Ever developed a crush on your best friend? It happens to the best of us and when that feeling is mutual, the friendship can cross the line into romantic or sexual exploration. For some it ends wonderfully, for others, it’s a total disaster. For us, it was just… weird.
We’d always been curious about each other. As much as I believe in platonic relationships between men and women, in my experience, there’s always been an underlying tension about whether or not we’re more than friends. This was the case with my best friend and me, and we’d talked a few times about what might exist between us under different circumstances.
Being in a monogamous relationship meant that was off the cards. At the time, I was in a long-term monogamous relationship, so any exploration of a romantic or sexual dynamic was off the cards. We skirted around the question, “What might have happened between us if I hadn’t met my boyfriend?” and both came to the conclusion we probably would have ended up together.
When I discovered polyamory, that question was raised again. When my boyfriend and I decided to open our relationship, that door was suddenly wide open. It pretty quickly became apparent that now was the chance to test out our theory and see if there was more than a platonic dynamic between us.
We never explicitly approached the topic. Even though we never discussed it openly, the tension around that possibility was the elephant in the room. I think we both knew it was just a matter of time before we went down that road and found out once and for all if there was any potential for a romance to develop. Just thinking about it was exciting and I think we both psyched ourselves up for it without ever having a real conversation.
Things kind of happened organically. By this time I’d moved cities, and on a trip back to visit friends and family, I spent a few nights sleeping at his house. This was definitely the time to explore that possibility and we both knew it. We were sharing a bed and when we got under the covers and turned out the lights, we both instinctively got more intimate. Making out felt great and it was a strange new facet to our dynamic.
It didn’t get very far though. Things got a little more heated, with both of us getting mostly undressed, but before we got any further, we both agreed we weren’t comfortable with having sex. After a while, with nowhere to go, we settled down again and went to sleep, cuddling up together.
We quickly realized something wasn’t right. After the initial excitement of a novel connection, it quickly became clear that it wasn’t exactly what we wanted from the friendship. Somehow it just didn’t feel right and we both tuned into that pretty quickly. I was relieved it was a mutual realization. If one of us was into it and the other wasn’t, things would have been way more awkward.
Somehow it felt a little incestuous. The next day, I realized why things had felt off for me. After years of relating to each other in a purely platonic context, he felt more like a brother to me than anything else. The thought of getting down and dirty with a friend who fills that role wasn’t the most enticing thing in the world and really put the brakes on our explorations.
Our friendship dynamic was too strong to change. Maybe with a longer build-up and more time to shift our dynamic into something more romantic, it would have allowed us to change the way we related to each other. As it was, our existing friendship was too ingrained and we didn’t know any other way of relating to each other. Try as we might, we couldn’t force a romantic dynamic into a platonic context.
We decided not to go there again. After that little experiment, we both agreed it would be better to remain as friends. I didn’t have any desire to come up against that weirdly incestuous feeling again. We were fortunate to come out of that experience with our friendship unscathed—not everyone has the same luck!
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