If you remember from the previous part of this unique three-part-post, I had been struggling to get comfortable with the very close relationship that the guy I'm dating, has with a female friend. Where we left off, I was having a difficult time balancing my genuine concerns over the closeness of their relationship, with my guilt that maybe the cheating ways of the previous men in my life might be the only reason I felt suspicious that something might be going on.
If you haven't yet read Part One, you can find that by clicking here.
If you haven't yet read Part One, you can find that by clicking here.
So there we were, him wanting to know what he could do to ease my mind, and me not even sure what I should be worried about.
I’m sure that at this point you must be envisioning some huge, drama filled situation that plagued us heavily on a daily basis, but I promise you it wasn’t like that. It was more like a constant yet almost inaudible level of annoyance, that was still very much there, and would occasionally turn the volume up until we paid it some attention.
Then, several weeks ago, The Guy, the kids, and I were at a park. The Boy Child quickly struck up a friendship with another boy his age, and while watching them play, I struck up a conversation with the child’s dad. We chit-chatted about whatever it is that people talk about while making small talk over the sandbox, and then The Girl Child came running over to me with gum stuck to her arm. Being very aware that she had not been chewing gum, I gagged a little bit and the boy’s dad quickly fished an antibacterial wipe out of his FANNY PACK so that I could clean The Girl Child off.
After thanking him, he admitted that he was no longer with his son’s mother, and that he gets nervous when he has him on the weekends because he is afraid that he might accidentally send him home broken and dirty and never hear the end of it. We both laughed, and in turn, I admitted that I had just been to court a couple days’ prior for my own spousal drama. Then we were both shocked to figure out that he had been in the same courthouse on the same day, for his own case.
Now mind you, The Guy I’m dating was with me the whole time, and all three of us had watched the boys play together for a couple of hours. So when Playground Dad asked if he could get my number so that he could call me the next time he took his son to the park and "maybe the boys could play together again," I didn’t think much of it before giving it to him.
I later found out that The Guy was not at all OK with that.
“It kind of felt like a punch in the gut” he admitted to me when we got in the car. “I mean I was standing right there, and you just gave your number to some dude that for all I know, thinks you’re hot and wants to get to know you better.”
I stood there for a minute while the word HYPOCRITE ran through my brain, but with mature Eden whispering loudly in my ear, I didn’t say anything right then. I apologized for unintentionally hurting his feelings, and I asked if we could talk about it later.
I started out by asking him why he was OK with me having friendships with other guys, but not Playground Dad. “Well," he explained, "I know that you never cross any lines with those other guys, but I don’t know Playground Dad. I don’t know what his intentions are and it makes me feel really uncomfortable to think about you going out with him, because I'm not sure that I trust he just wants to be friends; I just have a strange feeling about him.”
Trying really hard to form my words into something that would be well received by him and not cause his defenses to go up (as they would in any normal person that is about to be called out), I asked him if he trusted me.
He said he did.
I asked him if I’d given him any reason to think that I was going to cross a line with Playground Dad and he reiterated that it wasn’t me he didn’t trust, but that he didn’t know Playground Dad or what his intentions were. I asked him, if he got to know Playground Dad, and he found out that Playground Dad was calling me at night to talk about his relationship problems, or if he was inviting me over to his house for a drink without inviting him (The Guy) along too, or if I was texting with Playground Dad during our dates, and Playground Dad started calling me a pet name, and asking me if his clothes looked sexy, would I be crossing a line then? Would it still be OK as long as he trusted me and nothing sexual had happened?
The Guy just looked at me for a really long time before he said…. “no, no I wouldn’t be OK with that, but I would expect you to never let it get that far because I’m the guy that you are dating and I should be the only one that you are talking to like that and doing those things with.…. and……. wow. I’ve really fucked up haven’t I?”
“Look,” I said. “I know that you have been friends with her for 24 years, and I know that you’ve always had a super close relationship with her, but relationships change. They have to in order to move forward. If they didn’t change, most men would still be living with his mother while she did his laundry and cooked his meals, and not many women would want to date that, just like not many women would be OK with the man they were dating having a very close relationship with another woman if it didn't include her in some way. Some women may be OK with that, but I’m coming to realize that in the context of your relationship with her, that I’m not OK with it.”
He sat there for a few minutes just looking at me, and I think for the first time ever, we both understood something that we had failed to grasp before.
Speaking first, I said what I’d been feeling for a really long time and just hadn’t been able to fully encase into a logical thought. “You see the thing is,” I almost whispered as I attempted to steady my thoughts, “I don’t want to feel like I need to fight for my place in this relationship. In fact… I won’t do it. With her using you as her support system in a failing marriage, you are taking the place of what her husband should be doing for her, and she is filling the role of what you are supposed to be doing for me, by being her private confidant. Then, when she is asking you if her outfit is sexy, and calling you names that only I should be calling you, and you allow it, you are putting me in the position where I feel like I need to fight for my place with the person who should be respecting my position the most. I should be your one and only in a lot of those respects, and you are leaving me to compete for that spot with another woman.”
Looking as if he were going to cry, the only thing he said at first was “you are right. I never saw it that way, but you are right and I can't argue with anything that you just said.”
Then we both sat there awkwardly staring at each other until he asked “what do you want me to do?”
Thinking it over for a few minutes, I finally said “I’m not going to answer that, because you are a grown man and I’m not going to make decisions for you. I’m not going to tell you to stop talking to your friends, because I’m done competing against them. The only thing that I know, is that I’m not OK with this. I won’t do this anymore, and whatever you decide is up to you. Sometimes people just don’t work out, and that is alright. Sometimes we need or want different things, and that is OK, but this is not what I want, and I need to think about what I want to do at this point.”
And that was the truth.
This wasn’t done or said out of manipulation, and this wasn’t a silent ultimatum for me to get him to do what I wanted. I wasn’t screaming “it’s me or her!,” It was me realizing that I was not comfortable with the way that things had been going, and knowing that I didn’t wish to proceed any further down the path that we were on. I was standing up for what I wanted, and accepting that he may not be able to give me what I needed.
“I really thought that we were just friends” he muttered. “I mean we are just friends, nothing has ever happened and I have absolutely no interest in her other than her friendship, but you are right. Somewhere along the line we got way too comfortable with each other, and I didn’t see it because I was too busy defending our platonic friendship to see that there is more to displacing your partner than just having sex with someone else.”
We didn’t make any decisions that night. We were both too emotionally charged and I just wanted to go to bed and figure things out in the morning.
But when the sun rose the next morning, before I had even gotten a chance to mull over the events from the night before, The Guy decided to make a grand gesture by relaying his newfound revelation to his female friend, and telling her that he couldn’t talk with her for a while because what they had been doing was wrong.
Oh no dude, please tell me you didn’t.
Oh but he did, and he did it before I even knew anything about it, and he did it by way of email.
I know, are you cringing now too?
I still am.
He sent her an email saying that he had come to realize that their level of comfort with each other was not what he would be comfortable with me having with another guy, and out of respect for me, that he needed to reel it back a little bit. He told her that he valued her friendship, but that because they were both older and in serious relationships, that he thought it was best that they spend more time turning to their partners instead of turning to each other.
Her response was quick, brutal, and unrelenting; but that wasn't even the most shocking part. Because what I came to realize in her response, was that my suspicions may not have been as unfounded as I would have liked to believe...
If You Remember...
In a totally new concept for this blog, this particular post will be spread out in a series of three separate posts. Basically what happened was I finished writing the post, realized that it was eight pages long, and had pity on those of you who attempt to squeeze a blog post in while you are riding the train to work or taking a five minute break from your kids. Dumping eight pages on you seemed unnecessarily harsh, so, stay tuned for part two which will be up in the next few days!
...So stay tuned for the final installment!
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