Being In Love With The One That Got Away Has Halted My Dating Life

For the past four years, I've been trying to get over the one that got away.

Let's start with a little history.

Mark* and I met many years ago and ever since we met, our path has been nothing short of extremely complicated. Nothing in our "relationship" ever came easily.

A mutual friend introduced us. Mark was a few years older. We met in high school and I was infatuated with the idea of him being this cool, older guy who actually gave me the time of day.

We started to get to know each other and before we knew it, we started randomly making out... but it never really went any further.

Soon after, I met someone else. I fell hard for him, so I put Mark on the back burner. We'd talk occasionally, but never about anything much other than how we'd been since we last spoke.

I dated the other guy for about a year. Things ended terribly and I went back to Mark. There was just something about him that I was always drawn to. For years, we went through a cycle of liking each other, hanging out and seeing where things would go, things hitting a standstill, and then me moving onto someone else.

Even though I was being a douche, he still stuck by me, for some reason. I screwed him over multiple times in a row, but he still was always there to help me pick up the pieces.

Honestly, I took him for granted. I always just assumed Mark would be there for me when I got out of a bad relationship.

He was always my safe spot.

He was the first person I wanted to go to when I got good news. I always vented to when things went wrong. Mark was always real with me and super upfront. I always appreciated his honesty.

Maybe it was his incredible friendship or how he cared enough to forgive me for being the world's most giant asshole, even though I definitely didn't deserve it. Whatever it was, I had special feelings for him that I knew I wouldn't be able to shake off.

Fast forward to about two years ago.

I remember scrolling through Facebook feed and seeing that that Mark had entered a relationship. Even though I was in a relationship at the time, my first reaction was anger. I knew if he was in a relationship, he'd never be able to be there for me like he had been before.

After my anger subsided, I realized I couldn't be mad at him. How could I? He was moving on with his life. He had to move on. How could he keep waiting for me when I was clearly not a reliable relationship prospect? I didn't blame him. It would be the most selfish thing in the world for me to be mad at him for moving on.

It was only then I realized that I'd screwed up. I knew I should have been more serious about him while I had the chance. Even though I was in a new relationship with a great guy, I could never be all in with him, and I always wondered why. It wasn't until a few months ago I realized it was because I was actually in love with Mark.

Two years later, he's still happy as a clam with his girlfriend. We're still friends, but that's the worst part.

About 3 months ago, we started talking a lot more. We talked about things we both loved, like music and our careers. I only fell more and more in love with him as time went on. I started to hate that he was in a relationship, but I never showed him how much it bothered me because I knew it made him happy.

There were many times when we had conversations about life and I asked about his love life. He always said it was going great but would never elaborate, so I always wondered if he was telling the truth or just pretending to be happy.

I knew the connection between us was undeniable, so I constantly found myself wondering if we'd ever be together.

One drunken night about two months ago, we spent the night playing beer pong. We laughed and joked with each other like we used to, many years ago. The entire night, all I could think about was how I needed to tell him how I felt or I'd never be able to move on with my love life.

He was the just about the last person to leave and because I was too chicken to say it in person, I texted him after he left.

I poured my heart out in an iMessage. I told him exactly how I felt. I told him I regretted not being with him and never treating him right. I told him I regret it every single day, but I left out the part about me being in love with him.

He responded by thanking me for letting him know how I felt. He told me it frustrated him all those years, but promised my word vomit wouldn't affect our relationship.

It hasn't.

We've seen each other roughly every weekend since then. Things are just getting more and more complicated, in my mind.

I've finally met someone I can see myself being with in the future, but I can't commit to him 100 percent because I still have to tell Mark the things I didn't tell him before.

While he partially knows how I'm feeling, it's only right that I get things 100 percent out in the open. I'll have to completely empty my thoughts to him before I have this weight lifted off my shoulders.

While it might be the most terrifying thing to do, it's the only way to move on.

I'm not sure he feels the same about me. But hopefully, his response will answer all the questions that have been running back and forth in my mind for the past two years.