This sharing is taken from our Courage e-group. I hope our readers will be able to learn something on how the dynamics of emotional dependency operate between two guys, in this case one in his early 40s and the other in his early 20s. I had old posts on this topic. You can search this blog to find out those articles by using the search box on top.
I retired from my office job last year and started a small photocopying and bookbinding shop along the university belt here in our province. Here, I met J, a 21-year-old student boarder just across my shop. Initially, he would drop by just to say hi, but eventually the shop became his "tambayan". Then one day he volunteered to be my assistant (during his vacant periods from school) without pay. I assume it was just out of friendship. To compensate him I served him free snacks if he was working at my shop. After closing time, I would also treat him for some beers. He impressed me more when he volunteered again to help in the renovation of the shop. Together we cut lumber, we painted, we polished and refurbished our work area.
THE BEGINNING OF FRIENDSHIP
Then came a situation that really brought me and J close together. I was supposed to close my shop for a couple of months since I had to personally care for my cancer-stricken mother. But, J came again to the rescue. It was coincidence. He had to stop from schooling that semester due to financial constraints (He is the eldest of 3 children of a poor farmer). So my shop continued its operation under his care. Being my employee, he and I had more time to share, business and personal wise since my shop became his home. We discovered we had a lot of things in common - from birth month to nickname, from fave food to fave music. We both loved to sing, to eat spicy sardines, etc. We called each other "idol". We both admired our good looks. He uploaded my pictures in his Facebook account and I did the same. He always makes me laugh with his crazy dancing. I started bringing him along in my social and family functions. Other people would usually mistake us as "mag-ama". (His father is as old as myself). We were loyal textmates too. Whenever one is out of sight, we would text "Ano gawa mo? or "Asan ka?". He would initiate at times "Ptapos na klas ko... pnta na me jan." We were monitoring each other. Our mornings began with "gd AMs" and our nights closed with "gud nyts!" consistently. One time I haven't texted him back, he called just to check on me. Isn't that flattering?
After my mother died, our relationship became even closer since I had more time to spend with J at the shop. We shared meals together. We shared jokes and teased each other like kids complete with surprises! My shop was always filled with our hearty laughter. Ang ingay daw namin sabi nga mga kapitbahay, lalo pag nag-iinuman na kami. We were a picture of ideal best friends despite of our age gap.
THE BED TIME STORIES
I allowed J to have his holiday every weekend so that meant I had to sleep overnight at the shop every weekend while he goes home to his aunt's house located at a nearby barangay or to their hometown. One time before we had or usual "relyebo" we had some beers, and before we know it we had much and it was already late night. He wasn't able to go to his aunt's house and so that was the first night that we shared the bed at the shop. I felt uneasy considering that I already had an "experience" during my 20's (that's another story), but we woke up the following day without any guilt or whatsoever. In another occasion, I volunteered to take his place during a weeknight since I had to supervise an ongoing repair of my machines at the shop but he preferred to stay. That was our second night together...then a third one...and so on. Until one night, I found my self embracing him in bed - just embrace. He did not react violently. In fact, later in same situations, I could cuddle him in my arms as we talked before waking up from bed.
THE JEALOUS FEELING
I guess our closeness have made me selfish in his dealings with other people. Though I never told him, I was jealous whenever he talked with his lady friends or when he flirts with our clients. I felt the same whenever I learned that he spent his holiday night with his "barkada". I was hurt when he didn't inform me of his whereabouts. There were times I had to cry in despair. "Why do I have to feel this way?" I would even ask the Lord. I guess, I was addicted to him. I kept that feeling by myself until one day I have decided that we have to part ways before my feelings get worse, before our friendship gets hurt, before my family gets affected, before I would lose my right perspective. That was one of the most painful decisions I have made in my life. Para bang sinasaksak ko ang aking sarili. I knew all along that my decision would hurt me but I had to do it. In my lonesome, I let my tears flow. At home, it was good that my wife didn't bother to ask me why I was shedding tears while drinking a bottle of beer one late night.
Time came when I had to tell J my decision of letting him go. I didn't muster enough courage to tell him face-to-face so I called him via phone from my house instead. I didn't tell him the real score. I lied to him. I reasoned out that he can better concentrate with his studies during the coming semester if he is a full-time student and besides, I need a full-time helper. He was convinced and he added that he respected my decision. Needless to say, I was in tears again while I was breaking the news to him. The pain was almost unbearable.
The following day, we did our usual work routine in my shop minus the usual laughter we shared. Before we parted that night I asked his assurance if he really empathized with my decision to which he replied positively. I promised to help him in any way I could even if he will no longer work with me. I instructed him to read my parting words in his e-mail inbox.
I thought that was the end for us...I was wrong.
Our separation took another twist. Our closeness leveled up.
His class schedule the following school sem did not deter J from dropping by my shop...everyday. My new helper even commented that J would at times even wake him up early morning just to groom himself before going to school. He would also take a bath as if he were still a mainstay in the shop. He would also leave some of his things (his worn shirt, his school bag, shoes, etc.) as if always to say that "I'll be back." It's as if he has never left my shop. I tolerated him though as a sign of my gratitude for his services before, but deep inside I really liked that too. Common in our text messages now, by the way, is the text lingo for kiss, "mwah!".
Even my weekends at the shop were not spared from the presence of J. Sometimes I would invite him for a night out to the bars. Sometimes, he would assist me in my job, then it will lead to sharing of some beers after work and would end us in bed together. Sometimes, he makes it up very early Sunday mornings with the "alibi" of doing some rush photocopying jobs, but just the same I would invite him to bed before day breaks.
I am just but human. The temptation was too close to resist. My weakness was just a breath away. My embraces before advanced to moderate kissing of his back, neck and cheeks. Again, he didn't resist, but likewise he didn't respond to my advances. I never forced myself to him so that was just "it."
In one of our night's out, when he provoked me again of his usual teasing question of "parang may gusto kang sabihin sa kin...?", I haven't controlled myself from telling him that I'm falling in love for him. In my drunkenness, I am not sure how he reacted to that, but I can remember that he accompanied me to my shop and made sure that I was okay before he left. The following day, when I failed to text back to his successive messages of "Gud AM"s "Ano gawa mo?", "San ka na?", he asked me why I was no longer texting back. I replied that I was just busy. The truth was I was ashamed. The following weeks later, I found the courage to ask him if my expression of admiration was alright with him. He replied that it is okay. I took that as "it's okay if you love me, just don't expect me to respond the same way to you." I said I was sorry if I felt that way, but I was just being honest with my feelings for him. We went on with our usual dealings the succeeding days. He didn't change, I guess.
Back in my mind, I know that whatever that J and I was sharing has to end. I prayed that the Lord guide me to run away from that situation...again (as He has guided me during the same two previous experiences.) I was praying for a job abroad to keep a distance from J. (As in my previous experiences, distance aborted my forbidden relationships.) The Lord answered my prayer in another way. The space for my shop which was lent to me free of charge by my aunt was sold. Three of my friends offered me a space to transfer my business into. They were ideal business spaces since they were located in busy commercial areas. One friend offered a low rental based on my actual profit from the start of the business just in case. The other one offered it free for the first year. But I've made up my mind. I will transfer my business right beside my house. It's not a commercial area. It's not even a populated residential area. It's far from J's school. Some people I know might have wondered at my back...'What's up with me?' Only the Lord and a close confidante knows my real reason - to keep a distance from J and eventually bring back my pure friendship feeling for him. On the other hand, I'm perceiving it as a chance to work closely with my wife and my family. After spending years and years of prioritizing my office work, I deem it necessary to make it up with my family now. It sounds so ideal, right? Baka magka-award pa ako sa Courage nito. But it's scary at times. What if my business fails?
My business has been operating in my compound for more than a month now. It's a low start but it's slowly picking up. J drops by once in a while. Our text exchanges have mellowed down. No more "gd AMs", no more "gud nyts" and "mwahs".
It's been a week now that he hasn't dropped by my shop nor even texted me a message. I still have that feeling of longing for J. I badly miss his company. I just wish him well and hope that he still considers me his friend. I'm wondering if our picture together is still in his wallet or if our fave songs are still saved in his cellphone. A part of me is rejoicing for my strategy is working, but another part is crying.
I am entrusting everything to the Lord. I've never felt so dependent to the Lord than now. The Lord knows how heavy is my burden. I may look well on the outside, but I am hurt deep inside. As I worry on the fate of my business, I am also trying my best to let go of a misguided friendship.
So help me, God.
You hit it right. What happened between me and J is emotional dependency.
I felt good while I was in the company of J. I found someone who admires me. At the age of 43, when my good looks is starting to dip, I felt uplifted whenever J teases "Gwapo mo ah!". Somehow, I also saw myself in him when I was his age (though I admit, he looks better than me). The timing of our meeting played a role too. He came into my life when I just retired from my office job. His presence made my adjustment to a new routine easier to bear since he always provided the fun and laughter I needed.
In J's part, I assume he saw in me the qualities he was looking for from his father. From his story, he spent his childhood years from one family to another since his parents can hardly support their daily needs. That meant his formative years were spent with his uncles and other relatives. I suppose his self-esteem was uplifted when we worked together. He was proud of me since he would always introduce me to his friends and relatives that I meet as "Si Heal..dating Boss sa...". His father, whom I have met once at my shop, confirmed how J talked about me with high regard. The special care I've shown to him played a big part too, I guess. At first, it was the employer in me who was caring for his needs (para magsipag sa trabaho.) But later, I must admit, I was doing it to make him happy and to get a good impression from him. Ipinagtitimpla ko na siya ng kape during our breaks. Common in my text messages to him were "Kumain k n b?", "Ingat sa pag-uwi", "Wag k pbasa sa ulan ha", "TC coz I C". One time, I verbally told him.."Next to my family, is you."
It's not easy to forget what we have been through. I bet it's a beautiful friendship. It's just unfortunate I have spoiled it. J never said a word about it, but i have already said my apologies. If he only knows, I've made an effort to part ways with him before I make more mistakes. I'd rather kill my feelings for him than lose our friendship. I just wish he's not really keeping an ill feeling against me. I just wish he can still consider me his friend. I still have not erased his last text message when he went home for vacation last week, "pauwi na aq". How symbolic...he' s going home to his real father.
I'm going home too... to my real FATHER.
Thank you, brother, for sharing your story. I honor you for bringing this out into the open and for being totally honest with your struggle. You are not alone in this situation. I commend you for doing the right thing and for establishing boundaries in your relationship with this guy. I am glad you have made a personal decision to come back to the Father even if it is difficult and hard for you. I know in the end all your sacrifices will bear fruit in God's time. Personally, I believe you can still be friends with J, but this time around allow Him to put order in your chaotic relationships. Next to Him, you have an obligation towards your family and your wife. When your relationships are aright and in accordance to God's will for your life, everything will fall into place...including your friendship with J.
We are one with you in your struggle.