Here’s a common relational riddle:
You meet someone out at a bar or party. They approach you. Their approach has that confusing are-they-or-are-they-not-interested tenor. You play it right on the edge of well-if-they’re-interested-then-I’m-interested-too…
Time passes. Unclear flirting continues. Confusion abounds. Then as the night is coming to an end the person caps it off with a “so, hey, we should grab a drink sometime – here’s my number” and BOOM, you now have something to talk about at brunch the following morning.
Now naturally you do your due diligence and run a background check on your new soul mate. And what do your formerly sexy but now full-on death stare eyes find but, they’re in a relationship. A relationship-relationship. A there-are-pictures-of-the-happy-couple-with-family-over-the-most-recent-holiday- relationship.
You’re livid – confused – hurt – hating them – wanting them – trying to remember what Katherine Heigel movie this storyline is from…
AND you now have something to complain about at brunch.
Your friends: it’s fiiine, they must have just broken up! Relationships start and end in rapid fire. They wouldn’t have approached you if they weren’t interested! This is a small town! People in relationships don’t just go picking people up in broad daylight (note: wrong).
And so you throw question to the wind and shoot that vague follow-up text: hey, great meeting the other night. We should get that drink sometime soon. Let me know what works!
3 mins. later: hey! Great to hear from you – how’s tonight?
Well – you think – this person is either a conniving, cheating, ass or the future co-creator of my daughter named Olivia. You set odds at 5 to 1 asshole (ed. note: I don’t know how odds works) because you’ve lost most faith in people, but set the drinks anyway because you’re wrong about most other things in life so why not this too.
Let’s cut to it:
They are in a relationship. They talk openly of it when you meet. It’s not, “but things are rocky” or “but you caught my eye and I just couldn’t stop thinking about you” or “but I cheat on them regularly so if that’s cool with you, let’s do this.” And – and this is significant – the unclear flirty/sexual undertone remains. It is as if this person simply want to forge a friendship with someone that feels very much like those exciting beginnings of a relationship except that’s as far is it will ever go.
Could that be it? Assuming you’re not crazy and there is in fact that odd sexual tension between you two, could it just be that this person wants someone to grab drinks and flirt with even though they’re in a fully committed relationship? And if that could be and in fact is then WTF are you supposed to do?
My position – as previously explored – is that a friendship with someone you actually want to be dating is a bad friendship to be in and an even worse friendship to start if you go in knowing the person is taken. Unless this person could be a business contact or relation for some other reason (they volunteer, you’ve been wanting to volunteer, they help you start volunteering or some like, good-person shit), run for the hills. And not because people can’t have new friends once they’re in relationships. Avoid because your first interest in this person was romantic. That tends not to go away...without strong lectures from several friends and eventually your mother.