Please share your wisdom. I have no idea what to do with a very good friend who might (or not ?) be in love with me and who never said anything.
Since our first year of college, 8 years ago, I have had this wonderful friend (let’s call him Iago). Lots of girls flirt with him but he’s never dated one (maybe once when he was 17 ?). Not sure if that’ relevant but another good friend thinks he’s secretly gay and maybe not even out to himself. He’s been there for me through hell, high water, and finals (and I was there for his parents’ divorce, etc.). Now we’re both in the same graduate program (that I sort of convinced him to get into but not so much because I don’t tell him what to do anymore). He was a witness at my wedding last year. He does not really get along with my husband but hey, I don’t get along with all my husband’s friends either.
Well, 2 or maybe 3 years ago he gave me a book for my birthday. I never read it because the first 10 pages bored me. A week ago I just found it, opened it, and it says on the cover (but I somehow missed it the 1st time) “For [me], an other [name of the hero’s love interest]”. I read the book and I don’t think it was meant in a funny way.
I feel so fucking betrayed. It was at least 2 years ago so I don’t even know if he still feels that way, but had he said anything, well, that did not happen but at least I wouldn’t have HAD HIM AS A FUCKING WITNESS AT MY WEDDING.
I can’t act at all, I can’t imagine what sort of conversation we could have, I haven’t seen him in 2 weeks and he’s beginning to find it unusual not to find me in the library.
I love him very much but I am angry, sad, confused. We used to support each other through our hellish program where we work 12 hours a day and right now, I’m thinking that he was never my friend.
Should I even try to have a conversation with him about this, 2 or 3 years later ? Should I just slowly African Violet him ?
I can’t unsee it. I don’t want to be selfish. I have been in one-sided love with a good friend once (and it was awful) but I just grit my teeth, stopped seeing him for a while, and waited for it to pass and it did eventually. I would have gone crazy if I had seen that guy as often as I see Iago.
I would be very grateful for any scripts.
Wishing I’d Never Opened That Book (she/her pronouns)
- Is anyone else dying to know what book it was?
- I think it’s going to be okay if you let it be okay.
Without knowing what book it was, I think that if Iago was your friend as of a couple of weeks ago, and he stood up in your wedding a year ago, chances are he’s your friend now and the book and inscription he wrote years ago (plural) is not the most important factor in deciding that.
As far as he knows, you read it right when you got it, shrugged, and moved on with your life. You never brought it up in conversation, you clearly married someone else, you asked him to participate in your wedding, you didn’t act like anything momentous has happened in your friendship after (he supposed) you read his note. You treated him like a friend and it sounds like he treated you like one. Whether he meant it as a deep declaration of his feelings or as an innocuous compliment to a friend – “This character is really neat and reminds me of you!” – it’s all moot now. The moment where it would be hugely meaningful has long passed.
It sounds like:
- You don’t return the romantic feelings and he hasn’t ever brought up the issue or pursued it.
- You’ve known each other for 8 years. If something was gonna happen between you it would have happened by now. He would have said something another time, and, importantly, you would have made a move toward him if you ever felt that way. There’s nothing there because there’s nothing there.
- The most likely reason that he stood by you on your wedding day, despite not liking your partner, is because he’s your friend. Maybe he still had some “might have been” feelings but he tamped them down and came through for you when you asked him to. I get the sense that you feel really upset about the wedding thing, so, did he act inappropriately? Did he pursue you romantically on your wedding day or say rude stuff about your husband? If not, if he carried his duties out well and treated you like a friend, where is the “betrayal?”
Friendships can survive awkward crush declarations and mismatched feelings. It’s okay to feel strange about this. It’s okay to wonder if you missed other signals. It’s okay to decide to take it as a friendly compliment even if he meant it another way at the time. It’s okay to play a little game of might-have-beens, even. But you get to decide how you act on and if you act on those awkward feelings, and all my instincts say: Let this go.
What’s the worst that could happen if you just smiled ruefully to yourself, put the book back on the shelf, and said “Hi” to your friend next time you’re in the library?
If he’s doing stuff now, in the present, that makes you uncomfortable, or you aren’t feeling the friendship in general that’s one thing. But it sounds like you’re happily married to someone else, and he’s had years to restate those feelings if they were that important to him. The crisis, if there was a crisis, passed long ago. What do you lose by letting him save face here?
I think it can be that simple if you let it.