What do you do with a drunken sailor?

She had a twinkle in her eye as she told me that she was sleeping with my ex. It was clear to me that she was relishing telling me, and purposely held back this information until there was an opportunity to tell me to my face.

I don’t think she got the reaction she wanted though when without flinching I said , “He’s married though.” I’ve never been good at hiding what I’m feeling – it shows on my face instantly- and I’m pretty sure my judgement was not the cold reception she expected.

I knew in her mind the reaction I was supposed to have, she was expecting me to cry or become visibly upset, maybe even lash out at her, but I’ve never been one to give people what they want.

“Don’t judge me.” She snapped. “We’re in love and need to be together.”

I smiled at her, nodded and possibly rolled my eyes, I don’t recall all of the details of the moment. “Okay, this is going to end well.” I snorted. Still not the sad, weepy response she was expecting at all so she continued to go on into detail about their encounters over the past few months.

I half listened to her but allowed my mind to wander away to keep my own emotions at bay. When she was finished I hugged her and said “Do what makes you happy.”

I left her standing in her living room, rocking her infant son, she was livid that I hadn’t reacted the way she wanted me to but given our history I knew better than to give her what she wanted even if it really was ripping me apart inside.

About a month later I was out with friends and I ran into the married man who was sleeping with my “friend”.

He was as charming and friendly as ever. Telling me all the things he thought I wanted to hear, how much he has missed me, and how he thinks about me all the time. 🙄 Right.

“I bet you do, maybe even while you’re in bed with Sara*.” I whispered in his ear as he tried to guide me into the dance floor.

He froze. “You know.”

“Of course I know, do you honestly think she’d keep that secret to herself?” I said swatting his hands off of me. “If she’s telling me, it’s only a matter of time before she tells your wife too.”

He backed away from me, grabbing the arm of the next random woman that walked past him pulling her onto the dance floor. I watched from the bar as he was grinding against this stranger.

It was hard to believe how enamored I was with this man for years. I used to look at him as a hero after watching him time and time again put other people’s safety before his own and witnessing his many selfless acts that kept me under his spell. Every minute with him was like a dream. I was still in high school when he enlisted but I believed him when he said he’d be back for me. We had dreams and at the time I was more than willing to go anywhere and do anything for him. I was also a very naive teenager who thought that she had met her happily ever after at the tender age of 15.

I spent years after he left believing that our love story would survive and conquer all. The only obstacle was high school, or so I thought, I just had to graduate and then magically it would all come together. It was only a year and during that time I spent my days studying and looking forward to the brief phone calls when he could sneak them in and the rare visits when he was able to take leave. I held on to the dream that one day we would have the house with the white picket fence and the 2.5 children we had always talked about. When he turned up once a year to visit he made me feel like I was the only one, turns out after he left that was never the case, but nonetheless I was on Cloud 9 every second. He was my first taste of love and boy was it bittersweet (heavy on the bitter).

Now, I was looking at him on the dance floor and all I saw was a drunken sailor in a dive bar in Maple Ridge hitting on anyone who’d look in his direction, so afraid to be alone that he’d take any old stranger back to his hotel room.

*Names have been changed or withheld, to protect the privacy of the parties involved.

About the author

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Professional communicator by day for a large international organization, freelance writer and content creator by night. Jennifer is living her best single life in the suburbs of Vancouver. Navigating dating in an online world that is breeding a hook-up culture that doesn't know how to handle a woman who already knows what she doesn't want. She shares her stories of dates gone wrong and the various life choices that led her this point in time.

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