Love, Sacrifice.

I remember a long time ago you mentioned that you had some close guy friends just end up either liking you or you liking them and it ended up being a clusterfuck and just resulted in a strained relationship. That scared me because already way back then I started to like you.

Then as those feelings grew, and we started to grow closer, we started to reveal more intimate things about each other. None of what we shared diminished those feelings — in fact they grew stronger — but it made it increasingly clear that if your happiness and well-being is truly what I wanted for your life, then that meant the best thing I could do for you is to unconditionally love and support you as a friend, without the drama or complications of being someone that liked you too. I didn’t want to muddy up our communication, and all I wanted to do was put my feelings aside, and put yours first. I figured a boyfriend would be the last thing you wanted or the last thing on your mind as you boldly and vulnerably faced your issues head on so you could be a better person. In short, I felt I could better serve you if I stayed as a friend.

Eventually it just became hard to contain. I let out so many compliments over time, because I really do think you are the most stunning person. Then after your Christmas work party I started to notice your attention turn toward another person, which, as you may guess, really hurt. Then it was confirmed in our group text with Bonnie. Also, I know Spanish so when I saw the “un beso para ti” to him on Twitter I kinda knew that his advances were working. So then I found myself between a rock and a hard place, and I started to feel really lonely and stupid, like a coward and not good enough, with no one to really blame but myself. Couple that with the dropped plans to see you (which I was really, really looking forward to – now you know why) and with those few days when we didn’t talk — where I felt like I did something wrong, and it just became a recipe for extreme heartache that I couldn’t understand nor talk to anyone about… especially my best friend, who was the very person that wasn’t talking to me.

So when we did start talking during Christmas, it gave me a breath of fresh air, and I found myself being creative and writing songs again, and while I still knew you were talking to him, things started to feel more normal, and I was able to recoup and be that friend that you needed no matter what. I really did start to grasp what unconditional love really meant, and it pointed me back to Jesus and started to really deepen my understanding of God. I knew that if I were to continue choosing to put you and the friendship first, that I needed to rely on God’s strength more and more when I didn’t have any left.

I thought I was doing fine, and I was excited to see you after you drove back from home after Christmas, but then when I was scrolling through Instagram I saw that video of you and him at Guitar Center the Saturday I was at Mosaic rehearsal. Obviously he would be the first you would see, since he won your heart, and I totally understood that. Still, it triggered more pain that I thought I got over already. When I realized that I still liked you, and that I liked you even more, at that point all I wanted to do was just go home to Hawaii. At this point, I also realized the bitterness and jealousy in my heart, and I had to remind myself why I chose to only remain your friend, that there was a bigger picture, and perhaps even maybe, just maybe, there was a love out there for me. It felt so unfair that you could steal my heart and then allowed your own to her stolen by someone else. But I also knew that it was equally and tremendously unfair for me to project any of this turmoil on you, who at this point may not have even realized what I was going through. So I did the only thing I knew I had to do, something I learned from my relationship with Jess — pray for the relationship. So I did. Again, if your happiness was truly what I wanted for you, then I needed to pray blessings on that relationship and make sure I never got in the way of what could be. He seemed like a nice guy and indeed was talented and had a great job, and over in my corner I was jobless, insecure, and I felt the love that I was showering on you wasn’t enough for you to notice.

I still missed you, though, and I was so thankful you made the time to have coffee before I left.

Back home, I felt like I could finally recharge. But I thought of you all the time, and I missed you. Eventually you did start talking about some issues you were having, but the worst part was that I knew I couldn’t give you any relationship advice because it would be laden with ulterior motives, and if in fact this was really what God had in store for you, I would never forgive myself for tainting that relationship with selfish advice.

But the fact that you came to me with those misgivings meant that I could still be your friend, and it validated me a little to know that you felt comfortable coming into the space I fought so hard to protect. I also feel that if you explicitly knew how much I liked you, you wouldn’t have come to me about some of the issues you would eventually be having with him. The real kicker though and the true irony was that I felt the same way: like you at that time, I too was jealous, I was insecure, and writhing in a pain that I chose to put myself in for the promise of love and happiness. It wasn’t fun. So when I told you I was going through something similar? Well I was, and it was with you. There’s a password protected blog that I wrote about it, actually, titled Once there was a boy. The password is “minniemoosh”.

I never told you any of this because, to me, there was no point. I knew it would only make you feel bad, and the only purpose it would serve was to displace the weight off of me and onto you. I realize I may have insulted you or made things more confusing to you as well because of my behavior, and the implication that I didn’t believe you would be strong enough to handle not only your problems, but my problems as well. And when I spent my first night in the Philippines and learned what he had said and done to you, my heart didn’t leap for joy; it broke into pieces too and all I wish I could do was fly back to LA for a night and just hug you and comfort you. I just so desperately wanted you to stop hurting.

It may have made things more complicated too, and for that I’m sorry. I see and hear all the time what a man is supposed to do, the expectations of masculinity, and I felt that I was just a coward and a typical nice guy who choose the friend zone because of a fear of rejection, veiled with an excuse to “help you”. Perhaps keeping this to myself for nearly 6 months may have been the most selfish and insulting thing I could have done. If you feel this way after reading this letter, I am truly, truly sorry, and I was the one who was confused this whole time.

So there you go. That is my darkness. I am a guy who struggles with significance, is painfully afraid of rejection, and has experienced a consistent love narrative of never being the one who got chosen, of always being left for someone else, and told that it was always my fault that it happened. I definitely know the last part is true, at least. It is my fault. It was either because I wasn’t enough of a man, or not enough, period.

I’m sorry I never told you any of this. You may have already started to put a layer of it together during your Thailand trip. I had so much fun complimenting and flirting with you, because I could let out more of my true self. Please don’t take this letter as some elaborate way to win your heart, as I never really intended to share this side of me. You said you wanted to understand me, so I hope this sheds some light and insight. I am just sorry that I am yet another guy that fell in love with you and ruined everything.

Above all else, though, your happiness is what had always mattered to me, no matter where you find it (so long as it’s in God), and no matter who you find it with. I apologize for being both a terrible friend and a terrible romantic. But I wasn’t lying when I said that you make me better, because you have. I’ve learned a lot.

Thank you for your friendship, and thank you for your love.

Joseph

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