Messing with Married Guys

I walked back to the couch positioned next to the fire with two more glasses of wine in hand. We snuggled into the cozy blanket and continued our night of chill > Netflix. I think the menu was up on the screen, although I’m not really sure. We were innocently pawing at each other and laughing as he pulled me closer and threw the blanket over our head. He put a finger to his lips smiling. “Shhh!”

The situation reminded me of hanging out with my high school boyfriend at his dad’s, secretly sneaking in a little fun when we could. Except now we weren’t at my guy’s dad’s house. This time he was dad, or Daddy, to be precise.

“Daddy?” came a soft voice. The girls had gone to bed before I came over so as not to cause confusion about Daddy’s new “friend.” I had met and bonded with them both plenty of times but we usually confined our visits to daylight hours – and locations outside the house.

I sat up smoothing my hair and peeking over the back of the couch. “Hey, girlie,” I said smiling. “Can’t sleep?” She didn’t seem as happy to see me out of my usual context. She was quickly coming out of her sleepy state, loosely holding a Sippy Cup at her side and wearing colorful pajamas.

In an effort to diffuse the tension and avoid this little Miss seeing Daddy in his boxers, I walked over and knelt down next to her. “Are you thirsty? C’mon, let’s grab you some more water from the kitchen and then Daddy can take you back to bed.” I figured scooting her out of the room would give him a chance to get decent and reemerge as though nothing out of the ordinary had been going on.

She glared at me. I hadn’t seen this look from her yet over the past few months of getting to know her. She hurled her Sippy Cup to the ground, lid popping off and spilling some sort of purplish organic juice all over the floor. I almost toppled out of my crouched position when she screamed in my face, “NO! YOU’RE NOT MY MOM!”

“YOU’RE NOT MY MOM!”

“YOU’RE NOT MY MOM!”

“YOU’RE NOT MY …”

“YOU’RE NOT …”

“YOU’RE …”

“JESUS CHRIST!” I came out of a deep sleep yelling, sweating profusely and flailing my arms. I looked around the room frantically, trying to get by bearings and clutching a fuzzy blanket to my chest. I was home – in my living room. Not a man nor child was in sight. Heaving a sigh of relief and exhaustion, I flopped back onto my pillow and closed my eyes. Just a dream, I calmed myself. It was only a dream.

The screaming continued, seamlessly transitioning from my horrible nightmare to the light of early morning. I popped one eye open and saw the culprit. The cat – the fucking cat whom I love dearly – was screaming in my face that it was well beyond his breakfast time.

It wasn’t. It was 43 minutes too early, but this hadn’t stopped him from swiping last night’s abandoned glass of wine on the coffee table and knocking it to the hardwood floor. Shattered glass and Pinot Noir were everywhere.

I groaned and shot him a look of disgust. “You know, you really can be an asshole,” I grumbled, petting him affectionately as I walked toward the kitchen for cleaning supplies. I made him wait for his food while I cleaned up the mess closely resembling a crime scene from Dexter … or Criminal Minds … or American Horror Story. Take your pick.

He continued meowing indignantly. “Did this help you get fed any faster? No. No, it didn’t,” I observed not waiting for a reply. “Sorry, not sorry, bud.” He blinked sadly at me and opened his mouth in a silent meow. This cat weighs 18 pounds. He eats plenty. Do not get upset for him.

I genuinely worry I’m going to end up one of those older ladies with 2D animals on sweaters and a bumper sticker that says “All My Kids Have Paws” or something. My fur babies are the closest thing I’ve ever had to kids, and to be honest I’m still not sure if that’s going to change – not the whole sweater part, just the human babies part. I’m aware I’m no spring chicken and should probably have an idea of what I want by now but I just don’t.

I’m still trying to figure out how to take care of myself. Being responsible for a tiny human at this point in my life scares the ever-living shit out of me. It seems though, in my age bracket, finding men who haven’t already been married or don’t have kids is becoming increasingly difficult.

I’ve been pursued by three different men with kids lately, all three recently separated and not having finalized their divorces. My sister teased me that if they weren’t officially divorced, “they’re still married!”

She’s right when you really think about it. While the plan is to separate, you never know whats going on in those relationships. I’m sure there are plenty of mixed emotions, lots of confusion, do-we-try-to-make-to-work-for-the-kids questions, and moments where you remember how much you once loved this person, desperately wondering if it can ever work again. I know when I called off my engagement I went through some of these phases without kids even being in the picture.

Call me selfish, call me crazy, call me whatever, but I just don’t think these guys are a good fit for my recent autonomy, occasionally jealous heart, or current off-the-cuff lifestyle. Maybe I’m wrong and disqualifying a number of good matches, who knows anymore.

When you’re starting a new relationship and your other half’s old one isn’t yet fully over, how do you handle it? Are you ready to hold someone’s hand through a divorce when you don’t even know them that well yet? Do you accept the challenge of trying to become part of an already existing family? Are you ready to trade spontaneous travel for strict schedules?

This might all sound premature, but in the interest of both the time and strong emotions potentially being invested, these are issues I think about immediately. If the divorce isn’t final, if the kids don’t fully understand what’s happening, if there’s family turmoil I don’t need to be involved with … I just can’t do it. And so, another three options bite the dust.

Wait, you guys didn’t actually think I was dating married men behind their wives’ backs, did you? I’m no homewrecker – you know me better than that. #clickbait #sorrynotsorry

Great Plate

The closest thing I get to “family-style” is dinner. One of my favorite places to share a meal with my adult-friend-family is a Korean/Cajun fusion restaurant in an unassuming shopping center. It’s like being transported into the city once inside with it’s modern minimalist decor and incredibly unique menu. All of the plates are made to share. Most a bit bigger than tapas, but essentially the same concept. Try the Wild Boar Bowl along side five other picks for your group … and if they have the mochi available, get two. Trust me on this.

Mokomandy, 20789 Great Falls Plaza #176, Sterling, VA 20165

From the website: “Since 2010. Mokomandy is a casual fine-dining establishment based upon the marriage of a Korean-American man to a Cajun woman and the food, family, and friends created along the way. We take a modern angle to Korean, Cajun, and American cuisine celebrating an uncommon union of food and drink. The menu offerings are divided into small, medium, and large portions to give guests a variety of options. Each menu item is meticulously prepared and is designed to complement other dishes through our extensive use of fresh spices and local ingredients.

We offer an extensive list of handmade cocktails, wine, and specialty beers. From our signature Kimchi to Shrimp Etoufée, Mokomandy delivers a multi-cultural blast of flavor and texture. All preparation is done in-house, as well as house-smoked bacon, sausage, and tasso ham. This unique convergence of food and beverage has earned Mokomandy a place in the Top 50 restaurants by Northern Virginia Magazine 2011-2016, Washingtonian 100 Very Best Restaurants 2015-2016 [and more].”

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