This Is Why I’m Single: I’m In Love With My Best Friend With Benefits

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I’ve been informed by those who care about my love life — aka my family and friends, who all want me partnered up as soon as possible — that I’m in a rut. (I know my parents are hoping for grandkids, and as for my friends, I think they believe that finding ‘the one’ will somehow stabilize my life; make sense of it; give it purpose.)

However, there’s a problem. It’s a problem of which everyone is aware, and something that I’ve tried multiple times to outrun, only to come back for more. That problem is named Christoffer.

I met Christoffer almost four years ago when we worked together. Trying to define or explain my relationship with him is difficult, to say the least. Friends aren’t supposed to have this level of turmoil, this strange effect on each other, this on-again off-again torrid up and down drama…but here it is, and here I stand in the middle of it.

When we met, he was in a relationship — married, actually — and I was dating a writer. As his marriage fizzled and ended, and I found myself dating this person and that, we got closer.

The day he left his wife, he moved into my apartment.

We were friends; we were best friends, so this made sense. But the problem is when the universe presents you with your other half, the person you’d been wishing for since you were old enough to have even the slightest notion of what love is, it’s hard to ignore. And a lot of the time, men and women can’t be ‘just friends’—as Hollywood has taught us time and time again.

I like to think I can crawl in and out of bed with him unscathed, but the truth is my damn heart gets in the way every time. It’s there tangled in the sheets; it’s in my fingertips when I touch his collarbone and when I press the palm of my hand against his back.

I spend a lot of time in denial about this fact. I’ve mulled it over, argued about it with other friends, and it always ends up with the other party rolling their eyes. So in proving to myself and others that I’m not in love with Christoffer, I force myself to go out on dates. Dates where I spend the majority of the time wondering why these people aren’t picking up on my sarcasm like he does, or why they didn’t get the reference to that obscure band’s lyrics, or why the hell I’m sitting there at all when I could be at a bar in Bushwick with Christoffer drinking beer and being completely understood in a single glance. And when I’m asked about the date later, I shrug and simply say: “He was okay, but he’s no Christoffer.”

I’ve written about this topic, about Christoffer from many different angles, in the hopes of trying to understand exactly what I’m doing to myself. I’ve also made the fact clear to him that my friendship with him stands in the way of me dating, really dating without this obnoxious comparison of others to him. There is no other like him, and I need to understand that while someone else may not be able to replicate or live up to all the things in Christoffer which I love endlessly, nor will I ever be able to love them the way I love him, a relationship with Christoffer is just not in the cards. And honestly, I don’t want it to be.

I know this doesn’t make any sense either, but I chalk it up to the fact that I hate the endings of Hollywood movies where they girl gets the guy, because it’s not realistic. Christoffer and I are not realistic; we’re a bad reality show, a car crash everyone in my life watches in both in horror and delight—that’s not the stuff of a healthy relationship.

I know, without a doubt, that I won’t be able to date anyone until I kick my Christoffer habit. Sadly, that will mean kicking all of him to the curb, washing my hands of him and walking, or rather, running away. I know I’m incapable of keeping him and having someone else. So until that day comes where I’ve freed myself, I’ll continue to go on dates, stare across the table at the fella and again wonder why the hell I’m there and not with Christoffer. And it will be unfair to my date and unfair to me, but at this point in the game, that’s all I know.