Falling For A Friend: True Love Or Just Settling?
“I’m getting married!” gushes your girl, reminding you what it felt like to be 16. It’s great to hear her so happy because in one year she lost her mom and two siblings. Before that, she was in a relationship with a guy that didn’t offer her a fraction of what this guy does now. So what’s the problem?
It’s simple. This all happened rather suddenly. One moment her mom died and the next thing you know she was dating a friend. But not just any friend. The ‘family’ friend. He’s been a staple in your group of friends since the beginning of time. Thanksgiving, Xmas, movie night, he’s been there. And now she’s dating him? It’s kinda weird.
What if this ‘love’ she’s feeling is something she’s convinced herself of because she doesn’t want to be alone? Though you want to be happy for her, you can’t help wondering if she’s just settling?
But ask her you can not for fear of coming off like a total killjoy. Instead, you text a girlfriend who is single, attractive and in her 40’s. Surely, she could have settled by now. Does she think your girl is settling?
“It’s not settling if she’s dating a friend,” she says. “Shifting to make room for intimacy could actually be destiny. Really, it’s women who compartmentalize friendships. Men are always down for whatever.”
Hmmmm…is she saying that we hold ourselves back by putting men in the ‘Friend Zone?’ But what are we supposed to do? There are some men that we know we could date and some that will never be able to cross that line. And if we do allow them to how do we know we’re not settling because how do you suddenly become attracted to someone that you were never attracted to before?
For the answer to this question you go to another friend who you recall got Friend Zoned.
Funny enough, she says making the switch from friend to lover was as easy as turning on a light. “It was through getting to know him so well that I found my attraction. He was simply the most reliable guy that I had ever met. That starts to mean something after you’ve been kissing your share of toads. Unfortnately, he looked at me as a sister.”
It makes sense, the ‘reliability’ part, but still. Isn’t that something we look for in cars? Can it hold a candle to passion?
Your mind shifts to a conversation you had with a friend recently whose wife is battling some severe health issues. He was saying that had they not been friends first it would have made things a lot harder.
Okay. Maybe you’re just tripping. Maybe this idea you have of love striking like a lightning bolt from the sky is just a fantasy. What if this is what love really looks like?
Damnit. You’re going to call your girl. If this really is love she won’t mind you asking and if it’s not, at least you’ll be catching her before she makes a big mistake.
“How do you know you’re not settling?” you ask her, a few seconds after she picks up the phone.
After some awkward silence she laughs one of those hearty belly laughs. “Girl, don’t you think I already thought of that?!”
“I know I’m not settling because the qualities I’ve always seen and admired in him as a friend are the same ones I want in a mate. And also, after my mom died, I told him that I didn’t want to talk about my family. I needed to be clear that I wasn’t trying to be saved. With or without him I was going to make it through.”
“Ok. But what about the physical attraction?”
“I’m such a sexual person that if he didn’t bring it no matter how great a person he is it wouldn’t work.”
“Ultimately, I know I’m not settling because I chose him. He may have told me how he felt about me first, but ultimately, I chose him.”
You can’t argue with that. Let the wedding plans begin!
Erickka Sy Savané is a freelance writer and has her own site, ErickkaSySavane.com. Before that the married mom of two daughters was a model/actress/MTV VJ.