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Let me first start by saying that I support and love everyone, no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc. I have changed the names in this story to protect these peoples’ privacy.
This is my story.
It all started my sophomore year of high school. I met Jason in a musical we were both a part of. He was funny, and we hit it off immediately. We started out as friends. He was in a relationship with another girl, and I really liked his best friend Marvin at the time. We hung out almost every single day. I felt as though our souls knew each other before we met, and I still do to this day. We helped each other maneuver through the crap that was high school. Towards the end of that year, we partnered together for a project in our theatre class. We chose to perform the song “Serious” from Legally Blonde: The Musical. I started to feel attracted to him as soon as we began. It was different from any other attraction I’d felt before. He had just ended things with his girlfriend, and I shot my shot. We ended up being sort of a “thing” the summer following our sophomore year. I would always try to spend as much time as I could with Jason, but he was always hanging out with Marvin, which I understood. I would never want to ruin their friendship by being clingy, so I took any time that Jason gave me.
Fast forward to our senior year: Jason’s best friend Marvin had graduated, and Jason and I had been off and on for a while. We never labeled what we were, which bothered me a lot at the time, but now, looking back, I know why. But, through it all, we remained friends. Best friends. Anyways, we were cast opposite each other in both of our senior musicals. This was the catalyst to a year-long struggle of me falling harder and harder for Jason every day, and Jason never making up his mind whether he wanted to reciprocate the feelings or not. During the last semester, he and I were joined at the hip. We were never seen apart. One night, we were talking, and he said to me, “Can I tell you something?” I listened, expecting him to finally tell me he loved me too when he said, “I’m gay.”
We started out as friends, so I instantly put away the side of me that loved him romantically, and the side of me that just loved him as a person took over completely. I told him that I loved him no matter what and that I would be there for him always and that our friendship would never change.
To make a long and very dramatic story short, I found out that while he and I were dating, he was cheating on me with Marvin. In Jason’s eyes, we were never official, so it wasn’t cheating. But being so chemically attached to someone and finding out that they never felt the same rocks your world. I felt so much emptiness. As we further discussed how to keep going after this, I told him that I felt dumb and naïve and embarrassed because I knew he never loved me the way I loved him. He was very kind and said that he did love me, and what he felt for me felt real, but all the while he was keeping this huge secret that could change how people treated him in our very conservative high school.
I understand where he is coming from. I understand the somewhat need in human nature to keep the truest version of yourself hidden. I empathized with him as he told me of his internal struggle he had been dealing with for the longest time. We held each other while we cried. I made a promise to myself to not let my broken heart stand in the way of me being a good and supportive friend in his time of need.
He is on the road to becoming his true self, and for that I cannot be more proud. He and Marvin are in a very happy, healthy relationship.
But I’m still picking up the pieces of my heart that have been scattered on the floor. I felt, and still feel, like I can be one-hundred-percent myself around Jason, and that’s all I could ever ask for in a partner. But now I find myself afraid to open up romantically to people in the fear of being hurt again. I find myself exhausted by keeping my heartache out of the way of our friendship. It’s hard to process the hurt when we act like everything is fine and feign like there were never any feelings between us.
I know that time will heal all. But it’s hard to remember that in the moment. But I will always be the best friend and ally to Jason that I can be, because that’s what friends do. And we started out as friends. And we always will be.