Why is it that we often feel more wronged by something done to us, when we’ve done virtually the same thing to someone else?
Theory #21: The closer you are to the fire, the more you feel the heat.
Ben and I met a thousand years ago.
Ok, that’s a lie.
Six years ago.
But it felt like forever ago.
It was at a new year’s party – hosted by a friend of my then-boyfriend, and whose girlfriend dragged a friend along, who brought her boyfriend, Ben. (Not in the least bit confusing. Let’s just go with the ‘mutual friend’ case instead).
We may have both been with other people at the time, but the feeling (at least the feeling I experienced) is something akin to ‘Koi no yokan’ (a Japanese phrase that roughly translates to ‘the feeling upon meeting someone that love is in the cards, in time’).
It was something I ignored, pushed back into the recesses of my mind, but it was his company I was always looking forward to when our ‘mutual friend’ held gatherings over the next three years or so.
And then he moved overseas for six months with the same girlfriend, returned without her and promptly moved states, so we didn’t see or hear much of each other for a long while. He wasn’t forgotten about, just not specifically thought of. So, basically, no Book of Faces stalking.
Then when everything fell apart last year, we reconnected by chance. This time, with both of us single, things were looking up.
But the situation was geographically difficult.
So while we made tentative plans to catch up the next time he was headed home, I didn’t let myself get too excited – who was to say if the reunion was going to be a good one, and then what would that mean when we live so far away from each other?
This was around the time that my friend had set me up with Arnold. While it’s a story for another time, the short version is that it was more a physical connection of convenience than anything meaningful.
When Ben and I finally met up for coffee at the end of October, it was better than I’d hoped for – everything was easy and relaxed (minus the few nerves of course), and when he kissed me the word that comes to mind: sparks.
We only got a small handful of hours together that afternoon, and I think it was written over both of our faces when we parted that we’d have both liked more time together, and wished that we didn’t live so very far away from each other.
As with any story, there’s always trouble. Mine was in the form of gym-junkie Arnold. He had sneaked his way into inviting himself around that night, and I hadn’t learnt how to say properly what I did and didn’t want. I’m not saying he took advantage of me – nothing like that. It meant that he invaded my space when really all I wanted was to reminisce on a kiss with sparks and a wonderful afternoon.
It took until after the next date with Ben for me to officially end things with Arnold – though since there was nothing official to begin with, it hardly felt like it needed an official conversation to break things off.
Here’s the kicker though.
Part of the history that Ben shared with me Australia Day weekend wasn’t necessarily something I wanted to hear about, and I’ve been a bit of a green-eyed crazy person since hearing about it.
That October weekend, he had made it into a bit of a road trip and travelled up with a friend, we’ll call her Bridget.
What Ben told me was that he and Bridget had had sex on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday of that weekend, before he and I met up for coffee on the Sunday afternoon.
I’m in two minds about the information. On one hand, I’m glad he told me – he’s honest, we’ve got nothing to hide from each other, so the foundations for trust have been laid. But on the other hand, I didn’t want to know that the weekend we had was (further) tainted, I didn’t want to know that this girl was a contender – whether casual or otherwise (it doesn’t seem to matter to the jealous half of me), and I can’t help thinking that he went back to her on the Sunday night too and was just holding that information back from me.
Ben has assured me that it’s not something that would happen again, that she’s casual about these things, that it was a few years of curiosity that had lead to that weekend for them, and I guess that meant they got it out of their system?
And what’s worse was when I tried to open my mouth to tell him about Arnold, I couldn’t find a way to form the words. Ideally I’d have said “well I suppose I can’t get jealous about that since you weren’t the only one who got some action that weekend”. But I let the moment pass and didn’t get another opportunity.
So really, what right do I actually have to get jealous about Bridget when my situation was no better?
There’s not really anything I can do from here, and I don’t want to bring it up with Ben again or I’ll look even more crazy jealous than I actually am. I think I’ll just have to contend with the little jealous patch I’ve now reserved for Bridget, and hope that when I get the chance to meet her that I can judge the situation better for myself.
– Dr Gigi.