I met him at a community event where his company was one of the vendors. I was walking around, networking like I usually do when he and I started a conversation about the event. We somehow got on the subject of relationships (totally random, I know). I started talking about how good Black men were hard to come by and he thought that we should continue this conversation over dinner. I gave him my phone number and we agreed to go out sooner rather than later. As our schedules would have it, our first date ended up being that very same evening, within just a few short hours of meeting.

We met up for dinner at a local restaurant and spent hours sitting in our booth laughing, talking and cracking jokes with each other. We just seemed to click. Any awkward silences we had were never really awkward. After dinner, he walked me to my car and we went our separate ways but promised to go out again soon. All in all I had a really good time with him & felt a connection that I hadn’t felt in a long time with anyone else.

Over the next few months we would go out every week – usually to dinner or some event around town. As time went on he suggested going out more frequently, up to 3-4 times a week. Because of my work schedule, I was able to meet with him earlier in the day and because of his work schedule our dinners never went too long into the night. I knew where he worked & where he lived and I felt like this could be the beginning of a long-term relationship.

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But after a couple of months of dating him, I began to notice some things that didn’t seem right. For example, he never answered the phone after 10:00/10:30 pm, because he claimed he liked to get up early to go work out (and I certainly wasn’t going to get up extra early to prove him wrong). Shoot, I would’ve been lucky to even get a text from him at that hour. Also, he never seemed to be available during certain days or weekends (although I attributed that to time he was spending with his son). Plus he talked about me becoming his girl, but he never introduced me to any of his boys.  And sometimes when I asked him where he was after work, he would tell me that he was at happy hour alone, which seemed strange. Why not invite me?  Was there someone else he was seeing? I know that we weren’t in a committed relationship or anything, but I still didn’t know what to make of it all. Since I had no  evidence of anything, I figured all of my suspicions were just that – suspicions.

One day, we were out having brunch when one of his friends recognized him. They dapped it up but he failed to introduce me. He didn’t introduce me as a friend, a colleague, nothing. That’s when I knew something was definitely up. After his friend left the table, I confronted him. Why didn’t he introduce me? Was I some type of “hidden secret?” What was really going on? After looking at everyone & everything in the restaurant BUT me, he started off with “I didn’t want to have to tell you like this, but….” What he said after that blew my mind.

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It turns out that I was the side chick! Apparently, he never stopped seeing his baby mama. He claimed not to have any feelings for her but the only reason he was still with her was because of their son. He wanted to be there for his son and wasn’t ready to cut things off just yet because he was afraid of what his son’s mother might do (especially since he owned his own business). This didn’t make any sense to me. You told me that you’re over this woman but you’re still frontin’ like you’re in a relationship with her so that you don’t have to pay child support? C’mon! I thought when a man was truly done with a woman, he was done. Most men don’t stay in a relationship with a woman they don’t want to be with just for the sake of getting out of child support, do they? I might expect this from someone closer to my own age (early 30’s) but he is in his 40’s. At what age do men stop these lies?

So what does this mean? Am I “that chick?” How could I have not known that he was already seeing someone else? Surely there were signs that I missed or red flags I refused to see. I didn’t get it, because I know that I’m not “side-chick” material. I was raised to show respect and be respected by any man that I dated. I never gave off any “part-time lover” vibe. I don’t understand why he thought I wouldn’t find out or more importantly, that I would be okay with the whole situation.

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So, do I stay or do I go? In the end, he swore to me that his “situation” was temporary & that he was going to end things with her soon. He told me that he really cared for me and wanted our relationship to continue (albeit on the side). Although I really liked him & knew that I would miss him, I told him that I couldn’t continue to see him as long as he was in his “situation.”  If he wanted to be with me I needed to be his only woman.

Chocolate Vent