Today’s post comes courtesy of my former flat mate and partner in crime, Meghan. Meghan and I lived together in London and we spent hours “researching” the male sex during our time abroad. I’m really excited about her story; for starters, she’s a web writer and a social media consultant (i.e. a damn good writer) and her tales of relationship woes always crack me up. In addition, the subject of today’s post is rather near and dear to my heart (for reasons I’ll explain tomorrow). In the meantime, enjoy!
This side of last year, I was 23 and I’d never been in a real relationship. I’d never called anyone my boyfriend, and as I finally relocated back home to the east after three years away (two in London and one in Las Vegas), I didn’t see that changing any time soon.
I spotted “Adam” across the floor at the cavernous Casbah night club in dear old Atlantic City. 6’4” and sporting a serious Jersey white boy swagger, I knew I was staring at a welcome home present. I was wearing my killer cherry red cocktail dress, sporting silver stilettos, and— oh yeah— already on a date.
“I’m ditching the DJ,” I told my friend to her great horror. This was, after all, unusual behavior for me. I was a chronic serial dater, but I usually managed to make it through at least an entire evening without deciding to move on to greener pastures.
One Fiji water and a Jason Derulo song later, Adam and I were on the casino floor playing slots and exchanging numbers.
I figured this would be a very convenient way to ease myself back into east coast flirtation. Adam was a senior at Rutgers University, clearly not looking for a relationship, and desirably located at my best friend’s college.
After nearly two months of weekend hang-outs, G-rated sleepovers and daily texting marathons, I realized I was in a gray area.
I don’t do gray areas.
“All you two are missing is the Facebook status” seemed to be the general consensus among my friends.
This stuck. And it began to grate on my nerves. Every time I visited his page, the “single” status caught my eye like a diamond in the sun. It felt like Facebook was having a laugh at my expense.
After six weeks of constant communication, I didn’t feel that “single” anymore— a curious fact since I’d dated people for longer periods of time and still managed to avoid getting even remotely serious.
Then those pesky, quasi-relationship questions starting plaguing me: did he still feel single? Was he seeing other people?
This amorphous “thing” we had going on had reached a tipping point. I saw no reason to go through the stress of a relationship without any of the benefits.
Thanksgiving came and went without a text from him. (This was, by the way, impeccably poor timing as I place more importance on holiday tidings than any sane person should.)
My right brain felt a little stung but my left brain decided it was time to embrace the single status that had been a staple of my Facebook profile for so long.
Alas, it was not to be.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I reconnected with an old friend of the family. He was the quintessential east-coast Guido, which has always been my particular brand of male: gelled hair, gold cross, perfect (natural) tan. He worked as an investment banker in NYC and made six figures a year. Best of all, my family adored him.
We strolled down Broad Street in Philadelphia and hit the swankiest bars, looking like we walked out of a Coppolla film. On paper, it fit like a glove.
He immediately invited me to have dinner with him in NYC the following week. “I see no point in waiting on this. I would like you to be my girlfriend. You can say ‘yes’ next week in New York.”
It was a satisfying offer. I ignored the alarm bells that went off in my head (Too fast! What about Adam?! Is the money playing a factor here?! Am I going to end up a trophy wife???) and calmly rationalized that I was indeed accepting the best offer – maybe I didn’t need to be single anymore, and Adam wasn’t exactly offering anything competitive.
So began my time-honored icing out tradition. I typically find it easier than the prickly “it’s not working out” or “it’s not you, it’s me” conversations. I ignored Adam’s texts and a few of his calls. I figured he’d get the message and act accordingly – i.e. disappear into thin air.
Except he didn’t. Texts started showing up at 3am. The day before the Big Dinner in the City, I had four missed calls and three panicked voicemails.
My left brain waved the white flag, and I decided it was time to call and employ those investigative journalism skills I’d honed in college.
“So you’re alive!” he laughed upon answering.
“Listen,” I forged ahead, “no offense, but I’ve got another offer on the table. It’s a good one. Someone else wants me to be in a relationship with him, and if I accept, that means we can no longer communicate.”
“Ok. Are we done here?” I tried to pretend his stoic one-word answer hadn’t disappointed me.
“I’m not ok with that.”
“Really? Well you’re either going to have to match the offer, or that’s it. We’re not really friends, quote unquote, and I won’t continue an illicit flirtation with you if I have a boyfriend.”
It was time to go all in. I was going to make this as direct as possible and see how long it took him to run away (or hang up).
“I don’t think I’m ready for a relationship.”
At this point, I allowed myself an exhale. He’d uttered the stale tripe all self-respecting women dread. I could walk away now, right?
“That’s fair. That’s fine, actually. I knew that all along. That’s why I’m telling you this now and not letting you find out on Facebook.”
“Well wait. What would a relationship entail?”
Now I was getting annoyed, and slightly flustered.
“I’m not exactly looking to build a hearth here!” I shouted. “It means you commit to me, and don’t see anyone else. And we put it on Facebook.”
“Yes! Both our statuses say single now, so they need to reflect the change!”
“OK fine, the thought of being in a relationship with me has caused you to drop dead.”
::Excruciatingly Dead Silence::
And then: “I sent you a relationship request on Facebook. It took me a few minutes to figure it out. I’ve never sent one before.”
Now it was my turn to pass out.
“I’m not near a computer right now,” was all I could manage.
“So what’s going to change?” he asked apprehensively.
The truth was, not a lot changed, and nothing really needed to change. The hardest thing was to actually define the relationship in black and white.
Sometimes I still do a double-take when I look at my Facebook relationship status that staunchly remained “single” for six years.
Turns out Facebook was my own personal Rubicon. Once it went up, that status was official and locked down. No gray areas necessary.
Cheesy and a bit pathetic? Maybe. But for two people who made it a life choice to avoid “Relationships,” going public on Facebook was a big damn deal.
Thanks, Meghan! xx
- Is There Any Such Thing as a Relationship “Expert?” (katrichterwrites.wordpress.com)
- 7 Ways Facebook Complicates Dating (allfacebook.com)
- A Status Update of Online Relationships [Infographic] (inquisitr.com)