Love, Muses, and the Reverse Friendzone

So back in 1999 I met an individual that would later be the one who helped me see just how much of a waste of human protoplasm my ex-husband was.  I met Archer (not his real name, obviously) through an online game known as a MUD.  For those not in the loop, MUDs were the precursor to MMOs.  MUD stands for Multi User Dungeon and was a text based game that was playable through various programs or through the dreaded telNET.  You did the same stuff as you do in an MMO, but it was all text, no pictures.

Archer began to interact with me when I was a tiny little newbie player, and I enjoyed his flirting and how nothing was ever serious for him.  I created a new character in the game, this time an angel so that I could hang out with him and play with him since he was the first friend I made on the game.  Over the years I would not only make more friends on the MUD, but I also wound up being a developer on the game for several years, but back to Archer.

Archer and I flirted on the MUD and off the MUD and we found comfort in talking with each other.  I was in the process of breaking up with my first boyfriend and Archer was there to talk to me and reassure me that I shouldn’t just give up and should listen to what my heart told me.  We grew to be close friends and the flirting turned a bit serious for a while until I officially got together with Eric.  Looking back on it, I can definitely say that Eric was my rebound even though I had never had sex before and had only had one boyfriend before him.

We’d not even gotten to the point of a relationship when I got together with Eric, and so we just backed a bit off on the flirting and stuck to having fun on the MUD and hanging out.  The MUD was our personal place where we could enjoy each other’s company.  I won’t lie, I started developing feelings for Archer, even though he was younger than me and we’d only known each other online.

As the years progressed, we started to fall for each other, or so I thought.  

He was one of the reasons I started having almost instant regrets about marrying Eric.  But Archer had never told me he loved me, except when we were on the MUD, and when I tried to bring it up he would deflect it or work towards changing the subject.  I think I actually based a good chunk of my second book on that whole bit.  I’d tried even saying it first, before Eric and I were engaged, and Archer never said it back.  Like an idiot, I justified it to myself that he just didn’t know how to say it, since he came from a broken home and had been abused as a kid.

Is anyone else beginning to notice I spent a lot of my life justifying people’s shitty actions because I just didn’t want to acknowledge that there are total cunts out in the world?  Yeah, lot of good that did me.

I had been married to Eric for about four years when I was given the option of traveling down to the LA area for a small conference of sorts for laboratory professionals (I had just earned my certificate for lab assisting and phlebotomy and wanted to further my education).  I was excited because I would finally be able to meet Archer face to face.  He’d always had some excuse why he couldn’t come visit me over the years, but this time I was going to visit him.  My marriage with Eric was already crumbling due to his statements about never moving back to Oregon and I was wanting to be with my daughter more and more, so I figured heck, we’d (Archer and I) talked about having sex before several times, and I was in the process of getting separated from Eric…

Yeah…it didn’t happen.  

Obviously we were kind of awkward finally meeting face to face, and we hung out in my hotel room watching TV, but that was about it for the first night I was there.  The second day was the conference, and that evening we hung out again.  I actually ASKED him to have sex with me, and he shot me down.  Sure, he was polite about it, but come on!  Someone travels down to see you, and you know that they chose what conference to go to JUST so they could spend time with you, and you had been discussing sex with them….and you fucking shoot them down?

So needless to say I was kind of crushed on that aspect, but again I justified it as he was just being polite and didn’t want to risk getting me in trouble with Eric since Eric was still really possessive even though we were breaking up.  I told myself all sorts of things, explaining away that I had been “friendzoned” as some people like to call it.  As I was heading out to head back up to where I was staying in Fairfield, I managed to get a very….VERY chaste peck on the lips from Archer.

It was a combination of spending time with him, how polite he had been (in my mind), and my justifications that allowed me to gain the courage to tell Eric to fuck off.  When I got back to Fairfield I stood outside of my van and grabbed at my ponytail.  I’d been growing it out for a couple years, but I was determined that if I was going to make such a drastic life change I needed a body change as well.  I grabbed a box cutter that I kept in my van and sliced off my ponytail.  Long story short on that one, it didn’t go over well with Eric and his family but I didn’t care anymore.

Eric gave me the ultimatum of picking either him or my daughter, and I moved out two days later.  I was practically giddy as I drove up to Oregon, and after getting settled and helping put my daughter to bed I contacted Archer to tell him about what had happened.  He seemed happy for me, and I felt like I had someone who was supportive of me even while I fought with Eric and his family during the divorce.  Thankfully, Eric wanted nothing to do with my daughter, and we filed the divorce in Oregon, so it was somewhat clean…his parents were just being really difficult about certain things.

Archer stuck around and we got closer online.  We cybered from time to time, and that was really the only time that he would ever say he loved me.  Even then he would brush it away with a comment about it being in the heat of the moment or things like that.  During the divorce and the period after it I wound up writing two books based off of our characters from the MUD.  Found a publisher for them, publisher went under, so I went indy with them and am currently “fixing” a lot of the bullshit that I had put in them.

In 2009 I decided to go down and visit Archer again.  I drove down there from Oregon and arrived at my hotel exhausted.  I got cleaned up and went out to get dinner before Archer got off work.  While we slept in the same bed together that night, he was on top of the covers “to be polite” while I slept under the covers.  We went and saw X-Men Origins: Wolverine the next day and I almost got us kicked out of the theater when I shouted out that their explanation about the hydrochlorothyazide hiding the woman’s heart beat was complete and utter bullshit.  Archer laughed at it and we finished out the movie before heading back to his place for a bit. Nothing juicy happened there, I basically got to see his room and sit on his bed while we talked for a bit.

That night while we were watching TV in my hotel room I tried to hint as hard as possible at my mood, from stroking his leg (and up to his third leg) to actually (AGAIN) asking him to have sex.  And again, I was shot down.  He didn’t have a reason this time, just an “I can’t” and him moving my hand from his leg.

I went back up to Oregon defeated but again justifying his actions.  We kept up our “relationship” if you could call it that online until I took a small break to date one of the most abusive pieces of shit in the world.  To be fair, I didn’t know he was that way when I first met him.  I wound up having to get a restraining order against the guy after he started stalking me and threatening me and my daughter.  I had a short relationship with another person, and that relationship ended on decent terms.

My stalker kicked up his game around the time I met Harvey and I started having problems at work due to what my stalker was doing.  Harvey let me crash at his place since he lived in a secured building while we moved my stuff to a storage unit so that I could be safe.

It was around then that Archer decided he wanted to be in an actual relationship with me.  

The problem was, I was tired of waiting and I was tired of being led along.  Now for context, Harvey and I were only good friends at the time, and I asked him if he would help me gauge if Archer was a decent person or not.  Harvey agreed and so Archer came up to visit.  I went to his hotel room and due to bad lighting and a crappy parking lot I wound up high centering my car on a piece of concrete.  I had to call Harvey to help me move my car since Archer isn’t exactly a big and burly person.  So all three of us hung out for a while, and I could see that Archer was intimidated by Harvey (most people are though for some reason….) and so I went home and we were all going to meet up the next morning for breakfast.

I could see that Archer was NOT pleased with Harvey being there at breakfast, but at this point I was kind of wanting revenge of sorts for being shot down twice and having “wasted” time traveling down to see him.  That and he didn’t make any attempt to say he wanted to be alone with me, so I just let things play out.  We went to the flea market and all three of us got separated for a bit, mostly because I have this lovely tendency to go squirrel on people and wander off when I see something that catches my eye.

I met up with Harvey and told him my concerns about Archer, and he told me to trust my heart on the matter.  I was sitting in a chair with Harvey standing next to me when Archer found us, and he looked like he’d just sucked on a lemon. Harvey and I weren’t even being intimate, yet I felt guilty when Archer glared at me and I instantly went into chastised and submissive mode.  He asked to be taken back to his hotel room and so I did as he asked.

Harvey and I got back to the apartment and I went to take a second dose of my medications since I was shaking so badly I was having trouble standing.  I’d barely had the chance to finish my water when the texts began.

 “Are you and Harvey fucking?”

 “Are you and Harvey together?”

 “Why did you let me waste this money to come up here if you were with someone?!”

I tried to explain to him that we weren’t in a relationship and that we were just friends.  That’s when the text that killed ANY feelings I had left for Archer.

“Swear on your daughter’s life that you aren’t fucking him.”

I showed that text to Harvey and even he had nothing to say back.   I wrote back to Archer that Harvey and I were not fucking, and that he was just a friend.  Archer then went into this long text about how he had come up there to propose to me and how he had been planning on finding a place up there so we could live together and all those wonderful things I had dreamed of years ago.  One problem though, now all I wanted was to kick him so hard he coughed his nuts out his mouth.

It’s only now when I look back on it all that I realize he had just been leading me on, and that the final set of texts was more to hurt me than anything else.  I’d made the mistake of falling for someone who was toxic for me and who quite possibly could have turned out to be abusive.  I kept justifying his actions and explaining them away instead of seeing them for what they were.  I had given my love to someone who hadn’t appreciated it, and when I decided I was done he had gone out of his way to make ME feel guilty for not still being in love with him.  I guess it’s why poor Harvey is constantly having to reassure me that he’s not going to do a 180 on me and start abusing me or mistreating me.  I was so used to being abused and used by that point that it was all I knew.  Actual love and compassion was foreign to me outside of the love I felt for my daughter.

Since the visit, Archer and I have only spoken a few times.  Those conversations have been short and cold, and nothing like they used to be, but I honestly couldn’t give a flying fuck.

So there you have it.  I fell in love with a man who became my muse for two books and was one of the main characters, only to find out that the feelings were not equally shared.  While my love for him did help me get through some tough spots, it was one sided and once it had served its purpose, it vanished.

Published by Michea B

Trans masc author of "The Guardian's Ascension" and owner of Illuminatus Design. Host adoptions of imaginary friends for modest rehoming fees on Etsy.

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