“I think the worst thing about my ex,” she says. “Wasn’t that he treated me badly. He was actually pretty good to me.”
I nod. “It always seemed that way, from the outside.”
“It was that he didn’t treat me any better than anyone else,” she says.
“Are you talking about his other partners? Did you want to be primary?”
“No,” she says. “I’m talking about women who weren’t even dating him. He put every kinky poly woman he knew up on a pedestal.”
“Ooo boy,” I say. “So while you were investing in him, giving him special treatment –”
“He was out there throwing himself at women who barely knew he existed. Who didn’t care if he lived or died.”
I’ve known her for a long time. Well enough to know that she’s secure. I’ve never heard her say anything like this. So my first thought is that what she’s saying isn’t an exaggeration, the giant shadow puppets that jealousy and fear can cast on the wall. No, I suspect I’m hearing the truth here — or something very close to it. “That sounds rough,” I say.
“It was,” she says. “It gets me that it even bothers me… but it was pretty bad… okay, here’s an example. He was supposed to help me at an event I was working at. Help me set up, tear down, be my ride after. We’ve planned this out, weeks in advance. Everything’s set up, agreed. He seems all excited to help me. And then suddenly, out of the blue, he comes in asking me about the exact timing. Because some random kinky girl he knows is on Facebook saying she has an extra ticket to a play if anyone wants to go with her. And he wants to see if he can do both. But doing both in this case would mean he could help me set up, but of course he won’t be available to tear down. And he can’t be my ride.”
“I didn’t know he liked the theater,” I say.
“That’s the thing. He doesn’t,” she says.
“And it gets worse. I tell him the timing of my shift, and so he goes and reaches out to this girl, and she tells him ‘oh no, I’m good.’ But then she turns around and reposts another status asking if anyone wants to go with her — this time with him filtered out. I can see it, but he can’t.”
I groan involuntarily. “So he was willing to flake on being your ride –”
“To go see a play he doesn’t want to see with a girl who doesn’t want to see it with him. Yes.”
“That is fucking terrible,” I say.
“I felt like a fool,” she says. She looks so sad when she says this.
“Well, you’re not.”
“Thanks,” she says.” “It’s just… I don’t understand new shiny syndrome…and I wish I did.”
I sigh. “Me neither. I really wish I could help you out. But I don’t get it either.”
“It’s okay,” she replies. “We can drink to our confusion.”
“To our confusion,” I say, clinking my coffee mug against hers.
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