Oh no. Oh GOD no.
“I’m kind of …” he continued, staring his deep brown eyes into mine, “kind of …with somebody. But I like you SO much and now I don’t know what to do. Do I end it with my girlfriend I’ve invested all this time in to take a risk on someone like you who I barely know? I’m so confused.”
I was confused too. Was I a life coach on an appointment with a client or a single New Yorker looking for love in clearly all the wrong places? For what felt like the first time in 28 years, zero words jumped out of my mouth. But hundreds of questions bounced around my mind, such as:
- “How long have you been with her?”
- “Why did you ask for my number when we met at a bar on St. Patty’s Day if you weren’t single in the first place?”
- “Why did you call me?”
- “Why did you take me out to dinner?”
- “Why did you kiss me?” ‘
- “Why did you insist I meet all of your friends and then introduce me to all of them?”
- “Most important question: Why why WHY did you drag me into this mess?”
When he was finally done professing his love for me but also explaining his love for her, I started to speak, with frequent use of the words “unfair,” “liar,” and “cheater.”
I thanked Mr. FDNY for his honesty – is that even what you call it? – and I wished him the best of luck. Then I went into my apartment, where I live alone, and screamed out loud.
What did I do to deserve such bad luck? Such bad karma? Such drama and disappointment?
When I woke up the next day, part of me wanted to Facebook stalk him, find his girlfriend and clue her into his deceitful ways. Part of me wanted to pull the covers over my head and cry over the fact that the first guy I actually liked in a while belonged to someone else. And part of me wanted to yell out my third floor window with pride in my decision that I refused to become any more emotionally attached to a guy who was emotionally unavailable.
I was back to square one but with a new fear instilled in me – the fear that this could happen again. So I asked a gal pal who was consoling me over Pinkberry: How can I safeguard against this sort of thing short of asking guys I date in the future to sign an affidavit proving they are single?
“Tell him to put a ring on it,” the friend, who thinks she’s Beyonce, suggested.
“A ring on his girlfriend?” I asked.
“No. On his own hand! I’m so sick of hearing these kinds of stories. Guys should have to start wearing relationship rings … or something to show outright that they are taken. They can’t play the field and be in a committed relationship. It’s one or the other. They need to grow up and realize that.”
A relationship ring – brilliant! Many guys clearly can’t handle the responsibility of verbally communicating their relationship status. A ring would be the ultimate filter between single and non-single dating prospects. The idea could even work for engaged men, too.
Take another single girlfriend’s experience if you’re doubting this idea as a way to revolutionize dating. She met a guy at a party, talked to him all night and the next day he emailed her to grab a drink. Being the reporter that she naturally is, she typed his very unique, unusually-spelled name into Google before the date and to her surprise found his wedding registry. If that wasn’t enough, she went one step further and Facebook stalked him where she found photos of him vacationing in South America with a girl of the same name as the future Mrs. D-Bag on the registry.
She wouldn’t have given him her number in the first place if he was wearing a relationship ring.
Relationship expert Andrea Syrtash, author of He’s Just Not Your Type (And That’s A Good Thing): How to Find Love Where You Least Expect It, says the best weapon a woman has against these kind of players is keeping a hopeful attitude that the right guy (an honest guy) will come along – and he won’t have a girlfriend.
“Resilience is one of my steps to dating success because you’re going to encounter heartache and rejection and all these ugly things that come with the territory of meeting people you don’t know and giving them a chance,” Syrtash says.
You could say that again.
“The take-away message,” she continues, “is it’s amazingly easy to be in something when it’s right and with a good partner for you. You’re not going to be sitting there analyzing for hours. If a woman is calling her friends analyzing every angle of the relationship, it’s a sign. If you’re becoming crazy girl and Facebook stalking the guy and polling 20 friends about things that happen in your relationship, that’s your sign that that guy is probably not for you.”
Another sign? If he’s wearing a relationship ring.
If only it was that easy.