A lesson on how to treat yourself as a priority when your significant other chooses to make you an option…
“You’re a great girl but I…uh… just don’t want to be “exclusive” right now. I mean, I’m not ready for anything serious at this point in time. You understand that, don’t you?”
It was a Friday night and Lily was curled up next to me on the couch watching a movie on Netflix. From out of left field, Lily had popped the topic, taking me by surprise. Well, it wasn’t that far out of left field – we had been seeing each other regularly for months.
I braced myself for her reaction and the anger that would probably follow.
I felt Lily’s body stiffen and her cheek left where it had been gently resting against my chest. She sat up with a frown but it quickly vanished. Lily hesitated before speaking.
“Oh, uh…okay. I understand.”
I watched as she managed to smile and I was simply relieved that she wasn’t pissed.
Lily was always cool. Then again, she was Lily and unlike any other girl I had ever dated. Independent, stable in every sense of the word, kind and caring all rolled up into one amazing, petite package. I really, really liked her but when I realized that I could easily fall for her, I decided to take a step back. I needed to keep my options open, just in case. You know what I mean, right?
I sat up and grabbed my beer that sat next to her green tea on the coffee table.
“Babe, I’m blown away that you’re not mad. Wow, you are one in a million.”
Lily smiled at the compliment and grabbed her cell from the coffee table. I watched her scroll through her screen, press a few buttons and then drop the cell into her purse.
“Who texted you?”
Lily always ignored her cell when we were together so I was curious since I hadn’t heard it vibrate.
“Oh, no one texted me.”
“So what were you checking on your cell?”
“Nothing. I was deleting you from my contacts.”
Lily’s voice was so matter of fact that I wasn’t sure if I had heard her correctly.
I was confused as she pushed herself up off the couch, got up and started gathering her things.
“Where are you going? You just said that you were fine with not being exclusive…”
Lily nodded as she draped her purse over her shoulder and folded her coat over her arm.
“Matt, I am fine with you not wanting to be exclusive. We’ve been dating for seven months now. We’ve even met each other’s families. But if you’re still sitting on the fence about me, that means that I’m not the right one for you. There are some things I won’t do and being an option to you is not one of them ”
My heart beat fast and panic traveled through my body. My mind raced back to our second date when my car had broken down and we had gotten stranded in the middle of nowhere for hours waiting for a tow truck. Lily never even complained once when we were forced to eat at a dive bar next to the repair shop while we waited. She had taken it all in stride like water off a duck’s back.
Lily was also the one who had brought me homemade soup and stopped by to check on me every day when I had the flu and thought I was going to die. When everyone else had avoided me and my nasty germs, Lily had been fearless. She was always so easy, free flowing, drama-free. And I really loved being with her.
One word described Lily and it was “amazing”.
“No, no, no! Wait, it’s not that you’re not the right girl for me. It’s just that …”
“Matt, you don’t need to explain,” Lily interrupted calmly. “I appreciate that you’re telling me this now. It’s better for me to know sooner than later. I thought that we had something good but I guess that it was one-sided. I need a man who appreciates me, a man who knows a great catch when he sees one. But that is clearly not you.”
The sharp pain in my chest was a telltale sign that I had made a huge, huge mistake.
“Please don’t go! I do want to be take things to the next level with you in the future…”
“Matt, I’m not afraid to tell you that so I’m being very clear. I wouldn’t want to leave you confused about where I stand.”
Lily leaned down and kissed me on the forehead – the kiss of death. Her gesture silenced me
“The future was now Matt. I hope that you find what you’re looking for. Take care of yourself.”
Glued to the couch with second thoughts, I watched Lily disappear through my front door as if she’d heard the call of the wind.
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