I Need You to Let Me Go

Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny.
– Steve Maraboli

For as long as I can remember, there has been one man that has been a constant in my life apart from my father and grandfather. We met when we were twelve years old, and while he has been a close friend (in many ways, a true best friend) all these years, he has also always wanted more. He has confessed his feelings multiple times, shed his emotions in the most unequivocal way, and has held on to me since we first met. He has unfailingly believed we were and always will be meant for each other. And while I while I tried dating him casually a couple years back, we never could work consistently at a romantic level. We have completely separate interests and hobbies and in reality, we only have each other in common. Together, we become too imperfect to coexist.

And for the longest time, I have simply accepted the way he feels, even delighting in the fact that someone wants me this much – let alone for so long. He has loved me with a passion I know few to carry, and for some reason, his self-preservation instincts have never kicked in. He has never run away; in fact, he typically is the person I have turned to for just about anything and everything. He has saved me from when my parents’ anger became too much, he has listened to my darkest secrets, and he has been the comfort and consolation I desire when the world becomes too cruel of a place. But because I care about him, I need him to let me go. The unwavering truth that has remained all these years is this: I love him, but I am not in love with him.

He is nothing if not a fighter. He has been steadfast in his goal of winning me over. But while he desired my love, he kept me far too isolated from the rest of the world. There was no clean escape for me in the dim lighting of his room, and after everything, I have realized that our rich collection of memories is completely one-sided. The memories he had carefully created for me ended up as distant stories – the kind that are quickly forgotten and replaced when something – or someone – else comes along. And that is exactly what happened to me. I found that person that I would end up falling in love with, and I had to let a 12-year friendship fall to the wayside.

Not for lack of trying to maintain it, but because my current relationship became too much of a burden for my friend. But he was unyielding in his efforts, still. And I guess that’s the way it goes – when you want someone you can’t have, when you miss someone terribly, you fight with every fiber of your being to get to the way things “used to be.” Our ability to remember is both a blessing and a curse – the fact that he can still recall the way my hair was styled and the exact dress I wore to our eighth grade graduation dance proves the power of remembrance, and the ability it can have to haunt a person for years on end. The texts he has saved, the photos we have taken; all of it serves as his own guilty indulgence. Those drives we took to satisfy our craving for lunchtime sushi, the dances to endless country songs – they only serve as useless reminders of what he thought could eventually become something more. Something akin to long, make out sessions on his couch, intertwined fingers, and my heart finally his for the taking. Something that never will be. Because for the past couple of years, my heart has belonged to someone else. And it will always belong to that person.

But my friend has failed to see beyond himself. His feelings for me have resulted in countless fights and arguments between him and I, plainly because I can’t and won’t have anyone – even my longtime friend – try and come between me and the one that has my heart.

And so, my dear friend, I absolutely hate that you are stuck in limbo. I want nothing more than for him to be happy. Because he is a good and kind and caring man. But he needs to see that – he needs to understand that his love can be transferred to another woman. And I know a massive part of his soul is tired of searching, thinking that because it never worked with me, it won’t work with anyone else.

But if he ever reads this, I want him to know this: You will find someone worthy of your love and admiration. You don’t need to tire in your search because you need not search at all. They say timing is everything, and truer words have never been spoken. One day you will realize what I have been trying to prove to you all these years – we are great friends, never meant to be lovers. You will settle in the warmth of a woman that willingly gives you her heart. You have not failed in your quest for love, you simply set your sights on the wrong being. Letting me go will only make way for something and someone that is better for you. And maybe to let go, you have to throw away those photos, delete all of our texts, and delete me – at least for the time being. You have to compartmentalize those memories, not read into them any further than friendship, and remember that because we have always been friends, you should want the same happiness for me that I want for you. If not for me, then for yourself, and if not even for you, then for the friendship that has been so great to both of us all these years, let me go.

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