Dater X: Greetings From Exclusivity Limbo

There’s no worse feeling than not knowing. And after Patrick Bateman’s web of lies (which, let’s be honest, will probably haunt me for the rest of my life), I feel the need for constant relationship reassurance. I hate the unanswered questions, and I hate the unknown. Officer Handsoming and I are currently in that unknown, and I don’t like it one bit.

Allow me to set the scene: My friends and I were drinking champagne and decided to go dancing. Despite the fact that I’d already reached my desired level of buzzedness, I gladly accepted the shots of Fireball that the bartender bestowed upon us, even though I knew I’d regret it in the morning. While we were throwing back our whiskey, my chatty girlfriend made nice with a group of guys standing next to us, who were also enjoying some drinks on the house.

“Hi there,” a Leonardo DiCaprio look-a-like said to me, shaking my hand. I shook his hand back, and walked away to check my phone and text Officer Handsoming, who happened to be working an overnight shift.

“You should go for him,” my friend said as she appeared next to me, motioning in Leo’s doppelgänger’s direction. “He’s clearly into you.”

“I can’t. You know ’m already seeing someone, and I’m not a cheater,” I replied.

“Yeah, you’re seeing someone, but you haven’t even had a talk about being exclusive, have you?” she asked.

I shook my head no.

“And he hasn’t asked you to meet any of his friends yet, has he? And do you even know for a fact that he’s not seeing other people, or if he’s still on OKCupid?” she prodded.

No and no.

“Exactly. You’re textbook single, and until you two actually define the parameters of your relationship, you’re free to have fun with whoever you want. And I think it should be Leo over there…”

She danced away and left me standing there, doubting everything I knew to be true about my connection with Officer Handsoming. Logically, I knew she was right. I am technically single, even though emotionally I feel committed. But does Officer Handsoming feel the same way? For all I know, he doesn’t even consider us a couple. We’re almost two months into our relationship, and I have no idea where I stand in his grand scheme of things. I may just be just another notch on the bedpost, even though his actions have suggested otherwise. My friend’s interrogation and my past experiences suddenly made me doubt him.

The drinks continued to flow, as did my conversation with Leo. The two of us hit the dance floor for hours. Then, right before last call, he kissed me. I wish I could say I didn’t enjoy it, or that I wished it was Officer Handsoming kissing me instead, but that would be a lie. At the end of the night, Leo and I parted ways without swapping phone numbers, and I walked out of the bar feeling incredibly guilty about what I’d done. A part of me felt like a hypocrite for bashing Patrick Bateman’s lying and cheating ways, knowing that I was capable of being deceitful. But then I reminded myself that Officer Handsoming and I haven’t had “the talk” yet, and that I won’t, and will never, come close to being the same kind of dishonest, lying scumbag that Patrick Bateman was. All I knew was that I didn’t feel good about kissing Leo.

Walking home, I couldn’t help but think about how there’s so much emphasis on defining a relationship, that no one ever tells you how hard the part is before that; exclusivity limbo. That’s the time when it’s up to you to figure out what you want, how you feel, and if making out with someone else is your prerogative, or a red flag that things aren’t headed toward a serious relationship. Everything leading up to the talk is actually more nerve wracking than the talk itself. And unfortunately, that purgatory is very necessary step, albeit an uncomfortable one.

I went to bed that night thinking about Officer Handsoming, and haven’t stopped thinking about him since. Regardless of whether or not I’m a free agent, what I did didn’t feel right to me, and the thought of Officer Handsoming finding out makes me cringe. My girlfriends have told me over and over again that I shouldn’t feel ashamed, and that there’s no need to tell Officer Handsoming what I did. I agree with them on the latter. I don’t want to mess up a good thing by letting him know that I kissed some guy I don’t even care about, and more so, I’m not ready to admit to him that it was my own insecurities that lead me there. Once we have the talk, I’ll be out of limbo. But this weird in-between period has made one thing very clear: I want to be exclusive with Officer Handsoming. I don’t know if he’s “the one,” but I certainly want to find out if he could be. And, believe it or not, kissing someone else helped me realize that’s what I wanted, even though I’m not sure where Officer Handsoming stands.

[Photo from Shutterstock]