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Rewind 11 years.  I’m dating a guy I started dating the second half of my freshman year of high school.  We dated through the rest of my high school days.  (Hindsight:  This was one of my dumbest ideas ever.)  OK so I cheated on him a few times through those years but we grew up in a small town and he was my best friend.  My problem was that as time went on, he was just that, a friend that I was terrified to leave.  He knew me better then I knew myself and quite frankly the world without him scared me.  He did everything for me and paid for everything for me.  To this very day, I can’t tell you how much I appreciated him for who he was.  He never knew his Dad and his stepdad was a drunk for the better part of his growing up years.  His Mom finally divorced him & it was the two of them making their way.  She taught him how to treat a woman and I’ll be damned if I won’t teach my son the same thing.  ANYWAY…. huge side note!!

I joined a gym as I was starting to see the effects of my drinking/eating habits & I had yet to gain the “freshman” 15 even though I was a few years beyond that.  I wasn’t going to be a fatty 🙂  I went to the gym every day after work.  After a few weeks I decided to move on from the treadmill/elliptical and weight machines to the free weights.  I wanted to figure out how to use this squat thing but I could not figure it out for the life of me.  So I asked the guy on the machine next to it.  He was pretty good looking, older then me and was there with a few friends.  It’s not like me to just strike up a conversation with someone like him because I’m pretty shy.  But for whatever reason I really wanted to figure this thing out.  He showed me how to use it and it really wasn’t very complicated.  It was embarrassingly simple.  Nice work!  We exchanged names, talked a little while & called it a day.  I had seen him in there many times before this and like clock work he was there again the next day.  We talked off and on while there for a while and eventually got comfortable working out together.  Yes, you know where this is going.  He had a girlfriend that was on the fritz and I had a boyfriend.  We both made this known up front.  But as it turns out, we have the same birthday.  Sure enough we celebrated our birthday’s together at the same bar.  My boyfriend was NOT impressed that this was the “gym friend” I had mentioned and I don’t think his girlfriend even showed up that night.  A few shots & drinks later I decided to end the bitterness with my boy, I needed to leave.  Gym friend “Andy” obviously saw the distrust in my boy’s eyes and casually said goodbye.  We both knew that this was not over.  And it wasn’t.

Over the next few months we hang out at the gym a lot (it requires a membership and my boy wasn’t going to join).   On nights my boy works, we head out with his friends to a few clubs.  In a drunken stupper we end up making out.  Nice.  Eventually our night’s out end at his place.  Even better.  We are talking almost daily.  He’s still figuring out what to do with his girlfriend and on more then on occasion she shows up at the same bar we are at.  This usually ends with him having long talks in the parking lot and me hanging out with his friends.  I’m still dangling my boy on by a thread and he is getting ever so suspicious of my relationship with Andy.  Turns out Andy knows a co-worker of my boy and said co-worker is close with my boy.  Andy & I have a decision to make.  We apparently decided at this point to remain friends without benefits.  I remember going out to lunch with him before I left on a vacation with my boy and him telling me he was sad that I was actually going on vacation with the boy because he thinks we could have a great relationship.  At the same time I can’t figure out why he’s still dealing with his baggage either.  Neither one us has answers.  I go on vacation.  He continues with his girl.  I come back from vacation and nothing has changed.  We continue hanging out and start up our benefits package again.   It gets a little insane when his girl stalks us and figured out where I lived and my phone number.  She sat outside my apartment & called 13 times one night but we never gave in.  Partly because we were pretty drunk & didn’t realize it was happening until the next day when I checked the answering machine & caller-id!

At one point I realize that Andy is trying to strike up a new relationship with this other girl I sort of know.  In fact, and this is funny, he invited us both out, to the same place, at the same time, without realizing it and felt like a complete ASS when we both showed up!!!  I laughed & stuck it out because I had nothing to lose (but my dignity!) and she left, tail between her legs.  We all had a great laugh about this for a few days.  Not many days after this, I decide to hang it up with longtime boy.  Not to date Andy, but because it needed to be done and I finally had the courage to do it.  That story is probably meant for a different post.  It ended….

Present day:  Andy is now married to “the other woman” that left with her tail between her legs!!!  They have kids and are doing well.  I know this because about a year ago he “friend” me on Facebook.   My face dropped when the notification came up.  It’s probably been 10 years since I’ve seen him, talked to him, anything.  We have NO mutual friends.  He searched me out.  WTH????!  But I accepted it because, really….  I’m not that way.  I’m pretty sure we can all handle it.  (Yes, my husband knows our story, and knows we are FB friends.)  We don’t even acknowledge that we are “friends” though so it’s weird.  3 weeks ago I receive a phone call from Andy.  He remembered where I worked and actually needed a work related favor.  Strange? YES!  So I agree to help & we exchange email addresses to keep in contact.  I’m trying to actually do my part but it’s taking longer then planned.  But this is really important to him apparently & he said he would, get this, “wine & dine” my husband and I, if I could get him [what he needed] the info for work.  Really?  I mention the phone call to my husband and he immediately put up the guards around it.  Wouldn’t you?  I’ve kept in minimal contact with Andy because I really don’t want to go there and knowing his flirtatious side, I really don’t want anyone to be put in a bad position.  Not to mention the fact that I’m being very upfront about this with my husband and would expect the same.  (Yes, there is Frank but that’s hardly even real!!  This is physical stuff, it’s real!!)  But yesterday I received an email from him titled “Hey You” asking for an update and an inside joke comment from a FB post that I actually thought was funny.  Am I reading into this way more then I should be?  I’m terrified it’s more then what it is.  Or maybe I need to get over myself & realize that he just might possibly be wanting to be friends.  Like real friends, not the type of friends we were 10 years ago!