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Mistakes I'm making as I write this


Bender

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I'm unlucky in love. Don't feel sorry for me--it's by and large my own fault. But it still sucks.

 

There's that old fable about a dog that, by some stroke of luck, found a piece of meat and was carrying it home to eat it. When he crossed a river, he mistook his own reflection for another dog with a better treat, and opened his mouth to bark at the other dog. He dropped his own meat into the river, and for all that greed and dissatisfaction was left with nothing. 6-year-olds the world over have learned the lesson in this story; I, apparently, cannot.

 

So I have this boyfriend, and he's great. He's very cute, with his curly brown hair and bright blue eyes, and he makes me smile and laugh and he cracks the best one-liners and I genuinely love spending time with him, having him over just to watch a movie and hang out with my roommates. We've been together a few months now, and he's the first guy I've been able to avoid getting sick of after the first fun couple of weeks. I met him through a mutual friend named Caleb, who, while he was not actively working to set us up, is pretty happy with the result of our relationship. This is easily the best dating experience I've had (and while I know I'm young yet, I have dated a good deal). The best part is that he seems to feel the same way about me.

 

But still I feel like I've always got my eye on the door, waiting for the next thing, something better, someone better to walk in. Maybe I've been ruined by something. Maybe I'm just afraid of commitment. Maybe I'm jealous of what other people have, and greedy and always wanting to take without giving anything in return. Eat your cake and have it, too, I guess. (Which I prefer over the standard way of stating that expression, since it seems a bit like hysteron proteron.) I know it's in our nature to look for more, to shun contentedness, as it leads to complacency and can ruin you. Evolution has granted us what Robert Browning put more poetically in "Andrea del Sarto," when he said, "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, / Or what's a heaven for?" In some ways, I don't think we're meant to be happy.

 

But why am I so bad?

 

That same friend, Caleb, was having a little birthday get-together last week to celebrate his 21st. The boyfriend could not go with me, as he was busy with other things. I don't talk about him much in polite conversation--honestly, I don't talk that much at all--so many people just assume I'm single until something comes up that necessitates mention of the boy.

 

So I guess that's how Sean and I ended up sitting on the front porch together after everyone else had degenerated into drunken debauchery. I generally don't drink to the point of drunkenness because I hate forgetting things and having hangovers, so I was still nursing maybe my second beer, and Sean seemed to prefer the peace and quiet. This was the first time I had met him, but I was comfortable already, just sitting down, enjoying the beautiful weather that night, listening to the muffled, awful music playing inside the house. We talked some--the normal stuff, about our majors and interests and other boring things. I was sitting right on the edge of the concrete, whereas he was sitting on a short brick wall, so he was about three feet higher than me. I looked up at him. His stare was intense, to say the least, brown eyes on a face that was temptingly handsome. The comfort I had felt was starting to creep out; after all, this incredibly handsome guy was staring me down, and suddenly I felt like I couldn't move, like I was rooted to the spot by his stare.

 

I think he knows he's incredibly handsome, he knows the effect he has on people, but he wasn't ostentatious about it. In fact, he was nothing but polite and charming and perfectly gentlemanly. At some point he moved to sit next to me, and our hands started brushing against each other here and there, and I didn't stop him. It was late--I went home fairly soon thereafter, with the intent to forget about it and move on.

 

Facebook ruined that plan. I am convinced that it is a tool of the devil.

 

He found me on Facebook a few days later, added me and sent a message. We talked back and forth a bit, and eventually he gave me his number, insisting that I text him. And on account of my weakness and lust and desire for more, and on account of my being a terrible person, I did text him. It remained just polite conversation, with talk about hanging out or seeing a movie or something, with plenty of chances for me to throw in that I am not single, that I could not do anything romantic with him. I didn't say a word about it though.

 

It finally happened on Friday night--he came over, we drank some beers, we talked, we hung out. Sitting on the couch with me, again he made a move to touch my hand. And again I didn't stop him. And at some point we started kissing--I don't know who kissed whom first, all I know is that we left chill-couch-sitting land and entered holy-crap-we're-making-out. And I forgot completely that I had a boyfriend, and that I shouldn't have been doing it, and that I was cheating, and instead enjoyed the making out.

 

He left my house the next morning, which was yesterday. (Fill in the gap for yourself, to save me having to type it.) I felt bad. I talked to my roommate. That helped some. I wanted to see boyfriend, so I called him and went over to his house that afternoon. I acted like nothing was wrong. We watched a movie and ate lunch and cuddled. While we were cuddling, I noticed his phone said one missed call.

 

From Sean.

 

I cheated on my boyfriend with a guy who is apparently friends with him. Who might talk about me to him. And while I feel bad, I don't want to say anything. I'm scared to confess it. And I'm scared I'll lose him.

 

So now, here I am, cursing my own name and wishing I hadn't done it. But I made this bed, so I suppose I'll lie in it, and maybe learn my lesson for the future. And maybe forget Sean's intense stare, which I can still feel when I think about him.

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Well...you might as well fess up now, because chances are if you don't, Sean will - assuming he hasn't already.

 

If you lose your bf, then...honestly, you would deserve to lose him.

 

I read this and...it makes me think not that you're afraid of commitment, but rather that you simply don't want commitment. You can't even say your boyfriend's name, which doesn't imply that you care all that much about him.

 

If you want to learn your lesson, as you put it...you need to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself what it is about commitment that you simply don't like.

 

I know I'm being somewhat harsh on you, but...it's moments like these where a little self-reflection will go a long way for you.

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I should have put a disclaimer at the beginning that this is mostly fiction with vaguely autobiographical roots; it's a story that had been germinating in me for a while, until yesterday when it finally burst out and I had to get it down so I could move on and study for my microbiology test. I wrote it in one little burst and made very few changes. A blog might not be the most appropriate place, but it's all I have with any semblance of anonymity.

 

The real story is that a few weeks ago, I was casually hanging out with two guys, either of whom could have potentially been a romantic interest: there was Ross, on whom the unnamed "boyfriend" of the story is based (and who, as of a few days ago, became my real-life boyfriend), and Sean, whose only real similarity with the "Sean" of the story is the shared name. The real-life Sean is very talkative and wild and always the center of attention; the image I have of Sean in the story is quiet, pensive, serious, and sexy, and is supposed to function as a foil to the unnamed boyfriend's jocular nature.

 

So for a few weeks, I was hanging out with both guys, independent of each other, in a mostly platonic capacity; one day, while I was hanging out with Ross, I saw that he had a missed call from Sean, and I wondered what a conversation between them about me would sound like. It wasn't a huge surprise that Sean would be calling Ross--I knew that they knew each other, although I don't know in what capacity. It's even possible that they dated--I don't know and I don't really care at this point. So, I thought for a minute, what would it be like if Sean told Ross he was "talking" to someone new, someone to whom Ross was also "talking?"

 

Because I was really only friends with both of them at this point, I decided that aside from initial awkwardness, it probably wouldn't have been a big deal. However, the idea for this story was planted, and here it is. Any romantic inclination I had for Sean fizzled out on its own, while I continued to be interested in Ross, so that relationship progressed naturally.

 

Looking back today, with fresh eyes, there are several things I want to change in the story: 1) I want to better draw attention to the soon-to-be-broken heart of the unnamed boyfriend, since I sort of left that out entirely, I guess. 2) I want to better illustrate that the speaker DOES feel bad about what he's done--he seems to take it lightly, which I did not intend. And 3) I want to leave a better image of the lasting impression that Sean had on the speaker. Even as the speaker feels awful for what he has done, he still feels drawn to this other guy. That's the major motif of the story: the choice between certainty and comfort with one guy versus the possibilities with the other. One bird in the hand versus two in the bush, I suppose.

 

It's also about dealing with my own frustrations about my general dissatisfaction. I have felt what the speaker feels time and time again, about not being satisfied with the good things that I have. In that sense, I do appreciate your advice; in fact, I think it certainly is high time for some introspection to reassess my values.

 

Sorry for the ridiculously long-winded response. Believe it or not, I actually cut things out. Also, thanks for reading the post--hitting the "publish" button was like taking a shot of antivenin, so all the poison could get out. I'll be more careful to mark it as fiction in the future, especially since infedelity is such an awful topic to begin with.

 

Best,

-B

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It's (mostly) fiction eh? Well that certainly does the perspective a little bit. :P

 

Why not post this as a story? You're off to a good start here. :)

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Yeah, I would follow up on a story like this. Though I'm a sucker for happy endings - no matter who ends up happy. ;):P

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