Ever since we broke up, The Second One and I have seen each other at least twice a week. Once at church on Sunday. Once on Wednesday at our small group. I sit across from him in a circle of people. These people are meant to support each other through daily life, eat meals together, do life things together. So there I am, staring at his handsome bearded face while he reads the discussion questions for that week. While he walks us through the “highs and lows” of our weeks.
We’ve barely talked. I just avoid him and attempt not to get frustrated as he tries to appear vulnerable. He never is though. I knew him really well. I knew his secrets so I would get irritated every time he dipped his ladle into the shallow pool instead of diving in to the deep end. How does one lead a group without being vulnerable? How does one build intimate relationships without sharing of him or herself?
But that’s it. Not too bad. Nothing good either.
An employee of mine, who also goes to our same church, came in to my office a few weeks ago. She told me how she had been having lunch with a friend of hers before the break. He was talking about the new guy he was dating and how cute and nice he was. He showed her an Instagram picture of that had me in it. I get excited, thinking we have a mutual friend, “Robert? Fisher??” I ask. She tells me to think harder and guess again. Ohhhhhh. Oh my. “The Second One”.
Now, I think there’s nothing wrong with being gay. Or bisexual. Or lesbian. Or pan sexual. Or however you want to define yourself. I do, however, think it is polite, kind, and socially accepted practice that you tell the person you are dating (seriously dating for that matter) before, ya know, let’s say BEFORE you look for engagement rings. Or before you meet her parents. Or maybe the second date.
Mostly I just want to know if he knew about this leaning/identifier/preference before we were dating or if he figured it out later? He knew it before. I know this because I went over to his house. The house he bought for me after I said I wasn’t ready to receive an engagement ring. It’s an adorable little mid-century house with this weird and huge corner fireplace. It has the biggest, lush backyard perfect for twinkling lights and wine. He wanted a crappy little new build on the outskirts of town. I didn’t mean to pick out a house when I told him I hated the cookie-cutter one he loved, but he signed on the mid-century the next week. Anyways, I asked him if he liked males sitting next to him on his couch. He said he did. That he always knew he had this preference. That “I guess you could say I’m bisexual”. After we broke up he had quite a few partners, finding them on Tinder, introducing them to his roommates as he brought them in to his room and had sex with them. He told me many times how much he wanted to marry me, and he barely touched me. Makes sense.
I told him how hurtful it was. How him doing all of these things appeared to rub off on the rest of his life, especially with our small group at church. It’s a bunch of single “young professionals” who really rely on each other for emotional, spiritual, and familial support. We commit to being there for each other. We show up. Except The Second One. He is the male “leader” of the group but never asks questions, or shows up to events, or stays longer to chat with everyone, or volunteers to help people paint the new houses they purchase. He told me he was mad at me and had no desire to lead our group. Which is terrible because it has affected the morale of our group and chased the boys away. For several months we only had 2 consistently show up.
I told him I think he should stop leading then. Not because he likes guys, but because he doesn’t care about the rest of us. He essentially agreed. He never apologized for knowing that he was gay and not telling me. He didn’t care that he hurt me.
So here I am. Embarrassed that I’m that girl that dated a guy that is clearly gay. Just like my friends told me. Just like my dad implied when he gently and tactfully said “Well, there seems to be a effeminate air about him. You can tell that he was raised around women.” I’m that girl that alienated my friends when The Second One said dumb things like gays and lesbians are “your people” and knew the exact difference between lip gloss, tint, stick, and balm. I’m mortified that my friend’s men hated him. Who wants to date the guy who other guys don’t like? My best friend hated him and we had to go through many intense fights about him and us. I spent 8 months planning my life with him, going on trips, getting to know his flaws and his favorites, trying to figure out why he stopped showing me affection, and cleaning up his piss the night he got too drunk and peed in our room on his work’s summer trip to the lake. I’m a parody of 21st century love stories. I’m a parody of 20 something girl’s and their search to find someone.
But you know what? At least I’m not 38, married to The Second One, with 3 kids and 1 house, and a terrible marriage where I walk in and find him having sex with my coworker’s best friend who he met at my company’s Christmas party. At least it’s not that.