I've had a decent day or two and haven't really wanted to follow up on this. Vino and I have been spending more quality time--that is, more wine on his part, less broken-hearted weeping on mine. And...I have a shiny new mini-crush! I've been letting myself enjoy it, but I've also been distancing myself so it doesn't grow into full-on infatuation. I'm definitely not even remotely her type (trust me on that), and I don't think rejection would do wonders for my self-esteem at this point.
Vino is pushing the new crush anyway. I suspect he's damn tired of hearing about Ella. I owe him many dinners, back rubs, and more, I think.
Ella and I had planned a short vacation together--one night at a nice historic hotel. The drive was a couple hours, though, so I picked her up and we set off.
The first hour or so went well. We talked a lot, and there was no tension or weirdness. Then, after a few minutes of peaceful silence, she mentioned she was really worried. Keri was in town, and staying at a hotel a few minutes from their house. She was concerned that Ben might have Keri over, and that they might hook up. She was visibly quite shaken by the thought.
I had no idea what to say. One the one hand, so what if he did? She was about to spend the night with me, and, ideally, there would be lots and lots of sex. Was hooking up with me somehow less significant or less meaningful? Was I just another casual, disposable sex partner? She was extremely uncomfortable discussing deeper feelings like love or devotion, so I had no idea.
On the other hand, why would she tell me about it? She knew I had trouble hearing about Ben and Keri. I wanted to reassure her that Ben would tell her if he was planning to invite Keri over--but there had been other occasions where Ben had crossed boundaries with Keri while Ella was out with me. My reassurance would be meaningless, and, in any event, I wasn't handling the idea well, either.
We didn't really talk for the rest of the drive.
We checked in, went out to dinner, ordered drinks. Somewhere along the way, she started talking about Ben and Keri again. I didn't want to listen to it. I tried to offer a comparison. I pointed out that when she had gone home with Jason--Keri's boyfriend--Ben had been fine with it. Keri had been okay with it, too. She and Jason had been pretty intoxicated that night, and they had crossed a number of very specific boundaries together. But, the next day, Ben picked her up and fixed her breakfast, and Keri was still very friendly and understanding toward her.
My intended point was that Keri and Ben both had plenty of reason to be hurt, upset, angry, or jealous, but they dealt with it with minimal drama, and she should try to extend the same courtesy to them. My unintended subtext, I think, was that I felt like my feelings were irrelevant background noise--like I was the fat friend, supporting Ella through her personal sexual soap opera with no right to any feelings of my own.
In any event, I don't think I got my point across. The alcohol didn't help.
She didn't understand why I was bringing it up. She thought I was jealous--she asked if I was attracted to Jason or something (I wasn't). Finally, she asked what I wanted, and I told her, maybe too bluntly, the same thing I had before--that I wanted to be involved with both her and Ben, and that I felt, at this point, like I was nothing at all to Ben and just a "fat friend" to her.
She got angry, then upset. She left to go to the restroom, and disappeared. I texted her like mad and got a few responses, mostly telling me she did care about me, but that she couldn't talk to me anymore that night. It was cold and raining, and I had no idea where she'd gone, but finally she stopped returning my texts, and I stopped trying to reach her at about 3:00 am.
I drove home the next day determined to break things off.
I found out later she had called Ben at 2:00 am, and that he'd immediately gotten out of bed and driven two hours to pick her up.
Ella didn't talk to me for a week. I finally emailed her and told her we needed to talk about things.
We met after work, and I told her, right away, that I didn't think things were working out.
She looked hurt, and asked whether I wanted to hear her side first.
We talked, and ultimately decided we both needed to be more honest about our needs and expectations. We agreed to meet again in a week to talk more.
And, we didn't break up. Not yet.
Hrrm. Maybe it's because it's late and I got a bit of a sunburn today, but writing this is making me less upset and more cranky. Cranky can be a good thing, I think. Kind of like when a wound starts to heal, it doesn't hurt anymore, it just itches...right?
More to come, unfortunately. It's almost over though. Promise.