Back in high school I had a friend who was a guy. I had a few guy-friends, actually, but one was in love with me. (He thought he was, anyway.) I knew this was the case but I ignored it and we carried on as pals. Then one day, my guy-pal decided to share his true feelings with me. It must have taken him a lot of courage to do it but I just wasn’t ready to take on his emotions so I pretended I didn’t hear him and I changed the subject. I was an asshole, I know. But, I didn’t want to hurt him. In my mind he was strictly in the Friend Zone and he always would be. I simply didn’t feel “that” way about him and it wasn’t just because he had a smaller ass than mine.
Once high school ended, we went our separate ways. He followed his dream of becoming a big city DJ while I went off to university in a different city. We met up maybe once-a-year and hung out at a coffee shop or “the mall.” I went to hear him DJ a few times but it felt a bit awkward for me. I think knowing he had feelings for me made me uncomfortable.
Eventually, years went by and we completely lost touch. I took a job teaching in Asia, where I met a gorgeous British businessman and fell in love. And, despite the fact that he also had a smaller ass than mine, I moved to England to be with him. We started a family and life was good. In fact, life was better than I ever thought life — as a married person with kids– could be! Yes, I’d been cynical about the whole family thing in my younger years. In fact, I’d envisioned myself as a child-free woman with a lover, not as a “tied down” suburban mom with a husband and three kids. But, it turns out, all I needed was the right partner for that perspective to shift.
I was happily settled in my new suburban life.
And then, the inevitable happened: I joined Facebook. And, it wasn’t long before I had a friend request from my old guy-pal. Without hesitation, I accepted. We looked at each other’s photos, tossed out a comment or two and carried on with life. Then I got a message from him. He wrote to tell me that I was one of the reasons he was on FB and that he was so happy to be in touch. He also added that he was coming to the UK to DJ at a club near me. We made plans to meet up while he was there.
I hadn’t seen him for years and, according to FB, he wasn’t in a relationship. I began wondering how I would navigate our visit. Would I get some friends together and go to the club? Would we meet up for lunch? Would he come to my home to meet my family and have dinner? I just didn’t see any scenario working well. But, I knew I was over-analyzing and decided not to think about it.
A few weeks later, my husband was out on a guys’ night. I was at home stretched out with a book, computer screen open next to me, when my Facebook signaled that I had a live-chat message. (I hadn’t even realized there was a live-chat option.) Soon I was typing back and forth with my old guy-pal. I was lying in bed, in my pajamas, with my little baby asleep next to me in her crib. He was getting ready to go out on a date; a date that he apparently “wished was me.” He told me that he “compared everyone to me…”
His words didn’t sit well. And, they marked the great gap between his stage of life and mine. He was still in that single, searching stage while I was content, settled, and committed. We were in two very different places. I told him to go have a fun time and I made sure to turn OFF my live-chat notifications, from that point onward.
When he private messaged me to make plans for his UK visit, I told him I didn’t think we should get together. I also suggested that saying things like: “I wish I was going out with you,” and “you’re the reason I’m on Facebook,” are not cool things to say to someone who is married with kids.
He didn’t see my point-of-view.
I asked him if he genuinely wanted to come and spend time with my husband and kids. He said, “yes.” But, I didn’t believe him. I really couldn’t imagine him and my husband hanging out, at all. He told me I was overreacting and being ridiculous. And maybe I was but I didn’t want to have to navigate a get together. It just didn’t feel right to me.
The next day he unfriended me.
Years have since passed. He and I do have some friends in common, so I’ve come across his FB page a few times. His current profile photo includes a girlfriend. They look adorable together. I had a little browse on his page too, and yes it’s only the social media version of his life, but it certainly appears that the guy is smitten and that she is too. I have never known him to be in love before and seeing him all “loved-up” made me feel happy for him.
Maybe now we can be friends, but I don’t think it’s necessary. We seem be doing just fine as unfriends.