Yikes, Internet! Have I been slacking.
I’m gonna be straight with you. This particular post, it was a tough one for me. You’ll see why. I think you’ll understand.
Date Number 11 was with a guy named Luis. He and I met at a luau themed restaurant near me that has been in business forever despite never seeming to have any patrons. Luis works in finance. His personality reminded me a bit of my ex, actually. Smart. Subtly arrogant. When I asked him about his line of work, he prefaced a story by saying, “I don’t know if you remember this thing called the financial crisis that happened around 2008?”
Nah, bro. Never heard of it.
Luis has only been doing the online thing for a few months. He picked it up in March, when a long term relationship of his fell apart. “It’s something to help get my mind over the loss, I guess. It takes some getting used to”.
I can attest to the truth of that statement. I know it did for me, when my ex and I called it. I asked him to tell me what happened. And so he did.
“That was the end of 2007 until forever. She was from Texas. Out of school, I couldn’t find a job in finance. I started selling insurance and ended up with more clients down south. You know, people are nicer down there. So we moved to Texas. Some stuff with my mom happened, she got sick, and I had to come back. That was the end of 2011. I got a job in finance, but she was all settled in down South. I started hanging out with other people. Getting tempted. I ended up cheating on her. I kept getting away with it. Until I couldn’t anymore. One of my coworkers, at the time… we ended up being physically intimate. She got pregnant by me. She told me she was almost certain she was going to keep the baby. And that forced me to come up clean, with everything.”
This is a rough story, but it’s a common one, really. Long distance is hard. Monogamy is hard. Honesty is hard. Sex is easy. While that doesn’t excuse this type of behavior, we have all heard it before. But the next part of this hit me in a different way. Because 2011 is not several months ago, but several years. Which means that Luis’s recent ex, after all this, stayed with him.
“She was devastated. But she stood by me. We tried to see if we could still hold on to something. Which brings us to very recently, this past March. She never wanted to have a connection with my daughter. I get it, because this is a being that exists that reminds her of my fuck up. All I wanted was for her to feel like my daughter was a member in her family. But I never felt she would feel that. And she has a right to feel that way. I remember a cousin of hers sent a baby picture, and she got so emotional about her cousin’s daughter. I never felt she would feel that for my kid. I never felt I could show her pictures of my daughter. That was tragic for me. I told her I couldn’t do it anymore. The whole situation.”
This is a particular brand of story, Luis’s. Because it’s life-altering. It’s the kind of thing that happens to you where you look inside yourself and you’re never quite the same. Luis told me that after all of it went down, he was angry for a whole year. I fucking bet. I bet his ex was angry even longer. “Cheating is like alcoholism. You count the days where you haven’t done it”. Luis said that to me. That made me feel a way that I definitely sort of hated. Partially because it’s horrible, and dismal, and truly, next level sad, but also because I know how honest it is. As much as I’d rather not admit it, that feeling isn’t completely unfamiliar to me.
And here’s the thing. I’ve been going on a lot of dates. And recently, one of them has managed to stick. We have been out more than once. I think about him a bit more than just how he’s gonna fit on my blog. But this shit with my ex did the thing to me that I can probably guess also happened to Luis, and his ex, and the mother of his child. Changed them in an actual, significant way. For the first time in maybe my whole life, my sadness isn’t just the mourning of a loss that although tough, I know I will recover from. I get why people do such dishonest shit to one another. If they end up hurting you, at least you’ve already got something in the bank. I win.
But of course we don’t actually win. Acting out of fear instead of faith is rarely the right choice. But I get it. It’s hard to trust, when your trust has been broken.
“I’ve been in the situation, where you immediately connect, and from the other end, it’s receptive. I don’t like using words like love at first sight, or anything like that, but it’s akin to that. It’s chemistry. I’ve had it before. So, I’m looking for it again. Why settle for less than great? It’s a real thing. In Spanish, there’s a word, ‘chispas’. It means like, where sparks are flying. It’s rare. When you have it, don’t fuck it. Don’t fuck it up, guys.”