[Advice?] A Somewhat Bleak Reflection on a "Friendship"

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[Advice?] A Somewhat Bleak Reflection on a "Friendship"

Unread postby Wout » 11 July 2021, 22:34

I would write a TL;DR, but I don't think that would do the story justice. I really want some thoughtful replies. It's 3 years of a relationship condensed down to its bones, so it's already an abbreviation on its own. I don't want to oversimplify too much. So please just read, and tell me what your thoughts are. If you're not up for the challenge, that's fine; I won't hold it against you! Special thank you to those who do read and respond. This is a last ditch effort here. I'm trying to do my best.

*warning, this is long*

I'm not quite sure if I can capture the ins and outs of an entire relationship in the span of a few paragraphs, but I'm trying my best here. Trust me—I've exhausted almost every other way. I've looked into other sites for advice giving like some reddit subs, but r/Relationship_Advice seemed to be a little too black and white with its responses. I even went as far as to read some of the advice given on that sub, and there didn't seem to be any thought put into the replies. Most people would write off any relationship complication as a surefire sign that they need to end the relationship and just simply move on. I'd say my situation is a little more complex than that. I guess, just to give some context, I'll start with who we are and how we met.
For the sake of privacy, I'll just give him a random name: Felix. Currently, Felix (19M) is the person I (18M) would consider to be the best friend I've ever had in terms of closeness/transparency/love. Felix and I met whenever we were in the 8th grade, but we didn't actually become friends until sophomore year of high school. I always had an eye out for him; he was very good looking. Like me, he also seemed to be a sort of loner—not in the sense that he didn't have friends, but in the sense that he just seemed to think different from other people. (I know this sounds like a cheesy love story, but just hear me out.) He had pale blue eyes, dark hair, a weird Southern-ish accent that seemed to be a little forced. He came to my school in the middle of the year, and before we were truly friends, we had an English class together, and every now and then, I'd catch some eye contact from him out of the blue. Maybe it was my eyes unconsciously drawn in by a daydream, maybe it was brought about by his own volition, maybe it was none of these things. Maybe it was all a series of coincidences. The haphazard spurts of eye contact remained unexplained, and I was much too shy to confront him. I couldn't even confront myself if that makes sense. But in essence, that's where/how we met.
Some time goes by, and the start of sophomore year comes around. By this point, Felix and I were actually part of the same friend-group at my school. We were friendly, not necessarily friends. We were both quiet in our own ways; we both had our reservations about things. He still had those blue eyes, and I still was painfully unaware of how I felt about them. We both were in a study hall together and happened to sit next to each other. We naturally got closer. We talked about a lot of things, random things, all things. (This is where I fell in love.) Each day would go by, and I wasn't entirely confident I had the answers as to what exactly I was feeling. Like how I felt about his eyes, I didn't know how I felt about him. About midway through sophomore year, Felix and I were good friends. I'd look forward to talking to him everyday in study hall, getting yelled at by teachers for being too loud, playing stupid online games to pass the time, writing notes on sticky notes. I eventually noticed that I was looking forward to interacting with him a little *too* much. I realized... I knew I was in love. Of course, however, I could not imagine coming out to him about how I felt. I was afraid; I didn't want to lose him. Looking back though, I think this feeling about concealing that I had fallen in love is what led to this all falling apart.
Come junior year, we were VERY good friends by this point. He might as well have been the person I was closest to at this point in my life. We still talked quite regularly: Facetime, phone calls, Xbox parties. We would hang out every other weekend; we would watch movies together and play video games all the time. We were somewhat inseparable most of the time. I would maximize the amount of time I spent with him. Any second mattered, and I just wanted to be with him. Still scared of what the consequences of telling him how I felt would be, I cowered. I swallowed my feelings and tried to just be there for him. Somewhere in my head, I thought that if I just pretend to be only friends with him, I wouldn't be in love anymore. Fake it 'til you make it, y'know. In retrospection, I know he didn't know what he wanted either. I'm sure pressures from the environment that we both grew up in pushed him at a young age to seek out a heteronormative relationships, like they did me. I'm not going to make pretend and say I know exactly what was going on in his mind. But over the course of about a year and a half from sophomore year, I saw girls come and go in and out of his life—some more serious than others. At the end of the day however, it was always up to me as one of his closest friends to help him through tough times, and I don't say any of this with malintent. I wasn't reluctant by any means to help him; in fact, in a twisted way, I sort of liked helping. It makes me feel like he needed me in a silly teenager way.
Whenever quarantine started because of COVID, I didn't talk to many people. Neither did he. We'd still play video games and chat on the phone a bunch, but as time went on, we just ended up spending so much time together. We would snap back and forth all day every day. I kind of got a little obsessed in a way. I made the stupid mistake of getting into the habit of checking snap scores, which (to anyone reading) was a source of a lot of tension. I got hurt whenever I felt like I was being ignored; when in reality, all he did was just snap other people every once in a while. He still talked to me, just not as often as I had been used to. A couple weeks into quarantine, I had decided to ask Felix if he would be interested in going to a park nearby where we lived and drinking. You only live once after all, and I wasn't going to let quarantine stop me from making high school memories with the person that I cared the most about. So, we did. We would just sit talk, drink, look at the stars, dream aloud what we imagined college to be, voiced anxieties about what life after high school will do to relationships we have now. Y'know, we talked about everything, anything.
One night while drinking in the back of my neighborhood, I let slip something that I wasn't even sure I was ready, but it had been more than a year at this point that I had known how I felt. I told him. Everything. I asked if he could ever imagine a future where we were together. Of course taken off guard, he fell back on the automatic I-just-don't-see-you-like-that feeling. I understood, but all of this for an answer like that. And besides, the way he had put it, he didn't specifically tell me that he wasn't able to see me in a romantic light, he just said he didn't at the moment. We agreed to talk about it later because it was late, and he had to get home.
Some night after that, we talk it out. The details about this talk are a little fuzzy, despite the fact that I was completely sober. I do remember however that I didn't get to say exactly what I wanted in the time frame of him coming over to my house. He went home that night, and I snapped him. Quite openly upset about how things were, I expressed how I just liked him a lot and that I'm sad this is how things are. He replied in a way that I wasn't expecting. He said he would "think about it." This marked the first time Felix showed any interest in me—in a verbal way at least. He said "turn that frown upside down," or something equally as cheesy as that.
Some time went on. He had been talking to a girl, and things weren't going well. From what he told me, she talked too much, and it just didn't seem like things were alright between them. On July 13, 2020, he came over to my house for a night of drinking. This night was like any other night except for how it ended. Instead of it wrapping up in a half-conscious conversation about how I just love him so much and want to be with him, we—well, you can probably guess. Finally, I made it, I thought. Everything had meaning; it wasn't all for nothing. After it was all said and done, he told me something that would change that: essentially, that this was never going to happen again. My heart cracked a little there.
The day after, we had agreed to meet and talk about it again. He said that something clicked for him and that he didn't want to "lead that type of life." Basically, forget it. Now, if you know me, you know I'm the last person in a room to express how he feels about situations. I've always been quiet even with people I'm close with. I've always been reserved. But that's not to distract from the fact that I still feel emotions, quite intensely at that. I had already well fallen for this guy, and I know he had feelings for me. There's no way someone would go through the trouble to keep me around for so long if they didn't at least a little. I swallowed my feelings again. This time, I wasn't sure I'd ever let them out again because now I knew what he would say. Senior year hits, and October rolls around. I have a bad night after thinking things over and break. I ask him to talk about it, so we do over text. He tells me he's going to be open to the idea, and that gave me hope again. You see, hope is always something I've had, and being hopeless is a dangerous way to be for me for some reason. I guess it's like that for everyone, but this little bit of hope I had felt real. Everyone develops at their own pace in life, and finding yourself in a world that tells you how to be can be difficult, especially given the circumstances in which Felix and I both grew up.
November comes around however, and he tells me that he just doesn't see me like that anymore. By this point, we had had several talks concerning this subject, I had written many letters detailing different aspects of our relationship. For his birthday in fact, I wrote him a letter that listed things I had fallen in love with. I wrote about the things that made him a good person and why I consider him to be the "bestest" friend I've ever had in the world. I tried every way to show him that I was worth a chance, that I deserved at least a week of an attempt, that we could still be something. He never took it.
I compose on the piano quite often, and obviously this type of development in life spurs on creativity, so I wrote songs. I would show him my projects all the time. In the hopes that he would see that I'm enough for a shot at love, I would send him clips of me playing. So many tunes. So many black screens with piano playing in the background sent over messages and snap.
I once made a Spotify playlist of all the songs that I had associated with our relationship, i.e. songs that reminded me of the good old times, back when we were still in quarantine, and nothing mattered. We would go out to parks, get drunk, talk about life, say our goodbyes, hug, then go home.
In swallowing one's feelings, there's a sort of realization that you've put yourself in a type of cage. You're stuck, and there is nothing you can do to get out. You're destined to be friends, nothing more.
It was in December that he met this girl. Things were apparently serious. She lived an hour away, and he would drive up there every weekend basically. He no longer really came around and hung out with me like we used to. I figured he had actually moved on from me, not only as a partner but as a friend. I began to feel neglected in a way that I can't even begin to describe. It's worse than heartbreak. It's like heartshred or maybe heartshatter. I talked to another friend about Felix, about how I felt, about the whole situation. She told me that the way she saw it was that he was good friends with me, but whenever he really thought about what a relationship with another dude would be, he got scared. He did was he thought best and instead of just dropping me. He dragged me on. Heartbroken, I had to pretend to be his friend and be happy with that. Nothing was supposed to be different. Everything is supposed to be this way. He dragged me regardless of how I felt. He still wanted me to be his friend but to what end, y'know. I was broken emotionally and physically. I had fallen into a state of depression in a way. Nothing ever changed. Nothing ever "clicked" for me like it did for him. I was still the same guy who fell in love with Felix in the 10th grade just 2 years older now. He had better things to do though. Every weekend he'd visit this girl and then go hunting. He really never reached out to me to see if I wanted to do anything anymore. We still talked, don't get me wrong. But it just wasn't the same.
January 2021, we were talking on my balcony one night, and while I'm hugging him goodbye, I ask him a question: "I was wondering if things don't work out with this girl, would you be interested in giving me just 2 weeks as a chance?" He said, "yes." I got some hope that night again.
The next day, he took back what he said. Of course. I really got sad after that. I couldn't picture him with anyone that wasn't me. It hurt my being. I can't describe the cringe it caused. I just wanted to be with him. My skin would crawl at the very mention of his little girlfriend, and I was scared I was going slip up and tell him something mean out of desperation. He knew I still loved him, he knew how those kinds of things made me feel, he knew how fragile my mental state was, he knew that I was not done with it all. I decided it would be best to just avoid those situations all together. From then on, whenever her name was brought up in conversation or something regarding her, I found a way to remove myself from the situation. I couldn't suffer the ache anymore.
June 2021, we had graduated from high school together. Things had died down between me and him. I was still in love and saw him as much more than a "bro." A friend of mine tells me a story. In this story, Felix tells this girl that went to our school that Wout (me) had tried to come onto him in May 2020. This story had been told a long time ago obviously and was kept secret for even more obvious reasons. I was in the closet. Upon learning of this, I broke—more than I thought possible. It's amazing how much a person can take. A couple nights after that, I slip up over text, talking to him. I just wanted to fix things between us; I wanted things to be like they used to be. He told me he wanted to go on a break. I respected his word, and we took a break. For about a week and a half, we didn't talk but once.
I'll admit it, this break was good. It taught me that I didn't need Felix. I was okay with being by myself; I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself. I don't need to rely on someone else for my own health. I did however still want him. Once we started to talk to each other again, I confirmed that that was the case.
A couple nights after we started talking again, I came out to him about me knowing what he had said to that girl in the story that a friend had told me. I told him I was hurt that he never told me that he had told my business to someone and never even thought to tell me. It was an invasion of intimacy. I felt taken advantage of on so many levels. I cried a lot and told him I was afraid I was going to hurt myself again if we start just being friends again. He told me, "You won't." I asked him again, and he said that he "promised." I didn't know exactly what to do with that kind of information anymore.

This all brings us to today (finally), I want him to be in my life. But I've learned that maybe such a desire isn't realistic if it causes so much pain. The way I see it, there are two outcomes to this friendship. I pretend to be friends for long enough that he goes off to college and our friendship fizzles out from the sheer fact that we're not going to see each other that often—if at all. Or I give him a "proposal." I tell him that I can't be friends like this. I am only going to be hurting myself, playing pretend like this for any longer. The proposal would be something along these lines: if you are not going to give me a chance, I think it's best if we just split now and find closure before things get messy. I have thought about how I would phrase this time and time again. I don't want to threaten him. This is not an ultimatum. I love him. I don't want to hurt him. When I say I can't be his friend anymore, I can't bear to be stuck like this anymore. Is it not normal to feel so? If you had the opportunity to tell someone you like a lot that you want to be with them, would you not?

This leaves me to ask you—the reader—the grand questions. In my shoes, what would you do? Would you wait for him to go off to college and hope that the feelings follow? Would you take more of the "proposal" approach to see if there is a solution?
I'm just trying to do my best and find a solution that makes the most sense. I don't want to lose him for no reason, but I also don't want to be "dragged on" anymore.

There's not a person in this world that I care for more than I do Felix. He always has had a chunk of my heart, and I've always tried to be there for him when he needed me. Whether that meant I gave him advice on colleges, school, friendships, relationships, it didn't matter to me. I just wanted to be there for him and feel needed. I loved him. I still do love him. He's my tree, and he keeps me grounded in more ways than one. I'm not sure I would like the person I would be if he never came into my life. Funny enough, he's the one that reached out to be friends with me in the first place. I would've never mustered up the courage to ask him to be friends first; I didn't have the confidence.
I hope you've attained at the very least a notion of what this relationship means to me. I know that a few paragraphs can't capture everything in a relationship. People are complex and so are the ways we interact. This text fails in many ways to demonstrate the complexities of it all. Reading it, you have no idea about a lot. You can't hear the nicknames, you can't feel the wet grass in the park, you can't feel how mortifying it is to tell Felix how much you feel, you can't remember the albeit "romanticized" past, you don't have the memories of playing tennis or going on runs or sitting in my truck in the rain or lying on my balcony looking at the gas lamp in the night, you can't feel the excitement of seeing Felix's name pop up on your phone's notifications, you can't feel the warmth of a hug. That's all to say, there is much more to this story than what I've written. I could write a novel on it all if I'm going to be honest.

Do you think this reasoning is enough to end a relationship/friendship?
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