I dated a guy briefly: let’s call him Non-Profit Guy. He seemed like a really nice guy, we got along great, and I started to develop a real crush on him. I’ll always remember the way he lit up when he first saw me: if he had a caption above his head, it would have read, “WOW!”
He also seemed to really care about ethics. So I didn’t expect him to be juggling two women at once. Especially not if the other woman was someone he’d been pursuing for a year.
Shortly after I met him, he went on a trip with his “friend”, who lived just down the street from him. He’d mentioned her name a few times before, and I was a bit curious to know what her relationship was to him. It was way too early to be having “that” kind of a conversation, though, and I figured he’d let me know if there was something for me to know.
When he came back from his trip, he wanted to meet up with me again, and we went out on another date. There was some fooling around, some kissing, nothing much (we were in public), but I sensed that the openness he had to me before he left was not there. When I suggested we hang out at his house after our plans fell through (we were going to see a show but arrived too late), he laughed nervously. The thing is that I’d already seen his apartment, so it wasn’t as if we were going there for the first time. The last time we were in his apartment, I’d had to put the brakes on, since it was only date #2, and I didn’t really want to jump into bed with a stranger. So his behaviour this time around made me wonder what happened.
We finally had a talk, and he fessed up: he’d known her for a year and been pursuing her romantically during that time. She finally said yes when they were on their trip, and they were going to try dating.
To be honest, I wasn’t surprised; but I was a bit surprised at how upset I was by the news. I really felt dumped. It made no sense: I really had just started to get to know the guy. We’d known each other for maybe a total of a month.
Worst of all, instead of expressing my disappointment, I counselled him as a friend. I told him that I was happy for him (BS: anyone who says that after you dump them is lying through their teeth, and clinging onto their last shred of dignity), I told him that I was taking myself out of the equation (I actually said, “far be it for me to stand in the way of someone’s desire.” ACK). And that I, as his friend, was suggesting that he concentrated on his relationship and cherish the fact (yes, those exact words) that this woman who he had been pursuing for a year finally said yes to him.
He bleated something ridiculous like, “Well, but it’s all so new, I’m really not sure what’s going on right now.” I pushed aside my revulsion and said, “well, that’s the wonderful thing at the beginning: it’s fragile, and exhilarating, and tenuous and scary as hell.” Meanwhile, a part of me wanted to say, “Why don’t you grow a pair? Oh, and get away from me.” Maybe I should have.
Because, after that grand generous speech I gave, I ended with “well, I wish you and your friend the best of luck, and I hope that we can still remain friends.” To me, that is the kiss of death: “friends” in this context means: If I happen to see you on the street, I won’t ignore you, but will say hello and introduce myself to whoever happens to be there, including your date/gf/mistress/whatever. I mean, come on, it’s not like we work together or have to ever see each other again.
And so I was surprised when he e-mailed me. He asked how I was doing, and I figured it was a guilt-inspired e-mail. He apologized for not being upfront about his friend, and I thanked him for his apology. I figured that was that.
Weeks go by. Then yesterday, he e-mails me to ask whether we can hang out “as friends.” And so I’m now at a loss for what he is possibly thinking. If I were his new gf, I’d be furious.
Why do guys do stupid shit like that?
PS: And by the way, I said cheerily, “sure!” as if we were “just friends.” Mainly because I have a perverse sense of humour, and mainly because I’ll probably put on the “I’m so great without you” front and be an idiot like that.