Since no one stepped in and told me to stop- I am still chatting with an ex. I could blame the booze. But I only had one glass of wine last night. So, it’s not that. Maybe it’s COVID and isolation. Being cut off from my usual group of friends and acquaintances. You all know I’ve been struggling with this.
The dreaded question came up. Well, not so much of a question but a statement.
“That’s fine if is works for you. Unless you’ve dated since we last talked.”
The last time we talked was over a year ago. Maybe more? Like two years? I’d have to go back in my Facebook history. I know I’ve only seen him once since moving into this place. We got together and caught up for lunch not long after I moved here. And that was six years ago now.
Wow. Time flies.
So, who is this guy and why am I talking to him again? Well, because love is blind, deaf and extremely dumb.
And let’s be real. You never really fall out of love with someone you really loved at one point. You can let them go. You can get over it. You can move onto someone new. But part of you remembers that love. For all the good things. And love, as stupid as it can be, trumps logic.
Don and I met when I was 18 and living at home. Or 19. I can’t remember the specifics. It wasn’t too long after James and I broke up and I was dating like – well, what do you call a 19 year old who dates a different guy every week?
I remember sneaking out of the house to meet him at the mall. My mother was very strict and didn’t approve of me meeting random single guys “online”. I used a party phone back then. Cell phones were still really expensive back then. This is like, over twenty years ago. I’m dating myself.
So, I had to sneak out and lie to my parents when I was meeting up with someone. Which for like a year there, it was a lot of random someones. To be honest, I was trying to find myself through various men. It took me a long time to realize that I needed to be on my own to find out who I really was.
Don was in his early 20s – 24 I think. We went for a beer and shot some pool. Which is what we all did back in the 90’s. Pool halls and bowling alleys were our key source entertainment after the drive in theatres closed.
Without getting into intimate details, we had a nice “relationship” for a few months. He was easy to talk to. We had chemistry. There was a spark there from the moment we met. It went deeper beyond friendship. We just – clicked.
So, what went wrong you asked?
Don had been in a long-time relationship with his high school sweetheart. They had a young child together and split up after a year or so realizing how hard it was to be a parent at a young age. One day Don called me on the phone and said that he really enjoyed our time together but he and the ex had been talking a lot. And he wanted to marry her and try and work things out.
Now at that age, I had no idea what real love was. I thanked him for calling – like wtf? Hung up the phone and cried for like a minute. A WHOLE minute. And then shrugged it off and called another guy I had been seeing off and on — Steve the trucker. Who I have written about before.
Don’s marriage was a rocky one. We lost touch over the years until Facebook was invented. His name popped into my head and I looked him up. We started chatting and he not only remembered me – but he wanted to get together for coffee.
Coffee. It’s a harmless get together right? An excuse to catch up with someone and have a visit. No big deal. Oh, how wrong I was.
When chemistry is real, it never really fades away. There’s a natural spark that happens with two people. Whether they’re good for each other or not. Whether they can make it work or not. Chemistry makes it impossible for two people to stay away from each other. At least that’s what we told ourselves.
Don had been married since we the year that we broke up. He said that they were in an open marriage and he was free to do what he wanted. I had just lost a bunch of weight, was feeling great about myself and was just in the mood to have some fun. James and I had parted ways again. And I don’t know what I was looking for at the time. Maybe I just wanted to show off. This was back in 2008 – I had just moved to my old condo.
When he came over for coffee that first night, that chemistry – it was still there. And it was strong. We chatted most of the night. He finally got up off my couch at three in the morning and went home. That was it. We just talked.
As he left, I felt a twinge of sadness thinking that must have been what I had been missing. That connection. Communication. Just having someone to talk to like that.
I can’t summarize a decade long friendship in one blog post. There was just too much drama to even get into. And to be honest, I’m not comfortable sharing that much information about relationships. But what I learned was — open relationships aren’t all they are cracked up to be.
Someone almost ALWAYS gets hurt in the end. And usually, it’s the third person coming into the picture. I’ve been in all kinds of relationships over the years. And this is the only constant thing I learned.
I fell in love. Hard. Head over heels love. Madly, deeply, truly. To quote a cheesy 90’s song. I know that Don had feelings for me – but I don’t think they were as deep.
And when we parted ways for the first time in 2009, it broke my heart. I mean literally. I fell into a deep depression. But I was also struggling with hormones at the time and was on anti-depressants. So, it was a combination of things.
We remained friendly over the years. But I learned to not get romantically involved again. Even though the chemistry is still there. Even over texting – old habits are hard to break and flirting is hard to stop.
But — what’s that quote?
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting the same results. And insanity would be giving into those old feelings. And while I can appreciate the friendship and catching up – and even staying in touch this time.
This old heart of mine just can’t take another “break up”. I’ve had one too many and one too many toxic relationships with toxic men who I thought were everything to me.
And so… my response to his casual statement about dating?
“I’m on sabbatical from love. At this point, it might be a permanent thing.”
Him: “So, you’re getting a cat now?”
Me: “Cats eat your face.”
And so, that’s where we are this new year’s day/night. Thoughts on past loves. What could go wrong with that?
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