In high school, two of my best friends were in serious relationships (one of which lasted 4ish years and the other is still going strong). It was strange having friends who were always with their significant others, and I really couldn’t understand liking someone that much, simply because I never had. This mindset pretty much stayed with me through my junior year of college. I was never a long-term-relationship kind of girl—my romantic flings usually made it to the three-month mark before I became disinterested and proceeded to awkwardly distance myself from the respective assortment of (mostly) nice boys that just weren’t quite right.
Somewhere at the beginning of sophomore year, my roommate introduced me to a new friend of hers. He was cute—tall and blonde, with light green eyes that were to die for. He was also outgoing, charismatic, and crazy smart. Naturally he had tons of friends, with a seemingly constant posse of pretty girls vying for his attention. It’s safe to say I was definitely not the only one with a crush on the kid.
Throughout sophomore year and into junior year, we became close friends. My feelings for him continued to grow as I learned what a truly genuine and driven person he was, not to mention the fact we shared many similar interests and aspirations. Just before summer break that year, I finally caved and told him I liked him as more than a friend (as if it wasn’t obvious to him and everyone else at this point). His response was frustratingly rational: he valued my friendship too much to risk messing things up, and besides, I was heading off for a month-long summer study abroad program in London, not to mention that I was from California and he was from Texas. He had a fair point, one that I might have been able to accept had we not talked to each other every single day that summer, in one form or another: even when we went from a 2 hour time difference to an 8 hour one, even when we could only talk when I had wifi in my London dorm, and even when my phone got stolen in Dublin. Every. Single. Day.
Let me stop here and say that I did genuinely make an effort to stop liking this boy, on multiple occasions in fact. I’m a Taurus—we’re notoriously stubborn—so when I make my mind up to do something it typically comes to fruition. However, in this case my efforts were to no avail, so I took it as a sign. You know that scene in Sleepless in Seattle, when Meg Ryan is trying on her mom’s wedding dress? She had just finished saying that she doesn’t believe in signs, when the dress serendipitously rips, after which she exclaims, “It’s a sign!”. Well that’s how I feel looking back on the way our relationship started. Like there was some cosmic reason that I couldn’t get over this boy even though he had made it clear that he did not want to date me. Until one day he did.
Our friendship had once again blurred the line between flirty and romantic over the course of that summer, so when we got back to school, I again (this time tearfully) confronted him and told him that I couldn’t continue to be friends with him while being fair to myself. It hurt too much knowing that he didn’t reciprocate my feelings, so for my own sake I needed to take a step back. This was not an easy conversation to have. In fact, it absolutely sucked knowing that chances were high that I would end up loosing one of my best friends. I had already shed more tears over him than any other boy I had ever dated, and we weren’t even in a relationship.
As it turns out, something about my charmingly mumbled sentences or the alluring way snot was running down my face must have struck a chord that night, because after taking some time to think it over, he decided to give the more-than-friends thing a try. That was a year ago today.
It hasn’t all been fun or easy or pretty like relationships are often romanticized to be. It’s been hard and messy at times, and the tears still flow on occasion. But there really is something to be said for starting a relationship on the solid foundation of friendship. Because this boy, who started out as my best friend, became my love as well, and I am in constant awe of that fact. And whether this relationship lasts a year and a day or the rest of my life, I will always be thankful that I just couldn’t get over my crush on the cute boy with the green eyes. He has already shown me so much of what love really means: to be adventurers and partners, playmates and friends. He is my first love, and I will be damn lucky if he ends up being my last.