Missed Connection?

I have asked myself why I am a magnet for married/otherwise committed men on a number of occasions. Do I look like the kind of person that condones cheating? Because I really do not. There is a strong streak of family bonding that runs deep in my psyche, as I come from a closely knit household. There is conviction in the sanctity of relationships, and trust that builds between people.

However, don’t we all know that nothing remains static? So yes, in the past I have been accommodating of dating a man who was in the middle of a divorce. [I was not the cause of this divorce; I came into his life much later.] But ultimately, it creeps me out when someone flirts with me, or worse propositions me, when they are in a relationship. It feels degrading and cheapening. I hate it.

Which is why the following incident had me in a tizzy for a while. But let’s start at the beginning.

One fine day, many years ago, a guy pinged me on Facebook. He had read some tech articles on a website I wrote for back then, and was pleasantly surprised to find out that the author was an Indian chick. We ended up chatting a bit, and we followed each other on Twitter. Twitter, being Twitter, is a great place to get to know strangers. In a sense, there is less of a privacy concern than on Facebook, so it is more relaxed overall.

He and I became friends, and we exchanged phone numbers. We messaged occasionally on Whatsapp, and met a couple of times in Bangalore [where he stays] and in Goa [where I stayed]. We were not romantically involved at all, although we were both single when we met.

As time progressed, he told me about being forced into an arranged marriage with a girl his family. Clearly he was very unhappy with this situation, but he was afraid of hurting/breaking ties with his family, so he expostulated only to a certain extent. The rest of the time, he moaned to his friends, got drunk with them, and then moaned to me. [He also tried to get the girl to dump him, but she refused.]

Messaging me when he was drunk should have been a red flag for me, but I disregarded it most of the time. The second red flag should’ve been the fact that he admitted talking about me to his friends. I disregarded that too. Frankly, he never made any overtures to me whatsoever. So these were minor behavioural outliers for me.

And then he fell headlong in love with a girl in Bangalore, who was – wait for it – also engaged to someone else. They continued on a torrid affair, and were really in love with each other. But family pressures being what they are, they split up, and she married her fiance. His fiancee finally did dump him, much to his joy, and he was “saved from the scaffold”.

I heard most of this saga in real time. And then somehow life carried us away from each other, me with a relationship that took much of my time, familial responsibilities, a move to Mumbai, and a new job. Him, I don’t know much, except he did eventually get married. Perhaps my life events kept him from messaging me too much.

That is until last week. When, completely out of the blue, I get this message. [The screenshot also has my responses.]

I suppose it goes without saying that I was scrambling for a response. So I went with: 1) A deflecting joke. 2) Micro-admission. 3) Change of subject.

It didn’t work.

It took me a good 10 hours to figure out what to say to his second and third message. I could have shut him down, saying he was being inappropriate, but did I want to be so harsh? I wasn’t sure.

If I was in a relationship, would this have happened? It could go either way. Having been with jealous boyfriends, they would not understand that I didn’t want to write off a friendship based on this level of inappropriateness. It isn’t a lot. But then it could have escalated, and I would have been in a soup. I’m not the type of person who hides these sorts of messages from my significant other, because transparency is important.

Basically, my mind was going around in circles because of all the variables, and I finally decided to laugh it off. It was a dismissal, but not a relationship-ending dismissal. Sigh. What treacherous waters we are forced to tread in human interaction.

This was the extent of the interaction, by the way. He has historically thought of me when he is drunk, and I cannot fathom why. And in the middle of the night. Again, red flag. He has never ever flirted with me, or hit on me, so I do not understand the workings of his mind. But I wish that these people, who I enjoy interacting with and whom I do not want to have to jettison from my life, would realise what a sticky position they put me in.

Imagine his wife saw this message. What would that poor soul think? He might mean nothing by it, but why put someone through that? Why put me through this?

If someone who is in a relationship already wants something more from me, they cannot rest in the security of their existing relationship to see if things work out here. That’s unfair. I’m not hedging my bets. They don’t get to hedge theirs.

It is all so very tiring. Sigh.

PS: I don’t even know what he means by “flow”.

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