Opinion: I Accidentally Fell In Love as a Joke

Okay, let me set the scene for you. Here I am, minding my own business when my best friend Kelsey plans a date ice skating with her new boyfriend, her friend Jenny hears about it, and tags along as a third-wheel. “Please, please, please, come and fourth-wheel. Come distract her for me please?” Kelsey begs me in desperation. Ice skating it is.

On the way, Kelsey has what at the time may have been her best idea yet. “I know you don’t really know her, but you should flirt with her as prank so that it’s like we’re on a double date!” Not one to turn down the opportunity for a good joke, I agree.

Two weeks later, and that has proved to be a horrible mistake. The joke began with some harmless flirting, but quickly spun out of control. I’ve taken her on three dates. I’ve even met her parents (they like me). And now, I need to know when this joke is supposed to end.

I’ve taken her to nice restaurants and a putt-putt golf course. I’ve complimented her on how pretty she is and I’ve laughed at her many hilarious jokes. We’ve had many engaging conversations and several life talks through all hours in the night while caressing one another in a tender embrace. I’ve really gotten to know this girl, but when is enough enough? When has the joke gone too far?

Am I enjoying my time with her more than any of my previous relationships? Totally. Do I love the way I feel when I’m with her? Definitely. But are those really the grounds to start a relationship? Absolutely not. I knew I was in too deep when this prank began to feel real, when it just started to come naturally to me. I’m dreading the day I have to tell her this is all fake, but it’s time for the joke to stop.

And when does it end, you may ask? I have no idea! Every time I’m around Kelsey and I shoot her a “when does the joke stop” look, she just points at Jenny and gives me a smile and thumbs up. And every time it’s just the three of us, Kelsey conveniently finds things to do in a different room. The three of us were even supposed to go to a concert together, but Kelsey just happened to “fall ill” hours before we were supposed to leave. Some friend she is.

I think the end is near. I hope the end is near. Jenny keeps telling me “how much she likes me,” and that she wants to “take things to the next level,” whatever that means.  All I know is that this is ending, tomorrow, while there is still time to salvage our friendship.