My Girlfriend, Unbeknownst To Me

I’m 29 and I’ve never had a girlfriend…or have I? After all, I vividly remember when my best friend (who recently moved away, but we spent four years together) was referred to as “your girlfriend” by an old lady who worked at a dance party we went to.

Now, our meetings always had the characteristics of actual dates as opposed to hanging out, at least if Bustle’s article on the topic is any indication. Admittedly when one of us has to make a hundred-mile round trip every time and the other has a grueling work schedule and is very introverted to begin with the likes of “spontaneous hang-outs” are not in the cards, but when you get butterflies in your stomach every time you see her and she dresses (and perfumes) up every time you see her one can’t help but wonder.

It gets even worse when you know you were attracted to her, especially at the emotional level; when I was with her it was like being at the center of a vortex of serenity. Total comfort, discussing anything or confiding anything; I never even felt like that with anyone in my own family, let alone anyone else. Except her. Where smoke starts to turn into fire is how my feelings were reciprocated; all the indications of attraction and interest were there.

The showstopper was the fact she was already married (for reasons unknown to me I only ever attract married women), and the someone else she was married to she seemed to really like; I met him several times, and he struck me as being a good match for her. I never wanted to ruin that for her, and I got a strong impression she felt the same way, so our relationship never escalated further. That’s the closest I’ve come to a romance or to having a girlfriend; I’d readily categorize our outings as dates, but I wouldn’t have ever claimed to have had a girlfriend or a relationship.

On the other hand, maybe there was more to it after all.

It’s recently come to my attention that when men take their girlfriends out on a date it’s apparently not normal for them to spend literally the entire evening together, dancing with each other all but exclusively, gazing into each other’s eyes and being physically affectionate. Men who have girlfriends don’t have that. But with my best friend I did.

So it strikes me, for the first time today, that if I’m going out on actual dates with someone I’m attracted to, with someone who reciprocates my affections, who I maintain contact with every day for years on end, and who is more intimate with me than the average man’s “girlfriend” is, why couldn’t I claim to have had a girlfriend? That’s all there really is to it by most people’s standards, so in a very meaningful way I have already had a romantic relationship!

Wow. I’m not really sure what to make of that…

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