Earlier this year, I was casually dating someone – let’s call him X. It ended up not going anywhere, primarily because of the baggage he appeared to be carrying from his past.

You see, in his past relationship, X had been dating this guy – let’s call him Y – who he cared for deeply. Only thing wrong with that situation is that Y was merely going through the motions by being with him. Y’s heart actually belonged to someone else, and he was simply using X, wasting his time until the man he truly wanted noticed him.

As you can imagine, when X found out, he was devastated. I don’t know if he discovered Y’s duplicity on his own or if he found out when Y dumped him. All I know is that X brought that baggage into our situationship, and his trust issues was the death knell on whatever might have developed between the two of us.

I bring up this story because of a Netflix show I recently watched. The name is Smiley. (I am going to spoil it as I write further, in case you want to watch it and mind spoilers). It’s a Spanish show about Alex and Bruno. Alex sends a lengthy and angry voice mail to the guy he’d hooked up with, a guy who he’d hoped would start something serious with him but who ended up ghosting him. Except he dialed the wrong number and the voice mail ends up going to a stranger, Bruno. They eventually meet, and realize that they can’t be any more different. Bruno is pedantic, an architect, loves books and old movies. Alex is a bartender, a gym rat, with a good body he’s not shy about flaunting, and has only ever gone to the cinema to see Frozen.

Before long, these differences turn the sparks developing between them into a fight. Bruno thinks Alex is too shallow and Alex thinks Bruno is too full of himself. Then, they go from fighting to having hot sex, to the morning after where they are not sure how to feel about each other.

The point I am trying to make is this: as the show goes from episode to episode of these two denying and fighting the attraction and strong feelings they have for each other, they rope in two other people. Bruno starts to date a coworker, Ramon, because he thinks Ramon is exactly like him and so therefore, better suited for him. And Alex starts to date Ibra, an amorous gym rat, who’s also like him and who he thinks he should be with.

L-R: Bruno, Ramon, Ibra and Alex

Only thing wrong with this is: deep down, they both know they shouldn’t be with the guys they’re dating. They KNOW they should be with each other.

And in the stampede of feelings and love and chemistry, Ramon and Ibra end up getting their hearts crushed. Ramon’s experience is the most pathetic. He actually witnesses Bruno – who is so frustrated by Alex – finally baring his heart to Alex in a furious rant of metaphors: “I just want a beer. A beer that’s normal. I don’t want anything imported or any fancy bottle or anything, no. Just a simple, fresh, cold beer. I mean, that’s all. But I don’t know why the fuck I can’t seem to ever find it. And I don’t get it, you know? Cause if I look around me, everybody’s drinking beer. Wherever I go, my friends all have one. And I don’t know how they do it, but, if one day, they run out, I swear they get another. They’re so happy because they’re all drinking it. … I love your beer, Alex. I really do. I loved tasting it. I swear, it was amazing. But I can’t stop thinking about it, and I can’t let myself drink it, not anymore. For a few days, I thought I could. I thought that if you offered it to me, I could take it whenever I wanted. And that’s when you should have offered. When I sent you that smiley. When I sent you that smiley, you should have asked if I wanted a beer. But you didn’t. And now, my beer is with fucking Ibra! And I have to make do with a fucking beer without alcohol that’s completely tasteless!”

This monologue was a heart-rending scene to watch.

I felt my heart break for Bruno.

I felt my heart break also for Ramon – the “fucking beer without alcohol that’s completely tasteless” – who had walked in just then to hear himself described as thus.

In the business of hearts, the worst thing I can imagine is to find out you are with someone who not only doesn’t want to be with you, but was wasting your time because they really want to be with someone else.

I have watched Hollywood films where this happens with divorced couples: you see that the exes have legally divorced, but in their hearts, they are still struggling to disengage. And then, in walks the new woman that the ex-husband is seeing, or the new man that the ex-wife is dating, and these newcomers don’t know that the reason that ex is still hanging around isn’t because there are some little details that need to be sorted out for the divorce – but because, these two exes are struggling to tell themselves the truth that they should be together and using them in the process.

It is always a risk to get together with someone who appears to have had a great love story – or experienced a great hurt – with their ex. Especially, if that ex is very much alive and very much around…there…somewhere.

This guy, X, that I coulda, woulda, shoulda dated really frustrated me with his trust issues. I cared a lot about him, but every step I took with regards to us was exploded out of proportion and always had me struggling to know my place in our situationship. It was an ugly feeling. And at some point around the period we ended things, I hated him for it.

But I have thought a lot about him and his struggles. And the day I marathon-watched Smiley, I thought about him again, and everyone else who take on wounds from relationships where the person they thought they were going to be with really just wanted to be with someone else.

That is a special kind of hurt. In the business of hearts, there is a hurt that comes from knowing something didn’t work out with someone you loved. Then there is just another world of hurt, I imagine, that comes from finding out that the person you love not only doesn’t want to be with you, but was wasting your time because they really want to be with someone else.

I have never known this kind of hurt, and by God, Dear Future Husband, you better locate me before the Devil will send such my way.

Written by Pink Panther

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  1. Kings
    December 27, 20:14 Reply

    This is a situation I pray that I never find myself. Someone using you to pass time while waiting for their true love is very bad

  2. Peaches
    January 20, 23:43 Reply

    Intense. Oh, and I found myself shuddering at that thought. Never again!.

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