You ever hear about men who drop a woman when they’re interested in them? They’ll excuse it because it’s all about the chase. The thrill of having someone fall all over themselves, making a fool of themselves and those around them to then drop them like hotcakes because they got too close…this was me.
I love the chase. That pre-relationship chase is my favourite part of a relationship. It’s that moment when you don’t quite get each other but you’re trying your hardest to “claim” someone. If I can get someone wrapped around my finger I know I’ve succeeded.
Does this sound terrible? That’s because it is. I’m ashamed to say I engaged in this behaviour and that it’s horribly toxic.
I, like many others who fill my shoes, don’t treat my victims like people. They’re just things to fulfill my own pleasure and I have no consideration for their thoughts or motives.
It was the summer and things were getting heated
I knew Alex* from a while back. We’d connected over Facebook because we’d worked together a long time ago. I never talked to him — he’d been my senior and I respected his role as a mentor. We’d connected more because Facebook was a game of “I kind of know you” rather than “I actually want to talk to you.”
He wasn’t particularly active on Facebook (he’s a bit older so he’s from the generation where the internet is for sports news more than anything else) but every once in a while he’d post little tidbits of his life.
He was well liked at our workplace, he was kind of hipster and learned the way an older gentleman would be. Everyone had a bit of a crush on him. I was one of the few that didn’t.
He had posted a picture of some novel he was reading. I’m a literature graduate so I always get a bit of joy finding out what people are reading. I messaged him about it and left some inconspicuous joke or another about it. I don’t remember the details. It started off innocently.
I remember telling my friend about our messages because she had a crush on him. She asked to see the screenshots, of which I dutifully showed her. I remember her shock when she saw them. She’d looked at me and asked why we were being so flirty with each other.
I was being flirty?
I didn’t think I was being flirty but that’s because my natural personality is flirty. The only difference is I usually try my hardest to not be when I know the other person is in a relationship. I just hadn’t thought about it here because Alex was in a relationship when I met him and was still in a relationship at this point.
I told my friend I wasn’t really interested, I just thought we were having conversations. I didn’t think of them romantically, they were just conversations with teasing. My friend was impressed.
Now I’m not blaming my friend for suggesting I continue, she wasn’t a part of the situation and I was an adult at the time. For her, it was very much a game and I should’ve had the moral judgment to say no. Clearly I didn’t.
If I hadn’t been flirting before I was definitely flirting now. My messages started appearing more frequently and he responded every time. There was no hesitation on his part so yeah, I wasn’t the only one being guilty, but that didn’t mean I had to encourage it.
We’d text each other any time of the day
Our messages quickly spiraled into the downright dirty. He’d be messaging me about the things he wanted to do to me and I’d respond coy as if I really wanted him. He’d called me a tease one night and I’d told him I was only a tease if I didn’t deliver. Hook line and sinker.
I didn’t meet with him at this point — but I also kept messaging him. Our conversations were frequent and naughtier every time. At one point he’d told me he couldn’t message me because he’s afraid he’d be a little too hot and bothered at work. I was satisfied I could get him there. I wasn’t feeling any guilt at this point.
It all came to a head not too long after this. I remember sitting at my desk at work. He’d been messaging me all morning and honestly I was kind of getting bored. My heart wasn’t really into it. We hadn’t met since we’d stopped working together and honestly the more interest he showed the less interested I was in him. It was getting to the end of our play.
On the last day I messaged him he was telling me he was going to be in town. His parents lived close by me and he usually rented a hotel room to be with them. His wife was with her friends. He asked if he could come see me or if I wanted to spend the night with him. I danced around the answer asking what he was doing without giving a definitive answer. I’m ashamed to say I was less concerned about his life and more focused on seeing where he was going. He told me he’d be willing to spend the weekend and asked if I wanted to stay. But he hesitated and said he’d have to give an excuse to his wife.
That made me pause.
I hadn’t really thought of his wife before. She was there the whole time, of course, but more like a shadow than as an actual person. She’d always been an idea in passing that I never really thought about. I’d told myself this was the guilt of Alex and that no matter where this went the blame was solely on him. I still believe guilt is split 90/10 here but I also know I didn’t have to put him in the situation where this was an issue, I don’t think he’d cheated before, otherwise he wouldn’t have mentioned it before we’d actually gotten physical. I never really considered his guilt because he never really talked about it, but I also hadn’t asked.
I knew he was married but it just didn’t mean anything to me. And now it did. His wife, this mysterious figure in the background was suddenly someone in the flesh — someone directly affected by our relationship. He was wondering out loud (over text) if he should risk it all and I told him know. I told him it wasn’t worth it.
I think I confused him.
I don’t think he was prepared for me to just pull the brakes, hard stop, but I did. I told him whatever was happening here hadn’t actually happened (I’d consider this cheating if my partner did it though) and that he could stop this before it spiraled anymore. He was surprised but I wasn’t going to convince him to jump into the deep end. I said it was fun and then I subsequently blocked his number. It was terrible, I know.
I remember messaging my friend freaking out, she was confused about me being freaked out. She told me I knew what I was getting into when I’d started and even though I knew, I didn’t know. It’s like knowing a whale is the size of a block — you understand, but you don’t comprehend.
I’d always considered myself detached in a way — as if the people in the conversations weren’t real people. Like it was all a game and I was just orchestrating a game. It was a lesson to learn from. This wasn’t a game, this was real life.
I never found out if the wife found out, if he had confessed or not. I kept my nose out of it and basically pretended we didn’t know each other.
I love the chase but there’s consequences to my actions. The results aren’t worth it.