“ARGH, why didn’t you break up with your boyfriend before we went away!? We could’ve ... you know ... I still lust for you.” Lexie, a newly divorced girlfriend indignantly recites this email snippet to me during an emergency phone pow-wow. It is the juicy part of correspondence just in from Tim, her handsome, charming male friend of more than 30 years. Two days prior she had returned from a Florida beach vacation with him, one of many platonic vacations together.
Okay, these two dated as teens and have always remained just friends, emotionally supporting each other through a divorce and many more relationships each. Over three and a half decades a beautiful friendship based on mutual trust and respect has evolved. During "single" episodes they’d been surrogate dates for friends’ weddings and out of town concert junkets, all platonic. Of course there’s been flirting but only of the playful, verbal variety.
In our arsenal of exes who hasn’t got a place reserved in their heart for a special someone like that? Guilty as charged.
A very perplexed Lexie now wonders, how is she to extricate herself from this unwanted offering of refried lust without losing one of her best friends? On one hand the unexpected expectation of intimacy is off-putting, on the other the implied reprimand stirs up a strange twinge of guilt. She is caught completely off guard. Has she inadvertently led Tim on, whuh?
Help! Just when you think you know someone, they go and throw you a curve ball. Or is it a learning curve ...
“Heck,” I point out to Lexie, “at this point in my life l’m always flattered to have someone look my way romantically and Tim did refrain from making a physical pass at you. Do you really want to waste precious time feeling offended or guilty?” Detecting a pregnant pause on the other end of the line I forge on. ”Awkward as it may seem, why not just thank him for the compliment and tell him you appreciate your friendship too much to risk forever upsetting it with physical intimacy?”
Over the phone I can smell smoke coming out of Lexie’s ears, her wheels are turning. “Unless you want to spark another intimate relationship with him, that is,” I add.
That does it, I am barely permitted to finish my sentence when she hurriedly blurts “hold on!” I hear fingers furiously tapping the keyboard as she rapidly composes a response to Tim and, whoosh ... it’s all over and dealt with, her reply is already on its way. Lexie is a woman of action, you see.
Haven’t heard back from her yet which leaves me wondering. Past and present— shall the twain e’er meet? Can we really be just friends?