“I don’t hate you” I told Antonio*, when I found out he was with someone new. I knew by the way they flashed their honey-moon phase relationship that they had just started dating, and probably just met. It was sickening, in your face, social media PDA. Only a month had past since we had went away together. I wasn’t ignorant enough to consider the possibility they had met after the last time we had seen each other. There was an overlap.
I could have sworn he cared about me. Did I make a fool out of myself? How could I have been so sure of somebody who was unsure of me? It felt like every bit of happiness in my body was drained out of me. My mind was unable to grasp the deception.
Yet Strangely, I didn’t hate him. I was outraged, and it was justified. When I thought of him with someone else I felt nauseous. Somehow, I still believed everything he told me. When he said he wanted to be with me, when he told me the details of a future he imagined between us. In broken English he desperately told me his predicament, and although he wasn’t entirely clear in his explanation, I felt as though I understood his motives.
I truly believe it is possible to love two people at once. Think of all the people you genuinely love in your life; most of you can think of at least 5. Now, picture all the people you’re sexually attracted to; most of you can think of at least 50. It is highly likely that at some point in a person’s life, two people will fall into both categories simultaneously. There are times we find ourselves without any romantic interest at all, but every so often we are left in a predicament– which one do we care for most? What Antonio and I had was genuine, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t have feelings for someone else too. This isn’t to argue what is morally “right”, simply what is biologically and socially possible.
I wasn’t convenient. I wasn’t the safe bet. It isn’t my place to say his decision was made solely on logic, but I certainly wasn’t the “right choice.” Sometimes we find ourselves inconveniently in love. Maybe we will never be together, but the days we spent with each other didn’t mean nothing. I hope he doesn’t think of me as a“what if”, but instead a “what was”; and what it was, was beautiful, adventurous, and worth the tears. I can’t remember the last time I felt that low, but I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt at all.
The girl he chose over me lived significantly closer in proximity (by about 1,000 miles.) She was very attractive, and short (he was vertically challenged.) Although her stunning looks did catch me off guard (literally, first time I saw her was on Instagram,)I found comfort in the fact that she spoke Spanish. My foreign language capabilities were lacking, and neither of his parents spoke English. When I say I was inconvenient, I was actually the impossible choice.
I told him I didn’t hate him, because I had been in a very similar situation a few summers prior. I had genuine romantic feelings for two guys, to the extent where I spent most of my days evaluating my emotions. For months I was unable to fathom giving either of them up. They offered me two different scenarios, and for awhile nobody forced me to make a decision. It was as if I had the perfect relationship, only it consisted of two different guys who didn’t know about each other. Never in my life had I felt more secure about myself, but it wasn’t everlasting. You can’t continue a plateaued relationship forever. At some point society will declare that its been too long and overnight you’re a bad person. But one still has the great qualities the other doesn’t, they offer something you don’t want to give up.
With great love comes great excitement, possibility, and often times pain. With two great loves comes confusion and impossible decisions. Although in the beginning the juggle lifestyle is a mechanism to avoid pain, the opposite often ensues. We choose to be with two people because each offers something the other doesn’t at a given time.
Just as Antonio did, I chose the safest bet. I don’t think it was the wrong choice. I selected the guy who I knew I could make a relationship work with, at least for the time being. This isn’t to say my feelings towards him were subpar to my other option, but what we had was predictable. It was exactly what I needed at the time. We can’t help who we develop feelings for, but we are in complete control over who we end up with. Then again, the guy I didn’t choose refuses to leave the back of my mind. Perhaps he never will, but that doesn’t mean we’re meant to be. I’ll most likely find someone else. Some love never dies, but that doesn’t mean new love won’t form in the meantime.