I love you like a bother? Did those words really come out of my mouth? This has to be fiction; but it isn’t. In my defense, what I was trying to say came out all wrong. I loved my brother. He was kind, funny, accepting… all qualities I had told myself I wanted in a husband. Cute blue eyes reminded me of my brother in some ways (but not in a weird way) and it made me like him more. I was trying to help him see how valuable our friendship was to me but I found a really STUPID way to say it. If I had the guts to be 100% straight forward I would have said. “LISTEN! I like you A LOT. You are my best friend and I’ve always planned to marry my best friend. Problem is I feel too young. I’m not ready for marriage and I can tell you are, so I’m too afraid to let things go any further than friendship right now.” That probably would have been a little better than “I love you like a brother.” But then I wouldn’t have this story to tell.
When cute blue eyes got home he vented to his hot friend about how he was soooo done with me. Hot friend asked, “If you are done with her, would you mind if I asked her out?” He wasn’t THAT done. “No way dude. Its too soon.”
When I got home I was as confused as ever. My week of being single wasn’t what I expected it to be. I thought I’d start to see cute blue eyes as more than a friend now that I was free to. I actually just missed bad boy. The next day bad boy and I had a heart to heart and we talked about getting back together.
Who did I go to for advice? Well, my best friend of course. I don’t know how he endured that conversation and I’m not quite sure why I didn’t get advice from one of my girlfriends. Maybe I felt like I owed it to him to quit keeping him guessing. He told me that if I still had feelings for bad boy then I had to trust it. Did he just tell me to get back together with bad boy? I’m not sure that is the advice he really wanted to give me but clearly he had surrendered to the fact that he was going to be the “best friend” and not the boyfriend.
I followed my best friend’s advice and got back together with bad boy. Strangely, he was turning into good boy. Something changed in our relationship. He was getting over some of his commitment issues. He was opening up to me. He even wanted me to meet his family. We were connecting in a way we hadn’t before. We were happy… we were starting to fall in love.
Just as I was feeling settled and content with my feelings for both my boyfriend and my best friend something happened to make everything shift again. I got a phone call from my parents. Doctors had found a growth in my dad’s lungs and they believed it was cancer. They were running a bunch of tests but there wouldn’t be answers for a week or so. I was beside myself with worry. I needed someone to comfort me. You’d think the first person I would want to confide in was my boyfriend, it wasn’t. I wanted to talk to my best friend. I was surprised at my feelings. I convinced myself that it was my boyfriend I should be going to for reassurance. He offered me a pat on the shoulder and said I shouldn’t worry because there was nothing I could do about it. It wasn’t what I needed.
Cute blue eyes saw me on the porch one day and noticed I wasn’t myself. He asked me what was wrong and I couldn’t help but break down and cry as I talked about my dad. He hugged me and worried with me. He asked what he could do to help me. He was so kind and concerned. The next day at work a big bouquet of flowers arrived for me. How sweet! Bad boy is trying to cheer me up with flowers! I stopped short when I read the note. They were from cute blue eyes. “Here’s something to bring back your smile. I hope everything will turn out ok.” Girls gathered around me wanting to know who the flowers were from. One of them knew cute blue eyes really well. “Are you crazy? Why aren’t you dating him? He is such a cool guy.”
I started to question my logic (finally.) Was I with the wrong guy? Was I going to miss out on someone amazing because I was chicken? What was it that was keeping me with bad boy? Just a week ago I was shocked when he told me in one of our “hopes and dreams” conversations that he didn’t want many kids. “All I want is 3 kids and a Porsche. I don’t want to struggle financially just to have a lot of kids.” Three kids and a Porsche? I always wanted a big family; I could care less about fancy cars. I grew up in a family of 15, drove a rusted 1972 Toyota Corona, and we were always pinching pennies… but life was good.
Great, just when I thought I was figuring things out I was totally confused once more. I needed to sort things out, and soon. I was in danger of really hurting someone and I didn’t want to do that… again. Bad boy was heading out of town to see his family for a few days so I decided that I would take some time to breathe while he was gone and try to sort out my feelings. Good plan except he decided to ask me if I would come with him to meet his grandmother and the rest of his family. Something was up, I could feel it. This wan’t going to be a casual trip. I told him I wouldn’t be able to get work off. He asked me to please figure out a way. He seemed desperate and it shocked me. He told me, “I have this feeling that if you don’t come with me this weekend I’m going to loose you.” I was speechless. Bad boy wasn’t supposed to be getting this serious; he was afraid of commitment and that made him safe to date. I had been clueless and careless.
Whenever I’ve had big decisions to make my dad always seemed to have some sort of quote or gem of wisdom that made everything clear. I needed my dad. Thankfully his test results were back and he was going to be just fine. I gave him a call confident that he would help me sort things out. I had finally faced the reality that I had somehow allowed myself to fall in love with two people… at the same time. I loved them for different reasons, in different ways but it was love nonetheless.
As I poured my heart out to my dad and detailed all the qualities of these two different but good men he started to chuckle. “You know Amber when you were little I’d take you to the store with me and tell you that you could choose one treat. You would take forever to choose one. When you’d finally decide I’d ask if you were sure because there were so many good ones. Then you’d panic and wonder if you made the right choice. Almost always you’d leave with nothing because you couldn’t decide.” That was a perfect illustration of a ridiculous pattern in my life. That weakness was so frustrating to me and because of it, I knew that I was in danger of walking away with nothing in this situation as well. “So what do I do dad?” I didn’t want to hurt anyone but that was inevitable. My dads next words to me finally made things clear. “Amber, this is just like a bandaid, the longer you take to pull it off, the more it is going to hurt. Choose the one the serves the Lord better and stop dragging this out. It isn’t fair to you and it isn’t fair to them.” In that moment I knew exactly what I was supposed to do. Not only that but I was also flooded with the peace and confidence to do it.
The very next day I had a date with bad boy. I went over and over in my head exactly what I was going to say to him and how. I had to break up with him.
He picked me up and was acting especially happy and affectionate towards me. It was completely out of character for him and it was throwing me off. I was waiting for the right moment to start this serious conversation with him and I realized it wasn’t coming. He had put a lot of thought into this date. He had bought all my favorite foods and was taking me to do one of my favorite things. We were going on a hike. “Ok,” I thought, “a hike is a good time to have a serious talk. I can do this.”
As we started off he was just gushing with joy and optimism. He was talking about the future, a topic we almost never broached. He was complimenting me and holding my hand. What the heck was going on? This was NOT normal. He started to talk about spiritual things, about God and pieces of his testimony. This was especially shocking to me. His hesitance to open up to me about his feelings about his faith and love for the Savior was something that always bothered me. I had hinted that fact to him just a week earlier. I stopped listening to him as I was trying to reconfigure the words I had planned to say and strengthen my resolve. I almost tripped. He had turned and was facing me. I hadn’t heard exactly everything he was saying but I heard his last sentence LOUD and CLEAR. “What do you think about marrying me Amber?”
Are you kidding me? I couldn’t have been more blindsided! About a million thoughts ran through my through my mind in that moment that he waited for a response. None of them were helpful. “Holy crap! What do I say? Did he just ask that?” The loudest thought was, “We’ve been dating for NINE MONTHS and you’ve never even told me you love me.” (another thing that bothered me) “And now you are asking me what I think about marrying you?”
I couldn’t have imagined up a worse situation. We were almost to the top of a mountain. How do I tell him what I had planned to say and then walk another hour back down the mountain? You don’t hang out after a breakup; you go your separate ways. So I did what I do best and let something lame come out of my mouth. “I don’t know, what do you think?” Well, he told me what he thought for rest of the hike up and down the mountain. I wanted to cry. If he had ever told me these things in our nine months of dating maybe things would be different but I had made my decision and I knew it was the right one. I knew it was wrong of me to let him pour his heart out to me when I knew I was going to break it, but I was in such shock I didn’t have rational thought going through my brain.
I hadn’t said much in the last hour. We walked towards his motorcycle. The date was almost over and I hadn’t done what I promised myself I would do. I grabbed his arm just as he was about to get on the motorcycle. I can’t remember the exact words I told him but I tried to be as kind and honest as the situation would allow. We weren’t meant to be together. He didn’t look at me, he didn’t speak a word. He drove me home and as I got off the motorcycle I knew I had to tell him one more thing if I was going to be completely straight forward with him. I told him I was going to start dating another guy, someone I had become close friends with. I didn’t want him to find out from someone else or by seeing us together. He rode away without looking at me and never spoke to me again.
This concludes part 3. Stay tuned for the conclusion!!