At some point in our lives we all seem to have that one best friend, the one we can confide in without limits. Tell them everything, cry on their shoulder, and stay up all night laughing your asses off being obnoxious. There for you in the good times and in those moments when you are an absolute freight train heading towards the cliff with no breaks. For me, that has undoubtedly been a friend of the opposite sex.
In years past, it has always been completely platonic. I thought of these friends as big brothers who always had my back, of which the feeling was mutual. And that was what it was. Complete and total trust in them. Never having to worry about what might happen if we found ourselves alone and those primal instincts of jumping each other’s bones rearing itself.
Usually they had girlfriends whom for most turned into long term relationships if not wives. But here in the later years as we are all approaching the first of those milestone birthdays, I have noticed things have changed, changed drastically. As some, including myself, have endured breakups and divorces the tables have turned. And unfortunately some of those long term friendships I’ve had to let go of.
Let go of due to those primal instincts taking hold. No longer can we stay up laughing and joking all night as it turns into who can jump who first. Can I ask why and what has changed? Is it with age that these casual encounters seem less faux pas? It is after all someone that I have the upmost trust for and added bonus it’s not some random. But the thing is it’s not due to having feelings for each other, more of maybe filling that loneliness void. In the short term it’s great, fucking fantastic. No strings attached.
As the weeks and months go by though the confusion sets in. One of us seems to meet someone that we want a relationship with and have those more than friends feelings for. Which in turn leads to the other singleton left out in the dark, wondering. Crawling up in their head trying to figure out did they have feelings for that friend. Or was it just filling the loneliness void, a moment of vulnerability?
I have walked both sides of the equation and decided no more. No more crossing that friendship line with any of my long term friends of the opposite sex. Long term being defined as they knew me pre-divorce, pre-kid, or pre-marriage. Essentially they have grown through the years with me. As I have discovered it ends badly. For some people maybe not but in my experiences over the past few years it is just plain messy.
But what about those I have met since the long term definition? Here’s where it gets even trickier. I met this guy a few years back randomly. We chatted and hit it off immediately. I was attracted to him but we were both in our own separate, weird dating relationships at the time. Kept in touch though and a great friendship grew of it. We tell each other everything and when I say everything it’s all the nitty gritty. We don’t roam in the same circle of friends so I guess you could say we felt safe baring it all. My confidant, a therapist of sorts.
Few months ago it all changed. One night staying up being goofy, as he was trying to get me over the latest heartbreak, that friendship line was broken. Well to say the least it was erased into oblivion. As we were both suffering our own relationship woes we decided to enter into this whole “helping each other through it” arrangement. The two of us being emotionally detached peoples it was great at first.
Then it evolved. Not just a night here and there. But every weekend and the occasional week night. It dawned on me one of the last weekends he was here while we were folding clothes that I can’t differentiate is he being helpful as a friend or something more. It’s all blurred, I mean come on we were folding clothes on a Saturday night. So many mixed signals
He is talking to his ex again and asking me for advice. Before all this I wouldn’t have thought twice about giving advice but honestly I don’t think I can now because my own feelings could occlude it. I will admit when he talked about the ex I had those infernal stabs of jealously raging internally, and that took me by surprise.
Now here I sit pondering what the hell to do with this all. Again asking that damn question:
Can you really just be friends with someone of the opposite sex? And not give in to those primal instincts….