Life is all about choices. Six months had passed with Jack and I was happier than I had been since moving to Los Angeles – maybe even happier than I had been in five years. I was choosing to spend my time with someone I cared deeply for, and with that relationship I also inherited a slew of new, amazing friends that I was thrilled to see every day. However, though I was having the time of my life and though my feelings were strong, I wasn’t letting myself become waylaid by the “details” of what Jack and I were. We had our thing together and it made me happy. And no one had to understand it but us.
Though, as all relationships do, both friendship and romantic, there comes a time for progression. People become closer and relationships jump to the next level. While Jack and I were becoming closer, we were also stuck in a bizarre kind of limbo that was like walking a tightrope. At any moment there was a chance to fall into new territory; on the left, the friend zone, and on the right, something more.
I was becoming restless. Obviously I wanted something more, but we weren’t there yet. And at the same time, I didn’t feel like I was being fair to myself to wait around for him to see what an awesome person he was missing out on being in a relationship with.
So I made a choice. I downloaded Tinder.
Each day, when I became bored with work, I’d log on and mainly swipe left because of the absolute dogs I’d come across. However, one day, someone attractive flashed across my screen. His name was Aiden. He was devilishly handsome and from what I could tell from his diminutive profile, had a good job and seemed dare I say…normal.
As we began chatting, I told him about my newly-broken foot because I thought it was a great ice breaker, and he told me he owned a strip club and invited me to come in to perform on amateur night. Just as I was amping myself up for a new way to earn some extra cash that I, admittedly, always kind of had a fantasy about, he confessed that he worked in corporate fashion retail instead. He had a sense of humor. Perfect.
After exchanging numbers and a few more days of chatting, I made another choice. To meet him.
He met me at the beach and we had what constituted as the longest date in the history of time. We met at noon and we stayed together until the next day, while behaving ourselves the entire time, so no lines were crossed. We talked for hours about literally everything; friends, family, fun, food, fitness, relationships – you name it. We laughed all day long. It was special too; though I had just met him, I felt closer to him than I did to anyone in such a short period of time, I think because we didn’t put up any walls. I was completely honest with him and confessed how much I hated playing dating games, to which he agreed, which relieved me even more. Although I hated to admit it, my Jack situation was getting pretty gamey, so to find someone who was willing to be as transparent as I was about my feelings was a breath of fresh air. I welcomed it with open arms.
After Aiden left, yet another choice was made: to see each other again, which was an idea that I couldn’t help but smile about.
A few days later, after hanging out with Jack and him telling me some particularly unsettling news, I realized it: I was in love with someone I couldn’t have. Though our time together was honest and mind-blowingly fun and exciting, there was a downside in that my feelings kept getting hurt. What I wanted, I couldn’t have, and there was no way to get it. And yet, rather than distance myself like any normal person would, I stayed and continued to spend time with him. I stayed because the connection between us was so visceral and undeniable, I couldn’t be apart from him because it hurt too good. Whatever our relationship was, whatever unclassifiable form it existed in, there was something there. And we both knew it. We just didn’t know how to define it. And what scared me even more was the thought that maybe we never would be able to.
When Aiden texted me that evening, I made a choice to have dinner with him that week. Though Jack had my heart, I knew that the choice to see Aiden could potentially turn into something rewarding and possibly more promising, which gave me hope.
And then I wondered; maybe there isn’t such a thing as a right choice or a wrong one. Maybe each choice is just the precursor to a lesson instead. Maybe it’s just a matter of coming to a fork in the road and deciding which lesson you want to learn about yourself the most. And in that moment, at that fork, I decided to choose the direction I hadn’t been down before, because at least I knew that if nothing else, it would be different. I’d be off the tightrope completely and into a whole new territory.