You are having lunch with a friend and happen to see your best friend’s romantic partner/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife being intimate with someone else in the restaurant.
What would you do?
First, I would sit there and continue appreciating my delicious lunch, minding my own business Why? Because I don’t know the situation. I don’t know the relational agreement between my friend and his partner. Hell, I know my agreement is that we agree to always let the other person be the other person, despite any triggers. It sure wouldn’t be very friend-like of me to make any assumptions based on my set of subjective outdated morality. It would also go against everything I believe sacred to infringe upon the liberty of some other adult making their own decisions.
Next, if there was a chance, I would go say hi to my best friend’s partner and introduce myself to her companion. Depending on the intentions of what was going on between this clandestine couple and their reactions to me, it might trigger a text message later saying “shhh please don’t tell so and so” or “can we talk about what you saw?” etc. and from there it can lead into a conversation about integrity and I would be very clear that if this was not in harmony with her relationship, I would not evade the topic if it ever came up.
But in any case, I would allow the space for her/him to process with my best friend on their own accord. I don’t think ultimatums are really fair, if anything they are procrastinating the inevitable.
If the opportunity to say hi wasn’t available, and I smelled something fishy, I would be sure to make sure the situation slides into conversation the next time it was appropriate. “Like oh yeah, that time I saw her—wait, you mean you didn’t know that she was out with some random guy at the restaurant?” or “What do you mean you guys aren’t in an open relationship, I saw her that one time—“
That technique I like to call the annoying honesty. Even if it doesn’t come up in conversation, if it felt right to bring it up, I wouldn’t bring it up like a scandal. Because what the f*ck do I know?
Digging deeper, the truth is that if someone I consider a best friend decides to be in a relationship with someone that would lie to them, well that’s their mirroring process/karma in this life, not mine (not anymore…). Similarly, if he would feel hurt by something like that, that’s also for him to explore. All I know is that for me, I’ve been on all sides of that story and the best way to trudge forward is to own it.
For example, a few months ago my partner was in month 8 of her pregnancy and I knew life was about to change forever. I took a trip to Santiago, Chile just for a few days as one last hurrah to my decade of backpacking bachelor nomadism.
Of course, I downloaded Tinder to test the local scene.
My partner and I hadn’t had “the talk” in months because we’d been together traveling nonstop; but the last we’d spoke, I was still free to do what I wanted to do despite her not having desires like that. I still went out to meet girls if we weren’t in physical proximity to one another and I was in the mood to socialize. Sex had been sacred (and rare) to me for a handful of years, so I made sure she knew that it was a possibility with someone else simply for my psychological security, but she also knew what that type of activity meant for me in the spiritual sense and that it was far from likely to pass unless the planets aligned and Venus herself showed up in an exotic woman’s gracious body, seducing me with attentive presence..
Um so anyway, using Tinder I of course meet a beautiful yogi girl who somehow has 35k followers on Instagram and she wants to meet for vegan Indian food. Classic. I’m her first real-life meet-up from Tinder. Also classic. I don’t smell trouble, instead I smell coriander and toasted cumin seeds bouncing off her patchouli perfume.
Earlier in the afternoon, my partner had been put in a rare bad mood by one of her friends and she didn’t want to talk/text to anyone… I’d had intentions of telling her about my date but hey, what can I do?
It was easy to let that slide at the time because I knew I would tell her about it afterwards…
But what happens next, none of us could have anticipated.
As we sit to eat, @missyogi of course takes a moment to snap a photo of the 2-person buffet for her story. Classic. I don’t know it (or care) at the time, but my tattoo-ed wrist is in the side of the shot. So we talk and eat, I tell her about my partner and the pregnancy, my life, how it’s important for me to feel some freedom again, etc etc. It’s not intimate but it’s intense. Probably looks like a mix of both to an outsider. Mango coconut-milk lassi desert finished, we say goodbye, no serious physical contact, I hop in my Uber, head back to my friend’s house.
“I hope you enjoyed your Indian food,” is the first message I receive. How’d she know I went for Indian food? I try to call her, no response. “I don’t want to talk, I’m going to bed.”
An uneasy feeling starts wriggling in my stomach, and I ask myself if I had been cheating her, or myself, out of honesty, transparency or integrity. I sit with that for a moment and decided that no, circumstance had created this—whatever this was.
I finally get her on the line and she explains how an old student of hers who lives in Santiago just so happened to be in that same restaurant and recognized the Instagram starlet and—wait a minute, is that the guy Laura has been posting photos with for the last year? No, can’t be… so the dude checks my partner’s IG and sure enough it’s me.
And what does he do? Full circle back to our prompt. He messages my partner asking if she knew @WhatsHerYogiFace, because baby daddy is having dinner with her. Sure enough she checks her IG story and sees my tattoo next to the vegan korma. She starts to tells herself some story that I was hiding all this from her.
And I’m sitting there dumbfounded… like, how could this have happened? The perfect recipe for miscommunication disaster. No opportunity to share pre-deets about my date because she was understandably in a bad mood; and she receives the information from a third-party source that didn’t mind his own fucking business (nor did he come introduce himself to gauge the situation) and thus created a horror story shitshow in the imagination of my partner (because we all know imagination can be and is always worse than real life).
So yeah, I don’t know what his intention was in messaging my partner. But I certainly experienced the result when there are 3 different observers all privy to different information.
We finally worked it out—she was obviously taken aback that she heard about my date from another source that wasn’t me, of course she trusted me that I would tell her eventually, and we decided that I should be more forthcoming on info like that in the future BEFORE the date. After all, we had never had a situation like that happen before. No one was wronged, it was only confusing.
But all that could have been avoided if homie at the restaurant had minded his own business.