A year in people #17 – the man whose heart I broke

I’m sorry. I know I broke your heart. Would it matter if I said I didn’t mean to? I don’t think so. I knew you’d loved me for about 10 years, because you told me. At one point I’d liked you back, years before, when we were both with other people. But nothing happened, it was but a brief moment, perhaps a spark ignited by our shared circumstances. Although I know you didn’t see it that way.

I don’t think I quite realised the depth of your feelings, at least not to start with. When I got divorced and we started hanging out more, as far as I was concerned we were just friends. We’d talk about stuff, all kinds of things like friends do, and you were there to listen. You’d listen to me talking about how I felt about relationships, men and my new life. We’d do fun things, travel places, you’d take me out for dinner and not let me pay. A relationship without the intimacy.

You were kind, so kind, and my own personal cheerleader in a time when I was vulnerable. But over time, you stopped wanting to hear about what I’d been up to and other men. You’d chastise me for going out and partying. You’d remind me I didn’t want a relationship, over and over again. You were my number one fan, and wanted me all to yourself.

I know now, that you were waiting. Waiting for me to fall in love with you. Trying to make me fall in love with you.

One afternoon we went out, celebrating a Sunday for the very fact it was a sunny Sunday and we loved life, drinking way too much wine. You stayed at my house; this was nothing new, you’d stayed many times before. Only this time, you stayed in my bed and not the spare room.

I woke up with a pounding head and a heart full of regret, wondering how it had ended up like this. You were happy, so happy, and I knew at that moment what I know now. You told me you’d loved me for all that time, and said you knew I’d just needed time to feel the same way. That you’d given me space.

I had to tell you that it was the wine and that I didn’t feel the same way. That I loved you as a friend, but that I didn’t want us to be together. You couldn’t understand. Couldn’t understand I could go to bed with you and not want to be together. Couldn’t understand it was a moment of drunken weakness. You were so kind and lovely and wonderful to me, and in a drunken haze, it just seemed like the right thing to do.

You told me that you could just be friends, and assured me it was OK, you just didn’t want to lose me. So we kept hanging out. But I shouldn’t have done. I took you at face value, but I should have realised it wasn’t fair. I was too selfish to want the friendship to end; I got too much out of it. I wasn’t thinking of you, I was only thinking of myself.

We tried to get back to how we were, but we couldn’t. We were never together, but it was like a break up. You told me it was worse than your long-term relationship ending and I wore that guilt heavily.  I understood when you told me you couldn’t see me again.

I see now, years later, that you’re with someone, and I hope you’re happy. I know you didn’t understand, and were frustrated by, the fact I didn’t want to be in a relationship. With you, or with anyone. I know you thought I couldn’t see that something special was under my nose, and that we were perfect together, but I just didn’t feel that.

I’m sorry.

 

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