After re-reading my last post, I thought I needed to clarify some things.
First, it might seem like I am one of those girls who gets really worked up over a guy, only to have a new guy come walking along to fix the problem. This, my dear friends, is false. Please do not misunderstand my agreeing to go out with Max on Sunday as a sign that Ben is now (and so quickly) a thing of the past. My friendship with Ben is so complex. I’ve tried to explain it to people, but without fail the only person who ever seems to really get it, is my mom. I’ve heard “he’s using you,” “it’s just sex,” “he doesn’t know what he wants,” “he wants his cake and to eat it too,” “you deserve better,” “he’s going to end up hurting you,” “you’re lying to yourself,” “you let him get away with this,” etc. etc. etc. blah blah blah so many times. The truth of the matter is that Ben is my best friend. I have never had a friendship with anyone, male or female, like I have with Ben. He is part of me. I don’t ever have to hold anything back from him. He takes care of me, as I take care of him. In Ben, I have found an extension of myself that was walking around without me for the last 31 years. It’s scary. We react the same way. We think the same way. And we are just dissimilar enough that we are never bored with each other.
It’s true that I may not have always understood why we were engaged in the kind of relationship we were (see: without any commitment). I understand now that it was truly because Ben saw the big picture: I’m staying here; he’s leaving. He was right all along. I chose to ignore him when he talked about leaving. Ben shielded me and himself from what could have been a disastrous break-up because he is self-aware enough to see that there is something pulling him to the far East. I was too blind to see it.
Ben helped me move. He helped me write my CV. He has given me countless hours of work advice. Financial advice. Guy advice. Family advice. He’s bought me dinner when I was hungry. He was my rock when I was in the US feeling like I was drifting all alone. He’s helped me with household items. He’s given me needed things I would never buy for myself. He’s translated emails, voicemails, etc. He’s put me back together after bad dates. He held my hand during the most recent missiles landing. And he took care of me when I was sick, planning for my expected recovery in his apartment, if I ended up having appendicitis.
I also helped Ben move. I’ve given him work advice. Love advice. Family advice. Girl advice. I wrote his CV in English. I’ve helped him with business items. I taught him to cook different things. I was the one at his side when he quit his job. I helped him through his grandmother’s fight with cancer. I’ve introduced him to people to help him accomplish what he wants both short term and long. I’ve written emails, recommendations letters, etc. for him. I’ve picked up the pieces for him after bad dates. I took care of him when he was so drunk he couldn’t see straight and when he broke his rib from skiing. I brought things back from the US for him.
We are confidants. We are advisers. We are each others’ therapist and personal joker. We are best friends. And until very recently, we were lovers.
It’s difficult for me to imagine anyone ever being able to take Ben’s place in my heart. Our friendship was half dumb luck of being at the right bar at the right time, and half preordained.
Now, yes, I am excited about going out with Max on Sunday. Yes, I’m also a little nervous too that it is too soon. Here’s the thing of it, though. I have always known that Ben would not be able to give me what I really want, which is a relatively stable life with a house and children, etc. Ben is far too unsettled right now for that. Throughout my experiences with Ben I’ve still been looking for that Mr. Right to give me what I’m looking for. Now with Ben in India, it’s a little easier to date and a little harder too. I like the idea of dating someone in Ben’s circle. He’s got good taste in people (generally speaking – everyone has that friend they are ashamed of). Also, I like the idea of Ben being part of my life in some capacity; this will only be easier to accomplish if me and whomever I date are both friends with Ben. This way it’s not “my ex-boyfriend that I can’t let go of.” but, there’s the rub. If I date within his circle, will I just be comparing Max to Ben? I would like to think no, because we’re all adults here and I know that no two people are really alike. Also, if Max is as good a guy as Ben claims he is, his merits should stand out naturally, I think.
The moral of this story is that I am giving this first date with Max waaaay more thought time than it deserves. But it does feel good to not only be “back on the horse” so to speak, but to be doing it with someone I don’t have to hide my friend from.