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By martin free ramos
We ve all heard the saying, Nice guys finish last. And I ve lamented before, on a social networking blog I once kept, that as the proverbial nice guy , while I didn t always finish last, it would ve been nice to win, for a change. Well, as a former track & field athlete, I was trained to learn that how you ran a race was dependent on the type of race you were in. I recently came to the realization that navigating through the often cutthroat world of dating isn t that different. There was once a time when everything I had learned in my life about myself and the people around me manifested itself to everyone I came into contact with as an exuberant self-confidence which many people seemed to be attracted to, be it romantically, sexually or platonically. Having just come out of a seven year relationship and with no interest in pursuing anything serious with anybody, for the time being, I was afforded the freedom to sail through the dating scene without worrying about any deep emotional investments. That s not to say I didn t make any deep & meaningful connections with anyone. Quite the contrary! In fact, it was during this time that I began forging some of the strongest bonds of brotherhood with friends who are now some of the most important people in my life. But not being in an emotional position to entertain anything more than a platonic relationship allowed me to be as bold, honest & upfront about my feelings as I wanted to be. But as it turns out, once you permit yourself to consider the possibility of something more, it changes the game and there are new conditions, and even new emotions, that have to be taken into account. A lesson that took me two years to learn, and came to me in the form of a gentleman named Fredric. I met Fredric on the chat site Bear411. Handsome, charming and witty, it wasn t hard to be taken by him, even though he lived on the East Coast. After months of online exchanges & telephone conversations, we finally had the opportunity to meet when he came out to LA for a visit in the fall of 2007. Not only was he every bit as handsome, charming & witty in person as he was online, but in the time we spent together, I was able to see how sensitive, articulate and even adorably neurotic he was. Against my better judgment, I allowed myself to be smitten, but justified it with the fact that this trip was the first step he was taking in his plan to eventually move here. Now, personally speaking, I would prefer not to be in a long distance relationship, nor would I put myself in a position to place my life on hold for someone so as to wait for them to be ready to be with me. So while I let myself get smitten, I shelved any further exploration of my feelings for Fredric pending his relocation. But in the year that followed, with continued communication via online chats, telephone calls & SMS messages, my feelings for Fredric began to grow. A fact I apparently chose to ignore. When Fredric was preparing to return to LA in the fall of 2008, to say I eagerly anticipated his arrival was an understatement. The sentiment seemed to be mutual, when he and I planned when we were to spend time together during his trip. Since Fredric had other friends he also planned on visiting with whilst on his trip, his itinerary was becoming busier as his holiday approached. Unbeknownst to me,
among the friends he was scheduled to visit, were two of my former roommates & close friends, Isaac & Zander, with whom Fredric had also been chatting during the past year, and had apparently also developed as a potential romantic possibility. When it came to light that we all knew each other, a week before Fredric flew out, he called me in an effort to ensure there was no awkwardness. After discussing it with my friends, everything was smoothed over and even made for a slight rearranging of some of his itinerary, giving all of us more time to spend with each other. After all, even though I was exploring things with Fredric, I had no claim to him, nor did him to me. And just because I happened to know the couple he was interacting with, it didn t mean I had dibs on him, just because I started talking to him first. I mean, we were all adults here. And there was nothing that said we couldn t be civilized about everything right? Well, long story short, I experienced jealousy for the first time ever. But even after all the awkwardness & irritation that ensued, a heartfelt, open discussion with Fredric about everything at the end of his trip led to the understanding that our friendship was growing and how far our relationship could go was still something we were both exploring. Again, against my better judgment, I allowed myself to continue being smitten by him. I even permitted myself to be okay with the increased emotional investment I was beginning to feel. In the months that followed, Fredric & I continued communicating with each other. And even after various public expressions of affection Fredric shared with Isaac & Zander on a certain social networking site, which stung to see, I would still catch my heart jumping every time my phone buzzed with a text message or rang with a call from Fredric. But I believed I had everything under control. After talking about it with another close friend of mine, regarding this situation, I came to the conclusion that I really had to just put this to rest for myself and find closure. With so much happening to me in 2009, it was fast becoming a year of discovery & understanding of the person I was, am and would become, all intermingled with, or as a directly result of, various other personal or romantic encounters. Particularly towards the end of the year, I was facing so many old issues I thought I had overcome, but found I had to re-learn how to process those emotions again. But I was also finally learning to see possibilities, which were once obscured by my insecurity and self-doubt. I really had too much, more important things to worry about in my life, than Fredric. And just when I thought I was starting to finally get comfortable with my emotional self again, he texted me. Once again, my heart jumped. Once again, I was giddy as a schoolgirl. But as we messaged back & forth, I saw once again why I had to have closure for myself with Fredric. In fact, he even shared that he was dealing with an issue involving another guy. However, what he was really having trouble with, was how he was going to tell Isaac & Zander, since he wasn t sure how they saw their relationship with him. Hm. He sure didn t have any reservations about telling me, did he? Ouch. And just to drive that point home for me, after relating the text conversation to some of my closest friends later that evening, I found out that I put myself in this situation all too often. Apparently, I am too emotionally available! And because I always present myself as emotional support for a guy, it automatically puts me in the Friend category, eliminating any romantic possibility I might have had. Essentially, writing me off before the other guy s even had a chance to. I tried to argue. But as the images of past romantic potentials and unrequited loves flashed before my eyes, I realized they were
right. Ouch, again. While I wasn t physically throwing myself at guys, emotionally, I was! Either way is unattractive when I am faced with it. I can see how it would be for anyone else. So there it was. With everything I ve always done to ensure than I maintained a modicum of self-respect so that I could carry myself as a hope-ful romantic, it turns out I was hopeless, after all. I was running as if I were in a sprint, only to discover I was actually in a long distance race! And while I can convince myself into not seeing some things about who I am, I cannot ignore the most honest gauge of all: my friends.
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