Well, she wrote back.
She was very direct, and really not at all unkind about it: She does not share my feelings; she has only ever thought of me as a friend. She asked about exclusivity in relationships, two years ago, simply for some perspective on a struggle she was having in a relationship at the time.
That I had just gone through a struggle about polyamory in my relationship with Vix, and that I secretly harbored a crush on her, was really just a coincidence.
She seems genuinely interested in maintaining our friendship, though she does think things may be awkward, for a time, when we see each other in various shared social contexts.
In one discordant note, she expressed that she felt betrayed - not her word, though she wasn't sure what the right word would be - by the discovery of my hidden motives. That wasn't the main theme of her note, though, and she wrote that it felt odd to express it that way. It's how she felt about it, though, so she was just being honest.
In all, her note was not the answer I might have wished for, but the directness, the bluntness of it was just what I needed. Crushes, at least of the sort from which I suffered, thrive on ambiguity and the possibility of misunderstanding.
When the ambiguity vanishes, with it goes the crush.
I wrote back to her, thanking her for her directness, apologizing for violating her trust and, at last, explaining myself more clearly. Here is one excerpt:
It might help you to know at the core of my feelings for you have been that I like you and respect you a lot; if it makes sense to say it this way, my attraction to you has been personal rather than physical, a response to your way of being in the world.
I have honestly wanted and tried to be a friend to you, first and always, whatever other vague wishes and imaginings were wrapped up in that. Please understand that I did struggle against those wishes and imaginings whenever they were counter to friendship; I never let them draw me into thinking of you with disrespect. I've been trying very hard to stay out of your way, not to impose on you.
Now that I have your answer, those other promptings have evaporated
I expressed the hope that we could continue our urban picnics, with a clearer, mutual understanding of what they mean. I also wrote:
For my part, I hope my untimely confession doesn't really change much or take away our chance to be friends. I hope, in time, I may earn your trust.
For my part, I suspect that, if anything, I'll feel less awkward seeing you in [our shared social contexts], since I know the boundaries of our relationship, and I respect them.
I sent her a second note, as a postscript, because she'd said she was still uncertain about polyamory, though she's not all that set on monogamy; she was concerned in particular about jealously. I provided this link - http://www.xeromag.com/fvpoly.html
- with the comment that it was among the first things I read after Vix raised the possibility of poly, two years ago.
My reaction to these developments is not at all what I was expecting. I feel dizzy with relief, almost a sense of elation.
Honesty is good. Boundaries are good.
Let that be a lesson to me.