Lately, I've been plagued by a vague, sinking feeling.
My friends are mostly all alloromantics of varying gender/romantic identities, which is lovely. I support all of them and have been accepted in return (I currently identify as aromantic grayasexual with no gender preference). I'm especially close with a few friends, and I appreciate them being around to support me and one another. They are all great people, and I am so thankful to have them by my side.
But I keep struggling with the fact that likely, they'll all be partnered up one day and have a person in their life who they're closer to than anyone else, a romantic partner who makes them happy on levels that I could never match, just due to the way romance typically works. Maybe it's different for some, but the way romance plays out in the cases I've seen implies such a deep, intense bond that just... does something for the people involved that platonic connection doesn't match. I know, I know, that's sorta what romance is for, in the case of allos, but.. I don't know. It's kind of like a blow to the gut when I see friends I'm particularly close to find a romantic partner and suddenly they're so... happy, and their world revolves around that person. I'm happy, of course, that they've found fulfillment, but guilty, too, because I inevitably feel a level of jealously and... hurt, I suppose? It's a bit strange - I'm not jealous of the relationship itself, since I'm not really into romance or romantic relationships. The jealously is one that's more centered on not being able to match the connection, in a way.
For example... I had a best friend who I have since drifted apart from due to varying reasons. Anyways, during our friendship they (I'll use gender neutral terms for all my friends, sorry if it's confusing but I find that to be the easiest) got into a relationship. They seemed so... happy, with their partner, much happier than I felt I was able to make them. Of course, I was younger during that time so I'm sure I felt things a bit differently back then, but man was I hurt. The vibrance in them when they talked about their partner and the happiness they felt... it was lovely, of course, to see them happy, but I couldn't shake the feeling of betrayal and sadness. I was their number one confidant for a lot of things, and we were close. But when they got into a relationship, I wasn't their first choice in talking and friendship and whatever else there was. I was... second best, by a long shot.
I never verbalized my feelings. I felt that my feelings were childish, at the time - shouldn't everyone be allowed to have fulfilling relationships? I also was very opposed to the idea of myself being aromantic, and thought I may have been jealous they were dating someone else (I wasn't, and had no romantic feelings towards my friend). I said nothing and we drifted gradually apart due to them spending time with their partner more and changes in personal interests. We speak rarely now, but I have other close friends to fill in the gap that our drifting apart had left. Those friends are mostly alloromantic, though one may be on the aro spectrum as well, however they're not really sure.
Maybe it's due to my past experience, yet whenever my close friends now speak about relationships or looking for one... I feel a bit ill, uncomfortable and anticipating the worst. It doesn't matter to me with distant friends or acquaintances, or oddly enough... some of my close friends, but for a few of them, it really does hit me. The couple of friends who I'd be the most uncomfortable about are the closest, so perhaps that's why? The thought of them growing distant and then ultimately having someone that means something to them on a deeper level than what I could ever provide is... a bit saddening, really. And to reiterate - this is only ever with romantic relationships, my friends having new close friends doesn't really bother me to the same extent.
I'm not really sure what to do about it, or if I should do anything at all. If I committed to a QPP of sorts, I'd rather not have to deal with romantic partners and the potential scuffle/jealousy that could invoke, so it wouldn't really be fair to ask that of the likely alloromantic people I know. But I still feel a sense of apprehension that in the end, all I'm ever going to be to someone is second best. It'd be so much easier if I could up and say hey, I am crushing on people and want to date them, yet... that's just not how I feel. I don't have interest in romantic relationships, only QPPs and close friendships. I don't think I will end up saying anything just because I don't think it will help, and I apologize for this being a bit long-winded, but...
I am curious, does anyone else ever feel this way? Like you're doomed to always be a second best? And if so... how do you deal with it?