I knew that I would be more excited than usual to see my friends and hang out this summer due to having just gotten out of quarantine, but I didn't anticipate just how much would have changed over the months spent apart.
Sure, all of my friends and I zoomed and texted 24/7 while stuck in our houses, but we hadn't gotten the chance to do things face-to-face since March. Of course it was going to be different and exciting. What I hadn't anticipated was my sudden reborn attraction to my best friend, which really became noticeable to me in mid-July.
The funny thing is, my now-boyfriend and I were actually locker neighbors and had been since 7th grade. Before getting closer, I had small talk with him everyday between classes and knew he was a nice, genuine person. I even had a small crush in him in 9th grade and simped over him and his dancing skills at my freshman year homecoming (but we don't talk about that).
However, when we finally started to develop the best friend bond, we were seniors in high school and my feelings for him were long gone. As a matter-of-fact, I viewed him as more of a big brother for most of our friendship and even helped his ex-girlfriend ask him to our school's spring fling. We really were nothing more than just best friends...until we weren't.
What actually made us realize something had changed was our trip to the beach with two of our other friends.
Although for the longest time we denied it, most of our shared friend group constantly teased us and said they knew that we liked each other. So, when we shared a kiss at the beach that was completely unexpected to us, all of our friends viewed it as an "about time" event. When you're on a private island in South Carolina and you spend a whole week hanging out, it's kind of hard not to realize there was something there that wasn't there before.
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To be completely honest, neither one of us was excited about it at the beginning.
If you're anything like me, change is hard and scary, and this was no exception. We are 18 and 19 years old and starting our freshman year of college going to the same university. We were also each other's best friend, making the debate on whether or not to test the waters with the romantic side of our relationship very difficult.
By giving this a shot, we were risking leaving this journey with broken hearts and the loss of a best friend. There seemed to be so many reasons why it was a bad idea and why it would be easier to bury the feelings deep down and pretend like nothing had happened, but life isn't that simple. We knew that as a person, you can't just turn feelings off, and by trying to we might even hurt our close bond even more. So, despite the risk, we decided to explore the romantic attraction between us.
Our first date was extremely uncomfortable and awkward.
Because we had been hanging out together, FaceTiming, and texting all the time as best friends, it was hard to make the transition from platonic to, well, more than that. We read some articles and self-help websites on the internet and had decided to make our first date a secret from everyone we knew and make it really low-key in case it failed and didn't go as we'd hoped.
So, we ended up going to a local park and walking around while answering questions we found online to "get to know" one another. Now, don't get me wrong, I really did have a great time and so did he, but holding hands and getting dressed up to go to a park together (something we had done many times before) seemed weird and not like anything either one of us wanted to do.
However, on that date, we shared another kiss and it gave me butterflies. I found him extremely attractive and we both agreed to go on another date soon, but this time try not to force anything and let things happen naturally.
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Making the decision to go on more dates and have more alone time turned out to be great.
When we stopped trying to do what we thought we should be doing and started to do what we wanted to be doing, we had an amazing time. The hand-holding, complimenting, and quick kisses seemed to be natural and our newfound feelings became an exciting thing. By mid-August, he even asked me to officially be his girlfriend, to which I happily said yes. By that point in time I had most definitely realized that I was truly in love for the first time, and it was an absolutely magical feeling.
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Even though coming to terms with it was hard, loving him is extremely easy for me.
Because we were best friends first, we already knew the little things about each other and understood each other better than anyone else. We knew about each other's goals in life, childhoods, and not so attractive qualities but loved each other despite them.
The best part of this whole thing is that we still have the best friend vibe.
We can wear sweatpants and sweatshirts and just lay together watching "The Bachelor" and make fun of each other for every little slip up we have (after picking the other one back up and making them feel better, of course.)
So, almost four months in, I can say that people have a point when they say you should date your best friend. He is easily my favorite person, and I can't wait to continue to grow as a couple. Even if someday things don't work out between us, I'm lucky to have someone so great in my life.
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