Stealing a girlfriend is, by far, one of the most fucked up things a man can do. It's different for women, by virtue of the fact that they are women and stealing a boyfriend, though how much different beyond that I cannot say. Perhaps one of our many ice-cold female noders can enlighten us in this absence.

I say it is fucked up because it is something I've done. It's not something I'm proud of but it's not something I would change. This woman, Laura, had just moved to my town after transferring from her old university. She got a job working where I work, and I met her the Friday before classes started at our first staff meeting of the year. She was attractive in a geekish kind of way, with her glasses and paper for taking notes in quite possibly the least official staff meeting at the university, and was very warm and receptive to everyone around her.

It should be noted that this woman, this beautiful woman, became the object of my burning desire immediately.

I am a shy man. People don't rank highly on my list of species to save first in the event of nuclear war, and so meeting people and thus meeting women is not something I do often. Oh, sure, I can meet people and I can fake interest, but I'm introverted enough, and content enough, that I rarely make efforts to meet new people and instead wait for people to come to me. Most of my friends are through work and for the last three years I've not been intimate with a woman unless she initiated those relations.

This time it was different. I knew from the moment I saw her I wanted to be with her. I felt like a little kid, with a baby crush. I was infatuated and at the same time serious. I was also hesitant and felt awkward as I'd not even dated in a year, my last girlfriend having left me for her own self some five months prior. I stumbled toward ecstasy and asked her out, going so far as to drop a class from my schedule to make the meeting. I felt, and continue to feel, that it went terribly, and I had apparently invested more emotion into it than she, as I would later learn that she had thought it nothing more than a friendly get together. Following this, I requested her presence thrice more before being able to work out an agreeable time, and was unfortunately dealt a death blow when she cancelled this arrangement some forty-five minutes before we were to meet.

The weekend of this non-engagement was coincidentally the weekend of our boss's wedding. I had spoken to my boss about my intentions toward this woman, and he had offered to "put in a good word" with a mutual friend, the friend who had initially recommended that the object of my desire apply for a job where I work. The wedding was the forum for this good word, and it was the following Monday that I learned something of which I had not quite been aware: Laura was seriously involved with a friend from her hometown, something I felt she had taken the liberty of overlooking in our conversations.

I felt upset and used, and decided against pursuing the attraction further, especially at the behest of several people, two of whom were my boss and one of whom was my best friend. Despite deciding not to pursue either friendship or a relationship with this woman, I was still very attracted to her and more forgiving than one in my position, feeling as I did, should have been. I let the attraction take the lower rung, however, and did not have contact with her for some time.

Eventually, she contacted me and inquired about my state. I was at first confused and then upset as I didn't particularly want contact with someone who I had felt had led me on. She persisted nonetheless, and eventually my desire won the better of me and gradually we became friends. In becoming friends I remained both deeply attracted to her and wary of what was to become.

Eventually the subject of her boyfriend came up, and I learned the entire story. They had been seeing each other for some time but only intermittently, with distance separating them for some time. They had problems, and being a new friend with a perceived unclouded perception, she opened up to me about them. I should stress that despite my own desire for her, I never suggested to her that she should leave him or that she should cool things off with him. I don't even remember now what I said, but I do know that I never made an attempt to divide the two of them.

I instead treated her how I thought she needed to be treated. Here was this woman, this beautiful woman who with a simple smile or hug could warm my heart and quicken its pace, who with a gentle touch could soothe away worries and whose sweet voice could calm the nerves of an anxious day, so deserving of care and reciprocation that she did not receive. I talked to her for hours and let her speak to me about anything she wanted. I listened to her and cared about what she had to say. I would pull a blanket over her when she was cold. I would move to allow her greater comfort on a loveseat. I would straighten her pant legs when they were wrinkled as she laid down. I would run my fingers through her hair when she was close. I would tell her what a great person she is. I would do whatever I could do for her without even knowing I was doing it. I was happy making her happy.

Unfortunately, the emotional toll it was taking on me was too great. I was giving a great deal and not receiving enough in return. One thing in particular I do remember is when she told me that I treated her more nicely than anyone else ever had. That is a memory and time I will not forget. Though it did honestly make me happy to make her happy, I was wont to be with her still. I eventually decided, after speaking to a close friend about my static state of friendship with her, to allow surcease of my desire. After fully deciding with stout determination not to pursue the issue further and to either remain happy as her friend or as nothing, I received a phone call.

The call came late one morning after she returned from visiting some local bars with friends of hers. She wanted to talk and told me, in a rather inebriated manner, of her problems with her boyfriend, who had been treating her rather poorly for the past week without sign of cessation. Unable to contain myself any longer on either issue, I first told her, as I had been considering doing, that I had been hopelessly desiring her since the day I met her but that it was no longer an issue because of the emotional drain it put on me, and not to expect me to so reserved with tongue or judgement. She took this in quietly and I rather expected her to forget the next morning. I quickly segued into her current relationship and told her that he was the wrong person for her, and that he did not deserve her. He treated her badly and she did not merit that treatment; he simply did not care about his relationship with her.

A very short while later, our friendship strongly intact with my grudging acceptance of both her continued relations with her significant other and my persistent lack thereof with her, I was unable to repress that which I felt so strongly. I was asked to stay the night at her apartment due to the late hour and agreed, being offered an inflatable mattress for the duration of the night. To my surprise, after covering myself and having the light shut off, she asked if she could sleep with me to have a slumber party, though to her it was an innocent, friendly gesture without connotation. Seeing little harm in such, I agreed and she joined me on the mattress.

We talked for some time and I stroked her hair for some time, and she mine, as our friendship had allowed. I eventually placed my hand on hers and squeezed it. We held hands for some short time in silence, my heart and emotions racing, my mind not sure if it could talk itself out of doing what it wanted to do. I eventually kissed her in the soft, aquamarine light filtering in through the window, her skin warm and soft and more beautiful than I had imagined.

Though things did not go perfectly that night, nor the next, nor for some time after she left her significant other, the intervening period has become more perfect than I had imagined. This woman, this beautiful Laura, is the most important thing to me. The things I do in my life aren't so I can stay on a specific path with a specific goal anymore, they're so I can stay on a specific path with her and so I can know that I have reached my goals with her there. When I'm lost, I still find myself with her. There is nothing more important in my world than her. This beautiful, beautiful woman tells me daily how she feels about me, from when she wakes up next to me until she falls asleep in my arms.

I love this woman, and if any man were to steal her from me I would be hurt no less than what can be found in all the tragedies and losses of a loved one from history. Though I take comfort from the fact her ex-boyfriend had been cheating on her and did not care about her, I am still haunted by how I did not know the extent of this at the time of my unpardonable advances.