How can I get over the heartbreak that ensues over what was essentially a no-strings fling between two friends?
posted by the luke parker fiasco to Human Relations (37 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
This guy and I were introduced to one another by a mutual friend, when he was in town visiting. We spent some time together in groups--not much, but enough to develop an instant connection and a latent mutual attraction. As he lived several states away, I didn't think of it as much more than a harmless crush on an intelligent, attractive, interesting person.
We got fairly electronically friendly, exchanging long, rambling emails on a regular basis, and had a couple of phone conversations. After about six months of this, he had an event to attend in my neck of the woods, at which he invited me to join him. We spent a wonderful, amazing, incredibly fun and physically intimate week together. His leaving was the most painful thing I've ever experienced--worse than my father's death, worse than the ending of a three-year relationship. I was utterly wrecked, and in many ways I still am.
This was completely unexpected, which is part of why it hit me as hard as it did. I'd known I had a crush, but never foresaw that I would end up feeling as strongly for him as I did. For his part, he made it clear from the outset that he wasn't looking for a commitment, and I was okay with that at the time. But after spending that time with him, and feeling so comfortable and happy in his presence, it was indescribably painful to return to my solitary lifestyle (which I had been happy with until then).
Since then our interaction has regressed into casual friendship, with sporadic-at-best communication (he entered into a graduate program soon after the incident in question, which can partially explain the drop in communication). It's clear that he doesn't share the ongoing feelings I'm experiencing, and looked at the incident as an opportunity to spend time with a friend and act on a mutual attraction, and nothing more.
It's been close to a year, and the pain of missing him is still so strong that at times it's physically debilitating. A stray memory or unexpected reminder can be enough to bring me to tears. Despite myself, he's first in my thoughts when I make long-term plans--what might he be doing then? When something good happens, the first thing I want to do is talk to him about it. I want to know what his life is like, to hear what he's doing and where he's going, but I don't feel that I'm in a position to ask. I haven't so much as thought of anyone else as far as a relationship or a romantic interest is concerned, and have no interest in being with anyone but him.
Intellectually, I've come to accept the fact that nothing more will ever come of this--if he had any feelings for me beyond casual friendship, they would have manifested themselves in some way by now. But I can't stop thinking about him, and the emotional side of me can't quite give up on the irrational hope that there's some sort of future here.
How do I get over this? How can I kill these feelings? How can I turn this person from a painful reminder of all I want in a partner, and all that might have been, into a casual friend again? Or do I just need to make the decision to let contact die out, and accept that he's now a part of my past?
(To that end ... I'll be leaving the country shortly, for a period of years, and have the opportunity to make a short visit before I go. I'm tempted to do so, in the meaningless-line-in-the-sand sort of way--using this face-to-face meeting as a way to say goodbye, in my own mind, and put our active friendship behind me [though I'd be lying if I didn't admit that this is partially motivated my my desire to see him one more time as well, but also because he's an interesting, intelligent, engaging person who I enjoy talking to]. Good idea, or bad idea?)