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Lost in Space

Published on April 8, 2014 by alexismachine

I met this guy a few months ago. He's been on my course for almost three years now, but it was only on the steps of a Christmas party that we actually spoke for the first time. To be honest I've never really noticed him before.

I have a very narrow focus of the world and people around me, but that night changed everything for me. When we spoke we were both puzzled and surprised by how much we had in common, and when I heard him laugh for the first time I realized I didn't know him at all.

Instantly I wanted to know everything there was to know about him, and make up for lost time. I just felt stupid that I’ve missed out on this incredible person for two and a half years. He is gentle and kind and warm. He seems very mature because he’s quite reserved, but under all that is a mischievous flair that takes me by surprise every time.

I knew this was a slippery slope for me, because he has a girlfriend and going down this road would bring me nothing but pain. So for Christmas I flew back home. I thought the distance would help me forget, and it did. But the moment I saw him again the feelings came rushing back.

In a period of weeks we became close friends. I couldn't keep away no matter how hard I tried. We both began opening up to each other so quickly that even he’s mentioned it. He’s said that even though he’s made friends here over the years, he doesn't understand how a girl he’d just gotten to know is closer to his heart than any of them. As he is a generally reserved and quiet person, it made me very happy when he would open up more and more, even about the problems in his love life. It just meant that he trusts me. It was also a wake-up call. It was the first time I heard him speak about his girlfriend. He is so deeply in love that I realized it was time to move on.

Avoiding him made me miserable, and being around him made me miserable in an entirely different way. I felt guilty and ashamed. I spend so much one on one time with him, we even go on walks, and eat out sometimes. He even walks me home. Although all this makes me happy, it also comes with a twinge of pain. It made me feel sly and dirty. What would he think if he knew how I felt? I was taking advantage of his kindness. The guilt gave me panic attacks. I couldn’t eat or sleep.

I knew the risks. I knew that by telling him that chances are I’d lose him, and things wouldn’t ever be the same. But I needed relief. It was torturous otherwise.

Then one day, a very random day, my impulsiveness sent a build-up of nervous energy to the front of my chest. He was walking me home again, and I knew if I didn’t do it then I would regret it forever. So I told him. I told him I wasn’t expecting anything that it was for the sake of honesty. That keeping this from him made me feel guilty.

He was so gentle with his rejection it was like I wasn’t rejected at all. The next night we went to the pub, and he told me he felt bad the entire way home last night, and that he couldn't sleep. He felt like he should’ve turned around and spent his time with me. He said that I perplex him because he's only known me for a few months and I've become his favourite person. He also sent me a long and heartfelt message when I got home that made me wonder how he felt.

He never properly rejected me. I didn’t get the closure I needed. So when I saw him at uni, even though it was difficult and I was extremely nervous, I asked him to tell me straight up. Then he said it, straight up and uneasily, ‘I don’t have feelings for you.’

It was painful but it was also a giant relief. Now I could move on knowing full well that I never had a chance and I could stop deluding myself into thinking I did. I was just worried that I pushed him too far that night, and our relationship wouldn't recover. And just when I think I’ve been too honest with him, he surprises me again.

The next time we saw each other he made an excuse and took me outside on the grass.

We had a long conversation about anything and everything and then he asked me if I was wondering why he brought me here. He said that he’s been with his girlfriend for three years, and for the past seven he wanted nothing else but to be with her. Even his previous girlfriends would break up with him and tell him to just go for it. And when they finally got together it was like a dream for him. He has never even so much as thought or looked at another girl all that time. Then I popped up, and sometimes he’d catch himself thinking about it.

He then said he wasn't completely honest with me when he said he didn't have feelings for me. It wasn’t exactly true. He doesn’t actually know how he feels about me. He says he’s always known himself but now he doesn’t recognize himself in the mirror, that since he’s met me he’s been changing.

He is so damn considerate that I’m worried this is tearing him apart. He’s too concerned about how I’m feeling that he doesn’t give himself the chance to figure out his own. I don’t want him to feel guilty. I want nothing but happiness for him, which is why I thought I’d take myself out of the equation.

I know his girlfriend is breaking up with him by the end of the year, which makes this decision even more difficult. She wants to pursue her aspirations elsewhere and doesn’t want to tie him back or to be tied back. But I don’t want to be the rebound, or the back-up plan, or the girl he’s kissing when he’s thinking of someone else.

I’m getting ahead of myself now, I don’t even know how he feels. I just know that I’m the reason he’s in this confused messy state.

I want him to spend the last few months he has with his girlfriend happy and carefree, and not be concerned or confused with me.

Is the right thing to do to back away?

ANSWERS

As people face situations like yours, there are some questions they might want to consider: - What do you want with respect to him? Would you be content with a good friend? - What is his current level of vulnerability? How will his emotions be involved in any decision? - What is the basis of your relationship/friendship? - What are your other relationships like with males? - What are his other relationships like with females? - How do your cares and concerns for him make you respond? - What are you feeling from having expressed your feelings to him? As you answer these, you will be able to decide where in a range you are ready to move towards: - holding out for a future relationship that may or may not be possible - be ready to get involved with him in the near future, knowing the cautions you have raised - develop a good friendship with him that may last a lifetime but not be a romantic relationship - enjoy a short term connection with him - walk away from the situation

This vehicle is limited in giving advice. As a Your Tango Expert who professionally works with people on relationships (see my practice at www.SeekingShalom.org), I would advise that you explore help from a mental health expert. You may even have options available to you on campus for free.

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