I met Heath when I was in my first year in secondary school. We were teenagers filled with passion and love for each other. We didn’t want to rush our relationship so we took our time building our friendship. Whenever we were in school I avoided him and mostly ignored him. When we closed from school and got home, we were inseparable. He introduced me to his friends. They welcomed me into their group and accepted me as one of their own.
A little time into the friendship he told me he had feelings for me; “Why don’t we start something? I don’t know how you feel about me but we’ve been friends for a while now and I’ve come to love you.” My answer was, “I’ve always known you liked me so I’m not surprised by your confession. I like you too so let’s see where this goes—this new thing we are about to start.”
Apart from his friends, he didn’t want anyone else to know we were together. I also didn’t want it known in our school that I was with him, so our relationship was almost a secret. During the Covid-19 pandemic, our school shut down so we saw each other a lot of time at home. We mostly met at his house. We even tried to do shuperu during one of my visits, but we were scared. “What if someone walks in on us?” “What if I get hurt?” What if I get “pregnant?” Those questions scared us from carrying out our intentions. We cooled out of our emotions and later walked away.
It got to a point the relationship was no longer working for both of us so we decided to walk out of it. It wasn’t a bitter break-up. It wasn’t hurtful to any of us. We just decided it wasn’t worth it anymore. His friends, who also became my friends, tried to bring us back together but they failed. They were more hurt by our break-up than we were. Like children of divorced parents, these friends schemed and tried to manipulate us into working things out. They only stopped when they found out that Heath was dating someone new.
Our friendship still remained intact after everything that had happened. Sometimes Heath gave his money to me for safe keeping. Sometimes he ignored his girlfriend’s calls and talked to me for hours. I felt guilty whenever that happened. That was the time I told him; “We’ve broken up. We should cut down on the time we spend talking. That way you can focus on your new relationship.” He didn’t like it, “I don’t need your help to focus on my relationship,” he said. What he didn’t know was that his girlfriend noticed his constant communication with me. So she came to warn me to stay away from her man.
By and by I was able to draw some boundaries with Heath. I still hang out with his friends. They usually spoiled me with gifts and surprises. They encouraged me to do things I usually would shy away from. These guys pushed me to be the best version of myself. When I got to form 3, they encouraged me to join the debate and quiz team. They cheered me on and motivated me whenever I had to participate in a quiz or debate. I was guided by their faith in me whenever I was in doubt. I participated in the Independence Day quiz and swept up a handful of awards.
Our school held a debate competition with a church and I came out the most outstanding debater. Throughout my journey, Heath’s friends were always in the front row seat cheering me on. They spend a lot of time at my house and became closer to my mother. I could say that dating Heath gave me those amazing guys, and breaking up with him strengthened my bond with them. They have shown me how much they care about me and I also try my best to show up for them.
Among the guys, there is one I am closest to. His name is Theo. We are so close that the other guys started teasing us that we were secretly dating. Everyone else outside our friend group believes we are dating. Initially, I only saw him as a friend, just like the others. I also thought he only saw me as a friend until he proposed to me recently. He said, “I don’t know how it happened but I have fallen in love with you. I have tried to ignore my feelings but they are too strong. I want us to be together.” I told him, “I really care about you Theo, you know that. But I only see you as a friend.”
He didn’t accept that as an answer. He kept talking to me and tried to get me to accept him as my boyfriend. His brother also came to talk to me to give him a chance. I thought about my relationship with him and I realized that he has always been good to me. He always listens to me and he is the one who is mostly interested in everything I do. I soften my stance on dating him and in no time I fell in love with him.
Now the problem is our other friends. They are against us having a romantic relationship. They said it’s not right. Apparently, the bro code is against any of them dating their friend’s ex. We tried telling them how we feel about each other but they don’t seem to care. They told Theo “That’s against the bro code. Kill your feelings for her and find someone else to date.” According to Theo, we don’t need their approval to be together. That’s true but I care about these guys. Their friendship means a lot to me and I don’t want to give it up.
One of them told me, “The reason we are against you and Theo dating is because of how things ended with Heath. You guys were okay with your break-up, but we weren’t. Our friendship with you almost didn’t survive it. We felt we would be made to take sides. Luckily, you guys maintained your friendship so that didn’t happen. What if things end badly with you and Theo? Think about it. What do you think will happen to our friend group? We will either stand behind one of you and lose the other person, or we’ll be divided between the two of you. At the end of the day, our group will not be the same. If you have faith that things between you and Theo will not end badly, then go ahead and be with him.”
I have been playing this conversation in my head over and over again. I love Theo and he loves me too but no one knows the future. I don’t know how things will end but I want to give it a chance. But I am also concerned about what might happen with my friendship with the boys if things don’t end well. I don’t know what to do, please I need your advice.