My Love Story~Chapter 15: Just Friends

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{If you are new to my love story, you can start from the beginning HERE.}

The timing was off. Would our timing ever be ON?  Being with him I felt so much happiness, but when we were apart, that constant knot in my stomach never went away…for months. It was agony. Choosing to stay away from him for a day or two gave me a sense of power over my roller coaster of emotions. Though I was in a endless state of wondering, I never felt hopeless. Though I longed for Matthew’s affection, I knew that if he didn’t love me that way, that someday…someone would. After all, I had a pretty steady boyfriend in high school and earlier college that I broke off….I could love again. I was trying to fall out of love with Matthew.

It was just 6 weeks until I was to depart for a summer study abroad program to The Holy Land. Jerusalem? Egypt? Jordan? How could I NOT be excited? I got my passport all ready to go….excitedly shared it with my friends….but I still kept thinking that maybe I wouldn’t go. If Matthew asked me to stay…I would stay.

Once I decided we were just friends, I was able to let go of my expectations with him a little. I was able to be my crazy self and laugh with him, laughing with a boy I liked seemed so rare…I was generally much too serious, or what I thought was “mature” in a relationship, I needed to relax and have fun. He was really good at coming up with random impromptu fun, which was delightfully unexpected from what I saw of his generally mellow personality.


My roommates and I decided to throw together a little skit for our church Talent Show. I had to urge my roommates–beg them–to join me on stage, they were such good sports!  We sang a little song called, “I like to ride in a shopping cart” which is a playful kids song written by Abbi & Hali’s uncle. I wish I could find that now…roommates

shopping cart skit




Though Matthew felt pretty sick that night, he came to the performance and I was so happy. Maybe I’d show off a facet of my personality that would leave him breathless and longing for me…each day I hoped for that. I so wished he felt for me what I felt for him. While watching the other performances in the talent show, I sat in between him and C.J. and scratched both of their backs with each hand. There was a dance after the talent show, but Matthew went home because he felt so awful. Though I was starting to not feel so well myself, I willed myself to stay and have fun with my friends. Sam, my old buddy, kept up the fun with my roommates and I.



It was only with my roommate Amy that I was able to show my true emotion. I’d tell her how in love with Matthew I was, mention my pain, but try to laugh it off the best I could. I’m sure it was difficult for her to watch the scene before her:  me, him, us together, us apart, and not know how to respond to me. I think she did a perfect job of listening to me…without offering much in the way of hope because it was confusing to her as well. I didn’t need any more hope…I needed reality.

I’d never felt for anyone what I felt for Matthew. It was so strange, so new to me. I’d loved before…but never felt IN love, and sadly it all felt so hopeless. In that sense, I felt empty, but in every other aspect of my life, I felt complete and fulfilled. I had great family, friends, my faith kept me afloat, and fun things to look forward to with traveling overseas. I didn’t want that silly hopelessness to overcome me, to take over my personality, I just wouldn’t allow it. Life was too beautiful to live that way, so I enjoyed everything else. I didn’t ever want him to know how much I was suffering, I didn’t want him to feel sorry for me.

An excerpt from my Journal on March 16th, 1999:

Beautiful weather! Beautiful Day! I sat out on the grass and studied which was so enjoyable! I came home after a while and my roommate told me there was a note on the door for me. Inside an envelope that was handwritten neatly, KRISTEN, was 2 tickets to the BYU Cougarettes dance performance that weekend. There wasn’t a name on it, but I knew it was from Matthew. I smiled at the kind gesture, and him trying to be secretive. I’ve felt so at peace the past few days. Yeah, my heart is still broken, but I’m adjusting.

The next morning was St. Patrick’s Day and I got up early and spread gold coins and 4 leafed clovers across my apartment floor and snuck into #20’s apartment, too (they kept their door unlocked). Our two apartments had Green Eggs & Ham together for dinner and just had fun. I had a late night chat with Sam. We laughed about how a few months ago we were “dating” but we also discussed that neither one of us regretted it. So grateful for his friendship.

That semester I was taking a religion class called, Keys to Scripture Study. All of the religion classes I had taken in the past were on specific sections of the scriptures such as the New Testament or The Book of Mormon. This one was different–and amazing. It focused on how, as an individual, I can teach myself to better study and search the scriptures on a personal level. On the outside, it seemed “easy” but as part of the class curriculum, it was required to study 30 minutes each day from the scriptures. Studying didn’t just include reading, but  a prayer at the beginning and end of the study, pondering, searching topics, writing my thoughts on what I felt in a scripture journal. I honestly and truly see this class as a huge blessing at this time in my life because I was filled with so much more LIGHT  and happiness, which I so desperately needed.

One night, my roommate Hali and I roamed campus with Matthew and a camcorder and made a silly video. I’m not sure where that video is now, but we also took some fun pictures.



BYU cougar


 {You better believe that BYU Cougar picture is up in our home today}

It was fun to just have fun, and I love that my roommate had just as much fun (and offered to take pictures of Matthew & I). The next day, Sam came with us, and we got this fun picture in our Sunday best. I love this picture… (loved those suspenders so much back then).

sunday best

After all the afternoon fun, I sat on a bench with Matthew discussing spiritual things. One thing that drew me to him so much is that I knew he was SOLID in his faith. I knew it meant as much to him, as it did to me. He has so much depth, humility, and understanding of spiritual things that I was striving to understand. He served a full time mission for two years in France, and had intense study of the scriptures and better understanding, which I longed for. Grateful for the insights he shared with me, that he enjoys this type of discussion. He helps me understand myself, and to strive for the best in myself.

We spent time together almost every day, and I often wondered how he could share and give and spend so much time with me if he doesn’t feel for me the same way I did for him. I began to realize that I’m just a friend to him. I had a discussion with my roommate about people coming in and out of our lives, and how even if we aren’t meant to be with them, what they taught us will forever affect us. That’s how I felt for Matthew. I thought, if that’s all I can be for him, to help teach him to love and live and communicate and be happy, then that’s what I want to be–a positive memory. I had so much love for him, that I hoped that my being in his life at this time…I was able to leave him with something.

Join The Discussion



  1. Every chapter that comes out makes me so happy to read another little bit… but the only thing that doesn’t make it sad is that it worked out!!

    I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again… you’re great at this writing thing!

    Now a random question… are any of the names real?? Not only here, but on other posts, do you use your husband’s and kids and friends real names? I know some bloggers do, some don’t, I´m just wondering… 🙂

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thank you, Aline!!! Some names are real;) I haven’t used my kids names, I am so open about so much, that I keep that private. My friends don’t really realize that and will sometimes comment with their name though! My friends, I’ll say their first name, not last.

  2. You always leave me wanting to read more of your story. Another great chapter!

  3. Jacqueline says:

    Your love story always makes me smile, in a bittersweet kind of way. Thanks for sharing – looking forward to the next one!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      I’m happy to hear that, Jacqueline! It is bittersweet, I agree, it’s very cathartic to write it!

  4. I love your story, it was worth the wait! I can feel your pain and angst through your writing…

  5. be still my aching heart!!

  6. Hailey Beach says:

    You two are so cute!

  7. Oh man… I’m anxiously anticipating the next chapter already. 🙂 You’ve done a fabulous job writing y’all’s story.

  8. Yay! Another love story post! I am loving your blog & am so happy to have found it! I love the cute elements you bring to it, the fun, the faith, & the creativity. Keep it up! You are doing great!

  9. This and your story reminds me of the dating story of my husband and i and also some friends. I was also 20 when I met my husband. Ours was much more condensed- we decided to get married after our third date, broke up for two weeks, and then got back together and became officially engaged after three months of meeting each other and three months later got married. I’m an Orthodox Jew and where I’m from people date and get married quickly.

    Btw, I have been checking your blog incessantly to read the next chapter.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      I’m so happy to hear you are enjoying the read! I Have the next chapter partially written. I have several friends that had a similar quick meet and marry, I thought it would be me, too!

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