Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Debate Over Flirting

My previous entry, about whether or not its ok to flirt with married men/women sparked a bit of interest. Comments were left, emails were sent, tweets were twittered, etc. I have heard arguments from both perspectives.

I felt maybe I should clarify some as to what sparked the train of thought resulting in that entry.

When I was younger, I had this on again, off again boyfriend. It started way back in Grade School, we were like Cory and Topanga on the show "Boy Meets World". Best friends when we weren't "together" as well as when we were. I always seemed to be the one to break it off, but he was always there as a backup when it didn't work out for me with someone else.

About 12 years ago, due to circumstances beyond our control, we became separated by distance, a distance the length of numerous states.

A few months after his departure he wrote to me and professed his love, insisting that one day, as soon as he could, he would return and ask me to marry him.

I was in high school, nowhere near ready to be thinking about marriage, much less marrying a guy who was no longer in the same state as me, and who wouldn't be until well after high school was over. He expected me to finish high school out WITHOUT dating anyone, and just wait for him? I didn't think so.

We continued to write letters back and forth, and call to wish each other a Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas, things like that. He did come back to visit old friends and some family once or twice and we were able to see each other briefly, but that was about the extent of it.

Over time I met and fell in love with a guy, and we got engaged. I also became pregnant. This old boyfriend of mine was devastated and promptly stopped contacting me or returning my letters. I moved on, got married, and continued with my life.

After that marriage ended in divorce many years later, and I was working on rebuilding my life and old friendships that I had been forced to abandon, I found this old boyfriend on a social networking site. I had looked for him online in the past, but never was able to find him. At this time he was also going through a divorce, and ironically we had left our spouses within days of each other. He felt it was fate, that we were meant to find each other, and he told me he planned to move back as soon as his divorce was final and he wanted us to give it another try when he did.

I admit, I considered the possibility. He was, after all, my old stand by. My marriage had failed, why not fall back into my safety net?

After seriously contemplating the possibilities, I realized that, no, it couldn't happen. I had changed and grown in so many ways, not all good ways. I had lost my innocence in a number of ways since the last time we had seen each other, and when I thought of him, I thought of my innocent self. I tried to imagine what it would be like for us to be together after all the things I had been through (many of which I will never post online), and when I tried to imagine us being intimate, I realized that it couldn't happen. We were not the same 2 people we had been before, He was part of my innocence, I could never have sex with him. Not that that is the whole story, but that is about as clearly as I can ever explain it to anyone.

At the time I was considering this, I was also getting to know another man, someone I had been getting to know for many months before I found my old boyfriend on that social networking site, someone who actually lived in the same state as me. I decided to take a leap of faith and NOT go back to my safety net. I chose the road least traveled. Old BF wasn't happy about that and continued to try and convince me that we should be together.

Over time I thought he had figured out that it wasn't going to happen. Especially after I married and had a child with the man down the road least traveled. I thought I had made it clear to everyone just how blissfully happy I AM with this man. He is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me! My old BF even went and got married to the girl he was seeing shortly after finding out that my husband and I had gotten married. I thought it was over.

Until yesterday. I posted a status on this unnamed social networking site, and this is about how it went:

Me: Head. Pounding. Pressure. Pain. Shoot. Me. NOW.

Him: Get a massage. It always worked before.

Me: No one around to massage it for me and me doing it isn't working... hubby is still at work and has his class tonight. And.... WOW..... I haven't seen you in like 10 years and you remember that?

Him: Some things are way too good to forget.

Me: (Trying to avoid where the conversation appeared to be going) Good point.... on the other hand, there are all those things you wish you COULD forget but you can't.

Him: There are a lot of things that I never have been able to forget about.

Me: (Not sure what to say) I believe you.

Him: I miss you.

Now... I really didn't know what to say after that, so I dropped it, went offline completely.

I talked to hubby about it that evening and he said that if he were in the same shoes as that guy, and it was his old GF posting about having a headache, and he wasn't with me... he would feel as if HE should be there to help her through the headache... that by keeping him on my friends list, I am in essence, leading him on.

Should I just remove him completely? I hate to seem like a bitch, I mean he and I have been friends since like 2nd or 3rd grade, and we are nearly into our 30's now! That's a LONG time to be friends with someone, a lot of history. I hate the idea of being rude to people, because I'm just NOT the bitch type, unless I HAVE to be... so the question is...

Do I have to be a bitch?


Chibi Jeebs said...

Wait: am I understanding your hubby right? Just because your husband wasn't home to administer a massage, the... ex (for lack of a better term) should/would feel obligated to help you out?!? That's just weird to me, but maybe I'm reading it wrong... lol

That being said, I don't think you necessarily have to remove him yet. If you would like to be able to remain in contact with him/not be a bitch, explain that you are happily married and that, while you have wonderful memories together, that chapter of your life is over, that he has to respect your decision AND your marriage. Hell, explain the "no, can't go there: too weird" (which I totally get) if you have to.

If it gets to a point that you feel you have to, let him know that if he can carry on a platonic friendship with you, he gets to stay on your friends list; if he can't, he'll be removed.

It's SUCH a touchy thing, this... ex thing. How does your hubby feel about it? I don't see eye to eye with mine on the topic of maintaining friendships with exes, so I'm always curious how other couples handle it.

Good luck!

Mamacakes said...

My hubby is pretty good about the whole remaining friends with an ex thing... he and his ex still stay on friendly terms, even after she got pregnant, convinced him the kid was his, just to find out after nearly $10,000 child support, she wasn't.

I have other old boyfriends on my friends lists on various sites, it just seems to be this particular ex he has a problem with, understandably so, this ex doesn't seem to take a hint very well, lol.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you play with the minds of your exes. This one in particular. If you have never loved him, which I take to be the case since your first husband seems to be the first man you loved according to you, you should just tell him instead of using him.

Mamacakes said...

My husband is far from being the first man I loved. In fact, my first love is also on my friends list on this social network, and I still care about him and consider him a very good friend, and the LAST thing I want to do is lead anyone on or play mind games with anyone. I've been on the other side of that and know how it feels.

I would hope that if these guys felt I was playing mind games or flirting or anything else, that they would let me know. I hate the idea that my actions could hurt someone else, even accidentally.

Jody said...

I have no idea. Part of me says keep him the other part says bye bye because hubby wants him gone.

Mamacakes said...

I wound up taking screen shots of the comments he was posting, and sent them to his wife... She responded and seemed to be the type that without speaking can say "I know my marriage is in trouble, but don't tell me because I'm in denial" she thanked me for showing her but kinda brushed me off... and then he sent me a message and told me he though I had "misinterpreted" what he was trying to say... I let him believe I believed that and went on to tell him in detail how happy I am with my husband and how much I love him...