Stories

More than Friends




More than Friends

Sorry this is a long story, but, I wanted to ask people here.

I have this friend, lets call her “L,” who I’ve been interested in for quite some time and share pretty good physical and mental chemistry with. L and I have ended up somewhat massagey and cuddly at parties over the past year – which isn’t necessarily special in our circle of friends, amongst whom non-attached/non-romantic/non-sexual physical contact is regular thing to come up at parties. {Indeed couples amongst our common friends don’t even tend to be possessive: they mingle seperately at parties, and even appear flirty with others, but still go home together at the end of the night.}
Overall, I love many things about L: she is a genuinely warm and caring person, intelligent and balanced and non-judgemental; free spirited and down to earth at the same time. Even if I didn’t have a romantic interest in her, I’d still consider her to be one of the coolest people I know.

Over the past month-and-a-half L and I have hung out just the two of us at least once but usually twice a week, talking about everything, lots of eye contact, some random touching here and there. I could tell, and have had it comfirmed by asking her {more on this later}, that she is interested in something more than just friendship between us. And I know she hasn’t been hanging out with any of our mutual friends nearly as much as with me these days – that shows something too.

On Friday I was hosting a surprise birthday party at my house for two guy-friends, and L was one of 2o or so people there, of whom 15 of us all know eachother from school. Because her and I have had things building up, because I knew she would be one of a few people sleeping over at the end of the party, and because I knew she’s a cuddly sleeper, I figured I’d (A) get close to her at the party, initiate an exchnage of massages, and (B) try to get her to cozy up in bed with me at the end of the night {not sex, not yet}.
(A) didn’t happen, but B did, awkwardly.

Rewind: I started to “notice” L about a year ago, after knowing her for a while already; but I didn’t “try” to get closer to her until the spring, because she and a mutual guy friend of ours, lets call him M, always (going back a couple of years) seemed to have a particularily interesting physical chemistry between them. I’m not the only one who noted this. M is a very artsy and athletic kind of guy, who can get away with walking up to a girl and starting to dance with her, making her smile. With L this was frequenrt, so I held myself back, thinking it was inevitable they’d end up together. But in January M went overseas for what was going to be six months, so there was a few months when he wasn’t in the picture. By May L and I had progressed to at a point in our friendship where we could’ve taken a next step, but both her and I had plans to be travelling (on seperate continents) over the summer, so nothing progressed, no feelings were talked about.
Since she’s been back for the past month and a half… I mentioned this part already: we’ve been hanging out alot. On Friday I planned to come out and say/do something about my feelings, because I’m notoriously bad about keeping things in until they fizzle out.
Well at this party/pot-luck I was hosting I was running around , never sitting for more than a couple of minutes, and at one point I noticed: oh, L and M’s chemistry is active, there she is giving him a massage. And half an hour later, okay now he’s masaging her. And half an our later, oh, she’s in his lap… Okay then, ouch.
Hence, I didn’t quite have a chance to get closer to her until the end of the party when most people including M had left. I was setting up a couple of spare beds in my house for the handful of my good friends (with homes far away) who would be crashing. I temporarily ended up in a room with L and, well, this had to be my moment to say something.

This was awkward: “Hey L, were you thinking of crashing here in the den, or the couch downstairs….”{unimportant answer}”Okay sorry but I have be forward or I’ll be tossing and turning the whole night: you’re welcome to come sleep in my bed”… and she blushed and said “uhhhhhmmmmmm” and I immediatly said “Okay sorry, that was awkward, you don’t have to anwer that, feel free to go downstairs” {back to where the others were} and she did.
So I distracted myself for ten minutes cleaning things up, while she went back up to that room to go to sleep and closed the door, my other friends went to where they’d be crashing. And on my way back upstairs to my own room, I knew I couldn’t just end the night like that. So I knocked on the door of the room she was in, opened it up asking “can we talk” and she said “yes we should.”
I apologized for asking what I did the way I did, she offered “it’s okay sometimes I’m awkward too.” We agreed “shit, life is too complicated.” I told her “I asked because I feel like we’ve had something developing, I really like you” she agreed “yeah there is something between us, i thought so back in the spring too” Over twenty minutes, the first 10 of which I was sitting on some chair, but the latter 10 of which I was lying beside her, us talking face to face, we talked about a few things. How she has been single but randomly dating for a couple of years, doesn’t necessarily want anything commital right now, but does want to explore what potential “we” have, and how she isn’t dating anyone else these days. I told her about how I’ve never been in an “open relationship” before, but I respect her needs of not being tied down, and want to learn to love someoene but give them alot of room at the same time. We agreed communication is important. At one point I mentioned “I was hestitant (to approach you) in the past because I felt you and M had something going on” to which she replied, not confirming or denying but saying “He’s not very responsive (on an emotional level).” At another point, we breifly talked about a mutual girl-friend of ours (lets call her X) and her guy issues, which is that X dumps guys she dates/sleeps-with as soon that they use the Love word. L said “that’s silly, I wouldn’t push someone away like that.”
We awkwardly talked/agreed our way into sleeping in the same bed, knowing we each like physical closeness, are the types to be dissapointed by non-cuddly sleepers. In the end her words were “okay well turn that light off and lets try, see how it feels.”
Well I spooned up behind her, put an arm around her, she stroked my hand for a little while before pretending(I think) to fall asleep; I didn’t fall asleep for probably three hours, until a point when she had gotten up to go the washroom, came back, and I had a chance to get one of my arms in a more comfortable position.
By the morning we’d each gotten a handful of hours of sleep and managed to neither increase the level of intimacy nor shrink away from it. When I got up out of the bed after hearing our mutual friends walking about the house, I woke her with a “Good morning sunshine!” and a kiss and a cheek, which elicted a warm smile.
I left the bed though feeling awkward still, thinking that she maybe didn’t feel all that good about the situation.
But over an hour of everyone getting up, getting their stuff together so we could all go to brunch and then split up for the day, over that hour she was quite warm towards me. She ended up in my lap on a chair, my arms around her, warming up her hands in mine. When we all were walking down to a retaurant, her and I were holding hands. In the retaurant, pressed up against eachother. Finally saying bye on the subway, we were planning ahead as we do usually “Okay maybe I can join you for______ on Monday, but at least Wednesday, we’re on for ______?” And she kissed me on the cheek goodbye.

So, at this point: I am not exactly sure how to progress. I want to be casual enough to not come on too strongly, to not invade her space. But I want to be forward enough to actually form something more than “friendship with benefits.” I want to get physically and emotionally closer, to see her at least 2-3 times a week and make those dates valuable and sensual and communicative. But again, I also tell myself “I should ‘play it cool’.”
I can’t help but wonder and ponder about her feelings for M; I can’t help but feel a sense of jealousy when I think back to their physical closeness.
This part is tricky because M is one of my best guy friends. He’s a good guy, but what L said about “he’s not responsive” I know is one of his consistent lady issues. If he figured some things out I know he’d be a great boyfriend for any girl. Indeed an objective and humble (or maybe it’s a meek and low-self-esteem) part of me thinks that L and M would make a better couple than L and I would.
I know M is interested in other ladies, and I’ve encouraged him to pursue them; I don’t know what he specifically feels for L, and am very curious…

Should I ask M what he thinks of L? If he says he likes her, should I tell him “I really like her”?
Neither him or I are macho men, neither of us patriarchal, so it’s not like we’ll get into a pissing contest or “stake a claim”; it’s not like I want to tell him to “back off.”
And I’m not ever going to tell L “hey I don’t feel comfortable with you and him that close.”
But, if I stay casual about things and don’t say anything about this… and if then they end up getting close at future parties… I will certainly feel something like jealousy and betrayal.

Any input about how I should handle myself with L? And how I should think about or what I should do with M?

If you read this, good job. If you reply, thanks.