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Early last year, I was in a situation with someone I couldn’t make mine.

I have always enjoyed the pleasure of casual dates, so I didn’t mind he was in a serious relationship.

Open relationships are becoming a common practice, so if someone is comfortable dating outside their partnership, I don’t judge.

I particularly choose such people — those emotionally unattached and unavailable. Dating unavailable people makes it much easier to control my emotions and expectations.

You tear down your boundaries

I keep my boundaries up in any relationship, and I expect my partners to respect them.

The man I was seeing didn’t have a problem accepting my term.

Our rule was simple “no feelings, no expectations, and we are free to see other people.” Sounds cool!

This arrangement has always worked for me. On some occasions, when it feels we are getting too attached, and take a break or disappear.

It’s easy for me to cut ties with people if I’m uncomfortable around them.

I’ve only had two situations where I let my guard, and those two men weren’t in any other relationship, which was why it happened in the first place.

This last one was the third time I fell for a fling, and he was taken. I felt I had messed up big time. How was I supposed to get out of this one?

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You get anxious when they are not around

I waited to ride it. I thought if we stayed a little longer, I would get bored eventually. But something started happening.

I started worrying about where he was when he isn’t with me. Is he at work? Is he with his girlfriend or some other another chic? If he bought me a shoe, I would ask what he got his girlfriend. I will compare myself to his girlfriend, but he will often ignore my questions out of respect for me.

If he doesn’t call a whole day, I will ask why he didn’t. “Is it wrong that I want to hear your voice?” I asked one time.

Of course, it was wrong. Which part of “no strings, no expectation” did I miss in transition?

He tried to be nice. He didn’t shut me off. Instead, he went soft on his guards too. He started calling more often. He became more available, spending his weekends at my place.

He started avoiding picking up his girlfriend’s call in my presence. He knew how jealous I was when he answered her calls in front of me.

I wasn’t in any other relationship. I felt like the third wheel, which played into my insecurities.

Read: 5 Signs Your Boyfriend Doesn’t See a Future with You

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You compromise to make each other happy

As we grew closer, we started hanging out which others friends. He moved some of his stuff into my house, so if he stayed over, he could go to work the next day without going home to change.

We went from spending weekends together to spending every day together. Before, he didn’t pick up my calls when he was with his girlfriend. Now, he picked up and called anytime. And if he missed my call, he would return it immediately he saw it.

If I need him to go to the grocery store or help me do laundry, he will do it, even if it is inconvenient for him.

Our relationship became very serious like a normal relationship, but I was jealous that he was seeing someone else.

I became possessive when I saw him talking to other women. I told him that I didn’t feel comfortable with him flirting with other people.

He apologized, cleaned up his chat and text message history, and blocked other women he flirted with on social media.

We became more open toward our feelings. We gave each other access to our phones. Yet, I couldn’t shake off the idea that I was sharing him with another woman.

You make up excuses to be with them

That’s when it hit me. I had fallen in love with him. The pain I felt was because I resisted my feelings for him. I was struggling to accept the truth that I was sharing the man I loved with someone else.

That night I cried with all my heart. I have been on this road before, and I swore it won’t happen again the last time.

I should have taken off as usual, but that won’t stop me from thinking about him, and it will hurt more. I had different “what if” scenarios hold me back, yet, I didn’t want to fool myself into thinking I was okay with sharing him.

Read: 4 Reasons Why Dating Younger Guys Is Better

You find it hard to let them go

I loved him, and I wasn’t ready to let go. He’s was always one phone call away whenever I needed him. I felt safe when he is around me.

He had brought joy into my world again; why would I want to screw things up? I tried to act unbothered by the waves of emotions that surged through me.

All my protection cards had been played out. First, my boundaries were gone. Then, I tried being the jealous girlfriend, hoping he would see it as a red flag and break up with me. But he didn’t.

The option left was to disappear from his life, but that will mean leaving the city and returning after a while. I had a lot of commitment with work that made it impossible for me to just pack up and leave.

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Your feelings for each other is mutual

Finally, I decided to go and stay with my aunt for a while to pull myself together. He called and called but got transferred to voicemail each time.

Some weeks later, I returned home. As if he had been scouting my area, he showed up that evening. He was worried. I saw it in his eyes. His anxiety was all over his expression.

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I pretended I had an emergency and that I did not miss his call on purpose. He clearly didn’t buy it. Throughout that week, I avoided him.

That’s when he asked. I told him we should break up because I wasn’t comfortable sharing him with someone else.

Hearing myself say those words, comforted me. I realized there was no shame in admitting that I was incapable of loving someone in an open relationship.

Despite the fact that he confessed that he too had fallen in love with me and that he was willing to break up with his girlfriend if it will make me change my mind.

I was surprised at first. I thought he loved her more than me. When I saw how willing he was to sacrifice his girlfriend for me, I got nervous.

I indeed wanted him all to myself. I didn’t want to be the reason he broke up with his girlfriend, either.

They were already growing apart because of our affair. I didn’t want to carry the guilt of being the reason they split. So we ended things peacefully.

Read: 5 Secrets to Increase Sexual Pleasure

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Parting words

After that experience, I stopped getting emotionally invested in all my relationships. Whenever I notice the first sign of attachment breaking my boundaries, I break it off and move on.

Casual dates are not real relationships because we are excepted to ignore our emotions.

A real relationship is filled with feelings. If you have to keep your love, jealousy, and resentment under wraps, then that arrangement is no longer casual.

At that point, the best thing you can do is discuss your feeling with your date and know where they stand. If the feelings aren’t mutual, then it’s time you end things with them and move.

If you continue the situationship — loving them in silence can breed resentment, and that can become dangerous for you and their other partners.

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