Dear Friend


Elise Hester, video producer, can have her cake and eat it too. illustration by Andrea Nebhut

Dear Friend,

A year ago, I joked about not liking boys or girls and a friend — who is named after a container — responded by saying I might be asexual. He was right. I left lunch to Google “asexual” and text an old friend. (You don’t know her, but she’s named after a superhero.)

That night I accepted the reality that I am asexual. I told a lot of people. Then I told you and another friend, who is named after a vegetable. It was that exchange over Froot Loops, that I count as when your feelings for me suddenly changed.

Contrary to popular myth, we never dated, but deep down, you and I both know we were never just friends. I recall that we had publicly agreed that us making out was inevitable, but I always felt there was a silent understanding that even if — when — things got physical, neither of us was really clambering for anything too serious. I didn’t think my confession would change our plans, but that very morning, you said we would no longer make out, disappointing anyone who had money on us kissing. (I’d be shocked if our “will they/won’t they” vibe wasn’t the focus of at least one wager.

In the months following my coming out, some have suggested that I am confused, even though, for the first time, I am not. Of course, there are still questions, which the clarity of coming out allows me to finally ask.

The process of exploring my asexual identity over the past year helped me accept a certain reality: that I was very attracted to you, aesthetically, romantically and sensually. If I experienced sexual attraction, I would certainly have felt it for you. This confused me, because despite a lack of (sexual) feelings, I had all the feels for you.

Thank you. You helped me realize that I am capable of feeling things I didn’t know I could. I felt feelings for you that I didn’t feel for other people, feelings that I have never felt for anyone else. You also helped me realize that romance will never come easy for me. Yours is the first in a long series of rejections I will face due to that which I cannot control, an unfortunate and unfair reality I must accept.

For most of my life, love, romance, kissing and dating were things that happened to other people, not meant for me. I was never that girl. Then I learned a reality, one that I can never be open to romance without accepting. I experience romantic, aesthetic, and sensual attraction, but have an absence of sexual desire.

I have no desire, lust, or attraction to sex, but I am also not opposed to sex. I want a happy and intimate marriage that works for both parties, so I plan to have a buttload of sex, no pun intended. Enjoying intimate experiences with someone I love will not change my sexuality.

None of this has to do with you, but you helped me discover some of these things. Maybe you hurt me and maybe I hurt you, but maybe none of it could have been helped. Perhaps it’s a necessary byproduct of this complicated journey.

If losing you is the price I had to pay for finding myself, that is a reality I can accept. Admitting I didn’t want sex was only a small step. Confessing that I still want love is a leap, but I have to fly in order to accept that I truly deserve it.

There will always be new realities to accept. Here’s one right now: I deserve love and I’ll get it, just not with you. Here’s another: You and I will never have the same relationship we once did. And sometimes you chose which reality you accept. Like now: You and I can either be strangers who once thought they’d kiss or we can be friends who share microwaved popcorn while watching Trinity baseball games.

Whatever emotion you are feeling, you’re allowed to feel it, but I really hope you realize how much you mean to me. Even if I let go of my attraction to you, which the process of writing this has really helped me in doing, I still love you. I loved you from our first meeting, from an unusual handwritten letter to a bizarre set of voicemails sent during Ford Truck Month. You deserve that love and the love of whomever you end up with, both different and powerful types of love.

Romance can be fleeting, but the love I have for those I care about is enduring, even though it is a love I don’t always acknowledge or express. Vulnerability is not my strong suit. It’s scary to tell people how much they mean to me, but even scarier is if they never know. I don’t need you to love me as much I love you, and even though I would be totally down if you wanted to kiss me, I don’t need that either. I just want my friend back.

You’re not just someone I wanted to experiment with, you’re a person that I truly value. To not be your friend is one reality that I can’t accept.

Respond how you will.


Irrelevant Name Here