28/11/2016 05:55 SAST | Updated 28/11/2016 18:51 SAST

When You Are Not Your Person's Person

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I keep getting hit on by men in relationships and it's exhausting. Having to explain to someone who is in a relationship why it is I don't want to entertain their shit is really something I shouldn't have to do. But alas, it is.

Here's the thing though. Saying no, I'm not interested is not always easy nor is it always a cut and dry situation. Sometimes you meet someone you get along with like a house and fire, you have that one electric kiss or more, and walking away is tricky. Sometimes something has to happen for you to walk away.

Like in my most recent case. He was great in all the ways I wanted and I was getting advice from different sources that said I should wait it out and soon he would choose me. They had seen it work for so many women – they were sure I would win this guy for sure. Of course men are prizes we should be fighting to win – that's what we're told all the time right?

I wrestled with this idea because I have been cheated on before and being the woman who willingly cheated with a guy was not something I wanted to do. I'd been there before and the guilt was not something I wanted to revisit. But even then, I needed something to click in my head – something to let me know it was time to cut my losses and walk away.
Also it was easy to talk to him but I remember a night we went out for dinner, his girlfriend called and I had walked away so I didn't see he was on the phone.

He's ambitious, we have similar interests, we're both adventurous, we laugh about everything and we love trying new things. Also it was easy to talk to him but I remember a night we went out for dinner, his girlfriend called and I had walked away so I didn't see he was on the phone. I walked up from behind him and I was about to say something to him when he put his finger over his mouth to indicate I should shoosh. I looked at the phone and saw "my love" on the screen.

I was so hurt. When I drove home that night I realised I had no place to be upset. I knew he had a girlfriend and even though we were keeping physical intimacy out of everything, emotional intimacy had developed and I had given him the "my person" spot in my life. We would talk every day. I would never initiate it so I could justify to myself that I wasn't pursuing him, he was pursuing me. That way I was less guilty than he was.

We were sharing how each of our days were going, how our morning runs were. I remember one time he shared something deeply personal with me that had affected his day and my mind did this thing where I translated that into "we're getting closer. He trusts me with his heart". But then, I never share the personal with him. I didn't feel he was mine to give my heart to. I knew I couldn't miss him, and when he tried to tell me he missed me – that's exactly what I would say to him.

It's funny though. Just because I set these boundaries for myself doesn't mean anything was changing. I was steadily falling for this guy and if I wasn't careful, I would.

But then something happened and I realised that where I had snuggly secured his name in my heart, someone else occupied that space in his. I broke my phone and so I didn't have anyone's phone numbers. He had my number but for over a week he didn't call to find out what had happened to me. Not even on my birthday.

A few weeks before the same had happened to him. I recall that I sent him a WhatsApp and he didn't respond. This was strange because he always did. I sent him another text but that one didn't go through at all – only one tick. It was Friday so I thought maybe he was busy and he couldn't respond.

The next day he didn't text at all. So then I actually got worried. I tried to call him. His phone rang but he didn't answer. He sent a text a few minutes later telling me his screen was broken and he didn't have anyone's number. I waited a few minutes, so I didn't seem eager. I told him it was me and that I was just checking if he was ok. We spoke later and all was well again.

So when my phone had the same problem, how come he didn't wonder if I was ok? Why hadn't he called to find out how my first day at my new job went – the same day I broke my phone? Why hadn't he called on my birthday? I love birthdays. I told him that? Why hadn't he called?

I knew the answer to all these questions. When he went missing, I wondered about him because "my person" wasn't there.

I wasn't his person. So when I was missing, he was still ok.