We got back from our four days of working on John’s home on a Sunday night in January 2012. I didn’t see John the next day, but we got together on Tuesday for coffee and to go over the applications for tenants.
We were sitting side by side at the Starbucks we’d first met at and John had applications spread out on the table. His phone was there too.
Within just a few minutes his phone lite up with a text message. From Toni.
He grabbed it quickly and put it away, and as he did my heart sank. Toni…with an i. That is a girl’s name. So I straight up asked him who Toni was.
He casually told me she was a girl he’d gone hiking with the day before. I asked how he met her and his answer almost choked me.
“I met her on Match.”
I picked up my things and got up and walked out. John quickly followed and asked me to sit in his truck so we could talk.
I listened to him tell me how he got back online while we were working on his house together. And that he quickly found a woman to meet the day after we returned. Everything moved in slow motion and I wasn’t even able to respond for a few minutes.
We were friends first. But when we moved that friendship to an intimate one, I thought things were different. I assumed he felt the same way I did and wanted to “advance” our relationship.
Boy was I wrong.
He said the thought of being in a serious relationship was too much for him. And he just wanted to date casually. I sat there, in his truck, trying to understand it all.
And somehow words came out of my mouth that to this day I don’t understand.
With a show of bravado I said, “That’s fine. Go ahead and date all you want. And good luck finding anyone better than me.” And I agreed to keep dating him while we were both open to dating other people.
I had one stipulation though. Just one. And it was an iron clad one.
If he wanted to have an intimate relationship with me, it was to be exclusive. If not, we were done and he was welcome to go off and do whatever he wanted to do, just as long as it didn’t involve me.
He agreed and when I got out of his truck to walk to my car, he came around and grabbed me and picked me up, hugging me hard. It was one of the saddest moments for both of us.
He was clearly afraid, and so was I. But for different reasons.
I was afraid my heart was getting in the way of logic and I would be deeply hurt. John was afraid to get into a committed relationship and that he would lose me in the process.
The next few months would test my logic and my heart to the point of throwing in the towel.