Mr Non-Monogamous, Part 6 – Gift

For the last few weeks Lucy’s managed to get herself tangled up in a red-hot romance with Charlie, a charismatic and sexy 40-year-old who’s in an Open Relationship.

After much soul-searching and ALL the overthinking, she’d just about managed to accept this confusing state of affairs when Charlie pulled the already-unstable rug out from under her feet by announcing that he and his girlfriend are getting married.

If you missed that, you can catch up here or start from the top here.

When you think about it, there isn’t really that much difference between Charlie being in a long-term relationship and being engaged, but for some reason the news has hit Lucy harder than a thwack round the ear with a large frying pan. She hasn’t had this kind of mutual attraction with a guy since, like, 1948. So for him to now announce he’s engaged to someone else is like some sick fucking cosmic joke. When is she ever going to catch a break, FFS?!

But as always, there’s nothing she can do. Just like every disappointment, every letdown, every guy who turned out to be an idiot or a moron or married or just not that into her, she’s just going to have to suck it up and move on. Just as well she’s had so much practice at that, eh?

Question

So they agree to just be friends, which is just as well really because before all this shit hit the fan they’d booked theatre tickets for next Wednesday and Lucy doesn’t want to have to find someone else to go with. But friends go to the theatre together, so that’s OK (it is OK, right?). And over the next few days they continue to chat occasionally over WhatsApp, and everything is all fine and dandy until out of the blue Charlie asks her a question.

He sent her a present? How sweet! Lucy wonders what it could be.

It’s unlikely to be anything big or expensive – at the very least she really hopes it isn’t, since that would be super awkward.  Far more likely that it’s some sort of thoughtful token – Lucy’s favourite kind of gift. The kind that’s not embarrassingly expensive but shows her the giver’s been listening to her and thinking about her.

Charlie already has form for this, as it happens.  Shortly after they’d met Lucy had mentioned that she collected fridge magnets from countries she’d travelled to, but was annoyed because she didn’t have one from South Africa, which she visited before she started her collection.  So Charlie very sweetly sourced a South Africa fridge magnet (presumably by searching on eBay) and presented it to her on their second date, and Lucy was bowled over by how thoughtful he was and immediately took a large stride closer to dropping her knickers.

So could it be something similar? Something else that shows he cares?

While the idea of a surprise gift does put a smile on Lucy’s face, it also makes her feel a little uncomfortable. Isn’t it a bit odd to randomly buy a present for someone you’ve only known a few weeks? Now that she’s told him how upset she is about his engagement; now that they’re going to be Just Friends, isn’t a gift a little inappropriate?

Lucy feels a weird combination of being pleased that he’s still thinking about her and sad that he can’t be hers – and she wonders if maybe it wouldn’t just be better for everyone if he would just go away and leave her alone.

But Charlie doesn’t seem to want to do that.

What the fuck is she doing? You may well ask. She’s just told him she can’t handle being the other woman, and that she thinks they should just be friends, and yet here she is, already wavering. But here’s the problem: to Lucy, Charlie’s like an enormous sticky chocolate fudge cake. She knows he’s not good for her. She knows he’s bad for her health and she will only end up regretting it later. But right now the only other available food is, like, overcooked brussels sprouts and vegan cheese or something, and she’s tried the chocolate cake and it’s fucking delicious, and no matter how much she knows she shouldn’t, she’s not gonna be able to resist scooping it up with her bare hands and shovelling it down her throat until it makes her sick. And yes, it’ll probably make her sick, but OMG will it be worth it for those few moments of sticky, sensuous, chocolatey heaven.

The gift

The next day, Saturday, Lucy spends a hilarious afternoon drinking a shitload of wine in Green Park with some friends, and completely forgets about the mystery parcel. So when she finally rolls home, Sauvignon Blanc coursing through her veins, she’s surprised to find it sitting on her doorstep. A standard brown cardboard box from Amazon, quite small, surprisingly weighty for its size.

Curious and excited, she opens it. Inside is a 255 ml bottle of Sliquid Personal Lubricant.

Wait… what? He sent her lube? Lube? LUBE???!!!

Her happy excitement dissolves to nothing like snowflakes on a London pavement.

Lube. Umm… OK?

Lucy feels a little weirded out. What kind of a man sends a girl lube? Especially after they’ve only recently had a conversation about how she has feelings for him and can’t handle the fact that he’s got engaged. She literally cried in front of him in the pub! And then he sends lube?

How could he have got it so wrong?

Lucy knows why he sent it, of course. It’s his idea of a joke, or possibly being helpful. When they’d had that wonderful Sunday of All The Sex, he’d seen the bottle of Durex Play in her bedside drawer and laughed at it in mock horror, because apparently Durex Play is actually the Chicken Cottage of the personal lubricants world. So Charlie was just trying to be helpful. And since the parcel’s only just arrived, he must’ve ordered it before this whole thing fell apart. He was clearly hoping he’d get to use it with her, which is understandable if now a little awkward.

Still, she can’t possibly accept it now.

Lucy stands in the kitchen and stares at the bottle. Should she send it back? But it came from Amazon, and he ordered it. So she can’t. Should she just hand it back to him on Wednesday when they go to the theatre? That seems so rude, not to mention awkward. She’s sure his intentions were good, he just got the whole thing spectacularly wrong. She doesn’t want to offend him. He probably doesn’t even realise how upsetting this is for her.

Immediately, she feels like an ungrateful cow. He was only trying to be cheeky, and do a sexy thing for her. Or was it creepy? Lucy’s so confused. See, no one warns you about stuff like this with casual sex – the misunderstandings, the faux pas, the differences of perspective. If she was cooler, if she hadn’t already developed feelings for Charlie, it would’ve been fine. Probably.

But surely he should’ve known this gift would go down like a lead balloon? After all, she’s made no secret of the fact that she likes him. Is he just a typical man, being a bit cack-handed and crap, or is this part of some dastardly machiavellian masterplan to mess with her head?

Lucy knows she’s not a very good judge of character: she always tries to put herself in other people’s shoes and assumes most of the world is inherently honest and decent, but sometimes she can be a little bit too blindly trusting and forgiving. Is this one of those times?

The Instagram Problem

As anyone who’s ever dated in the age of social media will know, once you’ve developed a crush on someone it’s impossible not to stalk them relentlessly online. And so every few days, whenever Charlie pops into her head, whenever she’s feeling bored or lonely or horny, Lucy’s completely unable to stop herself from going to check out his Facebook and Instagram.

So the next evening, tipsy and disappointed after another mediocre date, and feeling sad that her love life seems to be completely fucking hopeless and broken, she compulsively fires up Instagram to see what Charlie’s been up to.

Charlie’s hardly a super duper trendy Instagram-influencer, but he’s posted about 400 images, and has around 700 followers.  His pictures are actually quite good: travel shots, arty close-ups of things he’s found interesting, and quite a few personal photos – Charlie running a marathon, in swimming shorts on a beach, at a festival, and of course dozens of photos of him with The Girlfriend.

Lucy studies her. She’s a little younger, maybe mid-30s, and physically she’s the polar opposite. Where Lucy is tall, athletic and pale, The Girlfriend is short and curvy, with big boobs and a dark Mediterranean complexion. They seem well-matched, and happy. No wonder Charlie’s so relaxed and confident, thinks Lucy.  He’s in a relationship with a woman who’s clearly good for him AND who lets him shag other girls. Who wouldn’t be fucking chuffed to the ends of the Earth with that?

But now, in addition to the photos she’s seen before, there’s a new one.  An engagement photo, the cheesiest kind. The two of them, holding hands, ring presented towards the camera, grinning from ear to ear. And a gushing caption, detailing how ‘she said yes’ and made him ‘the happiest man alive’. Vomit.

Not for the first time, Lucy feels nauseous. It’s one thing to know Charlie’s engaged, and quite another to see the news presented here, in all its joyful, sickening detail. It’s too much; she simply can’t deal with this. But can she defriend him? Unfollow him? He’d definitely be offended if she did that, and besides, on Instagram she can still see this stuff even if she unfollows. She knows she’d never be able to stop herself from looking.

It’s late, Lucy’s tipsy, and still smarting from the shock engagement news and the weird gift, so she can’t resist sending him a hurt message.

As soon as she hits send, she regrets it. Her finger hovers over the delete button. Is this too much? she wonders. In spite of everything that’s just happened, a huge part of her still wants him, like he’s some fucking forbidden fruit, and this sort of thing will only push him away. But then, Lucy can only ever be honest, and deep down she knows that pushing him away is the right thing to do in the long run.

She returns to the message again, torn about what to do. And then the ticks turn blue. He’s read it. Ah well, it’s probably for the best anyway.

She reads his reply the next morning.

Backtracking

After all the confusion and headfuckery, you may well be wondering why Lucy doesn’t just block and delete Charlie and move the hell on. It’s resoundingly clear that this cannot end well for her. She’s already learned she’s not cut out for sharing, and she wants to find someone who can be hers and hers alone. Continuing to date Charlie would be like volunteering to row across the Atlantic when what you really want to do is go to Thailand: difficult, painful, and completely the wrong direction. Why would any sane person even consider doing that?

Well, quite apart from the question of whether Lucy is indeed sane, it’s really not as simple as that. If you’ve spent almost your entire adult life alone, going on hundreds of dates that never lead anywhere, it can start to feel as though chemistry, mutual attraction, and love, are things that happen to other people.  And so when, for the first time in fucking forever, you finally catch a glimpse of that mythical prize, it can be next to impossible to walk away from it.

After all, thinks Lucy, her overthinky brain doing its best to rationalise and justify the situation, all relationships are hard. No one is perfect. Everything is about compromise. At least if she continues to date Charlie she will get affection, attention, and sex. Which is considerably more than she will get if she doesn’t.

And so she starts backtracking, and gently encouraging him once again. Leaving the door ajar just enough for him to know that if he gently pushes on it, it will open.

It’s not like Lucy has attractive men beating down her door. It’s not like anyone else is offering to have sex with her – and definitely not sex that good. She really doesn’t have the energy to go back to the dating apps for the 14 millionth time. And there’s a large part of her that wants to be able to squash her misgivings down and focus on the positives. I mean, if you look at it logically, she already knew he was in a relationship anyway. Does an engagement really make any difference?

But can you rely on logic when it comes to matters of the heart?

NEXT TIME: Resistance is futile…

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49 Comments

  1. Barbara Iwowo
    16th February 2019 / 10:06 am

    Ohh mr non -monogamous is like a chameleon, I reckon he is a pisces .I have seen the mr gods gift to woman act so many times with my clients .I suspect the sudden engagement. Was a barrier to stop you falling to deeply for him .
    And himself for you.
    lube ????.I do not like him much after that !!

    • Lucy
      Author
      16th February 2019 / 5:51 pm

      Haha well obviously I’m a Pisces since it’s my birthday soon, so I’m wondering what that says about me?!
      The engagement is definitely real, I think sadly this was all just a case of bad timing.
      Thanks for reading!

  2. Stephanie
    16th February 2019 / 10:16 am

    Oh Lucy, I feel so bad for you. I know you say he’s everything wonderful but I can’t help feel he’s taking advantage. He knows you can’t handle this and still pursues you. Of course you are getting something out of it but will it do more damage in the long run? I just know if I was in that situation I’d end up feeling crap about myself. Plus, if what you want is a traditional relationship, isn’t this going to take you further away from that? Wishing you all the best x

    • Lucy
      Author
      16th February 2019 / 5:52 pm

      Thanks Stephanie! He may be taking advantage, but I can walk away at any time. He’s told me what’s on offer, it’s up to me to accept or reject it. So in that regard I don’t think he’s really done anything wrong, apart from not being single, obviously!
      As for will it take me away from what I want? Well, possibly. Except I’ve been single for 4 years now and what I want seems ever further away. Maybe I’ve given up, I dunno. Maybe these days it seems more sensible to stop holding out for something that may well never happen, and just be happy with what’s actually on offer right now. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, as it were?

    • Christopher Mitchell
      17th February 2019 / 6:11 pm

      First, Happy Sun Rotation!!
      I too will be 40 in a couple months, its not so bad;)
      As far as Charlie taking advantage..
      When it comes to sharing partners, in my experience, it comes down to three core pieces.
      Ego, self worth, and jealousy.
      I feel that as we live life we make decisions, largely, out of past experience. Sometimes this way of decision making serves us, sometimes it holds us back.
      Oftentimes someone who has grown up surrounded by a given dynamic(monogamy, religion, football)
      will identify with that dynamic as adults. Even if there are other things that they can enjoy and find balance with.
      If one grows up surrounded by monogamy, thats all they know. They can easily make decisions out of past experiences that limit what they are capable of.
      I feel strongly that people are capable of far more in relationship that they give themselves credit for. Its ok to step out of comfort zones(not much grows there anyway). Its ok to face your ego, its ok to feel your self worth things come up. When they do, we have a beautiful opportunity to look at them, process/heal them and move forward with a deeper understanding of self.
      When I meet someone who identifies as monogamous, and there is chemistry there, I have no desire to take advantage. I do have desire to open doors for them to look through(maybe even step through) if they want to. Too explore what they are capable of, too see new possibilities.
      Open/closed relationships are a spectrum, every one of them is different and built for the people in it<3

      • Lucy
        Author
        17th February 2019 / 11:06 pm

        An interesting perspective, thank you for reading and sharing!

  3. Lisa
    16th February 2019 / 10:48 am

    First of all, happy birthday Lucy! Loving the idea of a fundraising to celebrate your birthday and help others. It is so “you”. I unfortunately couldn’t contribute with much, as I’ll soon be unemployed (and still unmarried/unwanted!! Goddamit). But as I’ll move abroad soon, I am hoping in more luck with job/boyfriends etc.

    This Charlie…well! I only wish he was single and he could start a relationship with you (he probably would, if he wasn’t poly whatever). But any man would be lucky to have you, so let’s keep the hope!
    I hope life will give you the best birthday present of them all this year! Sending you a big hug

    • Lucy
      Author
      16th February 2019 / 5:56 pm

      Thank you so much Lisa, especially for your amazing donation! Every little helps, as they say, and your contribution here on the blog, reading and commenting, is also hugely appreciated!
      Moving abroad is exciting! Sometimes I think maybe I should do that – just jack everything in and start again. That’s kind of what I was doing when I went to Kenya, in a way – but I find you just take your problems with you. Wherever you go, there you are, as they say…
      Sending hugs back xx

      • Lisa
        17th February 2019 / 10:50 pm

        I know what you mean and I am actually a bit scared about moving abroad AGAIN (I am not British, I moved here 6 years ago). But my career and my love life are both stuck, and although I have made great friends here, I think it’s time for me to leave. My problems might follow me, as you said, but it’s worth a try, right? I am nearly 40 myself, so I feel I need to try now (wish me luck, I’ll need it!).

        About the whole polyamorous thing…well! I do not think Charlie is a bad guy and I understand too well why you are accepting this situation at the moment. It’s hard being alone, especially for a long time and dating is, well…it’s hell. You two have chemistry and obviously get very well together, but still I think you deserve better than this. Someone just for you, as the poly thing is clearly not your cup of tea. Please do not loose hope! Enjoy the moment and see what happens xx

        • Lucy
          Author
          17th February 2019 / 11:04 pm

          Thanks lovely. Yes I know this isn’t forever, at some point I will have to cut myself loose, or there will come a point where I just can’t take it any more. But hopefully before then some lovely single monogamous man will walk into my life quite by accident, and Charlie and I can just transition to being friends…

  4. Anonymous
    16th February 2019 / 3:31 pm

    OK Charlie sounds like a narcissist. The gift of lube was very inappropriate and seemed like a way to intentionally fuck with your head.

    And the sudden “love bombing” early on in the dating even though you had just met is classic narc behavior.

    And when he said he is very “demanding/ greedy when it comes to you” alarm bells we’re going off in my head. It reminds me way too much of another narcissist I know.

  5. Lucy
    Author
    16th February 2019 / 6:01 pm

    Interesting, and thank you for your thoughts! I feel that in this day and age we may all be too quick to label men as narcissists when they don’t behave the way we want them to. I’m not ever sure what the symptoms of narcissism are. Yes the lube was a misstep and awkward, but apart from that, what has he really done wrong apart from be poly – which he has been honest about, and pursue me? Which you could argue he shouldn’t have done, but I like it! It’s nice to be pursued by an attractive man. And the sex was great!

  6. Justin
    16th February 2019 / 7:05 pm

    Why do people not find the lube thing clever. Like you said it had context and the durex stuff is shit.
    Loosen up man.

    • Lucy
      Author
      17th February 2019 / 10:01 am

      I guess because it’s a rather unromantic gift to send someone you’ve just started dating?

      • Anonymous
        18th February 2019 / 8:52 am

        But you’re not dating . You’re having sex. It’s cheeky and fun IMO.

        • Lucy
          Author
          18th February 2019 / 10:40 am

          Well up to this point we’ve had 9 dates, only two of which involved ‘indoor activities’, and the next thing in the diary is a trip to the theatre… Is that not dating?

          • ckav86
            18th February 2019 / 9:08 pm

            Ok, so I’ve said on previous posts how I recognise the behaviour in this man for what it is – utter self centred narcissism and control freakery. But bizarrely I agree with the above poster here. You aren’t in a relationship with this man, because he doesn’t want it as he’s marrying someone else. You’re his fck- buddy and you shared a joke and he’s sent you a silly thing to prolong the joke. You are behaving like you’re dating this guy with a view to a long term thing. It’s human and it’s so female, but it’s not what this is.
            I think you are projecting all the horrible hurt and upset you feel towards him, onto the silly package he sent you.
            We’ve all been there, it is the worst feeling in the world. I really REALLY hope he gets his comeuppance.

            • Lucy
              Author
              18th February 2019 / 11:41 pm

              You’re right, certainly if I was better at doing the casual sex thing, or I was able to be cool with the poly thing, I wouldn’t have been creeped out or upset by the gift of lube. But I was upset, because it seems so grossly inappropriate after the hurt of the previous days, and I was disappointed in him because he should have known his audience. It’s not like I haven’t been entirely clear about my feelings about any of that.
              As for the rest – you’re right, this isn’t a relationship. But it is more than just casual sex. Or at least, it seems to be heading that way.

  7. RyanNZ
    16th February 2019 / 7:38 pm

    Hi Lucy,

    Recent follower on Twitter, so my biggest question is, given Charlie is poly, how many other girls has he got on the go, apart from you and the girlfriend? Do you ever discuss this?
    Also what about the girlfriend? Does Charlie tell you that she’s off with someone else as well?

    I’m mates with a “Charlie” who is single, and knows all the right things to say to the ladies, and I see the txt messages and think how cheesy and cringeworthy they are.
    They read just as the ones above do (sorry!)
    I’m always amazed at how he gets them, but in his own words, and to use a football analogy, “you gotta shoot to score”.

    Good luck with the dating, and Happy 40th Birthday.

    • Lucy
      Author
      17th February 2019 / 10:03 am

      Hello, welcome, and thanks for reading! You might not have had time to catch up with the backstory yet, but in the first (or second?) post I did ask Charlie this and he told me that apart from the GF there is one other person he sees occasionally, and that’s it. The GF isn’t seeing anyone else right now.
      I guess the messages can read as cheesy if they’re not addressed to you personally, when you’re on the receiving end of such flattery it’s pretty nice actually!

  8. 17th February 2019 / 1:14 am

    One of the things I can’t quite figure out about Charlie, is why is he apologetic about having a long term partner/being engaged? As you say in the comments, he’s been open about his poly lifestyle, and it’s clear that if he’s sharing gushy social posts, he’s happy to be engaged. So why does he keep telling you he’s sorry about it? I think he’s doing both you and his fiancee a disservice by not backing his decisions — it seems a bit patronising/insincere from an outside perspective. What do you think of it? May be he’s just trying to keep the peace by saying what you want to hear, but that makes me distrusting of him generally.

    • Lucy
      Author
      17th February 2019 / 10:06 am

      I don’t think he’s ever said sorry for having a partner, has he? That’s certainly never the impression he gave me, so if I gave that impression to you then that’s bad storytelling and I apologise. In that one message after I saw the engagement photo he was saying sorry for me seeing it / feeling upset about it, but never for the existence of the photo itself (or the fiancee).

      • 17th February 2019 / 11:04 am

        Ah, I see. Then again though, why is he sorry you saw it and that it upsets you? He could either not share those kinds of images out of respect for you (or any other women he’s seeing), or back them more strongly out of respect for his fiancee. Do you see what I mean, by being so ‘nice’; he’s not putting his weight behind anything; and from my personal perspective, it feel like a lack sincerity as a result. I find that challenging in an relationship; I’d rather not see eye-to-eye, but have a guy take ‘ownership’ of his decisions, than to agree because someone is trying appease. I’ve definitely been both sides of the fence and it’s lesson I’ve learned. Maybe it’s because it’s still so early on between you both though? Anyway, great writing and insight as ever. Looking forward to the next instalment!

        • Lucy
          Author
          17th February 2019 / 10:56 pm

          Thank you lovely. Your engagement and thoughtful insights really mean so much!

  9. D
    17th February 2019 / 3:44 am

    Alright, as someone who has been happily polyamorous for upwards of 10 years, as well as years of professional experience coaching couples (both monogamous and not), it’s clear that you want to be with someone monogamous. There is nothing wrong with that. But stubbornly sticking to this is going to make both of you miserable in the long run. Time to Marie Kondo this relationship by thanking him for the positive things you’ve experienced together and also thanking the situation itself for teaching you that polyamory is not your jam. Then close the door and find the relationship that actually works for you.

    • Lucy
      Author
      17th February 2019 / 10:12 am

      Hey D, thanks for your comment! I quite agree that this is not a long-term thing. That much has been clear from the off. But as someone who has multiple relationships for more than 10 years (for which I am obviously deeply, deeply envious), you can’t possibly understand what it’s like to be long-term alone. Well and truly, 100%, deeply, deeply alone. I haven’t had a relationship since my last ended in 2015. I have slept alone almost every night of the last 4 years and literally every night for well over a year. I do everything by myself. I’ve given myself RSI from swiping and chatting on dating apps. I’ve been on more boring and mediocre dates than I can count. So sometimes it’s just nice to be able to step away from that, just for a little while. Take a breather from being alone. Enjoy a bit of company for once. You say ‘find the relationship that works for you’ but I’ve been looking for 20 years and I’m really very tired now. So I’m taking a break. I think that’s allowed.

  10. 17th February 2019 / 1:34 pm

    Oh man, this is so messy now. The whole time I have thought that Charlie is making the wrong ethical call by pursuing you quite so aggressively when you are so clearly not comfortable with polyamory, but in that last text exchange I can see that you are kind of giving in to his charms by saying that it would be better for you to stop seeing him but it’s not what you want.

    It’s tough. Some people will say that he’s not manipulating you because you’re entirely your own agent. That’s a fair and very valid view. Personally, I think that people should go out of their way to not trample on the hearts of others, even when their partner has conveniently laid their heart out for foot-wiping outside their door. But maybe I’m idealistic on this.

    The thing is, ethical non-monogamy provides plenty of rope with which to hang oneself. I would personally handle this issue by taking a great duty of care to ensure that a potential partner is comfortable and will not be hurt by me, as much as can be helped. In such a situation, I’d probably take much, much more care over a partner’s feelings than a traditional monogamous person might! Charlie clearly has a very different style, which is not in itself massively unethical, but not does it stand out as being exemplary and responsible polyamory, to me at least.

    • Lucy
      Author
      17th February 2019 / 7:21 pm

      Thanks Hollie! Everyone’s accusing him of being a big bad predator but that denies me any agency of my own. He’s in an open relationship – people may well disagree with his lifestyle choice but it’s one he’s been open about and his GF is OK with. He wants to date me and has made that clear. Then it’s up to me to decide if I want to accept. If he said, I like you, I know you like me, but I’m going to walk away from you because I know what’s best for you, then wouldn’t that have been massively patronising? Yes the gift was a misstep, but overall he’s done the right thing: been honest about what he wants and what he can offer and allowed me to make up my own mind.

  11. 18th February 2019 / 4:35 am

    Hey Lucy, long time reader, first time commenter here 😉
    Just wanted to say, as a fellow long time singleton, I get it. The long term single life is TOUGH and you’re perfectly entitled to want a rest from it. Grab any scraps of joy you can because, lord knows, there are so few of them floating around. You’ve already proved your resilience and I’ve no doubt that, however this situation ends up, you’ll recover. Trust yourself xxx

    • Lucy
      Author
      18th February 2019 / 10:46 am

      Hi Melanie, thank you so much for reading and thank you for your support! Yeah, this may well end badly for me, but perhaps I can get some fun out of it first. It certainly won’t be any worse than another three months (or whatever) spent swiping on Tinder…

  12. lara
    18th February 2019 / 1:27 pm

    Hi Lucy, another long time reader and first time commenter. I love your dating blogs because your reactions and struggles sound like me. I feel like if I were put in the same situation I’d probably react the exact same way, down to the neurotic overthinking. That being said, as a third party reading your story, I feel like as much as Charlie is sexy and handsome and knows all the right things to say, he’s not as honest as he seems (the engagement thing when he knew poly wasn’t your thing)- and certain parts of the story, like when he says he’s catching feels- it feels like he knows what makes you tick, and he’s playing you a little. I don’t know. It sucks to find someone so amazing on the surface but has all these undercurrent red flags. I feel like eventually you need to completely cut him off and go cold turkey so you can move on. It’s sounds less fun than cleaning public toilets but that’s what i’d say to myself.

    • Lucy
      Author
      18th February 2019 / 11:07 pm

      Hi Lara, welcome and thanks for taking the time to comment! I certainly think you’re right in that by now Charlie has worked out what I like and is using that to his advantage, but I’m not sure I see what the problem is with that. If a guy likes me enough to want to give me what I want/need, isn’t that a good thing?
      Yes, the withholding information from me was a bit off, and I do still think he should have told me sooner, but at the same time I can see from his perspective why he didn’t.
      One thing you are definitely right about though – I will have to cut him off sooner or later. This clearly can’t go on for ever! But you never know, maybe he will get bored and cut me off first, which would be for the best.

  13. Kaci
    18th February 2019 / 3:58 pm

    This man is awful.

    Who TEXTS someone they’re sleeping with that they got engaged?! Disgusting behaviour. Surely you were worth a face-to-face conversation? I mean, he was INSIDE your body only just before. He didn’t have the sense/courtesy to let you know beforehand, so a quick text is fine? How flippant.

    Who sends someone lube?! Again, surely this is a gift to be given in person. With someone you’re sleeping with. Not with someone you’re meant to be friends with.

    His manipulative manner is alarming, at best.

    Your behaviour is game-playing, imo. You’re bored and single and playing hard to get. You love being chased and seduced, but don’t actually want to be poly. You seem as you don’t value poly and even ridicule it. However, these people, in some way, want you to be part of their lives. To support them. Including in their marriage. If you’re not supportive, how can you stay with him? That’s it’s own manipulation. Why be with someone you don’t actually like? How lonely for Charlie and his fiance. And you.

    Also, so what… If you find a man who will commit to you, you dump Charlie? Ouch.

    Sorry if this post seems negative, but I’ve genuinely enjoyed reading your blog until now.

    • Lucy
      Author
      18th February 2019 / 11:17 pm

      Hey Kaci, I’m sorry if you’re not enjoying this story. I’m afraid since this is real life I can’t choose the stories to tell, or what happens in them…
      I completely agree with you on your criticisms of Charlie of course. As for what you said about me…
      I’m sorry if you think I’m game playing. I certainly don’t think I am. Game-playing would imply that I have some sort of agenda, like I’m trying to lead Charlie on or mess with his head or something. What would be my motive for doing that? I’m not playing hard to get – and why would I need to? The only reason to do that is to try to catch and keep a man, and (a) that’s not necessary, he wants to be caught and (b) I know I can never keep him, so what’s the point? I’m actually genuinely trying to keep away from him because I know he’s bad for me, but I’m not doing a very good job of resisting. There’s a difference.
      At this stage I don’t know what will happen with Charlie. It may all just fizzle out in a few weeks. He might dump me. Or maybe I will end up ending it with him, but right now I can’t see that being too upsetting for him. We haven’t known each other that long and he has a lovely new fiancee so I’m sure he’ll be just fine. And just as I know the score about him and his partner, so he knows the score about me. He knows he’s pursuing a monogamous woman and that I’m finding it difficult. He knows the risk he’s taking, just as I do. We’ve both been honest with each other. I don’t see what more you expect me to do.

      • Kaci
        18th February 2019 / 11:25 pm

        It was your comment about leaving the door open a little so he can push it. In that way it seems you’re manipulating him. You don’t want to be with a poly man, but you want to be seduced. You don’t seem to have any respect for their relationship either, as telling him constantly that you don’t like that he’s taken, making fun of his engagement photo, and even that last response to me about his lovely fiance. You entering their relationship and belittling it, yet wanting your part…?

        Anyway, your life, your story.

        • Lucy
          Author
          18th February 2019 / 11:35 pm

          I don’t think I am, but of course you are entitled to see it differently. He is a confident guy who’s slept with dozens of women and is now in an open relationship, and pursuing me on the side. I’m just, well, me. I have no experience of polyamory at all and I’m just trying to do the best I can in a very challenging situation while remaining open to possibilities – and yes, admittedly, I’m also enjoying the attention of an attractive man after years of hopeless dating, but I don’t think anyone can blame me for that. I’m not belittling their relationship – that comment about his fiancee was genuine, I’m sure she’s lovely. And I’m not ‘entering’ it either. He’s marrying her, I’m sure I’m just some temporary minor diversion.

          • Kaci
            18th February 2019 / 11:41 pm

            He’s polyamoras. Able to love many. As is she. Including you for being with him. You have belittled polyamory (the first post in this series was especially hard to read), and saying you are a temporary diversion doesn’t lend itself to being aware of what poly means.

            Ouch.

            • Lucy
              Author
              18th February 2019 / 11:45 pm

              This is a whole new world and a steep learning curve for me. I’m not saying I will always get it right from the off.
              But I do also think you are getting ahead of yourself. We’ve had a handful of dates and one hot afternoon of sex. To suggest that we’re all going to fall in love is a little premature, don’t you think?

              • Kaci
                18th February 2019 / 11:50 pm

                Are you not dating him? Falling in love can happen in an instant, over night, w/in months, or over the course of years. (Remember how quickly you fell for Brad? Why can’t Charlie and his finace fall for you? Isn’t the goal to find love?

                I’m just saying I don’t think you’re being entirely fair in this situation. Sorry, but it’s just an opinion of someone who has been a secondary many times.

                • Lucy
                  Author
                  18th February 2019 / 11:55 pm

                  Maybe I’m just too jaded to believe that a guy like that, who already has a fiancee, and could charm his way into many women’s pants, would ever really be interested in me as more than just a diversion?
                  I’m very interested to hear you’ve been a secondary many times. I didn’t even realise you were polyamorous (tho I suppose I could have guessed). Maybe you should write a guest post for me on what that’s like! I can’t imagine being OK with always having to play second fiddle to someone else, and I’m genuinely intrigued to know how you do it.

                  • 19th February 2019 / 9:19 am

                    I’d love to read a guest post from Kaci! Would be a very interesting perspective that I’d love learn more about!

                  • Kaci
                    19th February 2019 / 8:22 pm

                    I don’t know that I’d write a guest post, as I don’t consider myself a blogger or any kind of writer.

                    You probably thought I was mono because I dislike Charlie. I just don’t find him ethical or honest. That’s key. I would say, if you were to continue dating him to have a word about that and what YOU expect from him as a partner (yes!!!! Your say MATTERS!)

                    As for playing second fiddle. It’s not like that. Not really. Each relationship is special. Because I don’t have a primary now, and haven’t had one for a while doesn’t mean that my relationships are any less.

                    You know how good fucking Charlie is? Imagine you meet the man of your dreams and he doesn’t fuck you like that. If you don’t have to, why give up great sex? Likewise, why give up laughter, a nurturer, a travel companion, etc…

                    Sure, you can find all these things in one person. But needles and haystacks, and you have to be the all-in-one as well.

                    Now, for finding a primary… I hope, one day!

                    • Lucy
                      Author
                      21st February 2019 / 5:45 pm

                      From the way you write your comments I’d say you could definitely be a writer! 🙂
                      I don’t doubt that each of your relationships offer you something and I can see how that might be easier than expecting one person to be all things. And that’s obviously why I’m single, as I’ve yet to find the person who can do that for me.
                      But I just think I would find it hard knowing that they were seeing other people.
                      I’m also interested that you are still looking for a primary. So even with many varied relationships you are still looking for ‘Your Person’, just as I am. And yes, maybe if I had a primary, and was someone’s primary, I wouldn’t mind so much. I dunno. Maybe it’s not about the sharing, so much as about not being someone’s number one. In that respect maybe we are not so very different after all?

  14. EBelle
    18th February 2019 / 6:56 pm

    I’m also a long time singleton, Lucy, so I feel your pain, but this is a bad idea! The more you sleep with him, the more attached you will become. Then the inevitable break up will be really painful.

    • Lucy
      Author
      18th February 2019 / 11:18 pm

      You’re right. That is indeed a very real risk. But life is short. I might die tomorrow. And I’m someone who always tries to say yes to adventures and opportunities. This is a new adventure for me, so I’m going with it for now, and we’ll see how it goes…

  15. MissUnderstanding
    20th February 2019 / 5:12 am

    I think that you are being very brave, in the sense of listening to your own inner self, as you explore this relationship. Sex or dating, either way it is a relationship. It’s true we can only read into this what we see from our own perspective…for me, your experiences have been so relatable and you are someone that I, and clearly many others, are wholeheartedly rooting for! All I wanted to say is that I have had two marriages to very nice, solid men (decade each). And I’ve had a few passionate whirlwinds with charming commitment phobes who had varying levels of empathy and honesty. I wouldn’t trade any of those relationships in for anything. I am someone who has had to grow a lot in finding my strength, so one person couldn’t take me through my lifetime so far. But anyway, I get it, this is where you are right now. I am now finding it more soul nourishing to take a break altogether from the fellas, but I had a blast when I was in my Charlie phase…so please enjoy. Only advise I can give you, please don’t think that you won’t find “him”. The one for you. Give up on the guys for a while, go for the rogues for a while, give a boring guy a chance, but never give up on yourself! You are amazing, and a wonderful, sexy guy who needs just what you can give is waiting. Look how much we all adore you and want to protect you! I hope you can hold that in your heart as you continue your journey.

  16. Lucy
    Author
    21st February 2019 / 5:49 pm

    Yes I think this may be a case of, if not Mr Right, then Mr Right now. He may not be able to offer me everything I want and need, but he’s offering some of it, which I guess is good enough for now!
    And thank you so much for your kind words. They really made me smile 🙂 x

    • Steve
      10th April 2019 / 11:25 am

      Oh Lucy, this guy is the worst kind of manipulator. He’s doing all the shitty stuff, he told about all the shitty stuff he did in the past to other women, yet he has you telling him ” why are you so decent?!” Do you not see the red flags? Walk away now Lucy!

      • Steve
        10th April 2019 / 5:07 pm

        With one distinct differenced, he is very similar to the dude in Kenya: (I’m sorry these are harsh words but you need to hear them) a lowlife manipulator, narcissist, who is going to leave you in shambles.

        The one distinct difference is: this guy is actually intelligent and articulate. He knows exactly what he’s doing and he’s not a ticking drama bomb.

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