I met this man while out shopping. He approached me in the store, told me how beautiful I was, and that he was new to town. Here is this young, black man, not my type but easy enough on the eyes, complimentary, and up front with his intentions and baggage. In a twenty minute conversation, we learned each others’ back stories and found commonalities between ourselves. He left with my phone number and I left cautious, yet flattered. It was like some oddly awkward and exciting version of speed dating. After that, I went two days without hearing from him. Then, on a random Tuesday afternoon, while at work my office phone rang. I answered, and he said “This is Dominic. I don’t want you to think I’m a stalker or anything, but I couldn’t read my own handwriting [chuckles]. You were right that your name is very unique. I was able to find your contact information at work right away.” After a conversation that felt like a second date, and giving him my phone number again, we made plans for dinner later than evening. Fast forward 5 movie nights, 3 Dominic-cooked meals, 3 outings with my friends, 2 dessert nights, 2 quickies, 1 sleep over, and 4 weeks later…and this man tells me that he has a crush on me. Rather than being flattered, I was caught off guard and reacted with sarcasm and a tinge of jealousy.
So now, you’re probably trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with a crush. The answer to that lies in the details I’ve left out–the most important of which is his girlfriend. Yes, you read correctly. He has a girlfriend. She lives several states away, which leaves his free time completely open to court me and whomever else his heart desires. The girlfriend wasn’t a dealbreaker for me upon meeting him, because he was forthcoming with his relationship status and direct in telling me that the relationship was rocky. His subsequent behavior led me to believe that everything he’d told me originally was true. Then came a weekend when we were both planning to travel–I was taking a family vacation and he was planning a mini-road trip. As I drove to the airport, he and I were on the phone discussing our respective weekend plans. In the midst of that discussion…
Dom: Well you know Kaye is coming this weekend.
Me: Who is Ray?
Dom: You know, the girl from [insert hometown here].
Me: [thinking: Girl?! Maybe he didn’t just say Ray…Did he say Kaye? From ____? Oh hell naw…his girlfiriend?]Don’t act like I know her name. We never talk about her. I thought you were going to [next state over] this weekend.
Dom: I am. I’m off until Tuesday.
That was a wake up call for me. First off, “the girl from home” is not the same thing as “my girlfriend.” Secondly, a girlfriend who is coming to visit you, and for whom you are taking vacation days, is not the same thing as the other half of a relationship that’s on the rocks. Suddenly, I realized that I had found myself right back in the place that I didn’t want to be–as a wedge in the middle of an otherwise functional(?) relationship.
Since that day, I’ve attempted to bow out of the contest for his attention and affection. We talk a lot less, but we still see each other frequently enough (i.e. 2 weeks, 2 movie nights, 1 Dom-cooked meal, 2 outings with my friends, and 1 dessert night have happened since I made the decision to fall back). It’s a little difficult to shake him, because (as previously mentioned) he’s new to town and I’m his first-friend-in-a-new-place-crutch. I’ve introduced him to people, but he would rather hold onto his crutch (me) than strike out on his own. For example, when people invite him places, rather than just responding, he checks with me to see if I’m planning to go first. It’s odd…but anyway back to the story: So…when he looked me in my eye and announced his “crush” two nights ago, it sounded more like tired game to me than flattery. That tends to happen when I listen with one ear focused on reality. Here’s how that went…
Dom: I can’t help it that I have a crush on you. I like you. I like seeing you. Have you noticed that I only come out places when you’re around? I come because I hope that I’ll get to see you. I have a crush on you.
Me: Well Im crushable.
Dom: That you are.
Me: Yep. Crushable. Just not datable.
Dom: What do you mean? I think you’re datable. I’d date you.
Me: That’s a moot point. You have a girlfriend.
Dom: Who I’m clearly not worried about. I like you. You’re pretty…
Me: Well thank you
Dom: …and you have a good heart.
Me: I *do* have a good heart…
Dom: I can tell that. I watch you.
Me: …but you on the other hand…you’re more like an asshole. [sidebar: he really can be quite rude to people]
Dom: I know! But you balance me out…in so many ways. You’ve got a good heart. I’m an ass. You’re brown. I’m light-skinned…
That conversation was like a minature version of “the talk” for me. Though it didn’t lend me much clarity on where he stands, it helped me clarify where I stand. I’m not flattered by Dominic’s crush, and even if he were free to date me, I don’t think I am able to trust him in a monogamous relationship.
Moving on. I’ve really got to figure out how to move out of this zone where people have crushes on me to a place where they actually want to (and are free to) date me. Once I get to datable, I’ll be looking for the road signs that point me towards marry-able. I’m trying to make moves out here!