In the last two days, I had conversations with three different men – all in their time very important to me, all of them still my friends, one of them now my long-term partner.
Friend and former love-interest #1 is a rather tragic one. We were in high-school together, but he never showed any interest whatsoever in me. Not even in the slightest friendly way. Basically, this combination was doomed from the beginning. However, there was one incident that changed the game for both of us: me joining his chess club right after graduation. As you might guess, chess clubs support a rather female-devoid environment and thus made me – a tall, outgoing and average looking 18-year old girl – the center of attention for the first time in my life. Nowadays, I still enjoy the reaction my presence seems to bring to the room.
To fast forward, we were never in any way romantically involved. Nevertheless, because we tended to go out in a huge group AFTER each chess training, the foundation was there to bond on a friendly basis. This has been going on for the past 3 years now and continued through his first girlfriend and his first break-up. Yesterday at 3am, as it usually happens lately, I was still lying awake and pondering about the things that one ponders about at 3am. I got curious and wanted to see whether anyone was still awake with me, but seemed to have no luck on social media. Then suddenly friend and former love-interest #1 came to mind, so I sent him a message. As I found out over time, he also suffers from occasional insomnia, so we ended up talking for 3 hours that night – until 5.30am. We laughed about the fact that he didn’t know that I was interested in him until about 5 years after – eventhough all of his and my friends and basically the entire town we live in already knew. Sometimes, it can have a healing effect to have such a conversation, it doesn’t matter if it occurs right after something throws you off balance or 5 years later. I deeply appreciate him being in my life in this way now and wouldn’t want it any other way. I wish him all the best and hope he’ll find happiness along the way.
Friend and former love-interest #2 is on a totally different level. We also met through the chess-club, about 3 years ago: He was in his late-twenties at the time, me about 22. I happened to be in a rather unhappy long-distance relationship at the time with someone who was very cunning and more about appearance than personality. (Yes, horrible, I see that now.)
Friend and former love-interest #2 happened to be in a long-term relationship with a lady who apparently overstepped her boundaries a bit too often: according to him, she was a control freak and left him no freedom whatsoever. (I was to find out later why that seemed to be the case.) We bonded over our mutual sadness about our situations and went for a couple of drinks after chess training – by ourselves of course. This process started in December, I broke up with my boyfriend at the time in February.
Friend and former love-interest #2 stayed in his relationship. After April, things seemed to take up speed: we talked a lot on social media, we met up regularly when I was in my hometown. (I was studying at university 6 hrs away at the time.) There is something about him that to this day I still can’t quite explain: we have the same flirty sense of humour, we love the same music and yes, he was still officially in a relationship. We both knew this, but rarely mentioned it. Our „dates“ consisted of having a good time and after a while of occasional kisses. Nothing ever went further than this, I already felt bad enough as it was. Sometimes I still feel his lips on mine, he had a very determined and strong grip when he kissed me – as if nothing in the world could stop him from doing so. At one point in June, he then suggested leaving his girlfriend for me. This was a shocking announcement to me, I thought we shared the same mutual understanding that this „connection“ would never go further than enjoying the time we shared together. I pondered about this offer for a long time and in the end declined it. (It also helped that I found out at the time that they weren’t just dating, they were ENGAGED.) How could I break up anyone’s relationship? This wasn’t me and never would be, I had to distance myself from the entire dilemma – physically and most importantly, mentally. In the back of my mind, as every girl can understand, I guess a part of me wished that he had done it. That he had risked everything to be with me. But then again, would I want someone who just throws everything away and runs off with the next best adventurous lady? I don’t think so. Now I know that I loved him, I loved him quite a bit. But it was an unattainable love, something that was out of our reach from the beginning. And I think that’s what made it so passionate and unforgettable.
He got married to the lady 3 months after we stopped meeting up. I didn’t attend the wedding, eventhough I was invited. (The whole chess club was.) After that, our conversations lessened day by day. Lately, I see him more often at the chess club again and we started to joke around innocently the way we used to. A couple of weeks back, we went to a club together with a group of people, him at one point holding me close and very late at night even kissing my ear. Deep inside I know that I am playing a dangerous game, but what is life if not a bit of spontaneity and excitement?
We both know that nothing can ever happen between us, so we decide to play the game instead.
Friend and current love-interest #3 is a man I have loved for a long time: 5 years to be precise. We have gone through so many ups and downs, I couldn’t enlist them all here even if I tried. Nevertheless, he is a very caring and hard-working man who wants nothing more than seeing me happy. He might not always succeed, but he has a way about him I just cannot resist.
The reason why this essay came to part is simply one question: Why do our minds tend to automatically go back to our old loves when we hit a bump on the road with our current loves? Why do we compare incomparable entities? Nothing good can come out of it, but it still feels SO GOOD to have the opportunity to do so. I guess we’ll never really know if we actually missed out on another great love, but we can assume one thing: if they are still in our lives, they still care – and that is the most beautiful outcome one can hope for.