The Competition

During the time I thought Handsome was actually trying to be with me in some meaningful way I often wondered if he ever felt jealous of Mark.  I suppose, had Handsome been genuinely interested, he might have thought he had reason to be…  I mean, I do live with Mark.

In reality though, he really wouldn’t have had reason to be jealous…

It’s interesting.  One of the strengths of my relationship with Mark is his ability to give me freedom.   But, it’s also a huge weakness at the same time.  I think a little jealousy can be a sign of genuine feeling in a romantic relationship, and so long as it doesn’t become obsessive or over-the-top I think it’s quite normal.  And, Mark has never been one to get jealous…

Today Mark and I went out for lunch at a local Irish pub and talked about life.  Mark is so wise these days (and has been for a good while now)…  I wish Handsome had a friend like Mark. I wish a lot of people did.  Maybe Handsome does…  I hope.   And, as I’ve said, if Mark and I get divorced, I really hope Mark is able to find a woman worthy of who he has become (and always was in some way)… (Again) I’m sure he would be able to be an amazing husband to the right woman in the right relationship…  That’s just the sort of man he is.

So, as I’ve explained, I gave up with Handsome because I believe I found out there was genuine competition for his affections and I seemingly also discovered that I was not special to him in any sincere way?  But, aside from the issue of whether or not he just considered me an amusing distraction, it might seem extreme to some people to seriously worry about other women in a man’s life before you have any sort of agreed upon relationship with him.  Really, though,  I don’t care how extreme that might be…

I competed with at least ten other women for Mark.  Ten (at least).  All at once…  in a period of about 9 months or so…   And, I just don’t have the emotional capacity to deal with a situation even remotely resembling that anymore.

And see, the intriguing thing was that every single woman in Mark’s life at that time thought she was the only one for him.  They all thought he loved them.  They all thought they loved him.  All of them (and probably others too).  So, they had an enormous amount of conviction.   And, yet, sadly that was all inspite of the fact that he would tell them clearly that he didn’t even want to seriously date them (he did not tell me that but more or less said he “didn’t know” and needed time) He was just that “good” at giving mixed signals to people, I guess.  And, he was just that desirable…

I had had some experience with guys cheating on me and there was a guy I dated who was still in love with his ex girlfriend, but I had never experienced anything like Mark.

Women were attacking me left and right and/or trying desperate maneuvers to sabotage what they thought was a budding relationship.   And ex-girlfriends were sometimes randomly resurrected for added anxiety: for example on one occasion he explained to me that he wanted to improve his French and so had contacted his French ex girlfriend to practice.

I could never relax and just enjoy things.  Aside from flirting in front of me, he’d get naked photos texted to him on dates too (I found them later while we were living together when I was used his phone once).  Women also went so far as to invite him on carefully timed sexy vacations to keep him from making any sort of commitment (and he did go on one vacation to Mexico for a week).

One of the women became my friend.  And, one night when we all went to an indie folk rock concert together she made a play for Mark to go make out with her in some dark and secluded place upstairs and then encouraged me to go “talk” to the musician who seemed to be flirting with me from the stage.

It was… memorable.  And, I actually really even seriously considered going and talking to the musician afterwards (he was signing autographs) because he seemed more taken with me than Mark was.  He gave me some smoldering eye contact off and on from the stage, seemed to be singing one of the songs just to me, and then appeared to be inviting me to come see him after the concert (and no I’m not just bragging).

But, Mark being totally oblivious to all of it for some reason, actually bought a cd, brought me with him to get an autograph and then offered a name for the song while I stood there feeling overwhelmed in silence (and no he was truly oblivious to what was going on)…   The singer was totally cold to Mark but then shot me this intense look and our eyes locked periodically until I left the building (he literally turned away from the everybody and watched me leave while making eye contact).   It was…   hard to know what to do because I did find him attractive, he was very talented and again, he seemed more engaging than Mark.  But I felt a loyalty to Mark…     I do wonder sometimes what would have happened if I had ditched them to talk to this man though…  Some part of me would still like to think Mark would have cared.  But, I’m glad I didn’t do it.

Anyway, it was honestly a totally hellish experience dating Mark and yet I couldn’t will myself to get out of it…   I know the others couldn’t either.

He had something about him…  He was addictive.  Truly…  And, before someone thinks it was just about sex, let me be clear that it wasn’t (at least in a physical sense).   He just…  He had this thick, beautiful curly hair that was sun kissed and a perfect tan from running outside without a shirt on (he ran marathons, as I’ve said).  And then beneath that were these gorgeous, piercing blue eyes and a handsome, manly face.  Mark bore a striking overall resemblance to Michelangelo’s David.  It couldn’t have been a total coincidence that he had at least one art history major who was into him.   But, it was his manner.   He knew how to have fun.  He was entertaining, daring and going on a date with him was really an adventure.  He drew your attention with his looks, but he intoxicated and captured you with his presence.  He seemed so alive (even though he often was actually a bit tipsy)…

He looks back at that time and doesn’t like to have conversations about it.  He is a very different person now and I’m not just stupidly saying that as hard as it probably is to believe.  Sometimes it boggles my mind actually…   But, he decided that method of living didn’t serve him anymore so he just ended it.  He really broke up more with his old self than any woman…

Perhaps it all got old for him…   I remember once having a very worldly woman in her 40’s, who was a friend of mine, tell me that she didn’t worry about Mark cheating on me if we got married.  She said he had probably “gotten it out of his system” and wouldn’t bother with it…  I often wonder why she knew that about him because it seems like you hear the “people don’t change” cliche more often than anything else.  But people are all so different and cliches are indeed cliche for a reason…

Mark always says that he wants his word to mean something and I suppose it does.  He did, after all, tell those women he didn’t want to ever marry them…  And he was always punctual and never broke any dates…  He didn’t lie.  Perhaps that was part of what fascinated women.  You knew there were others – he didn’t even try to hide it.  But he did it with such a jovial, confident and carefree attitude that you almost believed it didn’t matter…

Anyway, it wasn’t worth it to date him.  Well, that’s not true.  I have my son.  And I do adore Mark as a person, as I said at the start…  But, if I examine the romantic relationship separately I do not think it was of any other value than as a lesson in what not to do…

I remember one time, in the midst of it, I was out with friends of mine and I had waiter at a restaurant, who knew them, tell me that I shouldn’t date anyone I didn’t really want to want to find myself spending the rest of my life with.  I should be careful not to waste my time and their time…  He gave me this sweet, sad and lovely stare when he said it…   There was a haunted look on his face, as if he knew very well where I was going to find myself. He knew…  I can still picture him looking at me, a quiet tender attraction developing between us, and then he faded, disappearing into himself.  One of my friends noticed our interaction and tried to get him to come out with us that night.  She worried about my relationship with Mark and thought I should go after the waiter…  I wish he had come out with us that night and kept telling me the truth, but, those friends were pretty wild back then (cocaine, etc.) and since they were open about it, I suspect it’s possible he knew what was going to happen and didn’t want to get involved with it…  (I didn’t want to get involved with the wildness either and eventually found my way to Mark’s, but that’s a different story)

Anyway, I will never make this mistake or anything even a bit like it a second time (at least intentionally).   A man will have to have a free heart – no sincere attachments to compete with, no other serious flirtations, and he must have genuine interest…   I refuse to give another woman any reason to get angry at me over a man.  I want my next relationship to be about happiness and love not competition – winning and losing.   No, I can’t compromise again in the same way (even a little), no matter how amazing a man might be in every other way.  I just can’t…

My next journal post will be about the man I hope to someday meet.  Until then…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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