Having been distracted royally by crushes, I had left Goran far far behind. When he got in touch once in a blue moon this year I was happy enough to see him. We got on well, but his domestic and dating life were just as fraught as when I first knew him. More recently he had been dating a buxom young thing, so young in fact that she was in the high risk category for a particular STD – chlamydia – rife amongst the under 25s apparently. So of course he too succumbed but was sufficiently gentlemanly to alert me to his woeful state of health. Fortunately we had been cautious in our few intimate encounters this year that my foray back to a sexual health clinic brought forth happy negative news.
We continued our occasional chats over the virtual ether, met once for dinner and then he said that the recent STD scare was enough for him to decide on giving up the polyamorous lifestyle. I wished him and his missus bonne chance and realised that that may have been the last time I heard from him.
It was a tad awkward holidaying with Julius when I had to tell him that I didn’t want to be his lover anymore. Fortunately there was a lot to see and sites to visit to distract us, I reasoned. I had also packed a book, a pair of headphones, downloaded several audiobooks and kindle editions for those long journeys on a plane or bus. Whilst I was straining to be as far away from him as possible, he had been under the impression that we could continue being affectionate with each other. So at the end of the first day I was blindsided by his recriminations at being ignored.
By the end of the third evening, I tried to devise a method of avoiding these pre-bedtime conversations that went by the same tune – poor me, nasty you, poor, poor me – at one point I wondered aloud why he would continue to want the friendship of someone so clearly undeserving of amity. I knew that I was behaving unreasonably – but the more he harangued me and the more he tried to insist on being kissed and held, the colder I felt. I tried to go to bed a few hours after him but he would still be awake, wanting to rehash the day and the failing relationship.
On the last full day of our holiday, we had accidentally got separated on the way to visit the National Library. He had been importuned by a street peddler outside the Caravaggio cathedral whilst I had carried on, thinking he was bound to catch up with me later. As it was the exhibition was small and I went around the dusty, silent reading room on my own. There were architectural plans for the rejuvenation of the city on display besides ancient volumes with illustrations, in glass cabinets, beneath signs stating the amount of money required for restoration, for example there was a volume of Torah whose pages were defaced by a wormwood trail, the other four volumes languishing behind it in an unpromising pile. Having seen all I wanted to see, I descended the stairs and exited the building onto a square where I sat on a bench next to Queen Victoria to wait for J. He eventually arrived, hot with perspiration and of course I was blamed for abandoning him and for his sweaty and fruitless search. Luckily, a wedding couple with their attendant photographers arrived behind him and he couldn’t be aggrieved for too long at the sight of the antics of this party.
I gave him a final hug goodbye when we parted at the airport – I to catch my coach and he his train. There were signs during the holiday of why I realised we were unsuited to each other and if there’s a lesson to be learnt here, it is that one should not be in a hurry to make long term plans, holidays or dates too early in a relationship.
I back away, one, two, in measured steps
My eyes hold you there, safer from afar
We can only smile and don’t go over
that awkward ground, where this fragile tendresse
fell to pieces that night. We skirt the shards
of broken glass slowly and carefully
Drawing ever widening ellipses
until I cannot see you anymore
Whilst I realise that I’m not entirely able to stick to my word – for example I’d told Goran that I probably wasn’t going to meet anymore new men – when in fact I still had one live online dating profile up and was occasionally flirting with the more interesting men out there, meant that inevitably there was going to be a date or two with someone new sooner or later.
Which was what happened last night. After Goran cried on my shoulder over the bust up with his new woman last Thursday, he had also made it clear that I was no longer shag buddy of the moment. I asked him again why he thought talking to me was going to resolve the issues he had with pugilistic new woman – she had thrown an almighty temper tantrum which ended with Goran getting a black eye and ruptured eardrum. The answer he’d given hadn’t been flattering – I needed to get all this off my chest. And after all the TLC I’d showered on him too! Patience has never been my strongest suit … perhaps it really was time he had a less poly and strictly monogamous relationship with his missus. He said they had been considering exactly this, that she might also give up the man she was seeing on the other side of the world. I am really done with being led on or used. He’d tried to assuage any guilt re his culpability – I haven’t led you on, have I? I had laughed about it, but on further analysis can only conclude that he is as great about deceiving himself as the next man, and perhaps everyone else too – NW (with rather bruising consequence), his wife, and me.
Bidding him adieu, with a tinge of sadness but knowing also that I had had a lucky escape (once again), I ended up flirting outrageously that evening with a couple of new guys and asking one of them, the photographer pro at the other end of the OkCupid app if he was willing to meet up. Long story short, he came up to my neck of the woods earlier this afternoon and was just the right sort of geeky sexy and eager enough to check into the Hendon Hall Hotel. It had been far too long since the last time I had had hotel sex, and I realised how much I missed the frisson of excitement and naughty fun that evoked. When I left him, spent and sated, I came home feeling quite pleased with my efforts.
He had been most appreciative of what I had to offer and although I liked to think that I was also honest in my dealings with him, revealing that I would not be available next week as I was joining Ewan in the Scottish Highlands, I could not be certain that there might be a second date. He had confided quite early on that he was hoping to meet the One, but was not averse to a little fun along the way – so aren’t we all too?
There are moments when my thoughts turn to Goran and when they do I might look at his whatsapp status to see when he was last online. Once when I was looking I saw that he was also online and quickly clicked back, as if he might catch me checking up on him. Of course he wouldn’t, he’d only see, if he had been checking, that I was also online. I might be messaging someone else. Still, I told myself to stop it and archived his messages. Then it had only been about three days since we agreed to stop seeing each other until I came back from my holiday in May.
Archiving helped because his name was no longer on the screen when I clicked on the app to message anyone else. And dating and meeting other people who were genuinely poly also took my mind off him. I was beginning to miss him less and when thoughts of him crept up on me I would remind myself of those few days just before I left for Copenhagen last year and how it didn’t seem to matter to him how I might feel about being let down. And the lack of reciprocity when it came to meeting up. So I was able to forget him a little bit more.
But then in the middle of last week he sent me a message asking when I was leaving – and for two days after that the messaging back and forth between us resumed. I asked him why he had got back in touch and he said he missed me, he also said he missed shagging me. When we told each other about our less than sparkling dates with other people and he related his near disastrous attempt at sex with his missus when he visited her back home I wondered if the real reason for his resuming contact was to make another date. It seems the ex-girl friend was still lodging until next month when she had booked her ticket to go home and they were following a TV drama series in the evenings together. He claimed they weren’t having sex with each other – that had never really been an issue for me – he had always maintained that he did not want to mislead her again. So I asked him if he wanted to meet up that evening but he declined citing how cold it was and how he didn’t feel like leaving the house. Well, that felt like a real slap on the face!
Consequently when he suggested meeting a couple of days before I was due to catch my flight in three weeks’ time I was not positively pre-disposed towards him. I took my time in thinking about his suggestion – he then sent another message to say we should pencil in that date in our diaries. Eventually I decided to make an excuse that my diary was full the week running up to my departure and told him that we should keep to our initial plan of radio silence until my return. His Oh, Ok speaks volumes I suppose. I despair at my own petty tit for tat retaliative tactic and remind myself that this was no healthy relationship and that I should trust my instinct which is telling me he was either not that into me or not able to be honest.