Salvaging the friend zone

I made a really stupid mistake recently. Yes, another one. I decided to “give it a go” with someone who has loved me for a long time but whom I have never had the same feelings for. I’ve known this for a long time. He’s known this for a long time. But one cold Saturday morning while drinking coffee on his lounge, I decided to throw caution to the wind and have a crack at “seeing where it goes”.

I lasted a week. I felt trapped because I knew, deep down, nothing had changed for me. It was a desire for what it represented, rather than the person. And if that sounds horrible, I know. I am acutely fucking aware of how terrible this is. I wanted the cuddles on the lounge, the being with a partner with nothing else to do but be present, listening to music, watching Netflix, cooking dinner, being comfortable.

But all those things we had also been enjoying as friends, as that’s how I should have left it. I thought if I tried, my feelings would catch up to something he believes makes perfect sense. He described being with me as “effortless”. And, overall, it is … because we were friends. Real friendship should be effortless. But forcing a relationship … well, it wasn’t even that. We decided to have a go at simply dating and even that was too much for me.

I got super messy drunk on Saturday night, wine drunk, and vomited when we got home. Falling into bed, which I don’t remember, he told me that I had said “I love you”. I was mortified. I have told him that before but as a friend and I’m sure that when I said it as I fell asleep, that’s how I meant it. But for him, hearing those words from me, unprompted, gave him hope and the promise of something I know is not there for me.

I had to remind myself to kiss him back when he kissed me because it’s so far from what I want us to be. I am the worst of shit friends for letting this happen and I let it go on for years.

He’s asked me so many times what it is that doesn’t work for me. How do you describe a feeling that is absent? The missing butterflies, the empty bucket that should be overflowing with desire. It’s just something I know, have always known. Many times, I have wished I felt differently. It would be easier. But I can’t fabricate feelings that aren’t there.

I fucked it up and now things won’t ever be the same.

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