Close this search box.

She Asked Me First


It’s my first year of college and I’m madly in love. So is my best friend. The problem is, we’re in love with the same boy.

We decide we’re going to be very grown up about the situation, and we make a pact. We agree that should he choose one of us, the other one will not hold a grudge, and the friendship will continue just as before. This was the perfect arrangement. I had insider information: The Boy liked me.

I spent the rest of that year being their third wheel.

Years later and I’m living abroad, the incident forgotten. Or so I thought. I’ve returned home to visit loved ones, and one day when I’m waiting for a bus, who should walk up to me? Yes, The Boy. We hug, talk and laugh about the old days. After some time, but before I can think twice, I’ve blurted the question, “Why did you ask Zoe out and not me?”

I can feel my face turning red as he looks me in the eyes. “I didn’t ask her out. I liked you, but she asked me first.”

My beautiful, clever friend had duped me.

I also felt like I’d been let in on a little secret. Men like to be asked. I suppose I’d had quite a traditional upbringing. The thought of asking The Boy out had never crossed my mind! We parted ways, me holding on tight to my new secret weapon.

Almost a decade later, and I’m divorced and single. There’s been a small succession of sweet men. Each relationship has taught me something valuable, but none have stood the test of time. And then I meet the man who would eventually become my husband. There’s something special about him.

The timing is terrible. I’m weeks away from a two-month adventure with some girlfriends. I don’t want to invite him to join us – it’s not fair to my friends – and I want him to know I have my own life. I’m independent. But I sense there may be another interested party, lurking in the shadows.

So I remember The Boy and decide there’s only one way forward. I tell my husband-to-be how I feel about him, and how I’d like to have a relationship, if he doesn’t mind waiting around.

I’ll never know if asking first is why we’re together over a decade later. I don’t need to know. He was there when I got back, and I know he loves me deeply. That’s what matters.

What I do know is having the courage to say how I felt was no more terrifying than all the times I’ve kept quiet. That I didn’t feel any more vulnerable than if I’d stepped onto that plane with my feelings packed up in my suitcase.

I hold onto that lesson and apply as required.

Share this Story
Esther Zimmer is an Australian writer, lifestyle coach and personal stylist based in London. She believes everyone has a calling, and it’s not necessarily just one thing. The home she shares with her husband, David, is filled with art and books, and her favorite pastime is packing a bag and heading somewhere new. Esther writes about life, relationships, body image and travel and can be found at

29 thoughts on “She Asked Me First”

  1. Don’t you just love those moments when you realize you’ve been duped! But the outcome worked in your favor, because you found your “true” love! Congratulations!

    • Thanks for commenting, Theresa! Oh it was a magic moment, I couldn’t help but be rather impressed by my friend. There I was waiting around to be ‘picked’ (mortifying to think about that now) and there she was being the one doing the choosing! Esther x

    • Oh Kay, I have to admit it was less about being brave and more about my tongue running away with me! The words really just blurted themselves out, I was so embarrassed at the time, but obviously there was a lesson in there that I was meant to learn! Esther x

    • Girls indeed! I laugh when I look back at these moments now. But yes, regardless of the outcome it was empowering to take a step forward, and a good lesson to learn! Thanks for your comment. Esther x

  2. I don’t think I ever made the leap first. There’s one boy that perhaps I might have done that with, but I’m convinced it wouldn’t have changed a thing. He knew how I felt about him, without me saying it aloud. And then, I might have missed the life I now have, and the kids I now have. Who can say? What is, is.

    • So true, Susan. There’s always different paths we could have taken but I’m a big believer in ‘what is, is’ too – that’s how I felt – even after I had spoken up! Esther x

    • Thanks for commenting, Corinne! I imagine a lot of women have their own story of early love, or what we thought was love! Funny how it felt so grown up at the time and when I look back now, I see these two funny, sweet girls. Yes, I’m glad I made the first move too! 🙂 Esther x

  3. LOVE this! Your writing and storytelling skills are fantastic. Simple and crisp and likable. My friend and I in high school liked the same guy, too. At first, he and I were a thing. But then, I went abroad as an exchange student, still head over heels over him, and she nabbed ’em while I was away and even went to prom with him and sent me a picture!! I was crushed! But he and I probably wouldn’t have lasted anyway. He lived for fishing and hunting. So so glad I learned about your site from Women of Midlife,

    • Hi Julie, what a lovely compliment, thank you very much! And thank you for your comment. What a story, that’s just awful and no doubt quite traumatic at the time! And for your friend to send you a picture – well. I’m sure she looks back now and wonders how she could ever have behaved in such a way! Oh the things we had to ‘endure’ as young women 🙂 Esther x

  4. I can so relate! I remember a time when I had a crush on a boy and as it turns out he had a crush on me. We were too young and shy to let each other know. Almost 12 years later we ran into each other and we’re still together. I often what would have happened had I taken the initiative and asked him out BACK THEN.

    • What a wonderful line, “Life is an incredible array of building blocks”! So very true. It was hard, but I believe staying silent would have been harder, even if the outcome had been the same! Esther x

  5. I just hosted a roundtable discussion on getting out in real life and creating real life relationships. Great post, you have to put yourself out there, take risks and expect wonderful things to happen!

    • Goodness, what a fabulous roundtable discussion that must have been! Thanks for commenting, Doreen. And you’re right, ‘expect wonderful things to happen’ is such good advice! Esther x

Comments are closed.


Sign up to our list and we’ll send you our sought-after guide “50 Ways To Change Your Life”
I'm happy you've joined us! If you like what you read, I'd love for you to stay and subscribe to our updates by email. We have a great community of like-minded women, and your presence can only make it stronger.