I knew Craig for more than 5 years before we started dating. Five years of that energetic little bugger before we finally got our acts together and stopped using the “I don’t want to ruin our friendship” line.
I originally met Craig my sophomore year of college when he was dating one of my best friends. Yep, one of my best friends, I’ll call her Trina (mostly because I know NO person with that name). And quite honestly, he drove me a little crazy (don’t worry, he already knows this, and if I’m honest, he still does!). He had SO much energy, was annoyingly positive, and never shut up. NEVER. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. …honestly those are some of the best things I love most about him now. Anyway.
Though I had met him previously, I really got to know him when Trina’s father passed away. Craig and Trina were no longer dating, but he really stepped up in that period of her life. As one of her best friends, I had as well, so Craig and I started interacting more. I’d hear a lot about him from Trina (I think she was still a little in love, despite having a new boyfriend!) and Craig and I would chat a little bit about how we thought she was doing. Looking back, it’s the period of time that I realized what a giving, kind person Craig was. A quality that I value very, very much in a friend.
Flash forward to senior year (2008). I’m living with Trina in a 2 bedroom apartment and Craig is living in the same building. Trina’s now engaged, so it’s awkward for Craig to be around. Despite that, Craig and I start hanging out quite a bit. I went through a terribly rough break up and Craig offered a safe place. I could head up to his apartment, sit on his couch, do homework, watch the Packer game, and just be comfortable. I didn’t have to talk about the failed relationship and I didn’t have to be alone. Yes, by this point Craig HAD, in fact, learned how to be quiet now and then.
We’d head out to the bars together with a group of friends, hang out, he’d make Manwich, we’d watch games. He really did become one of my closest friends that year. I graduated in December and he was there until May. After I left, he met someone and started dating her and we didn’t keep in that great of touch. A Facebook message now and again, but I had rekindled the failed relationship that Craig had once helped me recover from, so when I was in town, I was awful at connecting up.
The next fall (2009), I started graduate school and Craig moved to Colorado Springs for his first job (and a job that I quickly learned to hate!). At this point, we weren’t really chatting. We were both in relationships and we were just at different points in our lives. We reconnected March of 2010, when I headed to Colorado to visit one of my best friends, Allie, who had moved there for her graduate studies. She lived in Denver and knowing Craig was in the Springs, I invited him up to spend my birthday with us.
That trip was very first time I saw Craig in a different light. I liked Craig, no, I liked Craig. Say whatttttttt? This toe-headed, talkative, energetic dude. Of course I was not going to be the one to breach the “friendship,” so I kept my purdy little mouth shut. We had a great time, but when I got back to Wisconsin I couldn’t stop thinking about him.
Craig and I began talking more regularly. Online. We weren’t to that point where it wasn’t totally awkward to talk on the phone. So, he became fast company while I sat in class. After he was done working, he would come home, log on to GChat and entertain me while I sat through class. You can learn a lot about someone that way! It’s a lot easier to share things about yourself when you aren’t face-to-face.
Through this all, we both had a number of relationships. We actually turned to each other for advice when it came to online dating. Now I wish I could undo some of the things that I know, but at the time, it really made us close. I could get a guy’s perspective about things and he got a girl’s.
Until I started to get jealous. Reeeal jealous. Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Until next time…