Divorce, Tinder and Friendship Don’t Mix

A new divorcee discovers three's a crowd

Photo: Randi Newton

Randi Newton, a selfie.

Tinder was the icebreaker I needed to shamelessly proposition Michael. He was, in fact, not a stranger at all but a friend I found myself thinking about more, now that I was single. Throwing yourself at a man is never attractive, but texting makes everything easier.

“I’m going to be straight up with you. I haven’t gotten laid for a year and six months. Will you please help me?” I quickly typed while holding my breath.

It’s true, a lot of married people stop having sex, and I had fallen victim to that.

“Why me?” he wrote back. “Is this some kind of joke? I’m short and bald. You could ask anyone, why exactly are you asking me?”

It was only after I was married that Michael and I had finally developed what was a normal drama-free friendship. Getting there was hardly an easy feat.

Knowing each other for almost a decade, he saw more of the bad than the good in me. He witnessed my very intoxicated ugly side. We attempted dating with no real tangible reason for it not working out other than he’d met someone else, and I was an emotional mess. He would send me mixed signals, which led to me throwing histrionic tantrums. It was not a sexy situation.

He would ignore me and months would pass. As soon as I’d finally be over him, he would reappear. The pattern repeated, always the same way, with that seemingly innocent text: “Hey! How are you?” I’d allow him back into my life, well aware he was someone who would pull a Houdini on me at any moment.

Have you ever had a guy friend you’ve crushed on and pined for? You are free to leave at any moment. They’ve told you it won’t work, but you stay. You hope they’ll come around and realize how amazing you are. The silent warning comes with an inevitable “expiration date.” This would happen when they would meet that girl that could stroke their ego along with their cock, and you become unnecessary.

I was there when he met his one-stop-shop replacement. He gave the cute waitress his business card when she brought the check. Once again he pulled a disappearing act. I thought that being in his life in any capacity was better than nothing, but it wasn’t. I was the back-burner girl, and I couldn’t just be his friend. I had feelings for him.

“What’s going on? You’ve been avoiding me,” I confronted him over instant messenger.

“I am a bad friend. I can’t do this.” He quickly logged off before I had a chance to respond. Ignoring me completely. Maybe in a few weeks I would hear from him, and our erratic pattern would start all over again. That didn’t happen. I didn’t see or hear from Michael for at least four years, but he crossed my mind every day, and I hated him.

Once you’re unavailable, suitors from your past suddenly appear. The ultimate aphrodisiac is someone you cannot have. Years later, hearing from mutual friends that I had been sober for a decent amount of time and was happily married, Michael contacted me via text. Could we have coffee? He said he was happy for me. For all of the wrong reasons, I said yes. I was doing it for an ego boost to gain validation for everything that had happened in the past. I was 30 pounds lighter, freshly Botoxed, and I looked amazing. Now he could see me at my best.

“Is it messed up that I want you more now that you’re married?” He said this to me over a latte. I had I made it extremely clear I was off limits and happy with my husband.

“Would you want me if I weren’t?” I asked. He took a little too long to think before he responded.

“I don’t know.”

We actually developed a strictly platonic textual relationship. Asking each other for advice. He called me crying while having a panic attack, and I was there for him. I saw a vulnerable side of him he hadn’t revealed before. I found if I had a problem, I could count on him, and he didn’t disappear. I believed we were genuinely friends, but was this because I was no longer an annoying single woman? Would it be different if I weren’t married?

So we had both swiped right. It seemed like the perfect romcom, reunited in Tinder and finding forever love with an old flame. I was so confident it was meant to be. I had already deleted all of my dating apps.

We set a date for the following Monday. I had a week to prepare. As a divorcee, my intimate selections matched those of a suburban housewife more than a sexy single. What was once an extravagant collection of g-strings dwindled over time, as I retired from the stripper pole and morphed into Hanes Her Way.

“Do I do La Perla? Or Victoria’s Secret?” I asked my bestie Madge, as she blew out my hair at her salon, going over my game plan with Michael.

“You do none of that! You do H&M and rip out the tags,” she ranted in her Australian accent, waving the blow drier around as she spoke. “When you have it off, see if it’s worth it.”

Monday night I arrived early, I attempted to elegantly drink a Pellegrino at the dimly lit bar. He entered, his bald head a beacon of shining light in the dark.

“How is it that you look even more beautiful now than you did years ago?” he said hugging me tightly, and I was sucked right back in. Conversation flowed effortlessly. It would have been the perfect first date. No talk of past drama or exes, we laughing, catching up. Running in the rain after dinner and violently making out in the back of a cab like prepubescent teenagers. Entering his house he diverted me from the bedroom and guided me straight to his couch. He ran to his kitchen and grabbed condoms. Who the hell keeps condoms in the kitchen?

“I hate using these,” he hesitated. “But if I don’t, I have to tell BB.”

I’m all about safe sex, and as for BB, she was a girl he had been insistent about casually dating after meeting her on the app Bumble, hence her nickname, BB, aka, Bumble Brunette, profusely saying, “Oh, it’s fizzling out!”

“Do you use protection with her?” I asked, and as I said this, his eyes adverted to the side.

“Unless it’s a special occasion.” Again, his eyes shifting, he quickly rolled on the condom.

“What deems a special occasion?” He answered this by jumping on top of me. We went for it on his expensive sectional that was purchased at ABC for most likely over $4,000. Clearly it was not a piece of furniture made for fucking—it wasn’t even comfortable to sit on. It kept splitting apart, and I was hanging off of it. I was angry. I deserved bedroom sex. Not this bullshit, but it was too late to express my opinion now.

This did not go the way I expected.

Afterward, both of us staring at the ceiling, his hand resting on my forearm. There was no cuddling or anything remotely romantic. Just silence, and my mind racing that this may have been a very bad idea.

Feigning happiness, I told him I was calling an Uber. I wanted to leave quickly. I knew there would be no sleepover invitation. No one who gets fucked on a couch is invited to sleep over.

“Do you want to do this again?” I found myself asking, immediately regretting it.

“Of course!” he said as he slid the furniture back into place.

“When?” I pressed.

“Maybe next Wednesday,” he said in a tone that wasn’t convincing.

“Text me,” I said. He kissed me on the cheek. I went outside as he pulled his front door shut, not even watching me get into my Uber.

Wednesday came and went with no text. I felt like I was back in 2006 and regretted giving myself to him. Yet on Snapchat and Instagram, a scorned woman’s cyber stalking paradise, he made plenty of time to post pictures of BB and their dogs playing together. So much for “fizzling out.”

The supposed friendship that I thought we had was literally fucked away on a crappy overpriced sectional.