We never officially dated.
Not really, anyway. Sure, we went on a handful of cute dates over the course of a month. Sure, I remember the unadulterated joy I’d felt every morning when I woke up to a text from you. And sure I remember the electricity I’d felt when you put your hand around my waist and leaned in to whisper something in my ear when we went dancing on our third date (I still didn’t hear what you said, but I smiled and nodded anyway).
But we never officially dated. Because after that handful of dates, you pulled away. I was okay with it — he’ll come back, I figured. He just needs space. We had perhaps been texting too much — always initiated by you, I might add — and I could do with some space myself. But after over a week of barely hearing from you and waiting up to 24-hours for a reply when I did, I reached out. And eight hours later, you replied asking if we could just be friends.
I’ll never understand what happened — I know I did nothing wrong — but I agreed anyway, perhaps foolishly. Because while I knew I wanted more, we were so compatible that I honestly thought we could make it work. And besides, I was still new to the city and didn’t yet have any gay friends, of which you had a lot. I’d heard all about them, and I still wanted to meet them.
So we became friends. And things went back to normal. You started texting me all the time again and asking me out for drinks (where you were still pretty flirty, but I told myself that’s just how you are with everyone). “We almost dated” might be the weirdest type of friendship one can have with someone, but I’d be damned if it didn’t feel right.
So why did my stomach sink when you posted that picture of you kissing another guy on Instagram?
Was it because you had never even mentioned that you were casually dating anyone, let alone seeing someone seriously enough to publicly show off your affections to the entire world?
Was it because even though we agreed to be friends, I never had proper closure, and as such had retained a bit of a residual crush?
Was it because it had been less than two weeks since you asked if we could be friends?
All of the above, probably.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not mad at you. You did nothing wrong, technically. But I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been listening to my fair share of “Fuck Boys” playlists on 8tracks. I’d be lying if I said you weren’t still my 3AM thoughts. I’d be lying if I said every time my phone buzzes, I don’t secretly hope it’s you. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still want you in my life on some level.
But I can’t be your friend anymore. Because while I’ve started saying yes to the guys that ask me out again, I need to stop subconsciously comparing them to you. I need to stop wondering if you and your new guy fit together as perfectly as we did. I need to stop feeling insane, insecure, and irrational all at once. But most of all, I need to let myself be happy again. And you need to let me be happy, too.
So I’m sorry that I’ve stopped replying to your texts, and I’m sorry that I unfriended you on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. But I couldn’t look at another picture of you smiling that smile that I had grown so fond of with your arms wrapped around someone else, or see another tweet about happy and in love you are. I hope you understand that it’s just something I needed to do to move on as you so clearly have from me.
But I’d be lying if I said I don’t still hope that sometimes you wonder about me.