I never think that my friends are paying much attention to the small private moments I may share with someone in public — a glance, a level of comfort, things he says that imply something possibly deeper than whatever is on the surface.  I prefer to think it’s cloaked in the shadows, but they notice.  As egomaniacal as they all are, they notice.

Last night, BP, JF and I were discussing who I should date next: who is the prototype?  They agreed on the general outline: tall, successful, “bookish,” charismatic.

JF mentioned that I prefer men who need to be fixed in one way or another.  Men who are flawed perhaps, but ambitious, successful, and need my tinkering to help them get to the next level.  BP looked at me and said, yeah, like that one.  I just looked at him and we both knew he was thinking of X, my non-ex, my former friend, the breakup I am not quite over.

They both agreed on one point: “X was completely in love with you.”

Maybe . . . I do not know.  We loved each other.  We openly acknowledged that to each other and to our friends.  I had a bit of a crush on him for a time.  I never thought much about his feelings for me.  I really didn’t.  He was dating beautiful young women.  I was living with A, who I loved and still love dearly.

Anyone who ever saw X and me together knew he loved me.  It was just this thing — a fondness, an unspoken support, a deference.  We did stupid things together — drank too much in the middle of the afternoon, sat in his car for hours talking, emailed each other in the middle of the night to share thoughts, talked on the phone for hours every day.  A was completely comfortable with it — he was glad I had someone to talk to since he was gone so much and not so interested in some of what I shared with X.  It was love, but not romance.

Last night, BP and JF told me they thought I’d had an affair with X.  I had not.  I never even kissed him.

In some ways, X was and is my preference.  He’s significantly younger than me and objectively hot.  He’s an actual rock star (but just regionally, unlike some of his better known friends).  He’s clever and ambitious with boundless personal charisma — people just love him.  He has surprising depth and emotional caring.

X comforted me throughout my breakup with A, and for that I will always be grateful.   X and I were not getting along well at the time ourselves, and he called me every day to check on me.

Though it’s been painful, I am finally over A.  After last night, I realized I am still not over X.  It breaks my heart to know that things ended so badly, that he actually hates me, that I was so wrong about him.

Late last night, I went to a club with JF to see a show headlined by a dear friend of mine to whom I had introduced X.  They became friends, which was great, and X would sometimes sit in with our friend’s band.  The last time X and I really hung out, I am only now beginning to realize was at the band’s show at the same club last year.  We had a drink, chatted for a bit, and then I watched him perform a couple of songs.  After he came off stage, he was accosted by groupies who recognized him from his now-defunct famous band.  That was always an amusing part of his life.  (I did not save him because you just never know . . .)  Finally he broke free, walked me out, and that was it.

It was a completely unmomentous evening.  X went on his way and I went home to A.

Weeks later, our relationship was strained because of business.  X was pushing for a quick resolution and he did not understand that it was a delicate operation.

I am the reason our personal relationship ended.  I was dealing with the A breakup and I was so hurt by X and some of his decisions on the business side that I just could not deal with him.  Without our constant interaction, our business relationship floundered.

I never realized it before, how much control I had over the situation — how I could have swallowed my hurt and dealt with him and resolved it.  I could have stepped up, but I was fighting battles all over the place and I just did not have the time or energy to fight to save my relationship with him, too.  I could have saved our business relationship had I continued to coddle him and develop him, but again, I could only fight so many fronts simultaneously.

Sadly, I think it’s too late to save.  He defriended me on myspace months ago.

A couple of months ago, I was fine never speaking to him again.  I have decided that I am going to reach out to him in the next couple of months.  I need to figure out a strategy for the attempt at rapprochement.  I may reach out to our mutual friend to feel the situation out.  I may shoot him an email thanking him for his help during such a difficult time.

He’s been out of my life for 8 or 10 months, and I still miss him.  It would never be the same, and he may delete the message without reading it, but I do feel as though I should make the overture.  Especially since I figured out that I am not the only aggrieved party.

I have only spoken about this “shadow breakup” to my mother who was with me when X and I were having problems last summer (after A and I split) and again at Christmas when it had been irretrievably broken.  She’s the only one in whom I confided how much I missed him.  Everyone else assumed I was devastated by the loss of A, which I was.  But losing them both was unbelievably painful.  It was much more cruel to lose my life partner and best friend followed by my next closest friend in such quick succession.