Call me crazy, but I’ve never been the type to want to be friends with a guy before I date him. Maybe this is where part of my struggle and love addiction comes from – this unrealistic idea that I should just meet a guy and fall in love, not be BFFs with him for years before.
Somehow, I think if you know too much from the beginning (like ex-girlfriends, strange traits, etc.), that certain mystery and charm is eliminated from the courtship. Of all of the men I’ve dated, loved, or been sexual with – I’ve only been friends with one before we dated.
And my theory that friends before love doesn’t work for me was proven correct by Mr. Buddy.
My freshman year of college, I met Mr. Buddy after the first big snowfall in my sleepy college town. Even beneath his puffy jacket and earmuffs, I could tell he had this killer smile and immediately we clicked. Along with a friend of mine and a friend of his, we went sledding all night and exchanged numbers at the end of the evening.
Long story short, Mr. Buddy was leaving my college to pursue other goals and we decided that because we got along so well, we should stay in touch. For the two years that followed, Mr. Buddy was my go-to guy about any and every man trouble that I encountered. We literally spent hours talking via IM or text message, and even on the phone. He was always reassuring and complimented me endlessly – and I returned the favor when he ran into lady drama.
During my last few weeks in NYC when I interned at Cosmo following my sophomore year, Mr. Buddy’s tone started changing. He was become flirtier and more standoffish if I told him about my New York date-of-the-week. While I wasn’t sure what I thought about it, I continued to be honest and open with him, not changing how I always was, and finally, he asked for a phone call.
And low-and-behold, he told me how he felt: he was falling for me.
At first, I was stunned. Here is this guy who literally knows everything about me – what gets to me, what makes me happy, how many times my heart has been broken, what I look for in a guy, what I hate, what I want, what I need – and he likes me? He’s seen all of my mess and he still is falling for me?
I wasn’t convinced I felt the same way yet, but I decided to agree to a date once I returned to North Carolina. When he picked me up and I saw that same beautiful smile that I loved in the cold two years previous, I decided I would give a romantic relationship a real shot. He happened to bring me a congratulatory present: a map of the world – something I’d mentioned I wanted months and months ago, and he remembered.
How could I resist?
And so after a good “first date” we decided to become official. In the two months that followed, we went on dates, slept over, “met” our respective families, and visited each other. On the outside, we seemed and appeared like any couple that was gradually falling in love with each other.
But in the inside – something was missing.
For me to be gaga over someone (or even in a “bad romance”) I have to feel that thing. That sensation that extends from the bottom of my heart, the tips of my tongue, and well, from down below, too. And somehow, because I knew so much about Mr. Buddy and he knew so much about me – I couldn’t find the perfect ingredients and the right recipe to get the mix to work. However, I was determined to keep him as my friend and I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to end everything and throw in the towel on love, so I stayed.
But then, he started acting differently – not returning texts or calls, being unpredictable, and not being affectionate – and even in our tenure as friends, he was never this way. While I questioned it, I also had this fear of “being left again” so I didn’t want to scare him away (as I thought and at times still do think I do). I started not being as open and more importantly, I stopped being myself. And for a “relationship” that was based on both of us being ridiculously honest with one another, him changing and me changing, and not being who we really were with each other – was a prescription for disaster.
One weekend in the two months we dated, he came to a football game at my school. I bought his ticket and his favorite food, and he helped me carry over items I agreed to bring to the school newspaper’s tailgate. After he barely said anything to the staff (even though I’d bragged about how I was bringing my new beau) – he asked for his ticket. Confused, I asked why he needed it yet, if we were going together. He quickly replied that he was going to go tailgate with some friends he hadn’t seen in a while and in case we got separated, he wanted to make sure he could get in.
I reluctantly gave it to him, kissed him, and…that’s the last time we’ve seen each other.
He basically got highly intoxicated, ignored my phone calls, hung out with his friends, and at the end of the evening, finally called me and told me “it just wasn’t working out.” He then asked if I would kindly place his overnight bag outside my door.
My friend M and A and I responded to this outlandish and disrespectful breakup, followed by a ridiculous request by destroying most of his clothes, dumping his cologne, scrubbing his toothbrush on the toilet (sorry Mr. Buddy!) and ripping the map he gave me into smithereens. And placing it, “kindly’ outside my door. Mature? Not at all. Gratifying? Incredibly so.
It was nearly eight months before we had a mature conversation about the whole incident. And just like Mr. Fire, Mr. Buddy decided with my anticpated move to Manhattan, he didn’t have much to offer me. And like me, he liked our friendship as it was before we introduced a love component to it.
So now, with some forgiving and some laughs, we’ve gone back to our friendship. Only now, when I ask questions like “Is it just impossible to date me?” or “I must be awful in bed” or “Why can’t I find love?” he has a better ground to stand on when answering them.
From the whole experience, I learned that even if a guy gives you the whole world, loves you for who you are (messy and annoying and all), if you don’t have that thing. That thing that I can’t even put into words – he’s just not the guy for you.
But maybe, just maybe, you can tell him, you’d love to be just friends.