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I was in love... in my own way.


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#1 words are futile devices

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 03:47 PM

Fair warning: this is really long...I’ve had a lot of thoughts stored up that I needed to get out of my head, and would love knowing maybe some of you can see where I’m coming from with all this!

Ever since realizing I’m asexual (still sort of getting used to that), I’ve been mulling over every almost-relationship I’ve been involved in, reaching back into junior high and all the way to right now. It’s so fascinating to revisit my turbulent past with guys through this new lens, and to think, Wow, this explains so much.

I’ve had a lot of crushes over the years. I won’t deny that. Whether it was a boy at school or a friendly coworker, I’ve spent way too much time thinking about how things might go with a certain fellow, getting way ahead of myself... you know, considering what potential children’s names would sound good combined with his last name, the usual. (Please tell me I’m not the only one.)

But one of two things have always happened, without fail. Either 1) he’s not even aware that I like him, and as time goes by my feelings diminish and I get over it, or 2) he has mutual feelings, wants to pursue a deeper relationship with me, and I panic/lose interest and break things off right away.

 


It’s like, as soon as I realize, Oh, this guy actually likes me...oh, he actually wants to be in a relationship with me... my feelings for him just vanish. Gone. And a lot of times, after rejecting him, I never want to see him again. Probably due to a mixture of guilt and embarrassment. I’ve always felt so bad because I thought all I’ve done is lead guys on and then shatter their hopes. But... that has truly never been my intention. The truth is, I’ve always been legitimately interested in them, but as soon as they wanted to get romantically closer I’ve freaked out. This has really got me thinking, maybe I am aromantic? Not completely sure right now.

But then there was Brandon. We met my freshman year of college. He lived one floor above me in our dorm. One day in the cafeteria, he saw me eating alone (I ate alone most days in college... severe introvert here) and invited me to sit with his friends and him. I very reluctantly agreed, only because I didn’t want to be rude. But somehow a friendship began to blossom between Brandon and me. He convinced me to read Harry Potter for the first time, and every time I finished a book we would watch the corresponding movie together. We bonded over a lot of mutual interests, and I found myself growing closer to him than I ever had to anyone else. Every night after work I’d go up to his room to hang out. We’d lie side by side on his futon and just talk for hours. I shared things with him that I didn’t feel comfortable even talking about with my girl friends.

Then, one day we were watching Netflix in his room, and he tried to hold my hand. Cue the internal panic. My entire body stiffened like a statue, my face burned, I couldn’t concentrate on what we were watching; my mind went on a continuous loop of what is he doing what is he doing please stop why is he trying to hold my hand this is so weird oh my gosh please stop.

Later, Brandon texted me apologizing if he had made things awkward. I responded that it was okay, it was simply that I saw him as more of a brother, and hoped I hadn’t led him on. We went back to being friends after that; things carried on pretty normally. But it was strange. Even though Brandon had expressed some romantic interest in me, I still desperately wanted and craved his friendship. He was my rock freshman year, one of my only friends, and one of the closest friends I had ever had. There were times that I thought I was in love with him, but at the same time I wanted no part of a romantic relationship. These seemingly conflicting feelings were very confusing to me.

Also confusing was how jealous I got when Brandon would talk to other girls. There was one particular girl who also lived in our dorm, that I knew Brandon hung out with on occasion. Brandon told me that she had a crush on him. This affected me to a surprising level: I felt almost heartbroken. And possessive. I didn’t want Brandon to date anyone else. You can’t feel this way, I’d tell myself. You can’t claim Brandon for yourself when you’re not willing to be in a relationship with him. But I kind of did want to be in a relationship with him, but I wasn’t ready to do the whole romantic thing. Hugging him was great; anything beyond that? Couldn’t fathom it. Yet I loved him, and I loved being with him.

Last night, as I was thinking through all this, I realized the answer I’d been grasping for all this time: I was in love with Brandon, in my own way. Without knowing what I was doing, I’d chosen him above all the other guys in the world, to be my closest friend, and what I wanted with him was a committed emotional, intellectual relationship. Back then, I knew nothing about a relationship without the romance, without the sexual attraction. I didn’t know such a thing could exist. It’s what I wanted, but I was confused by it, and assumed it was something I could never have. It caused a lot of frustration, that’s for sure.

Almost three years later, Brandon and I have gone our separate ways and don’t really talk anymore. It breaks my heart when I think about it. Part of me wants to write to him and explain myself. Explain that I did love him, that I never meant to lead him on or take advantage of him, but that I truly desired a committed relationship with him... just not the most conventional type of relationship. I want him to know that. But I don’t know if I’m brave enough. I haven’t told anyone I’m asexual. It hasn’t seemed necessary. But I feel like I almost need to tell Brandon. Do you think I should? Or would that just weird him out?

At any rate... it hurts so bad knowing our friendship will never be what it once was. :(

Can anyone relate?


We're all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?
 

...in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing; there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. -The Return of the King


#2 TheNaughtyNeutrois

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 04:14 PM

I can relate in a sense, yeah. 

You can send him a letter explaining things but honestly, what do you hope to gain? That he'll have a better understanding? Three years is a long time, do you know if he has moved on already?

Writing a letter to him may rekindle the friendship or it may not, either way, it's up to you. If it will clear your conscious and help you feel better, by all means, go for it :)  


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#3 Philip027

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 04:15 PM

I think you probably should get a hold of him, if he was that much of a friend to you.


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#4 Fruity<3

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 04:27 PM

haha I definitely can! All through high school, I'd like guys but then freak out when we actually dated. They became less desirable to be around when they began to have a more romantic mind-set rather than a friendship one. I'd be better if they all asked to touch me or if they let me initiate it. 

 

I'm kindof on the same boat as you as the college boy situation, but the roles are a little switched. One of my best guy friends developed major feelings for me and I had no clue until he told me. I did have a few other boys that I hung out every night with but once they became more romantically interested I declined their advances and we drew apart. It hurts that you want to be so close to a someone, but they only stay if you're in a romantic relationship.

 

Anywho, it depends on the guy on whether or not you should send him a letter. I don't think anything bad will come about it though.

 

Good luck!

 

You're welcome to PM me if you wanna talk about it more. 



#5 Tiramisu

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 06:32 PM

You know what? I think you should talk to him.

 

It's clear he was a big part of your life for a good while, and that the two of you were quite close.

 

It's true that he may have mixed emotions about hearing from you, and true also that it may seem a bit out-of-the-blue, but I don't even think that matters. If I were him, then even if times have moved on, I'd still be thankful some closure on that particular chapter. 

 

Perhaps he may have gone all this time wondering just why things didn't go the way it seemed they might; perhaps he thinks he did something wrong. Some sort of explaination might provide for him the same sort of clarity over past events as it did for you when you came to view them in light of your asexuality. You're probably right in that you will never have the same sort of relationship with him again, but given that you mentioned you hardly speak to him anyway these days, there's little to lose in taking the opportunity to explain yourself, and be honest, especially if you feel it would be as much a weight off your own chest as anything else.


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#6 Nameless123

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 07:18 PM

[...]

 

But one of two things have always happened, without fail. Either 1) he’s not even aware that I like him, and as time goes by my feelings diminish and I get over it, or 2) he has mutual feelings, wants to pursue a deeper relationship with me, and I panic/lose interest and break things off right away.

 

[...]

Also confusing was how jealous I got when Brandon would talk to other girls. There was one particular girl who also lived in our dorm, that I knew Brandon hung out with on occasion. Brandon told me that she had a crush on him. This affected me to a surprising level: I felt almost heartbroken. And possessive. I didn’t want Brandon to date anyone else. You can’t feel this way, I’d tell myself. You can’t claim Brandon for yourself when you’re not willing to be in a relationship with him. But I kind of did want to be in a relationship with him, but I wasn’t ready to do the whole romantic thing. Hugging him was great; anything beyond that? Couldn’t fathom it. Yet I loved him, and I loved being with him.

Last night, as I was thinking through all this, I realized the answer I’d been grasping for all this time: I was in love with Brandon, in my own way. Without knowing what I was doing, I’d chosen him above all the other guys in the world, to be my closest friend, and what I wanted with him was a committed emotional, intellectual relationship. Back then, I knew nothing about a relationship without the romance, without the sexual attraction. I didn’t know such a thing could exist. It’s what I wanted, but I was confused by it, and assumed it was something I could never have. It caused a lot of frustration, that’s for sure.
 

[...]

I can so absolutely relate to your experiences, and especially to the things I quoted above. In my teenage years I had a lot of intense crushes, but every time things were supposed to develop into a relationship as most people understand that term, I chickened out, because even though I felt a very strong connection to the people I had crushes on and wanted to be with them in some way, I didn't want to have sex with them and was confused by the way things are supposed to develop in relationships. It hurt and confused both me and the other person, because they didn't understand why I behaved the way I did and that I didn't mean to hurt them.

 

And then there was a girl I loved years and years ago, and for the longest time I didn't understand why I felt so jealous over her other friends and so possessive, until I realised the same way you did that it had been love all along and that I had wanted an exclusivity with her that usually comes with relationships, not friendships. To make a long story short, I ended up in a relationship with her that ended badly, but even now, over ten years later, I'm in some kind of contact with her, because we still mean *something* to each other, whatever that something is. Nowadays I'm inclined to believe that she was the only person I ever loved.

 

So yeah, I think you should talk to him. If you were that close once, it can't all be lost. But things will have changed, and that will hurt in its own way.



#7 Serran

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 08:10 PM

Talk to him. Three years is a long time, but sometimes the friendship is still there if it was strong to begin with. My first boyfriend and I didn't talk for 2 years after the breakup and then he messaged me out of the blue and we began right where we left off with the friendship, just no romantic attachment. It happens. :) I don't know if I would start off with the explanation, maybe more a "Hi, how have you been?" kind of thing...


    “I mean, as a man and a woman love.”
    He took a breath. “And how is that?”
    “I mean . . .” It half-angered me that he pretended not to understand me. “For bedding. For . . .”
    “And is that how a man loves a woman?” he interrupted me suddenly. “For bedding?”
    “It’s a part of it!” I felt suddenly defensive but could not say why.
    He arched an eyebrow at me and said calmly, “You are confusing plumbing and love again.” Robin Hobb - Farseer Trilogy
 
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#8 `Silver

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 09:46 AM

Agreed with the above: talking to him is probably the best option. Even if it won't do anything to let you go back to the friendship you two once shared, it will allow you to clarify a few things that may have been left unclear in the past. Some people want close, exclusive platonic (or queerplatonic) relationships with others, that aren't romantic in nature, but may include a number of components that some people typically consider "romantic", such as living together. If you want to tell him about your feelings, you should also describe the kind of relationship you were envisioning with him, so that he can understand you better. Maybe nothing will really come out of it, but at least, you'll have lifted a weight off your chest. :)


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#9 aceofhearts61

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 01:20 PM

Mmmm. I experienced this very same thing, almost to a T. My friend and I went two years without speaking, one without even seeing each other, and then when we did see each other again, we revived out friendship out of mutual desire. So it's possible!

 

But before you try contacting him again, I recommend doing the following: make peace with not being friends with him, get yourself into a place where you feel good about him--by writing out lists of things you appreciate and like about him, appreciate all the good things about the friendship you had without veering off into missing it. Just do your best to feel some relief about the whole situation. Don't reach out to him from a feeling place of longing or sadness or anything else. Wait until you feel more peace, until you feel better, until you can be happy no matter what his response is. That's important, I think: you shouldn't care how he responds, if he thinks it's weird, etc. If you're going to share your feelings, you should do it from a place of non-attachment to the outcome, not because you're looking for a particular response but because it feels good to you to share. If it doesn't feel good, don't do it. Simple as that.


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#10 words are futile devices

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 02:44 PM

Perhaps he may have gone all this time wondering just why things didn't go the way it seemed they might; perhaps he thinks he did something wrong. Some sort of explaination might provide for him the same sort of clarity over past events as it did for you when you came to view them in light of your asexuality. You're probably right in that you will never have the same sort of relationship with him again, but given that you mentioned you hardly speak to him anyway these days, there's little to lose in taking the opportunity to explain yourself, and be honest, especially if you feel it would be as much a weight off your own chest as anything else.

 

This is exactly the reason I feel the need to explain things to him. I want him to understand why things turned out the way they did. I still love and care about him. If there's any possibility of us rekindling our friendship, I'd like to do what I can to make that happen. And I know I'll never have the relationship I'd like to have with him, but like Plrtz Glrb, I'd like to think we'll always mean something to each other.

 

Really, I guess I want to feel some sense of closure, if nothing else.

 

But before you try contacting him again, I recommend doing the following: make peace with not being friends with him, get yourself into a place where you feel good about him--by writing out lists of things you appreciate and like about him, appreciate all the good things about the friendship you had without veering off into missing it. Just do your best to feel some relief about the whole situation. Don't reach out to him from a feeling place of longing or sadness or anything else. Wait until you feel more peace, until you feel better, until you can be happy no matter what his response is. That's important, I think: you shouldn't care how he responds, if he thinks it's weird, etc. If you're going to share your feelings, you should do it from a place of non-attachment to the outcome, not because you're looking for a particular response but because it feels good to you to share. If it doesn't feel good, don't do it. Simple as that.

 

This is great advice. I will definitely try to make peace first, because right now I'm certainly feeling a lot of longing and sadness.

 

Thanks, all of you, for your responses! I'm comforted to know I'm not alone in this experience, and I truly appreciate taking the time to offer your opinions. You guys are the best. :cake:


We're all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?
 

...in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing; there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. -The Return of the King


#11 Misoria

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 08:00 PM

I think I can relate. Because I'm in love with my best friend. You actually described what I feel about her. She once had crush on me, but I wasn't aware of being asexual and got scared. It's been three years and I'm still getting jealous over basically every girlfriend she has (there has been one exception). I know she loves me quite much. And I think that she probably would still try to have relationship with me if I wasn't asexual. She is sexual and that kind of person that I know that would not be able to go without sex. Or anything physical. We have talked so many times things like that and we joke that we are like old married couple. Actually even our parents have mistaken us as couple.  But there will not never be us like that and it hurts so badly. I feel like I won't ever get over her..

 

I have decided to tell her my feelings some day. But now now because she is in relationship with this very nice girl. And they are having some kind of crisis and she needs me as her friend more than anything. If I tell her now I probably will end up damaging our relationship too badly and It's something I can't stand.



#12 plaidflannel

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 07:16 AM

I definitely relate. I recently sent a message to my version of this person on Facebook. I still haven't read his answer. I know that's really weird, but...as soon as I saw that he answered, all the pent-up sadness and regret kind of disappeared. I'm sad that we couldn't have had anything more; we both obviously cared about each other. I knew I couldn't give him what he wanted though, and ultimately, even though it sucks, I've accepted that it's just something that happens in life. I hate that it's happened so many times to me and will undoubtedly keep happening, but even people who have relationships break up because they aren't compatible or want different things, so I'm trying to be at peace with it.  



#13 ChocoboFFA

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 12:16 AM

try and talk to him. even if it doesn't go as planned you will have tried... oh and because of your pic I kept reading this in matt smiths voice :mellow:



#14 edude

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 02:28 AM

I can relate as well. I've recently realized I'm gray-a, and looking back at the past I've realized how much sense that makes.

 

When it comes to talking to him, there's not much I can say that others here haven't already said. All I can tell you is this: Make the choice that feels the best for you. Consider your choices and do what feels right. :)



#15 Lomiel

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 11:58 AM

I've been considering this exact same thing--writing to someone that I was friends with at uni, and that I pushed away because I freaked out when he said he liked me. I've always felt very guilty about how I treated him and I think an explanation would help. I've been toying with the idea for a while and this has brought back to me that I should seriously start drafting that letter. Best of luck with yours and thank you for indirectly encouraging me to take my own step forward.


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#16 Cutie Pie

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 08:23 AM

I get exactly what you mean. Honestly, I was so happy and surprised reading this because knowing someone out there really understands and has been through what I've been through, it was strange, but I'm glad you shared this. (:

So PM me anytime and I'd love to be like your asexual penpal :)

Also, have some cake!

#17 words are futile devices

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 03:54 AM

UPDATE: It's been a while! But tonight.... I finally gathered up all my courage, wrote up a huge message, and sent it to him. OHMYGOD. I can't believe I sent it. No idea whatsoever how he'll respond... if he'll respond, even, or just be too weirded out by it all. I told him about my asexuality and lack of desire for a romantic relationship. Told him how much he'd always meant to me and how it'd never been my intention to lead him on. A bunch of other stuff. Now the waiting.....


We're all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?
 

...in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing; there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. -The Return of the King


#18 confusedbutsure

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:36 AM

i'm also in a similar relationship. I know it will end and the worst part is i cant' do anything to help it. it's a frustratingly helpless feeling. apparently i should try to create barriers, so i don't get too hurt when the end finally comes. Bollocks.


For that one fraction of a second, you were open to options you had never considered. That is the exploration that awaits you. Not mapping stars and studying nebulae... but charting the unknown possibilities... of existence.





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