Due to a winter storm, Marco’s flight was delayed, so he ended up being home for an extra day before leaving for Toronto, where his other woman, Karen, would be waiting for him. He had proposed to me after less than one year together, and I wore the engagement ring for a total of 24 hours before handing it back to him.
“Here,” I said, placing it in the box on the table.
“What’s this?” Marco responded, as he clearly started to get upset.
“I can’t do this. I was wrong. I don’t want to be second fiddle to anyone. I deserve better,” I said, as I started to head towards the stairs.
“Viv, is this about Karen still? Fine, if it will make you happy, I will stop seeing her altogether,” he said as he stood up from his coffee and reached for my hand.
I held his hand as I started to talk. “No, it’s much more than that. It’s not right and we both know it. Like you said, it’s been fun, but let’s face it, that’s all it’s ever been. I have more respect for myself now and, although I do love you, you do not love me in the same way. You love the idea of me, the idea that you could keep a younger lover with gifts and money. That’s not love.”
Marco clutched my hand and the ring box. “Viv, are you sure? I will never ask you again. I will not beg you to marry me, if that is what you are waiting for me to do.”
I smiled halfheartedly and kissed him gently on the cheek before walking away. “Vivian, come on. Please don’t walk away,” I heard him saying as I walked up the steps and grabbed my laptop. The spare bedroom had never been slept in since I had moved in, so I grabbed my pillow and headed over there. My dog followed me and snuggled with me on the bed while I studied for a major exam coming up. About an hour later, Marco came up the steps and asked me what I was doing in the spare bed.
“What, are we done now altogether?” he asked, a bit annoyed.
“No dear, I just needed some space is all. We are still OK, just never going to marry, right?” I asked smiling, hoping he would agree.
“Right, so you will make love to me still?” he asked grinning, as if he’d won the lottery.
We made love right then, and although it was good, it was the emptiest sex I’d ever had to date. My older lover was quite pleased with it though, and particularly enjoyed this romp on the firm spare bed. This would become the norm for us for the next several months—raw, detached, animalistic sex that typically resulted in some sort of gift from the sex toy shop.
For Marco, the relationship had improved in status, despite the blow to his ego that he never let me forget. The relationship was otherwise exactly what he wanted, but I wasn’t the least bit happy. I was looking for a way out. I still looked for apartments and was still socking away some money while managing to pay my fair share for everything, despite not having to.
Over the next few months, I grew increasingly unhappy, resulting in some very uncharacteristic behavior…