I was awakened at 4:19 am this morning by the following text message:
Him: Actually. I'm in love with you. So to Hell with It
I should interrupt at this point to say that the Him in question is the guy who I was dating over the summer/early fall - the first post-separation relationship. Lasted about three months. I broke it off because I saw absolutely no future in it. He, ah, didn't feel the same way, apparently. We've stayed in touch and are, I thought, good friends, although when we hung out over the holidays I detected awkward overtones. I was not wrong.
Me: Are you drunk?
Him: You can say that.
Me: Sorry, that probably wasn't the most tactful response, but it's 4 am, Saturday night, you're feeling confessional...
Him: No. I love you.
Me: So what prompted this?
Him: Not cause tonight. (Which I interpreted to mean, it's not just because I'm drunk tonight that I'm saying this.).
Me: How about this? Why don't you text me when you wake up in the morning, and we can talk about it then?
Needless to say, how was I supposed to go back to sleep after that? I was very careful to not lead him in that direction when we were together. I knew there was no future to be had there, and I didn't want to lead him on unnecessarily. I don't really know how this happened. As promised, he texted back in the morning:
Him: Life is short and I stick by what I said. I love you. Ditch me if you have to.
Me: Dude, I don't know what to say...
Him: I know you have nothing going on that way. I'm just struck. You're beautiful, smart, and fun! I don't want to fuck up but I might have. That was not a statement to text.
It goes on, but that's the gist. I was very careful not to do or say anything that might make him emotionally attached, it didn't work, he declares he's in love with me, which I sort of saw coming after a few comments he made over the holidays, I don't reciprocate those feelings, now what? I'd like to remain friends, but I don't want to make him uncomfortable, either, by my continued non-reciprocation of the feelings. All of this is made more complicated by the fact that I've been talking to this new guy. And... he's intriguing. And... I like him. And... I don't know if he likes me or not, but we talk every day, pretty much. And so, my emotions are leaning toward this guy*, but this other guy's emotions are obviously attached to me...
God, it's a mess. I have no idea what to make of it. I'm trying to be tactful and non-hurtful, because I can imagine what it must be like to tell someone you love them and know that there's no chance they feel the same way about you, while at the same time attempting to play it cool toward this other guy, because a single mom with two kids can easily cross the line from "cool chick" to "desperate cougar" in just a few steps.**
*Not in an I-love-you way, because let's just back right up there for a minute. But in an I'm-interested-in-you way, definitely. In an I'd-like-to-know-you-better way.
**And yes, I realize that at 28 I'm too old to be a chick and way too young to be a cougar, but there's no handy terminology for people in my particular situation, you know?