With the PR background…

One of the odder elements about my dating PR is that his ex-gf lives in my building. She lives on the other side of the pool from me on the same floor and while she is not directly across from me, we are aware of each other’s presence.

I’d met her months earlier when she and her live-in bf had moved in as it’s a small building, tightly knit, and we all spend a lot of time outside.

When PR picked me up for a date, she noted the presence of his ridiculously expensive very recognizable car. She texted him, he confirmed that he’d been there and that he had “a friend” in her building.

One night a few weeks ago, I was walking past her terrace as she was entertaining friends, and I heard one of her friends say, loudly, “THAT GIRL?!”  There has been a lot of animosity. She’s been rather openly bitchy to me, which I’ve not understood, as I am NOT DATING HIM. Also, I live with a guy, in circumstances to her unknown.

She is gorgeous. A professional dancer. She seemed smart and engaging and PR, essentially, is the BFD of his cohort, is a catch. They’d dated for years, as I was already aware, and had tons of friends in common, including some who have become friends of mine.

But, I’ve ignored the obvious tension and just gone about my life here until yesterday, when I got a text from FM saying that she and friends were at the pool, which is directly beneath us, and talking openly about PR.

Over the course of the afternoon, as I watched the soccer game at a bar with friends, FM told me that PRX (let’s just call her that, shall we?), had invited him down to join them.

When I got home, I walked over to the pool to see our dog and FM and PRX and I were formally reintroduced. It was a little tense, she started to say, so, um, I know we’re connected… and I deftly side-stepped it because I did not want to get into it.

Over the course of the next few excellent hours, we hung out by the pool, acknowledging that (1) I dated her ex-boyfriend and now know all their friends; (2) I am awesome and no longer just “that girl”; (3) she is awesome and we’re actually becoming friends; and (4) everyone hates the woman who is marking her territory so publicly.

The interloper is making enemies because she’s being so public about things everyone else keeps private. Dating a man like PR, I never expected him to be my boyfriend. I saw him for a couple of months and we certainly considered ourselves “dating.” PRX who was with PR for years mentioned she never called him her boyfriend because she wanted the relationship to be open.  She was only 21 when they started dating (he was 27), and he’s the great heartbreak. There are lingering feelings and she acknowledged that they still occasionally sleep together.

Amusingly, PR is her BFD … her ex-boyfriend to whom she is intensely connected, transitioning from exes to family status. So, while we were hanging out, they were texting each other, checking in, and PR invited PRX to a show on Tuesday and bought her a ticket.

Thanks to social media, we’re now all connected to each other, and PR was able, if he was paying attention, to keep abreast of what was happening in our building in real time.

With PRX for a while was a stunningly gorgeous woman, who ALSO dated PR. The three of us handled it well. I undersold things with him, ignoring the fact I’d slept at his place a couple of times, certainly omitting the fact I’d cooked there. We’d all been with him at the same restaurant. They agreed they loved me, that they were cool with the fact that I was not just some girl.

Later in the evening, when it was really just me, FM and PRX, I mentioned LP, but not by name. She stopped me, called him by his real first name, profession, make of car, that he had a child, and where he’d been living at the time… she’d dated him.

She dated LP.

FM told me later that the look on my face was priceless as I contemplated something shaking my world as I had no control. I had to ask the obvious question: “um, when?” She said brightly, Summer, 2010, wait, 2009. Then each of us had to actually think: okay, when exactly was I dating him?

It turns out she dated him after I met him, but before I dated him, in those long months when I was BFD’s on/off/on/off girlfriend.  She described him so sweetly: nice looking, very smart, and so excited and happy about everything. She assured me, she never even kissed him. They went out three times, but he was far too old for her.  Which he absolutely is. She remembered him fondly, and even texted PR to say, remember that guy I met …

Small town, small world, small circle.

Technically, this is a big city.  It’s diverse, burgeoning, an exciting place to which new people move all the time to make their reputations or fortunes or gain an education.  But the part of it in which I live, the social strata of attractive interesting women and attractive interesting men, it’s really small.

Like really small.

I’ve been dating less than three years since A and I separated.  In that time, I’ve been in relationships with BFD, LP, TNG, FM, and PR and gone on multiple dates with probably four other people.

N, the man I dated before BFD and who I’ve cohosted a gala and escorted socially, is the latest ex-boyfriend of BFD’s post-me ex-gf.

FM will likely end up dating PRX, as the chemistry between them is unmistakable and I was able to say to PRX that FM is a part of our world. That makes him more attractive to PRX.  It isn’t about money or status, though those things do not hurt, but it’s an internal confidence they project.

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Similarly, PRX mentioned that she has been disappointed in his lack of philanthropy and has encouraged him to allow him to use her skills to be more comfortable in those situations.  It’s a balance and a partnership. Men who are comfortable in every scenario, except socially, need someone who is able to carry on conversations with anyone.

These thoughts are all racing as we are on the cusp of life changes and I am contemplating dating again. I will probably move beyond PR, BFD, and LP, but I am only going to be moving onto a new PR, and BFD, and LP, onto more men just like them who need a woman just like me.  That the men who appeal to me find me appealing is the source of great comfort for me.  PR reemphasized that I am still attractive to the type of man I find attractive.

PRX and I were laughing about how we all date the same men, but she dates them first. I did ask her, okay, so who are we dating next…

She has a friend she says she wants to introduce me to, he’s more age-appropriate for me than her (and I just found him on her page and she’s right — handsome, older, retired young, blah blah blah).

We are comfortable where we are, living in our small town in this big city, knowing that we date the same men over and over. We are both a little sensitive about the ones who are important to us — PR to her, BFD to me — but we can laugh about the things we know they do, who we are to them, and what it takes for an ex’s new girl to rise to the level of “do we need to know her name?”  Aside from proximity, I wonder if I would have risen to that level for her with PR. I dated him publicly — appearing at his work functions with him and at his shows with him. Frankly, I’d become somewhat important in his world rather quickly. One of his closest friends said to me at their huge party 10 days ago “I know exactly who you are.”

My new friendship with PRX will complicate things with PR, but that’s okay. It’s already complicated by the fact the smallness of our world. We will continue to date similar men — and often the same men.  We have chosen this path, this way to live, these men to date. They have chosen us.

We will continue to date within this small pool, and making poolside conversations that much more awkward… and also awesome.

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