Sometimes you talk to someone and the conversation is so easy; every detail you learn makes you like this person more and more, until the one that doesn’t.
Enter, Maybe Married, aka “MM.” I must confess that this date never happened; maybe after all this, I have learned something?!
MM and I started messaging on the app where we met, which soon turned into texting, and then phone calls. He was witty, smart, and like me, left a more traditional career path to pursue something he loved. We seemed to have the same values and similar interests. As a lifelong writer and voracious reader, the fact that he ran a rare book company struck me as incredibly cool. Sure it’s a little quirky, but I think a first edition of a classic novel is a fabulous gift. There is something really magical to me about books and their history, not to mention how the stories themselves have touched people the world over.
After a couple of weeks, and the “What are you looking for?” discussion, we decided to meet (I’ve been down the “I’m actually not looking for anything serious” road before and at this point, I’d like to go into something knowing that there is potential for some sort of relationship and it won’t just be a hookup). The US Open was fast approaching and he suggested we go together. I loved the idea but the reality is that it would be a long subway ride and many hours at the grounds with someone I’d never met. The great thing about MM is that he was on the same page. “How about we meet for drinks first to see?” he asked. MM was off to an out-of-state conference so we decided to meet up when he returned.
While he was away, I got the genius idea to Google his company so that when we met I would actually be able to follow along when he talked about work. The first hit on Google was a lovely article… about the young COUPLE who ran X (X being his company). Sometimes ignorance is bliss. I continued digging and it only got worse. Eventually I made my way to his wife’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. I didn’t find any couple-y pictures so maybe they were no longer together, but something didn’t feel right. They had a dog, she had recently survived a life-threatening health issue, and it seemed to just be the two of them in the shop together each day.
Suddenly the fact that he would often call or text at odd hours seemed less about his non-traditional work schedule and more like it was a way to hide his online dating life from his wife. Then came the picture that told me I had to ask. A few days prior, he had texted me a photo from a sporting event in the city he was in. Wife’s Instagram didn’t have the same picture but it had one from the same event. I’m all for socializing with co-workers but when your co-worker is also your ex-wife? Some former couples can do this and do it successfully, but I didn’t want to be part of their experiment.
I’m pretty sure MM thought I was lying when I told him I had been Googling his company and not him. Looking back, if anyone should have felt guilty here it was not me. MM said that they had divorced a few months ago after she cheated on him, it had been a difficult time but he was in a good place now. I wanted to believe him. I wanted to believe that he had planned on telling me this when we met, that he wasn’t a liar, that I hadn’t almost become the other woman.
For a moment, I considered still going to drinks with him. It’s not a crime to have been married and everything else seemed so great that maybe this didn’t matter. But then I thought about the fact that each day he spent a significant amount of time with his ex-wife, and that he still shared a dog with her. She wasn’t going anywhere and I wasn’t willing to deal with that kind of baggage, always wondering if they might get back together. I am embarrassed to say that I ghosted, although I feel here it was warranted and I think he saw it coming after this conversation. I’m still not convinced they are divorced, but who knows, in my mind he’ll forever be “maybe married.”