Oh, I've got a story for you! The kind you'll like, I think, and I have a feeling you'll all have opinions on it that you'll want to share. And, as usual, I'll ignore or bite back at the bitchy comments... ;-) But it's long, so we'll do it in 2 parts.
Sometime not long ago, Good Friend Whose Identity I Will Not Reveal had a lovely get-together for some of her closest friends. What a fun night! With food, much wine, and excellent company. At this party was Good Friend's Boyfriend. Also present was an ex of hers, who has continued to be a friend these past 10 years since they ended things. But whom I still knew as "her ex."
At some point, Good Friend's Ex and I started chatting. We found we had similar tastes and hobbies in common, and when I told him I was shy, he wouldn't believe me. "You're so dynamic," he said. By the end of our conversation, he had told me in a roundabout way that he thought I was cute, and in a very direct way (more than once) that he thought I was cool. I left the party thinking--hang on a sec. Good Friend's Ex was totally just flirting with me. Weird. But before I realized that, I had agreed to get in touch with Ex to hang out--since we enjoy certain of the same activities. I wouldn't have thought of it as a date at all--and in fact, I was already planning to invite others along--as I'd told Ex I would.
Now, I know you will feel me on this. How horrible--painful, sticky, downright torturous--can it be when a dude gets in between a close friendship? Having that happen was the farthest thing from my mind. I emailed Good Friend the next day: I got the sense that [Ex] might have been digging me a bit. That felt kinda weird--he's your ex-boyfriend. [I said I'd invite him to hang out.] But would that be considered a "date" thing? I'd be asking as a "friend" thing.
You might be thinking--did I think Ex was cute? Yeah, I did, but honestly (I swear!) the idea of him being any kind of option romantically was so far from my mind that I didn't even wonder if I would be interested in him. So I felt toward him pretty neutral--he was Dude Switzerland.
Good Friend emailed back that Ex had been her friend way longer than he was her boyfriend, that she didn't imagine them getting back together, and that she didn't "think" she'd have a problem with us dating. STILL. Not "thinking" it'll be a problem isn't good enough when you love your friend. And STILL I just wasn't thinking about him that way, because of their history.
Some days later, I figured I'd get in touch with Ex to hang out, so Good Friend and I emailed about him again. She said, and I'll paraphrase, that Ex tends to seem flirty when he's just being friendly. He's naturally charming. He has lots of female friends. I got the sense she was telling me that perhaps I misinterpreted his intentions. That he wouldn't think it was a "date" if I asked him to hang out. So I made plans with Ex. I invited Good Friend, but she couldn't come. I invited another friend, but she couldn't come. So it would just be us two. Hanging out. As friends.
When I got back from my hanging out with Ex, I emailed Good Friend straight away: "yeahhhhhh, that was completely not meant to be platonic tonight. i am completely confused and at sea and just want to do what's best for you."
Stay tuned for Part 2!!