My Situationship Ended A Great Friendship & It Hurts In Ways I Wasn't Ready For

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Where did it all go wrong?

We met when I was 16 on the AUC campus — the campus that holds the trifecta of Historical Black Colleges and Universities. 

We spent the summer together as we had our first taste of collegiate life at an early college program held on the campus. And when summer ended, we exchanged numbers, parted ways, and returned to our rightful states, separated by four other states and 800 miles. 

He returned to Alabama and I returned to Michigan, and there was nothing in me that believed I'd hear from this guy again, considering all factors. 

Eight years later, it's clear that I was completely off base with that prediction. We spent two years platonically talking on the phone and on Skype for hours at a time with very little effort. We shared the most intimate parts of our lives, and he was there to comfort me through the many bad boyfriends over the years through, tears and all — even as life truly began for us and the calls became less frequent.

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He was that friend, the one you don't talk to or see every day, but when you do it's like you never left each other (despite the fact that we'd gone several years without seeing each other again). He was the friend that boyfriends were jealous of and girlfriends and family expected more from.

And for years we suppressed any thought that we could happen... until we didn't anymore. And as I sit here, thinking back it's by far one of my biggest regrets. 

By this time, we were still just as close, and I had turned 22 and per our usual, I was on a rampage about another failed relationship when he suggested we meet up in New Orleans while he was there for a conference.

We spent weeks in excitement and anxiety. This was the first time we'd see each other since our teenage years, and we were completely unaware of what to expect. 

But when the time came, when we arrived, it was just the same as things were all those years ago, except we'd both grown into our looks. We had one weekend to make up for six years of not seeing each other and we did — it was all the fun I needed and then some. 

As the trip came to an end, we discussed the possibility of a future, and with some skepticism on my behalf, we sort of put the discussion on the back burner. My biggest hesitation to being his girlfriend was his current girlfriend and the barrier of distance. He would return to his home in Alabama, and I would go to my new home in New York. 

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Despite these concerns, I had to agree that it was amazing that somehow we always found our way back to each other, and after all of these years it seemed that our relationship status had been something like fate. It just felt meant to be, and I couldn't — nor did I want to — ignore a feeling like that.

The line continued to get blurrier as we made our visits a little more frequent and then he eventually got a job in Connecticut, just hours away from where I was in New York; this opened the door to two-year long "situationship" that ultimately ended our friendship ... even though he pretends to not see it.

And things took a messy turn for the worse in our "friends for benefits situationship" the more I allowed myself to believe that everything in the stars was aligned for us to be together, and it was kind of just like, "F*ck his girlfriend back home." I wanted to be with him, and I felt that we were together all those years for a reason. 

(I know; it's really messed up).

I found the dynamic of our friendship changing as I became frustrated with the situation. Although I'd hoped we'd be more, the one thing I wasn't willing to sacrifice was our friendship.

So, I began doing damage control. I asked for clarity. I asked the question that women are under no circumstances supposed to ask: What are we doing? What is this?

I asked him to break up with his girlfriend to see where things went with us, to give us a real shot since I couldn't let myself be all in with someone who was already half out.

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In understanding that these were questions reserved for the doomed, I made it clear that in asking this I was only seeking clarity (NOT as an ultimatum) so that we could get out of the gray area of not quite being friends but not-so-much FWB, either, but he still received it as a threat and I lost a once great friend.

As we get older, losing people is nothing new. And losing men? Well, I've been at that since I was 13, but somehow this feels a whole lot different than any breakup I've experienced before, whether it was friends or boyfriends alike. It hurts my heart so much to think that there's a chance we blew everything on what I now know was nothing.

It's soul crushing for me, especially as I continue to hold out for the day I hear from him again, but deep down I know I won't.

I lost my best friend, and I never really realized it until it was too late. Until I was seconds away from dialing his number and remember I deleted it after my many failed attempts to reach out and gain closure on this chapter in order for us to move forward to a new one.

And that really breaks my heart in a way that no man ever has before. He was a friend that I loved dearly ... even before I thought I might be capable of loving him in other ways.

I think this differs from losing other men in my life, because at the root of it, I've never had a connection as friends before trying to be anything else. So when things ultimately ended, it wasn't second nature to NEED to talk and vent to them.

They aren't my person. Not like he was. 

Of course, I'm not supposed to feel any regret for how things go down in the game of "love," but I do.

And truth be told, I'd undo it all if it meant having my very best friend back around.