Falling in love with your best friend is ... definitely complicated.
In college, I was in a totally new land, and my best friend, as it is for a lot of people, was just about the first person I met on my floor. We did everything from breakfast to basketball to hanging out studying 'til all hours together. My dorm was coed, and yes, my best friend was a guy (who happened to be roomies with a total hottie who never knew I was alive).
Anyway, I found myself, for whatever reason, having an easy time getting dates, 'cept with that hottie. (Nice change from high school. Smart kids don't generally experience that.) My best friend had broken up with some girl as he left for college. She didn't want the trouble of keeping up a long-distance relationship. He spent much of the first semester miserable on weekend nights. I spent most of the first semester in Heaven. *insert cheesy grin here*
He listened to my fun and my woes. I listened to his, too, the moving-on woes, the school woes, etc. We did everything together but weekendy stuff, as I said, and he was just a fantastic buddy. He had sisters at home and I think hanging out with a girl really didn't strike him as any different from hanging out with a guy. Duh. It doesn't have to be.
Every once in a while, he'd wonder if my partying ... was a bit much. I'd tell him his not-partying was a bit much (well-known party school, and though I didn't go there for the "atmosphere," it usually drags you in). We'd have a good laugh, and move on from that conversation.
We laughed so much. I adored him in the most platonic way I probably have ever managed with a guy.
He got less morose in the next semester and was even more fantastic to be around, though honestly I bonded with him from first sight and never minded his moping. My dear friend was even coming along to an occasional party. I was glad to see him more as his best self.
One of his old high-school friends was at college with us. I thought he was the most unattainably gorgeous, smart, funny awesomesauce, and I set my cap hard for him for (what seemed like forever) a couple of months. Right around April, we had one encounter that ripped my silly heart out and spattered it on the ground. I wanted a break from all things weekendy for a while.
Well, in April, school's winding down for the year. Everybody's on edge, getting big papers done, exams, the weather is beautiful, and it makes it hard to concentrate (unlike December, when there's not too much excuse), and ... the world is just so flowery and fertile it's all stupid. Energy on campus was frenzied. I was partying less, but probably harder, for all of those reasons. It seemed like my friend was on edge about it. Didn't enjoy hearing about things as much anymore. I couldn't figure out what his problem was, but we had so much work to do, I didn't give it a lot of thought. We spent every minute that we weren't in our separate classes together, editing papers for each other, quizzing each other for exams, looking at the stars at night and talking about our dreams ... oh, boy. People thought we were glued together at the hip, and we were.
One weeknight, I went out someplace for a couple of drinks. I wasn't out for a long time, but somebody invited my not-very-partyish friend for a beer and he had one, probably to thumb his nose at me. When I got back, I asked if he wanted to study for a while. We did, for a couple of hours. No way did he have any alcohol in his system by 1 a.m. when we finished working and started talking in earnest. I didn't have a roommate at the time. He'd stayed over in my dorm room many times before, when his roomie (remember the hottie?) had a girl over, and he had a girl over that night, so my dear friend asked to stay.
We cuddled for a while. That night, though, we didn't fall asleep.
In the morning, I felt the biggest sense of regret I have ever felt. I told him I just wanted to "back up to where we were the day before." He said he'd been in love with me forever, he didn't know how long but he figured forever pretty much covered it, and that he just realized it last night and there was no way he could back up. He asked me, over what should have been just another cafeteria breakfast, whether I *really* wanted to forget about last night. I said Yes.
Yes, I knew it was the right thing to do.
We spent the day pretending such a thing was possible, but we also spent the day *together.*
I replayed months in my head. I laughed at that same goofy sense of humor, I ruffled his hair as I always did, I mused over the same big imponderable questions that college kids always do together. But I looked at his eyes. How beautiful they were. And his hands. How gentle. His backstory, all I knew about him, all the deepest secrets we'd shared, were wrapped around me like the cuddling of the night before, when something had happened that made him kiss me.
I wondered how effing long I'd been in love with him, and why didn't anyone tell me?
And when he'd given me the day to think about it, and as much space as two people who breathed in each other's air all day could really have, and he asked me again whether I wanted to forget that he was in love with me and go back to being just friends, I tried to lie. I told him it would be best. I told him I didn't want to lose "us" for this new thing. But I knew I was already sunk, and my lies were too thin to hold for even a minute of those gorgeous eyes looking at me with so much feeling.
It was beautiful while it lasted. Unimaginably blissful to be in love with someone I already *loved* with all my soul. I guess the hardest part about answering this question, is that falling in love with someone you already love and know so well really is indescribable.
It lasted a decently long while, and I'm grateful for those years. There was a wedding planned by the end, and imagined kids, the whole nine yards. But it didn't get that far for several reasons, and losing your best friend and love of your life often involves losing all your collected "together" friends, too, especially in your college or post-college years, so the end was devastating in a truly massive way.More questions on Dating and Relationships: