Our college years are full of dramatic “I’m not a grown up!” moments- mostly unexpected, and typically unwanted. Anonymous Valley writers discuss it all, from avoiding basic responsibilities to dealing with the big, bad future. Let’s talk about it.
A few weeks ago I wrote a College Crisis about how I developed feelings for Jack*, one of my coworkers, and that I had to make the first move. Today, I follow it up with this: Jack is now dating someone.
That someone isn’t me.
Shortly after my article was published, a fellow coworker asked him out of the blue if he was seeing anybody. She didn’t know that I have feelings for him and we weren’t even talking about anything that could have prompted her to ask him. He said, “Well… it’s complicated. It just started. I don’t know if I even want a relationship since it’s my senior year and all…”
After hearing the “It’s complicated,” it felt like someone had stabbed me in the chest. When he followed it up with everything he said, I saw a tiny glimmer of hope that I decided to follow. My friends told me to stay optimistic and that I could “wiggle my way in.” I agreed with them.
A few days ago, I overheard him talking about the apartment complex that the “girl he’s like, dating,” lives in.
This is awkward because I’m 99 percent sure he knows how I feel about him. I never flat out said anything to him, but I guess the whole “making the first move” thing I was doing kind of worked by showing him I was interested.
The night I found out he was in an “it’s complicated” relationship, I excused myself to the bathroom to cry for a bit. Jack spent the rest of the night cornering me and asking me what was wrong and even asked one of my good friends what he could do to fix it. If that’s not enough reason to convince you that he knows, one night when I was complaining about different things at work that were stressing me out, he asked, “So is there anything maybe not work-related that you wanted to talk to me about?”
This honestly might be easier if he wasn’t being so nice throughout this whole thing. I don’t think I’ve ever been treated so well by someone who doesn’t have an interest in me while I have one in them. If anything, he’s actually been even nicer (if that’s even possible) for the last few weeks.
I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t been pretty bummed out for the last few weeks. My friends keep telling me that I need to avoid him. Here’s the problem: I work very closely with him. It’s not like I can quit my job, and with our job titles we really don’t have a choice but to work closely together.
Perhaps an even bigger reason than the aforementioned is that he and I have become friends, and I want it to stay that way. Throughout the last few semesters, he and I have gone from “coworkers” to “coworkers who flirt with each other” to “friends” and as much as I want there to be one more step, I really like the whole “friends” thing we have going on. Even though it sucks that I have a different set of feelings for him, what we have now means a lot to me.
I have a few friends who want me to tell Jack how I feel. They are absolutely convinced that if he knows how I feel about him, it’ll open his eyes and everything will be right in my world. I don’t know if I want to do that. He gave me a few windows of opportunity to do it and I didn’t take them, but at the time I was still kind of mad and wouldn’t have known what to say.
What I will say now, though, is if the opportunity perfectly presents itself in the near future, I’m going to jump on it. I don’t want to be that girl who thinks that she can change a dude’s mind (I know I can’t), but I think it might be important for him to know how I feel.
And also, if the last few years have taught me anything… you never know what can happen.
*name has been changed
Photo by Jonathan Hsieh