I took a HUGE L yesterday. I’m going to own it and share it, at the risk of making myself look a bit…well, read it and judge for yourself.

I’m dating a man. He’s dating someone else. I’m kinda dating someone else. It’s what people do before they choose the one they are going to be exclusive with. I get the rules, but our particular rules were blurred because we became friends. I allowed the friendship to compromise my needs inside of the relationship. But that’s not really this story.

Here we go.

I know the other woman’s name.

And…I think you know where I’m about to go with this story.

I looked her up on Instagram. I was curious. It’s social media. I’m sure we’ve all done this before.

I was at lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in a hot minute. We chatted about her recent vacation, a new writing gig I picked up, and the guy I’m dating. You know, girl talk. I mentioned that there was another woman, and in a moment I would soon regret, I mentioned that I had seen a picture of her too. I shared the Instagram picture with my friend, who very innocently double-tapped the image trying to enlarge it, which inadvertently “liked” the image. It was a fast move. She looked at her picture and we moved on to chatting about podcasts. I kid you not, it went just like that.

Fast forward 20 minutes and I received a phone call and voicemail from the guy asking me if I had liked the other woman’s picture. Apparently, she called and sent him a picture of my “like.” Before returning his call, I looked to see what happened, saw my like on her picture, panicked slightly because I knew how this looked, but…I’m absolutely going to tell the truth. Maybe he would laugh. 

Best-case scenario: I would get a virtual slap on the wrist and a “stop snooping” warning.  I deserved that.

Worst-case scenario: He would be angry and need a moment to himself. I deserved that too.

I wasn’t expecting what actually happened, though. 

I returned his call, and before I could explain things, the conversation turned serious. He called both parties and proceeded to deliver a message about not needing drama or stress in his life. I get it. Still, this wasn’t as it appeared and I wanted to explain my side.

I called back to tell the embarrassing tale but was told “never call me again.”

Ouch!

I can’t say that I saw that coming.

Maybe I’ve got the friendship game wrong, but part of being someone’s friend is giving them the benefit of doubt and allowing them the space to admit when they are wrong. 

I didn’t get my opportunity to do that, and I’m a little butthurt, but I’ll survive.

All I can do is learn.

I could tell you that I wasn’t trying to contact her to make waves, and I had no intention of ever speaking to her. But at this juncture, none of that even matters.

Reality shows, fictitious disputes, and this idea that every confrontation should end in aggression has blurred the lines between what is fact and what is fiction/who is friend and who is foe.

It makes us react rashly to really small matters. It makes us forget the other person’s feelings. It makes us think everyone is trying to disrespect us.

Some people are just wired to come out attacking before knowing the full story. We are all kinds of confused these days. We view situationships as real relationships. We anchor ourselves to people that would quickly change their mind about us if we don’t fit their design. We stay involved when our gut tells us to leave. The real truth is that, while today was a calamity of events, ones for which I am truly sorry, there is no denying that forces beyond my control were at work here. This isn’t a “this could ONLY happen to me” story as much as it is a “this NEEDED to happen to me” story.

I was almost caught up with someone who had his cake and was eating it too, and reacted harshly because he thought I was about to have the cake plate removed from the table. 

Instagram may’ve saved my life.

I can say with certainty that I learned some valuable lessons and that’s really what this journey is about. I learned never to treat someone as a priority, when they consider you an option. A real friend would’ve listened. I learned not to compromise my true values. I learned that when people show you who they are, believe them.

Most importantly, if you’re going to be a little devilish, please please please remember not to DOUBLE TAP the picture.