I offered to let him keep me in the grey zone--neither friend nor girlfriend, but something in between. It's not what I wanted. I wanted him to be my boyfriend, but I was willing to settle on being more than friends. It was something.

I walked away and I knew I'd done wrong. David couldn't stand the thought of being hated. He would do anything to be liked, including agreeing to something that would make both of us unhappy. It certainly didn't do me any good.

When I was a teenager I valued being "open and honest" above everything. I was adamantly against manipulation. I still am. But telling the truth can be just as manipulative as being honest. When I told David that I might hate him if he broke up with me, it was true, but I shouldn't have said it. It was a way to get what I wanted.

I still didn't get anything close to what I wanted. Our "something" didn't last more than a week. Not even until he left town. And I was just as miserable as before. Plus, I felt guilty because I'd manipulated him.

My recent encounter with Tim brought this story to mind. Tim said things he shouldn't have said. When I asked him why he was telling me those things, his response was, "I'm just being honest." And I remembered saying "I'm only being honest" to David, almost twenty years earlier.

I doubt Tim was intentionally manipulative, but he would have felt better if he had someone waiting for him at the other end of his divorce (if he ever gets one). He also probably wanted to make me feel better about what happened between us. He may even have felt that, in some way, he betrayed me. The things he said implied that he would not reconcile with his wife and that he missed me. I was not blinded by his words. His words didn't change a thing.

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