“I go where the chemistry is”
That was the modus operandi of my dating life, the overarching Rule of Engagement I followed throughout the period of 2012 to a bout 2016ish.
When it comes to dating methodology, I don’t seek partners by identifying a person I want to pursue from among my social circles and then set out to pursue them; rather, I wait to sense chemistry with someone in my social proximity, and then I seek it out.
Like a shark that smells blood in the water, a hound that picks up on a scent; I lock on to it and instinctively escalate the situation and follow it wherever it may lead me.
While (I think) that would be a reasonably sensible way to go about these things, in my case it has lead me down dark paths and situations so many times that I have earned myself the moniker ‘The Bulletdodger’ by one of my closest confidantes.
These paths that I end up following almost always feature the same plot twist:
that my person-of-interest already has a partner.
It didn’t take me long to reconcile the morality (or lack thereof) of getting involved with attached women; maybe I enjoyed being the villain (I was certainly skilled at it), maybe I enjoyed the risk and danger (it remains one of the most exciting among my self-destructive tendencies), or maybe I was just addicted to the attention and affection I received (being desired is my favourite drug).
Maybe it was all of the above.
Yeah it was probably all of the above.
Fast forward to today, and I have sworn off that life entirely, the life of being the sidepiece, the male mistress. Despite all the times I’ve been burned by it, I regret nothing at all.
After all, the lessons I picked up along the way can not be bought, especially the things I learned about romantic relationships and my stance towards them.
Funnily enough, my decision to leave that life behind was not the result of the risks and dangers associated with getting caught and violently hurt (lucky for me I was successful in deterring any violent behaviour during my ‘crime spree’). I regarded those hazards as just being the cost of doing business.
I made the conscious decision to do so because I discovered the one thing that hurts me the most as a person, at my very core, is the realisation of just how expendable I was; the experiences and memories I shared, no one will ever be willing or able to confess that they indeed happened. This made me realise that there is nothing I hate more than going from being so desired by someone, to being completely ignored overnight.
I would rather be known and hated, instead of being shoved back in the shadows like someone’s dirty little secret desire; like the candy bar some fat kid secretly lusts for yet keeps hidden in his drawer.
Yet, as with every other negative experience in my life, I regret absolutely nothing because being kicked in the face by life always comes with valuable lessons, PRICELESS lessons that money can not buy.
Here are some of mine:
1. Most people get into relationships for the wrong reasons.
All of the people I ever got involved with had one thing in common: they were looking for an escape. See, most people (not all, obviously) slide into relationships not because they truly desire each other, or because they see a future where they can grow together and ‘conquer the world’, as it were.
They do it because they can. They do it because at the point of entry, it was easy, the option was available, it was comfortable. Some people do it just to not be alone, just so they’ll have somebody; because they are terrified of keeping their own company.
So in the simplest of terms, they settled.
Once this happens, they stop trying, they let themselves go. Things get bland, the sex gets boring (and no, I do not subscribe to the idea that “oh its normal, everybody goes through it”. Fuck that, that is just mediocrity personified).
Then one fine day, someone like me (who by the way, isn’t even attractive by conventional standards) comes along and because there’s chemistry and because people like me know how to escalate, one partner ends up cheating.
Partially because its exciting, sure, but that excitement is bolstered by the fact that they feel trapped in a relationship their heart isn’t in anymore, and they ‘can’t find a way out.
2. Most people refuse to make tough decisions.
Being in their position, there have three options: accept the fact that they have let the relationship go bland and attempt to rebuild it, or, to terminate it for the greater good of both sides.
But seeing as how neither partner wants to be the bad guy, here we come to Door No.3: doing absolutely nothing. It is very rare that the relationship will end as a result of a conscious decision made by both sides, it takes something big to blow it apart. Cheating partner gets caught, or one party falls in love with another person, big hoo-haa, relationship ends.
If that big blowup does not take place, the relationship just perpetuates. The relationship continues and escalates but only because of a shrug and the rationalisation of “Hey, that’s what people do”. Long-term relationship, no idea what to do next? Hey, lets get engaged. Hey, lets get married. Pop out a couple kids, why not?
Badaboom, badabing, you wake up one day ten years later in a bed next to a person you’re not all that fond of, dealing with snot-nosed kids you didn’t really want, wondering what the fuck happened to your life.
You see for most people, to stay in an unfulfilling BUT familiar and predictable arrangement is much easier than to make tough decisions, even if it means forfeiting a chance at something much greater.
Yet, the lessons I picked up weren’t all about relationships; those are great to have, but to me, better than that are the lessons that I learned about my self in regards to relationships.
3. Through my experiences of being the male equivalent of a mistress (for which there is no formal term; I checked), I learned that one of the most important things for me is recognition, so as a reversal it also means that the worst thing for me is being kept as a person’s dirty little secret.
Some of my involvements with these women were purely flings; one-off situations with no emotional attachments. Those were easy to let go of.
Problem is, there was a two-year situation where I did develop sincere and strong feelings for the woman of interest, the one I referred to my confidantes as “Kuching”, given her location (and because I’m ‘extra’ enough to have pseudonyms for everyone in my life).
At the time, the feelings I had for Kuching were mutual (this wasn’t just mental masturbation; this I confirmed and reconfirmed over an extended period of time), but just as I highlighted in my previous point, she turned out to be one of those people who are NOT willing to make any tough decisions and opted to stay in her relationship despite it all.
She chose to stay in the dead-end 8 year relationship because she refused to be the ‘bad guy’ who ended it. We fought a lot about this but she held her ground, and my parting shot was “I would respect you much more if you ended that relationship and found a man who made you legitimately happy, even if it wasn’t me in the end”, and I meant it.
A day came when I woke up and no longer existed in her world; all of the secret experiences we had and all the memories we created, all of it just didn’t exist. I could NEVER put a name and face to all those great experiences I had with her, and she, well she’d never admit it happened at all.
Nothing makes me happier than to feel desired.
Nothing hurts more than to have my existence denied.
This is why I decided to never be a side-piece ever again. Not for the dangers or the risks, but the fact that nothing hurts me more than when someone cuts me off completely as if I never existed.
To feel so important to someone, so desired by them and then to suddenly have that value just stripped from you overnight and without warning; let me tell you, you who are reading this, if you really wanted to hurt me, this is exactly how you could do it.
Understanding this great vulnerability of mine however wasn’t the only takeaway for me, there was but one ironic silver lining that I also discovered:
4. My perspective on commitment in romantic relationships completely changed as a result of all of these experiences.
For most of my life I always thought that I did not want commitment, that my greatest aspiration was to be a ‘playboy’; different-girl-every-night kind of thing.
These experiences made me realise that I did not pursue women just for fun, just for its own sake. I realised that did this because I was actually searching for something, that I *AM* searching for something.
My experiences with Kuching taught me something very important: it taught me that I am indeed capable of being in a position where I actually WANTED to commit to someone. Contrary to what I previously thought of myself, I actually take commitment very seriously which is why I refuse to engage in it half-assedly.
This I discovered through a few situations where I was faced with the same dilemma: take this girl in front of me as my girlfriend and never be ‘alone’, but I’ll be committing myself to someone that I am not really that into, facing the high risk of having to end it at some point. After a handful of times facing this dilemma, I realised it was better to wait instead of jumping right in.
In other words, I refuse to commit to anyone unless I am convinced that the reward is very much worth the risk of failure. I refuse to give in to that instinct of wanting to be with someone just so that I don’t have to feel alone; fuck that, I was born a loner, I can keep my own company until I find what I’m looking for, and when I do I’m going to go all-in.
But that begs the question: How the fuck do I find what I’m looking for?
Well, I can’t tell you all my secrets (yet), but I’ll give you the gist of it: First, I focus on becoming the best damn version of myself, and while I do that, I will put more of myself out in the universe in many ways and forms including my words, such as the ones that you have so kindly read up until this point.
I’m quite confident in this path that I’ve chosen for myself, and it’s quite funny to think that it came as a result of me being a retired ‘professional side-*igga’.
Thank you for reading.
And check out some of my other pieces: