The male-friend Conundrum

22 Feb

I generally reference When Harry Met Sally in everyday life. It is second to The Rules in importance, relationally speaking. In the movie, Harry sets forth the idea that men and women cannot be friends because the sex always gets in the way. My mind always then wandered into the realm of friends with benefits, which many of my friends (and recent romantic comedies – i.e. Friends with Benefits) could never truly work since feelings generally got in the way. In this post (in direct correlation with this past weekend), I would like to explore both.

The easiest to begin with I believe will be the first. Can men and women ever truly be friends? I would like to reference the story of TOGA and I. He and I began as friends, lacking any other choice, but its was more a story of acquaintances due to outside commitments. When those ulterior commitments ceased to exist, a true friendship was created out of common experiences and mutual respect. Eventually I came to consider him one of my best friends and valued his companionship more than those that had initiated its creation. Then what? A summer of confusion followed by an expression of what I thought to be mutual affection. Pain, betrayal, yearning…and so on. And yet, we remain friends. I will not say the feelings I had found for him have subsided nor will I say any hope for the future is absent, but that does not keep him from being anything less than a confidante and friendly escape when I need to reboot. There is certainly something in the middle, as Harry had warned, but does that mean that our friendship is not intact?

Perhaps TOGA is unique in some way, or perhaps our friendship has an expiration date, but he is part of something beyond romantic connection in my life. He is part of my heart in a way no romantic relationship has ever been. I have no fear of him walking out or finding me incompatible with his life. He has seen me at my worst and loves me regardless. Perhaps that is why Harry supposed men and women cannot be friends. It is not the sex, but the intense emotional connection that can form in any friendship, only social conformity tells us that we should care more for the men we are able to form that bond with since, in the end, procreation dominates. I would argue then that in modern society, men and women can in fact find a way to balance that connection to one another outside of a romantic commitment, even if at times our social responsibilities make it difficult and/or painful to do so.

Now, as for the FWB relationship, I am less certain despite multiple experiences with the idea. I tried to create such a relationship with HB which ended in a broken heart on his part. Before him was Mr. Big, who is a conundrum in itself. Some days I feel more for him than I should, others, his emotional instability makes me dizzy, but the sex is still entertaining. Then there are the ones in between where I could care less if we slept together, his companionship is enough. However, we all start somewhere an I started exploring this idea with Jordan. The nic-name is a complicated one, and not entirely positive. He had been a thorn in my side and an irresistible temptation.

I met him towards the end of my freshman year of college. Right away, I knew he would be trouble, something about him sparked something inside of me and he was the catalyst for so many things that led me to where I am. It was early sophomore year I began playing with fire. He lit a flame in me, made me feel special, beautiful, wanted. All the things Mr. Wrong struggled with. I could talk to Jordan, not that we did much talking while we were alone. It began simply enough, a walk, a movie, I’m not sure when the first moment was I let him touch me in a way I knew I shouldn’t. He reminded me recently of the first time we crossed the line we would never retreat from. We were watching Resident Evil in my dorm room, only neither of us really watched the movie. From that point forward it moved quickly. A tryst in the woods, fooling around on the tennis courts, sneaking into the library in the middle of the night. We broke all the rules we could muster and were excited by the risk of it all.

Then one day we took it too far, got caught and paid the price. I nearly lost my job, we both came within a breath of being kicked out of school, and I lost my first real relationship. Did I mention he was the one I cheated on my first boyfriend 9mr. Wrong) with? The result of my decisions hit hard and hit fast. It broke my heart, and part of me blamed Jordan. He was an easy target. However, instead of taking it out on him, I tried to force him to replace something I had lost. I kept up the charade as best I could because in the few short moments I had with him, I could pretend he really felt all the things he made me feel. I knew it was a lie, but we were so good at the motions.

It was at some point during our junior year he met Hannah. I’m not positive when they started dating as out friendship was fading, but, senior year they were full-blown despite him no longer attending our school. I saw him on occasion when he came to see her, but we both knew we needed the space to allow something else to take its place.

Its been years and yet, still, every once in a while my mind drifts to him. Things have change, we have changed, but there’s still something haunting about what passed between us.

Recently, we’ve been calling now and again. This last weekend, somewhat out of the blue, I decided on my way to Vermont I would stop in NH to see him. It had been years, literally, but it was oddly thrilling. I have to say, the fire never faded. We went to find somewhere to grab dinner, but upon finding a half hour wait where we wanted to go, we wandered back to his work where he just so happened to have a key. The intension was to put his jacket away, but I knew from the get-go he had other intensions, all part of the carnal connection we share. The appetizer was sweet, tempting, and still makes me shudder. We did actually get dinner, but it was a blur. There was talk, stories exchanged, emotions traded, and yet the whole time the electricity was vibrant. After dinner we returned to the chocolate shop for dessert. It was sweet and bitter and perfectly blended to perfection.

Some people enter your life to drive you insane with desire, I am convinced. Jordan is one of those people, but I constantly struggle with the idea that those carnal desires could be channeled into something greater. I wondered in college, but it was impossible, we were both too…immature. Today is a different story. Both os us have matured, found new ways of being who we are. My heart contends with the concept that he could be more than what I have made him into. The question is, is my heart telling the truth or is logic correct in assuming it is an impossibility and I should be satisfied with what I have been given?

Hence the FWB dilemma.

Obviously I have no answers as of yet and only time can really tell wtf is going on, but curiosity gets the best of me more often than not and despite my best efforts not to over think things, I often do.

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