- 7 years ago
I’m posting under a pseudonym as I’m admitting some stuff that I’m not quite proud of here.
After I graduated college, I got an office job. Another recent college graduate started on the same day as me. Let’s call him Steve.
Steve had recently gotten engaged to his college girlfriend, who had another year of school to finish up. He proposed after he graduated. She stayed back in their college town for her senior year, and he’d moved back to his hometown, so they were in a long distance relationship.
He and I became fast friends. We had so much in common. We liked the same books, movies and music, and we both collected vinyl records and played bass. We’d trade books and make mix CD’s for each other. We ate lunch together every day and hung out all the time after work. But our lunches and happy hours were never just the two of us. We always had other friends with us. We were never alone together.
I started to realize that I had feelings for Steve – MAJOR ones. I was pretty much crazy in love with him. Since his fiance was away, it was easy for me to pretend that she didn’t exist. I’d pretty much fantasize all the time about him dumping his FI for me. I also had the feeling that he felt the same way about me.
We never did anything physical. We were never alone. But we sent IMs all day at work ,and emailed constantly. We even tested and talked on the phone over the weekends. The subject matter was never romantic or sexual. But I think our friendship was basically an emotional affair.
After about a year, his FI graduated and moved to our city to be with him, and they started planning their wedding. I was absolutely DEVASTATED. After she moved here, Steve basically cut me off. He pretty much stopped speaking to me, stopped eating lunch with our group of friends, and acted like I didn’t exist. With no explanation.
It hurt. A lot. Although he never explained it, I pretty much knew why he was doing it, because he wanted to be fair to his FI, and I couldn’t blame him. But I was heartbroken, and even worse, I missed him as a friend. It was a rough time for me.
Before he got married, he got another job, and I basically never heard from him again. I heard from a mutual friend that he and his FI got married and now they have a baby girl. And apparently, he got a transfer for his job and is now no longer living in town – he’s a few hours away. This mutual friend also confirmed something, something that Steve had confided in him: that he’d truly had deep feelings for me, too, and he distanced himself because it wasn’t fair to his FI.
In the meantime, I got over him as best I could. I met my current FI, fell in love, got engaged. We’re getting married in a few months and haven’t had any lingering romantic feelings for Steve in years. But I still miss him as a friend sometimes.
So, now that you know the backstory, here’s my question:
Back when we were close, Steve lent me a vinyl record that was his father’s. I had never gotten around to giving it back to him when he stopped speaking to me. And after a few years, I’d totally forgotten that I had it.
But I’m moving into my FI’s house next month and last night, when I was packing, I came across the record. And I’m wondering if I should send it back to him.
It’s not a super-rare record. I’m sure he could find a replacement on eBay. But it belonged to his dad, so I guess it was kind of special to him. I’m sure I could get Steve’s new address from one of our mutual friends.
But, I’m not sure how to do this. Do I send it with a note? And what would the note say? Just something like “Hey, I found this record and thought you’d like it back. Hope you’re well, from ____?” Or do I send it back without a note? Or do I not send it back at all? I’m kind of worried about Steve’s reaction, but I’m more worried about his wife’s reaction. I’m not sure how much she knows about me and I don’t want her to see this package from me and have her think “WTH is this woman sending things to my husband?” I don’t know if she’s the jealous type, but I don’t want her to feel threatened. Maybe I should just let sleeping dogs lie.
So. What would you do if you were me?