It Happened to Me: I Proposed To My Best Friend And Got Rejected

How can my radar have been so off? How did I fall for someone so hopelessly, so completely, who clearly wasn’t into me?
Publish date:
June 11, 2013
friendship, unrequited love, Sex,

He moved here in October. We’d been friends for a few years prior. Met at a wedding. Him a groomsmen. Me a bridesmaid. I realize this is the meet-cute that bullshit romcoms are made of but I assure you this ending is far less glamorous.

He’d always been a ladies man and having had my share of dysfunctional college relationships with his "type" -- I had my guard up from the get go. He was too clever. Too cute. Too everything.

But we had "it" -- some sort of magnetic draw.

As with any modern relationship, ours flourished with the help of Gchat, Facebook, facetime, email, we even got 1900s on that shit and wrote actual letters. He visited me. I visited him. There was always tension between us, but we lived apart. It was unrealistic and I was intent on keeping him in the friend box.

We were both dating other people. Him in droves. His stories were hilarious and when he was far away it was easy for me to keep my heart out of the equation, listen objectively, and laugh over his silly dating adventures. When he told me he was moving here, I didn’t believe him. A lost boy still working a bullshit job that left him unfulfilled, his words were always far grander than his actions.

But he did it. Moved here. And then shit got real.

I thought we’d be at each other’s throats, constantly bickering. But no. It was candy colored, blurred "I’ll Stop the World and Melt With You" magic. At least for me. Before long, I was completely in love with him. And like a fool, I played it cool. Tried to act like I wasn’t. Like I didn’t care.

He continued to date. I masqueraded as dating but secretly was planning our wedding and future life together. We’d have amazing weekends or magical moments, sometimes culminating in a physical exchange. It was never sex. It was... ya know... other stuff. I know you’re thinking duh warning sign. Huge flashing red light. He didn’t sleep with you. He’s just not that into you. I know. I read the book. Saw the movie. But it was there. Or at least sometime. Or so I thought.

I finally womaned up and told him that I was in love with him. On Bowery and Delancy. Post concert. In the rain. I proposed. Will you marry me? Told him I could envision our life together 10 years from now. Him with a toddler on his shoulders, talking to my dad, at Christmas.

Talk about fucking embarrassing. But sometimes it just all comes out in a can’t-control-what-I’m-saying-word-vomit-tear filled confession. I guess it’s not that shocking in retrospect. One can only repress feelings for so long. Spend four to five days a week with someone getting along famously, making out every now and again, telling each other your hopes and dreams? That shit is like a Molotov cocktail of latent emotions waiting to explode.

He asked what I wanted. I said, Just you. Only you. For life. He told me that it was just so much pressure. That he didn’t know how I could see that far in the future.

He also told me he was seeing someone. A 22-year-old he'd met through work. I could feel my heart collapse into my chest. How did he even have time to see someone? I had seen him the last three days almost completely. But of course he had time to see a cute young girl, one not saddled with the baggage of being in her thirties with an internal baby clock telling her to procreate stat.

He told me he loved me and that we were amazing together. And I got angry and bitter. Pushed him to tell me that he wasn’t attracted to me. He didn’t. I sobbed asking, "How can we be 85%? How do I walk away from this amazing connection?" Nothing says sexy like percentages.

Anyway, he told me he was attracted to me. That there were moments that it was completely there. Moments. Who can deal with moments? I told him I was beautiful, accomplished, smart, and deserved someone who loved me -- who wanted to fuck me -- all the time. Well most of the time. Not in moments.

So I walked home. In the rain. My first marriage proposal a complete blow out. He wrote me an email yesterday. He got a full-time job offer with a production company. His first real full time gig. The email was heartfelt and sweet. Thanking me for believing in him. For pushing him. For loving him. And all I could do was cry.

And now I feel so stupid. How can my radar, my sense of attraction -- reciprocated attraction -- have been so off? How did I fall for someone so hopelessly, so completely, that clearly wasn’t into me? And moreover, how do you know when to wait? And when to walk?

I walked, but it’s really really hard.