Friday, 12 December 2008

'Mr Sex': What to do when someone you've been besotted with for ages starts going out with someone else and you just want to scream "NO! NOOOOOOOOOO!"

We’ve been here before, oh so many times; you meet someone. You get on. Famously. Really famously. You start knocking about. You fall for them. You subtly (or not, as the case may be) let them know. Nothing happens, but you have this lingering feeling that it might. You still carry on seeing each other, and talk for hours about anything and everything. Nothing happens, but that’s OK, because you’re playing the long game. You tell your mates in moments of weakness. They tell their mates, some of whom are mates of her mates. You carry on seeing each other. You get to know each other better. Nothing happens. You tell your mates even more in greater detail in more alcoholic moments of weakness. You get absolutely locked into this other person, scrabbling around for opportunities to meet up and chances to impress upon them now absolutely mint you are. You develop full-blown Frienditis. And still, nothing happens.

And then, something does happen. They start going out with someone else, leaving you feeling like shit on a stick. What do you do? Well, if you’re like me (who happens to be the King of this particular situation), you do two things;


2) You immediately fix the fuck up and look bastard well sharp.

Because although the natural reaction is to go all Emo and have a good mornge because someone’s inadvertently ripped your heart out and is currently wiping their arse with it, there’s a far greater emergency; preventing yourself from feeling any more of a twat than you already do. You think trying to snare someone is a bastard of a job? Try putting the brakes on your ardour. It’s like trying to pedal a penny-farthing backwards. That’s being towed by four rampaging elephants. On ice.

Whatever you do, you can’t win – but you can not lose. Here’s how I deal with it whenever the bouncers at Club Meaningful Relationship tell me my shoes are too casual, and they don’t like my face, and point me towards the Bus Shelter of Unrequited Love.

Now then; when shit like this happens, there’s two natural inclinations. The first one is to throw a massive sulk and blank said person. Which is a wrong ‘un: you’ll only prove they were right to cock their nose up at you in the first place, and I’ve lost more than one extremely brilliant friend this way. The second one is to go the other way entirely; to make out everything is cool, you’re completely alright about it, and nothing has changed. That’s even more of a wrong ‘un – you’ve still got a mard-on while they’re feeling massively brilliant about themselves, meaning that the balance of power (which was pretty skewed in their favour in the first place) is off the chart. Not only that, but you’ll be bending over backwards for them when you get the slightest hint that their new relationship might not be as brilliant as it seemed (been there, done that too – it’s fucking horrible).

First off, you take yourself out of the situation completely until you’re ready to deal with them again, because if you don’t, it’s gonna be an absolute train-wreck. Either you’re going to see them in the pub and be compelled to ease out of the place without anyone noticing (which’ll make everyone notice), or they’re going to come over and commence a conversation that’ll be as awkward as fuck. Not to mention everyone who knows about the situation will want to make sure you’re alright, which is the absolute last thing you want.

The only sane thing to do, I find, is to get away from the horrible soap opera that your life has become as soon as you can. I find sitting at home in my mankiest, ripped-at-the-crotch-so-my-bollocks-hang-out-like-clackers jeans and cramming takeaway curry into my maw whilst simultaneously playing Mario Kart, screaming “FUCK OFF AHT ME WAY, LUIGI!” and shouting along to this makes things better. You may want to try something different. It won’t be as good as my way, though.

When you’ve got all that out of your system, you’re ready to move on to phase two; re-establishing the relationship in light of the new situation, without making yourself look a total bell-end. This is a tricky one, because if they were worthy of your attention in the first place, they’re going to be as nervous about it as you are about letting you down, and worried that you were only being a decent human being because you were trying to get their knickers off. I find that smiling and nodding at them in the pub is a good start, followed by running off like a bastard.

Then, you pick up the conversation at a later date, but subtly omitting displays of outright affection. No more kisses at the ends of e-mails, overtly smoochy hugs at the end of face-to-face contact, or engineering chance meetings that end at your or their house at 3am. Most importantly, you quietly refrain from offering your services every five minutes, especially when they haven’t really asked for them. Basically, you make clear that you’re going to remain a faithful friend, but you’re nobody’s bitch – and you have to keep a bit of distance from now on so you can move on, whilst not getting in the way of their new thing. But without saying it, obviously, because that’s a bit of a mental thing to come out with.

When all this is established, you can move on to stage three; the rest of your life. At some point – fuck knows when, but it’ll happen – you’ll be able to talk openly and have a laugh about it, and it’ll happen so naturally that you need no coaching from me, and you’ll be proper mates again.

(You may have noticed that I’ve left out a very important part of the equation – the other person. I can’t really offer much advice here, because if you’re anything like me, you’re never going to be able to like the cunt, no matter how decent and undeserving of ire they are. When you’re really into someone, they could be going out with Jesus, and you’re still going to be muttering “Look at that fucking beardy twat, going around like he thinks he’s summat” to yourself. Best thing to do is be polite without getting involved).

Of course, you could circumnavigate all of this mither by simply saying ; “Look, I think you’re fucking ace. I’ll never stop wanting to be your friend. I didn't want to fall for you and risk fucking up a brilliant friendship, but I'm only human. I’m very sure I’ll be an absolute mard-arse in your presence at the moment, so I’m hibernating for a bit. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to pretend to be someone in a cut-off denim jacket, a large nappy and a mushroomy hat, and throw shells at Luigi for a bit. Because that bastard has had it coming to him for too long now."

But who'd be so gormless as to do that?


Anna said...

Sound advice.

Hard to do when you're swept up in a full-blown case of frienditis, of course, but it's good advice nonetheless.

Ever managed to actually deal with this gracefully?

gal africana said...

Really enjoyed reading that :-) Always "better to have loved..." and I would go with the last option and just spill my heart out and then go AWOL...*sigh* really good read!

P.S. if it helps and you can believe it then I'll say that everything happens for a good reason

Anonymous said...

Fab post!

One problem: it's all very logical and clever, but when people are emotionally entangled like this their behaviour just won't err on the side of reasonable.

Most people have a good sulk. For a few months... until something else shiny appears. Even then, it's usually not shiny enough if Ms/Mr super shiny is still in their social sphere, dragging their hearts over hot coals.

Lily Lane said...

And if the object of your frienditis is your housemate? And your best friend? A best friend who has pretty much become family? And you're living in a foreign country where no one else really counts as a real mate so you couldn't bear to live without them? Any tricks for that up your sleeve by any chance?

badgerdaddy said...

Wonderful, wonderful post. Best yet.

Two Al said...

Great, great piece - no better example of how honest, funny and affecting this blog can be.

I'm certainly deeply prone to this, from the getting-awkward-and-inadvertently-acting-like-a-rude-bastard, to the inappropriately-spilling-my-guts-to-(work)mates.

(That's a whole extra level of nightmare - ending up in this situation when both other parties work in the same office. Voluntary redundancy starts to sound very enticing very quickly.)

Anonymous said...

You have just describe virtually every attempt at a relationship I've made over the last 4 years, right down to the bollock hanging, Jean wearing, mario kart playing, other guy hating reaction.

My most recent case of it ended in me not being able to talk to her for months. Mainly due to the fact that my slow crawl towards a relationship was fuelled by a fragile newly found self-confidence, having just left the survival game known as school.

Unfortunately, when I finally did try to talk to her she wasn't too happy with me. Apparently the few annoyed grunts I'd let out had been transformed through some grotesque, angst ridden version of Chinese whispers into hateful comments of my eternal hatred for him. That re-re-destroyed my self confidence. I'm now a reclusive university student. But at least I have Mario kart.

Also, my capcha verification word is "nonce". I find that very amusing.

Terry said...

This post made me cringe numerous times at my own behaviour in the past, right down to the removing of kisses from emails (and the whole 'I like you email' usually sent well after the fact, when she's just found the love of her life).

He's a cunt, usually, or a fucking gobby Spurs fan. Same difference.

Anonymous said...

It's even worse when you know they're perfect for one another.

There's absolutely nothing you can do without making a fool of yourself and potentially messing up a perfect relationship of two people who are so beautifully matched... it's just such a shame that neither one of them is you.

Anonymous said...

What a great post - it's really knocked the wind out of my sails this morning.

That was me from 1987 to 1997 -every single time.

The worst episode of it was when I was head over heels with a really great girl and all my friends knew about it.

Then one night my best mate turned up to tell me that it would be better if I cooled it off a bit as she had started seeing someone.

When I asked him who she was seeing he replied - 'Me'

Needless to say he's not my best mate anymore.

How did I deal with it?

I left the town I was born and grew up in and have only been back a handful of times since 1997.

And is good.

Matt said...

Thanks for great article! I have SO been there.

The object of my affection was a single girl who joined the diving club where I was an instructor, as a student.

We clicked instantly, but I opted to play the long game, knowing that I would see her once-a-week, for sure and thinking - oh so wrongly as it happened - that because she was Iranian, other people might not be so interested. There were a few meetings, a few kisses, and things were going smoothly for a couple of months until - shock - she turned-up to a party with another guy.

Thinking that I should lay my cards on the table, and hopelessly lovesick by this time, I sent her a Valentine card with a lovelorn message (part a Hafiz poem). She took me aside in a bar and smacked-me down firmly, but graciously and I put on an amazingly composed performance and took it like a man; the closest I've ever got to channelling George Cluny. Then I watched, all the time burning up with grief, as she got engaged, married and became pregnant.

I still rehearse my response to that smack-down speech and re-engineer a brilliant riposte and a happy ending. How good or bad the reality would have been is tantalisingly unfathomable.

My reality is that I'm happily married to someone who loves me, so the past is another country.

Si said...

Brilliantly written article. Something so many of us can associate with.

Anonymous said...

Great post and I couldn't have read it at a better time.Thanks!