My almost boyfriend
“I love you.”
For the past several months, we have heard each other say this (unanswered) a handful of times. However, we never really talk about what’s in store for the both of us when we say those words.
We are more than just friends. I’m sure of that. But are we lovers? Now, that’s a question that has been bugging my mind. As of now, all I know is that there’s him and me enjoying each other’s company. If there’s going to be an “us,” this is quite an uncertainty—at least from his end.
For some reason, I got stuck in this awkward situation after he wooed me, awakened my love, and later kept me wondering. Yes, we see each other regularly, text each other every day, and call each other sometimes. We never fail to express our love, care, and affection to each other—however, we have avoided the labeling part, and the commitment part.
I thought I’ve known so much about love. I thought I could bear all the pain that comes with it. But reality is a lot different.
He has made me experience love in a different perspective. Now it seems I don’t know love anymore.
I’ve always seen love as a commitment. More than the compatibility, it’s the assurance of being there for and with someone.
I felt he was present but wasn’t really there when I needed someone to lean on; he was there but I wasn’t sure he would stay.
Maybe it was too early to tell. I told myself to just enjoy the journey and be satisfied with the “almost” relationship that we had.
I remember the time he called me because he wanted to vent his annoyance at work. I felt important at the time. I thought this person saw me as someone he could trust. I assumed he would do that all the time. But it rarely happened.
Despite that, I wanted him to feel that he’s someone I could trust.
Since I’m quite hesitant to call him, I often text to let him know how I feel. At the end of the day, I tell him how my day was. Sometimes he would reply and sometimes he wouldn’t. Deadma. At first I got hurt. Eventually I told myself that before I came into his life, he was already struggling with his work and I should appreciate how he tried his best to make time for me, answering my texts and actually spending time with me. I learned to let go of the negativity. I learned to accept the dynamics of our almost relationship.
I admire how mature he has become in our almost relationship. When one of my guy friends asked him for advice about the jealousy he felt toward his girlfriend, I was astounded by his answer. Indeed, that is how he has been with me.
He never tries to control me or my plans. He always encourages me to spend time with my friends. He is never nosy with my whereabouts. That is something I have never experienced before. But then again, I thought, maybe he just didn’t care. However, that couldn’t be right because I remembered how kilig he made me feel when he told me not to entertain guys who would try to hit on me. So, that was solved.
Overwhelming emotions. So many doubts. Too much uncertainty. The future for “us” may seem blurry—but I am holding on.
I am holding on because he makes my heart skip a beat every time I see him or hear his voice. He has this unique charm that amuses me every time.
I am holding on because he never ceases to tell me how beautiful I am in his eyes. He just knows how to make me feel good about myself even if I have always felt “unpretty.”
I am holding on because I see that he’s trying hard to let me in—even if we’re taking it quite real slow. I hope to make it easy by being all ears when he shares his thoughts, emotions, and stories with me.
I am holding on just because. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that I have learned to love him. Loving him means accepting the uncertainty of the kind of love and almost relationship he’s willing to offer, even if, at times, I get confused.
There was a time I thought he was just waiting for me to claim I’m already his girlfriend. But then reality bit. One time, he introduced me as a friend. But I didn’t get mad. For some reason, I couldn’t get mad. But I was hurt. It felt like a knife stabbed right through my heart.
Human as I am, it felt awkward at that moment. I was taken aback by the news that we had an almost relationship that was “publicized” from my end but was kept private from his.
My family, friends, and even I, myself, really thought we were a couple because after months of dating, I reciprocated and expressed my affection to him. Every time they would comment on him, they used the word “boyfriend.” But after the I-was-just-a-friend-after-all incident, I had to go through the trouble of explaining that we’re not yet in a relationship. Of course, they never believed me. They thought I was just hiding it. I didn’t know how to explain. What do I get from hiding what we have? They all know when we go out. They see the photos in my phone. So why would I need to hide it?
I never really knew how what his family and friends knew about me. I wasn’t even sure if my name had been brought up. What I recall was when he introduced me as a friend and an acquaintance at work when I had an encounter with his family. That was after dating for almost half a year already. When I heard that, I gasped in shock but still managed to force a smile on my face. Suddenly, I remembered the lyrics of the Beatles song: “How can I even try? I could never win … Hey! You’ve got to hide your love away.”
But I still didn’t give up. I did appreciate it when he told one of his friends and some of his coworkers about me. He told me about those wrongly sent messages that were supposed to be for me. That was kind of cute and funny.
I am holding on.
I could’ve just walked away but I couldn’t. How can I turn my back when he’s the one who makes my heart flutter? How can I not reciprocate the love, care, respect, and attention that he seems to give me?
I will hold on.
Despite not knowing what’s in store for us; despite the risk that he might just leave me one day; I will still hold on.
For the meantime, I will keep on texting my “good mornings” and “good nights.” We’ll continue going out for a stroll, a movie, or dinner. He’ll still hold my hand like he usually does. I’ll keep resting my head on his shoulders when I’m tired. I will still lock my arms with his when he’s driving. I will still play a hundred more songs in his car while we’re on the road. We’ll listen to each other’s stories. We won’t stop doing those things. We’ll create more memories. We’ll let our love or whatever feelings that we have for each other flourish.
Then we will get tired. We will desire for a more defined version of him and me. We will find security and happiness in “us.”
By that time, I hope we will love each other truly. True in a sense that there will be commitment between us, where we’re both willing to be there for and with each other no matter the circumstances.
That moment when I’m no longer stuck in between and he’s no longer torn.
Maricris Payongayong is private school employee who “advocates for genuine peace and purposeful education in the country.” She says she’s “a passionate, adventurous, mind-boggling, hopeless romantic, cute, and a witty kind of dude” who “finds happiness in solitude.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.