My grandmother is this petite woman who has never lived outside of the South and spends most of her time watching soap operas, doing crossword puzzles, sending me cute cards asking me when I’m going to have babies, and holding hands with her adorable boyfriend, EC. She is the only grandparent that I’m close to and while she hasn’t given me much advice, once I graduated from high school to go to college, she whispered one thing in my ear in her sweet Southern accent:
“You protect your possibilities, now. Don’t let just anyone around them, ya hear?”
Possibilities are what Fergie calls “lovely lady parts” and I can’t decide if I’d rather call mine a va-jay-jay or something else. Regardless, even though she always encouraged me to wait until marriage to “park” with a boy, I think her slightly growing new-age mindset, knows otherwise.
Even though I would never tell her, I think she’d be happy with how I’ve protected my possibilities since I lost the coveted v-card with Mr. Faithful many, many moons ago. Though sometimes I wish I could be more carefree and random about sex, I know myself too well and know that if doing-the-deed is interjected into a relationship or could-be relationship, I’m going to get emotionally intertwined with the dude. Just the way the ball rolls for me (pun intended).
So maybe it comes as no surprise, that when I broke a pact Mr. Possibility and I had agreed upon (we wouldn’t tell each other if we were sleeping with or dating other people, unless we started having feelings for the person), and asked him if he had slept with anyone in the time he’s been overseas for business – and he said “Yes” – a little piece of me freaked completely out.
Now, we’ve been clear with each other from the get-go that we weren’t exclusive, that we were taking it slow, that we were going to be incredibly honest with each other, that what we were doing -whatever it is – was going to be different from the mistakes we’ve made in the past. And if I go off of technicalities, he didn’t cheat, he didn’t do anything wrong by the Rules of Dating – but emotionally speaking, he completely hurt my feelings. Maybe even more so, my trust – not so much in him (because did he really break something he promised to me? No.), but in what we are creating.
While I have the same liberties that Mr. Possibility has, I haven’t felt the need to explore outside of him since we started moving our platonic friendship into more of a romantic realm. This may be due to my own way of handling “talking” situations with a person that’s derived from an innocence I still have towards relationships, or maybe it is my own idealistic qualities that may need to be overturned. But to me, when you start to have feelings for someone, feelings that are real and true, you aren’t exactly interested in experiencing other possibilities. At least until you determine if the option in front of you is suitable or not.
Who knows, maybe this is part of an “adult relationship” and maybe I should have never asked when we made an agreement not to. Nevertheless, I did and after the news, I had some soul searching to do – not only about my feelings towards him, but my personal beefs, too.
At first, I paraded him with questions and accusations, before I realized that the more I knew, the more I’d obsess. And then, I started doubting all we had shared in the past three months – the exchanges, the dates, the glances, the connections, the moments, the weekends tucked away in my hole-in-the-wall apartment, the dinners, the romance, the intrigue…the everything. We spent hours on Gchat, text messaging, emailing, and even had a two-hour phone conversation that I’m sure cost his company a pretty penny, going over what happened, what to do next, and he, of course, apologized. And yet my mind still raced with questions that ranged from “Oh my god, was he sleeping with someone else in New York?” and “Have I been a complete fool in this whole thing, I mean, did I really introduce him to my blog as a possibility when he’s not?” to “Does he like this girl who he slept with?” and “Why was I not good enough to hold his interest?”
And as I sat with tears rolling down my cheeks, feeling like a failure in my journey to love addict recovery, reading the e-mails we had shared since he left, and glancing over at the Christmas present I bought for him at a time where I was filled with so much hope and appreciation for his presence in my life – I decided I needed to take one huge, gigantic, step back. That even though I felt like I had done everything right by this guy and was happy with the way I approached everything with him, if I allowed this not-quite infidelity to ruin another night of mine, I wasn’t doing myself justice.
Sure, I could cry and carry on, curse his name, delete him and block him from everything in my life, walk away from whatever it is that I felt or I believed or hoped for, and tell myself I made the biggest mistake ever by being interested in him. But that would be a lie.
Because in terms of love and especially in terms of defining ourselves as single women – you have to decide what’s right by you. I have to believe that regardless of the outcome or the bumps along the way – every man, every experience, every flame, every possibility – teaches me something and helps me to grow into the person I’m meant to become. That his desire to undress a possibility other than mine, really had nothing to do with me. That he knew he was free to do so, and while I didn’t desire to, he did. That while we both are not ready for a relationship, I wasn’t prepared to accept that he may be interested in women other than me, and also sleeping with them. That while I don’t think he’s a bad person in the least, my heart feels fragile near him for the time being. That maybe we’re on different pages, different levels of emotional commitment, opposite sides of the tree – maybe both out on different limbs, wondering if jumping is the right decision or not.
And so, I stopped crying. I stopped blaming myself. I stopped calling myself a fool. I stopped obsessing and thinking and analyzing and wondering what in the world I should do about it. Because I can’t solve all of the issues unresolved in my mind and in my heart in a few days, I can’t place pressure to heal the wounds overnight, and I definitely can’t predict the future. And even though I’m incredibly hurt and processing everything in my own way and time, I’m not ready to make cut-and-dry decisions right now. Perhaps his overseas address is even helpful to give me space to determine my own heart. Could I trust in the possibility of us again? I don’t know.
But what’s more important is that I woke up. I got out of my head. Out of the dreamy notions that kept me clutching at possibilities and words, and I welcomed myself back to the real world. Off of a bouquet of tulips-induced flight to cloud nine. And I realized that no matter if I decide I can let go of the image of him with someone else or not, or if I’m completely okay with a no-strings-attached relationship, I know that I can trust myself.
That I know what’s best for me, what’s acceptable in my book, what’s the best road for me to take to find happiness. And though I’m not interested in bringing new possibilities into my bedroom, because that’s just not my style, I think a dinner date or two with other men, or just with myself, may do me some good.
Men unlike women can have sex with someone and have no feelings for them. I think women believe they can do this but in reality they can’t– that’s why it was ok for you to make that agreement with him, you thought “he’ll like me so much they’re no way he’d ever be interested in someone else.”
The only issue I have with this is although he didn’t break an a agreement– he slept with some one else. Yes you’re aren’t exclusive but this isn’t taking a girl out for dinner or kissing someone– sex is intimate (whether there are feelings for the other person or not) why would you want to be with someone intimately (giving him your best time and love putting 100% in to it when he’s giving only part of that to you?
One thing I know I was never able to do was date more than one person at once– I always say if it’s worth doing– do it well. So if you’re doing it well your putting 100% into it right? Looks like– although Mr. Possibility has put in overtime into maintaining 2 relationships (one romantic and the other sexual) he wasn’t putting he all into either of them. A little selfish I think. You’re home in NYC not getting any and he’s sowing his seeds in foreign territory.
I know a lot of people do it. But I don’t like sharing…
I dont even want to go in to the health ‘reasons why what he did wasn’t cool–a condom isn;t 100% effective– so before ya’ll to have sex again– I suggest you both get tested. STI/STD’s can be transmitted even if a condom has been used.
Good luck with this sitch. I know you may think it’s be boring to blog about one guy at a time– and the double standards for men and women and sexual relationships are unfair but protect your heart…first and for most.
your fairy blog sister,
From reading this maybe you are not comfortable with the thought of Mr. Possibility or you sleeping with other people while being emotionally involved with each other. I agree with Cathydinas take a step back and see if you are putting more into this potential relationship than he is? And if you guys are going to have sex again, after his little sexapade then you guys need to be tested for STDS to be on the safe side. Who knows what he could have possibility picked up while being with someone else in another country
It’s the story of the great divide between men and women, and more particularly – the moment a man sleeps with someone else, we internalise it and think it’s our fault ‘what did I do wrong’. Nothing. HE slept with someone else, not you. I agree it doesn’t make him a bad person per se, in light of the agreement you two reached it seems he was well within his ‘rights’. He was free to do what he wants. But perhaps that’s the truth of it – He IS free to do what he wants, and this is what he chose to do… I would say your worth someone choosing that what he wants is YOU (and only you).
Just a thought…
I agree with all the comments before me.When my boyfriend and I started seeing each other(long distance relationship) I had said to myself it was fine if he dated other girls or slept with them because we where not in a relationship,however if he had we would not be in a relationship now.
Even if he did not intend to do it to hurt you or to be unfaithful(since he wasn’t technically being unfaithful) it still shows,like the others have said, that he isn’t fully interested in committing to it.
Of course that doesn’t mean he never will be,but are you willing to wait for him to be?
Linds I don’t think you are unjustified in being hurt at all. It kind of irks me that these days we have to try to ignore the deep feelings in our hearts and guts that non-exclusive relationships are not ok. Love and romantic relationships aren’t meant to be open. We are engineered towards monogamous relationships. Of course you are hurt and feel a little betrayed. I think part of the reason so many women have trouble finding secure and trusting relationships is because they DON’T demand more. They don’t demand exclusivity and courtship. It goes back to your post about giving a damn. Women used to be respected and courted and it was left to their decision whether a guy was good enough. Somewhere along the lines that role switched and now I feel many women diminish themselves to a vague version of themselves just to try to land and hold onto a guy. I say trust your feelings!
Good points made by everyone. However, only Lindsay can say what’s right for her. We can all have our opinions, but ultimately it’s her decision. In that light, I will give my opinion. It’s not technically a betrayal, but it’s obvious that there is a disconnect with what you expected and what happened. It’s a good opportunity for some powerful communication to see if you are on the same page. If not, maybe it’s time to ditch this one. If you are trying to build something, you have to make sure you are trying to build the same something. You really have to take it one day at a time. We only have today right now. Not tomorrow. Projecting into the future is futile. Decide what you can tolerate today.
i have to respectfully disagree with the other commenters. i feel like making a rule that you’re allowed to see and sleep with other people – and then letting the fact that he followed that rule interfere with your burgeoning relationship – is exactly what makes so many men think that all women do is play games. i don’t think it says anything one way or another about whether or not he’s interested in fully committing to you – what DOES speak to that is when you guys decide (if you do) to be exclusive. since that hasn’t been decided – all has been fair thus far, in my opinion. it’s not fair to say “x is an okay thing to do…but don’t do it”.
i applaud you for taking the step back and realizing that it doesn’t have anything to do with you, and i can completely respect and appreciate that this has introduced some insecurity into your relationship – but i think if it’s truly not ok with you that he see/sleep with other girls while you guys are “courting”, then you guys may need to agree upon some new rules.
I think Dominique is Mr. Possibility in disguise lol ;-)
I can’t speak for anyone else.
But speaking for myself, if I were in that situation, and I have been several times before- I tend to stop taking things so seriously.
It’s sort of like me saying “Oh. I see. You didn’t take me that seriously? I will treat you with the same amount of ‘serious’ that you treated me with. And if it doesn’t work out, that’s ok. You didn’t earn it anyway.”
While many girls resort to crying or emotional break downs, I resort to humor and a real c’est la vie attitude.
We can’t control the people we’re with (and why would we want to?) but what we CAN control is our reactions and how we deal with what we get. Once I stopped taking the defensive, and started playing the game in offense, things started working out a lot better for me.
Is it this very situation we are all afraid of? “I’m afraid he won’t want me more than anyone else right now..”
And how bad is it REALLY? How horrible is it? Have promises been broken? (maybe to yourself, which can admittedly be painful)
Why not treat it as an opportunity and a lesson before a heartbreak? I believe at our age and experience, heartbreak needs to be reserved for a more committed and malicious letdown.
C’est la vie, my love.
C’est la vie.
It’s not like you don’t have them lining up for you anyway.
I enjoy reading this blog, Lauren I couldn’t have said it better. I think we women are the reason most men don’t respect us, court us and commit to us. We don’t set any boundaries and settle for way less. Unfortunately, there are more women like that out there than the strong-minded ones. Relationships are not meant to be open or taken so lightly. People”s lives change in relationships, so many consequences and impacts…if you’re not ready to be in one just don’t be. Indeed, each person has to decide what’s good for YOU and what works for YOU. We are all different in so many ways, don’t try to copy anyone or their idea of a relationship.
Thank you to each and every one of you! And I agree with all of you – the feelings I felt before and after I found out about his straying have ranged so much and covered many of your points. I’ll keep you posted on the decision I make, I promise!
Ahh I’m so late on reading this one!
Anyways, I’d just say to keep your options open :)
Girls can play the game, too! haha
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I can only say one thing. I hope that next time you start investing your emotions in someone, even when it’s not serious yet, you don’t make those promises.
It seems that when guys say: no strings attached, they mean it. We girls on the other hand do not.
Maybe we think we mean it, maybe we want to mean it, maybe we do it in the hopes that the guy will get attached to us and will not want anyone else…..
But in the end we are he ones that end up getting hurt.
So whether next time is with Mr. Possibility or anyone else, you definitely should demand exclusivity…at least until you’re sure if “the option in front of you is suitable or not”.
I have to ask you why you are waiting for this guy? I’m just curious. AS a guy, if I really like a girl, I don’t want to hook up, date, sleep with, or generally do girlfriend things with any girl but the one I like.
Call me silly, but I just don’t think he really cares all that much about you. He may like the sex he has with you, but I don’t think he really cares about you as a person all that much.
Just my .02 cents.
I can’t help but wonder how the topic of seeing other people while HE was overseas even came up. I assume he brought it up, and you went along with it. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but if that was the case, you knew deep down, that he would certainly follow through with the new arrangement. Was anything ever discussed about what would happen regarding the new agreements, once he returned back to the states?
I love your blog, because I am struggling in my life to find myself and love myself and to come to grips with the fact that deep down, *I* don’t believe in the “together forever fairy tale” we are all hand-fed as children. Maybe the most we can give of ourselves to a partner is five years. Maybe ten. I’m completey aware of the couples who are still happily together after 40 or 50 years. But as humans, as mammals, as animals– maybe we are asking too much of ourselves, and of others.
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Although it was an agreement, and he technically didn’t cheat, I still think it’s important to think about what his decision truly means. How much does he really care? So, you each have “permission” to sleep around…but what does it mean that he wants to and you don’t? Things I’m sure you have already thought about, but it really makes me question his intentions for the future with you with what his decisions are in the present. xox <3 you.
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You believe you are on a journey, on the road to recovery from love addiction, but as I read back through your day by day description of this latest mess, I don’t think you’ve even boarded the train.
Do you believe this man has written even five words about his non relationship with you, other than in response to what most likely are way too many e mails and text messages from you? Do you think he’s talked to even one friend about it, let alone blogged about it to any number of similarly obsessed women – women who are after all complete strangers? Does he know about this crazy TMI web site?
More important, how do you know this woman who is with him is not the girlfriend and you’re not the sex on the side? The comments about STDs are sadly indicative of the way women view other women – as aggressors -ie she might have given him a disease from which pristine little you must be shielded.
You, the southern belle, admonished by Grandma not to “park”, should keep in mind that Grandma’s doing more than “holding hands” with that boyfriend. Adults have sex and your sex with a man is no more or less pure or innocent than the sex he has with the woman before you or after you.
If you keep telling yourself the other woman doesn’t matter, your addiction has still got you by the throat. My guess is she does and you know it and it’s only you working overtime to try to make something solid out of thin air.
I’m with Phil on this one.
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