Most of my "we'll get married to each another if we don't find anyone else by age XX" friends are off the market, but one still remains: Karen. She'd make a great wife because she's passionate and giving to her friends and family, she gets angry at me when I least expect it, and she's constantly disappointed in my antics. Perfect wife material!
As Karen's friend, I am privy to her terrible experiences in the dating world, and I curse the jerks she meets along with her. But one experience Karen recently had with her friend Paul reminded me of a few risky endeavors that people must be extra careful with:
- Moving from friendship into a romantic relationship
- Forgiving someone who hurt us in the past and trusting them again
Karen and Paul met in high school and dated on and off through the end of college. Ultimately,
they decided to be friends, and Karen felt that she was too young to be in a relationship. Plus, until they settled in to being friends, Paul hurt Karen numerous times.
Paul and Karen were best friends after a while. They discussed other people they were dating, and Paul was always there for her to help her deal with the many losers she met once she hit the post-college dating world.
Recently, Paul found out he would be working in India for a while. The impending separation forced Karen to rethink their relationship, especially after Paul told her that he was tired of seeing her get hurt, and that he still had feelings for her. They got intimate again and started using the "L" word.
Karen stayed in touch with him while he was abroad, and it was agreed that they would discuss their relationship the next time he came home, and confirming that they were in a serious committed relationship. She jokingly asked about other girls in India and he assured her that there was no one else.
When Paul visited home, he gave Karen a handmade jewelry box from India. Paul also confirmed that he was truly in love with her. The two of them were headed into a committed relationship and Karen found herself falling for him again.
A few nights before Paul returned to India, Karen noticed he was acting strange. I suppose when there's a painful history, people straddle that fine line of being paranoid but blessed with intuition. Karen had a bad feeling. She blurted out: "you're not seeing someone else are you?"
Paul confessed: "I've met someone." It turns out Paul had a girlfriend in India while telling Karen he loved her, while buying her the gift, and the whole time they stayed in touch while he was away.
"I thought I better tell you before you found out through Facebook," which was painfully ironic considering Paul had helped Karen recover from the time she found out a guy was cheating on her via Facebook.
So here was Karen, hurt again after letting her guard down and going against her personal rule: never make the same mistake twice. The two of them had a blowup fight the next evening. Karen returned home after the argument and put her fist through the jewelry box. Paul is back in NYC, but he and Karen have not spoken. Her friendship with Paul ended with a broken heart, along with frustration and self loathing for giving him another chance.
It's great when a friendship grows into a romantic relationship. But there are risks in taking the plunge with a friend:
- If it doesn't work out, you could lose your friend. And, if they turn out to be different than you thought they were, you will feel emotionally robbed.
- If your best friend hurts you, then what will all those nameless, faceless people you meet do to you? It will be tough to trust someone again.
It's frustrating to hear: "you're great, but I don't want to get into something that might destroy the friendship." But, I suppose this is an admirable point of view.
Is it better to have a best friend forever and wonder what could have been? Or is it better to give it a shot, with the possibility that you might lose them forever? Have you ever held off from getting into something romantic to protect a friendship? Have you ever taken a guy back/forgiven him and had it work out, or do you usually regret taking them back? Or is it best to never forgive because they'll just end up hurting you again?
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