Be careful what you wish for...
...because you just might get it. That's how the warning goes, isn't it?
New Year's Day of 2013, Mr. C and I were are the usual party that our group of friends since high school have been throwing every year. It's usually a three day long, grown up sleepover, with a bunch of platonic friends. Sometimes people bring a significant other or even a friend, and once in awhile, some people hook up. Generally, though, its pretty PG-13 rated.
Anyway, Mr. C. and I had been dating for one year at that point (it was kind of our anniversary) and after staying up late with the others, we retired to one of the bedrooms to sleep and have some intimate time together. Earlier in the night, Mr. C's wife was in attendance, and while we're not great friends or anything, we've both known of each other for over a decade, and sometimes have read each other's journals on Open Diary and Live Journal. Not much in recent times though, and especially not since I've been dating her husband. I have a healthy respect for her, and since many of our dates, Mr. C's and mine, are at their house, we always say a polite hello because she's usually home. We've even gone on a date with Mr. C together, but only because we all wanted to see the same movie at the same time.
Right, so, when Mr. C and I settled down for the night, I experienced a creeping panic attack. I was suddenly struck with the thought that, at any moment, Mr. C's wife, E, could arbitrarily decide she didn't like me, and demand that he stop seeing me. Irrational, I know, as she has no reason to dislike me, she knows that I make her husband happy for the most part, and even then, she's not the kind of person who would make those kinds of demands on him without a REALLY good reason. Still, I started to panic. She would just have to say the word, and this wonderful man to whom I was growing quite attached, would be just whisked away from my life. This would be terrible!
I couldn't shake the panic and couldn't talk myself down from it. I held Mr. C tightly while he slept and tried to slow my breathing, but I couldn't. I tried to figure out why I was reacting so strongly to this. I suddenly realized, what it was.
It's because I love him.
No, because I'm *in* love with him. This was one year after we started dating, so I was pretty sure the NRE or any possible infatuation would have worn off by now. We've had a deep friendship since our late teens, and have been to each other's weddings, in and out of contact for time, and have spent a lot of time just getting to know each other. We've leaned on each other through crises, we've shared how much we care about each other... and here I am, scared to death that I would lose him. Yes, I'm in love with Mr. C.
The next night at the same house (3-day long party), I had quite a few drinks with some of my friends. When it got really late, I retired to bed, where Mr. C had already been for an hour or two. I cuddled up to him and woke him up that way. We started kissing and I suddenly pulled back from him and sat up. Slurring my words, I told him I had a question for him. He politely waited.
"How come, when we have sex, I'm making love, and you're only f***ing?"
He was silent, unsure how to answer, and very aware of my inebriated state. I tried to search his eyes for his feelings, but it was dark... and I couldn't focus on much anyway. I decided to let him off the hook, and told him never mind, he doesn't need to answer that, and since I'm so drunk, I'd be unlikely to remember me asking him anyway.
Obviously, I lied.
A week or so later, when we talked about our favorite parts of the party, he brought up what I had asked him, and I admitted that I remembered. I told him about the panic attack the night before, and he asked what had caused it. And so I told him why I was afraid of his wife all of a sudden, that I'm in love with him.
We both considered ourselves polyamorous, and the "amour" of that was never off the table. In fact, his wife, E, had fallen in love for her girlfriend the year before, and they both are okay with that. But I knew by his inability to respond, that he didn't feel the same. I knew he cared for me, and I knew I was important to him. And he said so, right then, too. I said that I didn't need him to say anything back to me, and that we actually didn't need to talk about it again, and in fact, I'd rather we didn't. He agreed to do whatever was comfortable for me.
I have an online journal (not here) where I record everything from deep feelings and revelations, to what my son had for lunch. I've given Mr. C, and him alone, the access to it, and when we go for a few days without talking much, he feels compelled to check to see if I've updated it, so he can feel connected to me. I try not to use it as a passive-aggressive way of telling him things that are on my mind. And he reads it and says nothing, unless I've said something that leads him to believe I'm under a false impression, and then just explains what he needs to, to me.
So in my journal, I do mention how I love Mr. C, and how at first, I was happy about it. However, as time went on, I started to feel frustrated. I know he doesn't love me, not in that way. It started to be something I would become upset about. I want to be able to accept whatever feelings he has for me, but he had expressed a connection to an ex-girlfriend who had rudely dumped him right before he met his wife, and who wants nothing to do with him, as a possible reason for why he couldn't let himself fall in love again. He still seeks this connection with this other woman. He also mentioned that it could be the case that I'm just not a person he could fall in love with, whatever that means. And I accepted that, at first.
But having this unrequited love has proved draining on me. I tried to end the relationship. I say tried, because I didn't really want to, and he grilled me for reasons and found none of the acceptable. He requested that we just continue on, and let our feelings for one another develop naturally. I accept that, too, at first.
But still, it's been six months, and... I've met M. M is a deep person like Mr. C and myself, and is giving his all (or at least, whatever's not invested in his wife and child) to this relationship with me. NRE aside, I think I really have something good there. And while my love isn't finite, my time is. And I feel like I pour all this time and energy into the relationship with Mr. C., and I'd like to actually put more of it into M, because unlike Mr. C., he has no such "blocks" on his emotions. I'd like to have the opportunity to fall in love with someone who could actually love me back.
So last Tuesday, I again tried to "end" it. Mr. C was visibly upset. When I explained to him how painful it was to be so in love with him, and to know that I'm almost stuck in the FWB zone, and for the first time, he said he actually saw the pain on my face. He'd read my angst in my journals, but I guess never really... understood.
On the edge of tears, Mr. C asked what he could do to help me fall OUT of love with him, and the options we both came up with were unsatisfactory. I just wanted to stop the pain, I pleaded. He asked if we could please just continue on and let things happen naturally, even if that will eventually mean we grow apart. Finally, I agreed. It would be the same result, I said (and I'd still feel in pain, unable to resolve these feelings.)
He came to me and hugged me, saying that he felt dumb. I asked why, and he said if he had come to this realization before, we wouldn't have had to spend two hours outside getting bit by mosquitoes having this conversation. What realization, I asked him? He sighed deeply and nuzzled my my neck.
"I think I love you," he breathed.