I have twice now had some sort of short-term intimacy with a good friend, once for a weekend, once, a night. In both cases, I experienced heightened pleasure in our friendship afterwards, and an increased sense of closeness. However, I've discovered a problem--though in both cases there was no promise nor even suggestion of continued intimacy, and though I initially was able to simply take pleasure in what had happened, and enjoy life, after a time I notice that I want it to happen again. I'm solidly in the throes of that feeling right now, as the second time (the single-night experience) was just Saturday night (it's now Thursday morning, early). I still get a grin spreading across my face every once in a while, thinking about how much fun we both had, and how enjoyable it was to really turn someone on again (it's been a while). Plus, I really value this friend, both in terms of our personal connection and also just general goodness and quality as a human being--that makes it better.

But now I'd really like to try to make a relationship out of it, and it seems to me that we are quite compatible in many ways, but I'm an atheist. Given that my proposed partner is a person of strong faith, this means I don't really fit the bill as perfect relationship material. Plus, a mutual friend of ours I'd rather not date has recently had a crush on me, and so it would probably be unnecessarily cruel to date the only person we both hang out with.

Being a fairly mild person, I'm not REALLY having trouble dealing with this--my emotional state isn't going to keep from going to work tomorrow, or from acting just as normal as I always do (not very). But I sort of felt as though I needed to vent a little bit, and Everything is a good place for that. I'm pretty sure nobody else I know pays any attention to the site, so I'm basically anonymous, which means that the aforementioned mutual friend won't get hurt. It just sort of sucks that both I and the friend with whom I've had the intimate evening have been made more aware of what seems to be a fairly strong desire for each other, but that we will now not be able to pursue it, leading to frustration. Also pleasure--there IS something perversely fun about teasing oneself with that sort of thing, but it's definitely an inconsistent multiplicity of emotions.

Sure was a whole lot of fun, though. :-)
Update 1.5 years later: sfc asked for an update on whatever happened with this. Essentially, about two weeks after the first incident, it happened again. Following that, we realized that it was important for us to acknowledge our feelings for one another by starting a real relationship, and to let our friend know about this. That sucked for a little while--there was a degree of tension associated with things between the three of us at first, but it's settled down to a pretty comfortable situation again.

The plot thickens a bit, though--knowing that I was going to be leaving in less than a year for a doctoral program, we started our relationship with the intention that it would end then. Well, come late July, I discovered that my significant other was really not emotionally prepared for that at all--after some introspection, a continuance seemed like a good idea to me (despite the 13-hour drive standing between us). We are still together, and I am very much looking forward to the end of my finals, because I'll be with her all summer.

So the happy ending to the emotionally complex events described above has been the longest and most successful relationship I've ever had. We've talked quite a bit about our religious differences--we're both quite comfortable with one another, so that discussion has centered around how we'll raise the kids (because we're both eager to have them, as soon as we can arrange an appropriately stable situation for that). It seems as though we're both comfortable with our partner sharing his/her perspective with the kids, and allowing them to make their own informed choices. There are definitely still some details to be worked out, but the broad outlines of a plan exist. We seem to complement one another well enough, and broaden one another's mental horizons in a sufficiently valuable fashion, that the religion issue seems to be almost as much of a virtue as a difficulty for the relationship.

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