Hi guys, I'm a mid-20s year-old male, and thought I might ask for your opinion on something near and dear to me. Since I don't know any of you and you don't know me, I guess I can be a bit more honest and open than usual.
I went to a different state for college. My freshman (1st) and sophomore (2nd) year, I met this other guy, Derek, and we got along great, and became fast friends. We hung out regularly, we talked, we played pool, and we had a great time. I studied abroad during my junior (3rd) year, and Derek and I still talked online often. But when I came back for my senior (4th) year, everything was different. When I was abroad, Derek had met this girl, and when I came back, our friendship became vastly differently. I know, situations like this, it's normal to feel like the third wheel. But I was more than that, I felt as though he didn't even think of me as his friend anymore. Case in point: we lived in the same bldg (coincidence) that senior (4th) year. On my birthday, he didn't say anything, no text message, nothing. In fact, I wasn't spying or anything, but I was in my apartment, I saw through the window that he went out for dinner with his girlfriend, on my birthday, without saying anything.
After we both graduated, he stayed at the same school for grad school, I went back home for grad school. We somewhat kept in touch by Facebooking/e-mailling, but it was never the same as our first two years. About a year ago, he asked if I could buy him a MLB baseball cap from my hometown. It was Christmas, and being the friend that I was, I bought it for him, shipped it, and that made him happy. A bit later, I asked him if he could get me a T-shirt with the college logo on it, he always said yes, but after 5 months, he kept saying "oh I'll get around to it".
And so, a few weeks after that, I sent him a very frank message. I told him that I missed our friendship, and that I've kept my end of the bargain, and if he wanted to keep the friendship alive, it was up to him now. (Well, I phrased it more politely, but still with the same feeling/intensity.) He didn't respond.
I know, rationally, my head tells me that he's no longer a friend, and that I should let him go. But I've found it extremely hard. I don't know... It all started after I came back from my study abroad program. And I wouldn't have traded my study abroad experience for anything, a part of me still wonders that if I stayed put, would our friendship have been different. It might have gotten worse just the same, but a part of me keeps thinking that our friendship might have been even strengthened had I not gone away for school. It's like, I blame myself for going away, for making our friendship the way it is now.
It's 7 years now since we first met, and I still ask this to myself everytime. Yes, I'm a guy, and I'm not gay. I just believe that friendship is the most important thing. I still am best friends with a buddy of mine from high school, but I just keep wondering what might have been to Derek and I. We had something great started in college, and it just ended, just like that. He's not even talking to me anymore.
And so, I don't know what I'm asking here. I know I have to let it go, but it's hard. It really is. Especially since I consider friendship to be even more important than my girlfriends, this had really hurt me. I know there's a life lesson in it, you have to learn from it and move on, but it's hard.
So I guess, my question is: how would you deal with it? He's not talking to me anymore (he never really gave a reason; maybe I was always a bit too persistent in trying to keep with touch, that might have spooked him). Let it go? Keep it in my "heart" (sorry to sound sentimental) forever? How would you deal with something like this?