Best friend to Boyfriend: How I took a leap of faith and made the best decision.

We don’t have the typical history of most couples. The boy has been in my life since the fourth grade. To my elementary school self, he was cute: Jonathon Taylor Thomas haircut, All-American boy freckles, he could also make beaded lizards…what could be better? If he offered me a slap bracelet or a metallic Pog, I probably would have loved him unconditionally on the spot. In an odd twist of fate, the boy moved away in middle school…and half a year later, my family moved to the exact same place. Once again, the boy was back in the picture.
Since then, he has been my best friend. If I had boy issues, friend issues, or needed a bodyguard, he was there for me. We had fun together! The boy had a huge crush on me. When he asked me out in high school, I had no idea he had those sort of feelings for me. I was caught off guard and said no. He asked me out a second time later. I said no again. He was persistent and I was worried. It wasn’t that I didn’t like him...there was definitely a mutual crush. It was that I was selfish. Selfish that I could lose a source of support, my best friend, if something went wrong! When you spill your soul to someone it’s almost as if they know too much and it would be too easy for them to hurt you. I was truly torn. Why should I ruin an already good thing?
I made a list of pros and cons (yes, I’m that person) and honestly thought about what would happen if it went wrong.  It was great that he already liked me for who I was; no need to put up a front. I also loved that he knew my likes and dislikes, how I felt about certain behaviors, and what I wanted to do with my life. If it were going to go well, it would be one of the best decisions, full of good times, true love, and understanding. If things went south, I would be losing my best friend. He could easily spill my secrets; make me madder than anyone else could because he knew how to upset me.  I was torn but I had to make up my mind. He asked a third time, and I caved in. We have been together for six years.
The first ‘date’ was a Redskins vs. Packers game, which were our favorite teams. The competitive edge made it fun and memorable (my Packers won which made it very memorable for me!). Since this was a date, I was also nervous, a new emotion between us. It was a good nervous, more like butterflies I suppose. But even so, I could hardly eat dinner with him; something we both find ironic in hindsight since our favorite thing to do is go to Wegman’s.  Having these butterflies worried me. When I was near him without this formal title I was never anxious. I missed the comfort. Selfish again. More than anything, I think this made me realize I disliked change, but change was what I needed then.
I’m not saying you should do it too. I’m just saying it worked out for me better than anything ever could have. I took a huge, crazy chance and am living and loving the result. I would be lying if I said things were always perfect but, since we had established a solid friendship before we were romantically involved, we also had a sense of loyalty to each other’s feelings and attitudes about life. Dating your best guy friend has wonderful positives.  He always has my best interest in mind no matter what. He is honest, and a good shopping buddy to boot. There are times when we go out and I point to something a little crazy and ask “What do you think?”  He takes his time, mulls it over and gives suggestions on what would make it better, or why it would look a bit strange rather than the typical boy monosyllabic answer. The boy keeps me in fashion check, and I hardly ever have a time where I see a photo and wonder what the heck I was thinking. In the area of people relations, he is my toxic person radar. As the type of girl who wants to see the best in people, or who occasionally makes excuses for someone’s actions, the boy can see someone with bad intentions or who lies like a rug without fail. The best friend/boyfriend sees the situation for what it is rather than sugar coating or feigning interest.
There are times in life when you have to make a choice and take a risk to find out the best things. Finding out your best guy friend makes an amazing boyfriend? This was one of them.
“Sometimes new love comes between old friends. Sometimes the best love was the one that was always there.”-Unknown


Carlene Helble is a senior dietetics major and family studies minor at James Madison University. She is the '10-'11 President of JMU's student dietetics association and the school's student council liaison to the American Dietetics Association. Carlene is also the weekend food blogger for All Access Internships and writes for Balanced Health and Nutrition, the Elite Nutrition blog. Originally from Loudoun County, Virginia, she has a passion for cooking (especially French Macarons), entertaining, pilates, and enjoying the beautiful outdoors. Classic fashions are her favorite and she never goes anywhere without a monogram. After graduation Carlene hopes to obtain a spot in a dietetic internship to learn more about clinical dietetics, pediatrics, and continue writing about food.

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