I didn’t send it. I couldn’t. First, we were in our twenties when he sent me his letter and I have to believe we’ve both matured. Second, I expect on some level the Universe has everything worked out.

For a moment I worried my friend would get taken away from me. Then I took a deep breath. Intellectually I know he’d never let that happen. I realized it wasn’t about “wait, what if?” It was about a fear of never finding someone to be a true front man rather than a back-up.

My friend and I weren’t meant to be together in a romantic sense. We were, I believe, meant to dear friends and yardsticks by which we both measure the integrity and wonderfulness of the romance candidates that come into our lives. That is a truly valuable thing to have as a human. A gift I have overlooked from time to time while pining or feeling sorry for myself that there’s this great guy I can’t have.

I have to believe that there is a great guy out there somewhere working his way to me. And he’ll be a lot like my friend. Only not him. And thank goodness.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home