Secret Love Life

That’s what I wanted to write about.

Someone thinks they are dating me. I think it funny, because I don’t think I’m dating them. So far we have met for coffee, and a dinner. That’s it. No physical action taking place whatsoever. We are fast approaching the third “date,” and everyone knows what that means…..

I think we are hanging out.

Which brings me back to the question I have been grappling with ever since I moved to LA: what constitutes a date? One friend (who I was interested in) told me a date was when one or both parties has an intention that the meeting then leads to the physical realm. I asked him after he pronounced that if he thought of our eating a meal together (which we were doing) as a date. He said “Absolutely not!” Of course he didn’t ask me. And according to his own definition, if he had, he would have found we were on a date.

Anyway, so dating. This male person who thinks we are dating that I think we are just hanging together, gave me a full natal horoscope chart for my own use. I saw something in it I had never read about myself, that I had a tendency to have secret love affairs. It goes further to say “you may get involved in secret love affairs or fall in love with a person who is quite unavailable to you…” and “You can be quite mysterious to others, even if you don’t mean to be, because your romantic needs are kept hidden.” And finally, the coupe de grace: “Although you are quite naturally drawn to relationships that are unusual, secret, challenging, and unequal, do take the time to examine why this may be the case. Be certain that you are not, in some way, punishing yourself because you don’t feel worthy of an equal and public relationship.”

At first I laughed when I read this, because I was thinking of my present involvement, with an entity unnamed, who probably never entertains the thought of being seen in public with me, and certainly never mentions me publicly, despite 10,000+ public tweets to date. (Not all since I have known him. I’m just saying if he wanted to be public about it, he certainly could be, but chooses not to be, thus, secret.)

But then I got to thinking about previous entanglements. I got married in secret. Neither of our families knew anything about it, not until we were getting a divorce.  Of course everyone knew we were a couple, just not that we had married. I remember being at a party where someone who only knew us after we had divorced came up and said he never knew we had been a couple, which I guess proved we played well together afterwards. No one suspected.

And then there was the fellow co-worker I got involved with, whom I didn’t realize wanted to keep me a secret until his roommate walked in on us fooling around on the couch in the dark, and he jumped about three feet away before the light got turned on. Oh, so it’s that way, I remember thinking.

Or the other co-worker I expressed interest in, who admitted he also felt attracted to me, but out of respect for his boss being my ex, he felt he couldn’t get involved with. Of course, it didn’t help he was having a secret relationship himself, which I obviously knew about, and felt his getting involved with me would be a perfect solution, since we could at least be public. But no go. Rejected.

Or the boyfriend I had the summer following high school. Not sure if he ever considered me a girlfriend, because when he returned to college, he mentioned his girlfriend was happy to see him again. Oh. A girlfriend. Didn’t know. Didn’t talk to him for a few years after that revelation.

Or the former boyfriend of a friend, when I went to go visit her in another state, and she had her former bf entertain me since she was busy that particular weekend, but I could stay at her place, and when we ended up in a compromised position on her bed, and he thought he heard her key in the lock, and also scrambled to get away, again I thought, so it’s that way, and, guess they aren’t so former bf and gf…. (She wasn’t at the door. It was just his guilty conscience. I swear, both of them confided in me that they were no longer a couple, so I really didn’t think there was a problem. She appreciated my showing up as a way to get her apartment key back from him without being weird about it.)

What else? The ex-boyfriend who kept coming back, and yet was in relationships with other women. Someone pointed out that I had become the other woman. My logic ran, but I knew him first, I was there first, how did that make me the other woman? Oh, yeah, I guess his girlfriends at the time probably didn’t see it that way. He kept me a secret from them, but I knew about them.

Secrets all. I think the vast majority of my relationships have in some way been secretive or hidden. I don’t strive for it, it just happens. And like I have conveyed above, some I didn’t even know were secrets until a third party showing up made it obvious. (Or a phantom third party.)

So maybe, this person who currently thinks he is dating me, and me thinking I’m not, has more to do with how few public, healthy, acknowledged relationships I have had. Having had dinner last night with a friend who isn’t interested in me in the slightest, and yet whom I find it very hard not thinking about kissing every time I’m around him, I have to say the man who thinks he is dating me I do not have the same reaction to. Not attracted to. That’s a reason to not be dating, right?

And then finally, I have to add the observation of one of my students. She asked me what I did Valentine’s Day, and I rolled my eyes and said “Nothing.” So I did see my secret lover, but what of it? There were no chocolates or flowers or dinner or champagne or professions of love, far from it. Very little kissing was involved, for that matter. And I love kissing. I wasn’t going to mention any of that to her. She looked me straight in the eye and said “Sarah, you make it sound like you don’t deserve a boyfriend.”

She’s in 8th grade. I think she has a valid point, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since she said it.

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