peak:
I worked 48 of 60 hours Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday. And now I'm off until next Tuesday.


valley:
Trouble in Friendville.

noise:
"Theme from Backdraft"

food:
Coca-Cola.


thoughts:
Trouble in Friendville.


365.25:
16 Jan. 2002
No entry.


730.50:
16 Jan. 2001
Why aren't I dating my best friend?

thursday
01.16.03

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Quote du jour:
"Well, you and I -- we're buddies. And we've been since we first met. Me and you, well, we've sure been through our share of laughter and regret. Lord knows we've had our bad days. And more than once we've disagreed. But you've always been a friend to me." -- Garth Brooks, "Friend To Me"


Things aren't right between Jessie & I right now.

Something is out of place. Sometimes, I think I know exactly what's wrong. Other times, I don't have the slightest clue. I just know that we can't go through this again...


Jessie is frustrated with life and that is at the root of everything.

At 28, I don't think she's living the life she had pictured for herself. She's working in the same town she grew up in. She's not married and she has no kids, although I think she was shooting for the marriage part first. Most of all, she's hurting for interaction with people her own age -- her friends from work are much older than she is -- and she needs to go out on a date with someone other than me.

I can't begin to tell you how much it hurts me to see her like this. And I can't tell you how frustrating it is to know that I could fix it all by myself... but won't. Well, sort of.

I'm beginning to listen to people who tell me that she's in love with me. I'm beginning to believe the people that say our friendship is more than just a friendship to Jessie. Maybe I'm just being cocky, but I think I could right her ship.

We could date. We could make it official. I could be her boyfriend and she could be my girlfriend. We'd do the same stuff we do now... Dinner, movies, ordering out for pizza, curling up on the couch until I fall asleep with my head in her lap. And I'd tell her that I love her. And after a year or so, I'd spring for a ring. And I'd ask her to be my wife. And we'd get married.

She'd have the things she's missing in her life. Many of my friends really like her, and she'd be getting a younger influence in her life. She'd be in a relationship with someone she cares for. She would move away from the town we grew up in. She would be happy. I really believe it.

We'd go off and buy a nice little three bedroom house. We can be quite domestic together, so I figure living with her wouldn't be a problem. We've seen Trading Spaces... We'd make the place look spiffy. With our two jobs together, we'd have enough scratch to have the things we want. With her financial planning, we'd have enough saved away to buy things later, too.

A few years down the road, we'd make a baby. With her experience as a child in a home that was almost too perfect and my experience from dysfunctional family land, I honestly think we'd make great parents. Our personalities would offer the perfect balance that parents should be to their kids.

We probably would, with our house and our kids and our dog, live happily every after... And all would be right with the world.

So, why don't I do that? Because we are... regardless of what we do that makes it appear to the contrary... just friends.

Friends or no friends... As far as activities go, we could say that we've been dating for the last five or six years. I think that's what makes our relationship so odd for everyone else... And what often makes it confusing to us, the involved parties.

We go out for dinner and a movie. We stay in, order pizza and watch a video. We often sleep in the same bed. We hang out together. In the event of incapacitation of either party, the other would be a better spokesperson than the incapacitated party's parents. (If that makes any sense to you.) We're partners in so many different projects. We help each other decorate their home for the holidays. I know her better than anyone else on Earth. I know her like I want to know my wife. But she's still just my friend. And I hate that I feel bad to say that. I hate that "my friend" is all that she is. I wish she was the one. And it kills me to know that if she read this, she'd cry. I'm tired of knowing -- and denying -- that how I feel about things is not the same as how she feels. And I'm tired of knowing that how I feel about things might make her so terribly sad.

In the seven years since we dated, I've had a few relationships and a couple of casual affairs. She has had none. It's not that she's not appealing. With the occasional exception, she has a pretty good fashion sense. She has these cute curly locks of shoulder-length hair. She's among the most caring people I've ever met. She'd jump on a grenade for you. She exhibits loyalty that you don't often find. But she's alone... And that's just not fair. She deserves the fairy tale.

Of course, it is the fairy tale that I often tell her has caused her problems. Once upon a time, I tell her, she had an image of what her life was going to be like. Because things aren't as she wanted them to be, she deems life as disappointing... I'm trying to show her that the plan changes -- sometimes on a daily basis. I wish she'd do a better job of taking each day and seeing where it takes her... Or, better yet, where she can take it. I think if she followed a little Fletch philosophy, she'd be much happier.

Friday night, Jessie & I went out with a bunch of my friends to a club. There were these two girls there -- friends of friends. I hit it off with one of them and the two of us got along great all night. I wasn't doing anything wrong... just hanging out with a girl.

Late last year, I had a fling of sorts. I didn't immediately tell Jessie and that caused some hostility. We've agreed to have an open friendship... And I'll admit that keeping such information from her violated that agreement. So, in the last few months, I've told her about making out with a girl or two while out on the town. She seemed cool with it all. However, Jessie disappeared shortly after I paired up with this girl Friday night. I saw very little of her for the rest of the night and what I did see didn't seem happy. She later told me that she wasn't so much mad at me as she was at herself... She said she felt jealous of the girl.

When she said that, my heart sank. This can't be good. I'm having flashbacks to 1999. I told her as much on the phone tonight. She replied with a quick and forceful, "fuck you."

For those of you not keeping score at home...

In the summer of 1999, Jessie & I were getting along wonderfully. We were as close as we'd ever been as friends. One night in August of that year, I slipped up and told her that I loved her. Well, I did. It wasn't a lie. I just didn't know how I meant it.

We talked about dating again. For a while, I was excited about the idea. All of that changed when I returned to Oakdale for school in the fall. I met Lindsay... And I fell for Lindsay. On December 4, 1999, I went out with Lindsay and I kissed her. That move broke Jessie's heart. It devastated her. In my 25 years on Earth, I've never hurt anyone as much as I hurt Jessie by dating Lindsay. And as great as I felt while dating Lindsay, I still carry to this day the burden of hurting Jessie.

At that time, Jessie would cry for no reason. When I would talk to her, she always seemed sad. We'd try to talk through her feelings and we'd get nowhere. I spent the first part of my birthday in 1999 sitting with her on my living room couch... crying with Jessie... because I'd caused so much raw pain for my best friend.

I don't ever want to go through that again. Ever.

It spooks me that lately, Jessie is quick to cry over "little" things. She's so very emotional. All too often, she sounds sad on the phone. She's jealous of me hanging out with other girls. She's quick to dismiss her own opinion as worthless in a conversation -- a trait that is very much unlike her. It worries me that we when we try to talk through her problems, we don't get very far. It bothers me that I feel like I have some of the things she wants... and that it's impossible for me to share. I'm concerned that I sometimes get angry when she acts so sad... That I fight the urge to soften up sometimes and help her out... just because, for the life of me, I don't want to go back to 1999.

I don't know what to do. Part of me says I need to get her through the funk she's caught up in... and being a catalyst for change is often my forte. But the other side wonders if she shouldn't go teach at the University of Alaska or something. Maybe her best friend is the last person she needs around. If how I live my life hurts her, I can't be doing that much good, can I?

This is the confusing part. After talking through the story of what's going on between us, nothing changes without some action. I have no idea what action needs to be taken... Or who needs to take it. Something is wrong in her life and something is wrong in our friendship. Regardless of where we end up after the dust clears, something has to happen to resolve those problems. Maybe it's asking too much, but I'd like for whatever it is to happen soon. We can't go through this again...


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