Best Friends

maryanne_ncApril 13, 2008

Hello everyone, I'm Maryanne, new kid in town here. Have lurked on and off for a while...okay, 5 years can be considered a while, right? That's how long I've been separated, was just served my summons to appear in divorce court today. I think I'm suppose to mark my calendar to celebrate this in the future, but if anyone was married to the type of man I was married to, you understand that the real fight has just begun. So, I stopped in looking for something to make me laugh (y'all do that to me sometimes) and figured what the heck, now is the time to hitch up garter, be brave, and introduce myself.

Now, on to a more serious matter that has been an itch I can't seem to scratch.... I met a man almost 2 years ago that sparked my interest. He was intelligent, well traveled, could carry on a real conversation, and was a bit different than anyone else that crossed my path in that he didn't pour out his life story or his emotions on me from the start. He marches to his own beat, and I don't think he even has a drummer. I was fascinated by him and, over time, began referring to him as "my bug in a jar". Remember when you were a kid and you'd catch a bug in an old jar and watch them for hours? I know I'm not the only bug catcher still alive, so humour me, please. Anyway, I thought that once I figured out how this bug operated, the fascination would wear off and I'd release him back into his native habitat. But, it didn't wear off and, on occassion, there'd be a little sizzle between us, sort of like touching a 9 volt battery to your tongue or crawling under an electric fence and having it zap you in the butt. You felt it, but afterwards, wondered if you really did feel it as strongly as you thought, or if your mind had it's own illusions of grandeur. I'm attracted to him, and I know he's attracted to me, but it's never been a case of "I've got to have you NOW". Actually, we both make a conscious effort to NOT touch, but there's occassionally that thunder storm type electricity between us that can't be denied. Anyway, the first year passed and my bug kept me fascinated. We would talk every day, he'd stop in at work to see me a few times each week, and we'd have dinner on occassion. We became close friends, he describes our relationship as being a text book study on symbiotic relationships. That pretty well sums it up. I guess I should mention that he's in the military and I work for the government and, if there's anything in this world that can stress a relationship, it's the military. As luck would have it, he was sent to another base (778 miles away to be exact), and I thought "well, that was fun, guess the party's over". But, it wasn't. We continued to talk to each other every day, he came back to visit and conduct business after being gone a month, and when he deployed to South America, we still emailed each other every day, he'd call occassionally, and I'd send the traditional care packages. When he returned, he once again came back here for a week on the premise of conducting business, but we both knew it was because we missed each other and our long talks.

Okay, let's face it, he's my best friend. When I received my summons this morning, he was the one I reached out to for support and comfort. And he was right there to give it. There's still a sizzle between us, but other than giving each other a hug when we see each other, there has been no other intimacy.

At first, I use to think that this was all a figment of my over active imagination. That perhaps, after a 5 year separation, I was craving companionship and the touch of another person and he wasn't interested in anything other than bonding as friends. So, I asked him. That's what friends do, right? His answer was that he wanted to do the right thing this time, he didn't want another short romance that ended in hurt feelings. He wanted to make sure that this would be something of substance that could be sustained through the years. Okay, I understand that (very military talk) and respect it. I don't ever want to get married again, but that doesn't mean I don't want companionship. I am very human.

So, now that almost 2 years have passed and I know he's the best friend I could have ever hoped for, I have to wonder if it would be weird to have an intimate relationship? Where I once could fantasize about the fireworks that would happen with that first kiss, now I wonder if all we'd do is choke on the smoke? Can too much time pass between two people? Is there a magic mark on the timeline of relationships that says that once you pass this point, the fireworks expire? And, if the sizzle can remain between two best friends, what risk do they face? I keep hearing that voice inside my head telling me "why risk screwing up a perfectly good friendship?" and it sounds so cliche. But you know how it is once the seed of doubt is planted. If you don't pluck it while young, not even Roundup will kill it later.

So, what do you think? Any personal experiences you'd like to share? I'd appreciate an education!

Sorry for the length of the post, there's a writer stuck somewhere inside me who screams to get out once in a while!

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Maryanne, I truly wish you the best, and hope that things turn out that this is you "knight in shiny armor". Sorry, I don't have personal experience similar to yours to give you advice, but I do have one question: Two years and he is still trying "to do the right thing this time"? I would by now suspect there is something more to this man that you might not want to see clearly.

BTW, you do have a wonderful way of writing!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 9:33AM
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Heck no, Maryanne - go for it! I lost my soul mate April 17th of last year, to cancer. I would love to have someone I could talk to, who didn't expect anything beyond what I want to give. Does he have any single brothers??? LOL

PS: Welcome to our forum - we are family, and share our worlds with each other. We support each other, admonish each other, keep each other company - we are a real family, so we hope to hear lots of input from you!!! BTW, my name is Jo aka kayjones.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 2:36PM
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Hi Maryanne!! Welcome to the real world forum. This is definitely the place. Jo hit the nail, I think. Since you've been lurking, you probably know that this bunch - especially the regulars, are truly family here. They may not hear me speak to everything that goes on in my brain, but they sure have helped me through a lot this last few months that I've know them.

RE your question, I can tell you, I'VE GOT THE SAME EXPERIENCE - YUK!! This person has been a very good friend for a very long time. About 3yrs ago, he began calling pretty regularly. Right after that, I went away for a job and lo and behold, he began calling EVERY night!! Now mind you, when he first started calling, it was light conversation, but it began to lean towards an interest in me. We have our "moments" since then, and I began to have some feelings. But when I reacted to them, he would "run". I've told him many times that I didn't want to ruin a perfectly good friendship with his habit of chasing and then running when I responded. He says he's fine with our relationship - he wants me around but he doesn't want to get married. So now, we are truly best friends. He still does the chase thing, but I stay away from anyting else now because I don't want to risk the friendship. It's not as though I'm afraid of losing it, it's just that when he and I began to get closer, we keep telling each other that we were beginning to act like an old married couple (no arguing, it's just that if feels like marriage). We knew so much about each other as friends that it was difficult making the transition. We have the warmth and care/concern, but it's not the hot and heavy romantic stuff that I thought it could be. I can't say I've lost hope or anything like that, but I wonder if the romantic thing is better than what we have now. So, I just let it be - as it is now- which by the way, is great.

OK, I've shared some of my story, but to address your question, I really have to wonder why more hasn't happened already. There does come a time when suppression really doesn't hold out. If he really has romantic feelings, then I'm curious as to how he is able to keep them at bay all this time. I'm not saying this guy doesn't like or want to be with you - not at all. After hearing some of what my friend has said to me, I'm just wondering if your friend is just content as things are between you now. There are a myriad of things that come to mind - some guys just have a hard time leaving a relationship behind. If he hasn't gotten over the bad relationships of the past, he's not going to move forward with yours, other than to have you there to have a trusted female companion. One thing you might try - you make a move and see what happens. Just know that the risk is there, that it might not feel like the high school crush. That could still work well, and be the best romantically involved friendship. That in itself gives you a lot more than what a lot of people have. That will give you the leg up, so to speak when things are not so great all the time. Most don't have that either. But if sparks do fly when you take the plunge, then it's gravy.

Best wishes with your decision. I think it would be worth it to try it and see. If you don't you will always wonder. If it doesn't work out, in the end, you will at least have had a great friend. Nine times out of ten, the friendship part will never go away though. What you don't want to happen though, is that someone else helps him take the plunge before you do. He's seems comfortable with you so I'd try it. You don't have to go hog-wild, but maybe just have a little more forceful discussion.

BTW, the writer thing - you got it, it all sounds good. I know about that too, but if it doesn't sound like it, it's because it's almost 2:00AM!!!

Go for it - we're rootn' for ya!!


    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 1:36AM
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Mary, beautifully spoken - there ya go, Maryann - sound advice from someone else who had BTDT!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 9:22AM
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It sounds like the start of something good. But I wonder if he thinks of you as only a friend. I would certainly let him know that you're available now and that you're considering dating. Then kick back and see how he responds. If he's feeling the electricity too, you'll know. Good luck now, and you gotta let us know what happens!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 6:27PM
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Hello, "hello" - my sentiments exactly. It sounds as thougth this guy feels some level of trust and is content with that, even if it is friendship only. That being said, I think we all agree that she should go for it and let us know what happens. We all love a good love story.

Funny, we are talking about the OP's life here which I dare is probably a little risky. But I know we all are betting that life will be good for her with her "friend".

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 9:25PM
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What I might do is send him a funny valentine kind of card, asking if he's really just gonna talk to you forever or whether there's room for anything else there - but again keeping it light, very short and cute - no pressure, nothing else. After all, there may be reasons having nothing to do with you that the friendship has stayed 'friendly' and nothing else, and this would at least give him a way to 'fess up' or whatever.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 4:23PM
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