Bonus Stage: Unrequited

[For January 2016 Carnival of Aces topic “Relationship Stages”]

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I really, really don’t like romantic comedies. I think they paint an unrealistic picture of what relationships look like.

I’m pretty sure that I’m 99.99999999999999999999999999999% aromantic. There’s only been one instance in my entire life where I’ve had that “I want to date you” feeling. When I realized that I liked this person in my head it was sort of like popping the cork off a champagne bottle and all these feelings came rushing out. The strongest feeling, however, was “Oh, shit.” The person was my boss at the time and they were already in a relationship. The odds of my feelings amounting to anything were literally impossible.

A friend of mine is hopelessly romantic; She would have advised me (if I were dumb enough to spill the beans) to “fight” for this person’s affection and “win” their heart because if you’ve ever seen a romantic comedy, that’s what people do apparently. What made the situation for me trickier was the nature of our job meant that my coworkers, my boss, and I all lived together as roommates.

Actually that sounds exactly like the set up for a romantic comedy. It’s my worst nightmare, I’m cliché.

But it wasn’t like I could turn off my feelings like a light switch. As I mentioned this person was already in a relationship and there were rules about fraternization within our organization. My friend would
have said “screw the rules”, but I was not going to jeopardize our jobs like that.

Being a mature adult about the whole thing really, really sucked.

So I might have been less mature about it than I could have. The first thing I did was tell myself that the person they were already dating was absolutely perfect in every way. Like “one true love” perfect. And I made it my life’s mission to avoid ever meeting them so my delusion wouldn’t be shattered. Once I accepted that I was no competition I just decided to have
fun. I liked this person and I liked being with this person. Just being with them even in just a professional manner made me happy.

It was the first time that just the physical presence of another person was enough to brighten my day. They gave me something to look forward to just by being there. I wish I could have turned off the “I want to date you” feeling, and kept things
strictly platonic but feelings don’t work like that. I still made the experience fun for me by flirting a little bit (but not enough to cross the line) and engaging in some figurative “pigtail-puling”. Mostly I just basked in the warm, happy feelings I got to have.

I cried when they were transferred to another team and spent the weekend absolutely miserable with grief. We weren’t friends or close enough to keep in contact after the transfer. I still tried. I sent them an inexpensive birthday gift a year later, but after that I let the matter go. “Bittersweet” is the best way to describe the memory.

One thing I wish to express is that unrequited love is NOT tragic. Just because my feelings weren’t returned doesn’t mean they weren’t real. Just because I choose to label myself as aromantic doesn’t mean that I’m scarred by this experience. I choose to label myself as aromantic because I don’t believe in having “another half”. I’m whole exactly as I am. I would love to have a relationship, actually. I don’t believe that this person was the only
person out there for me even if they are the one I’ve felt the strongest for thus
far.

I’m looking forward to meeting someone and building up to that level of emotion and perhaps even surpassing it. Even if it means I experience a different, perhaps strictly platonic, kind of love to do so. Being part of the asexual community has taught me that love comes in all shapes, sizes, and
shades. That makes me happy. If/when I find love again the thing I hope for the
most is that it will be unscripted and completely unexpected. Even if it’s unrequited.

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