Break-up sex 

A plan goes awry.

I've been on OK Cupid since 2009, off and on. It can be really quality, but you have to have patience. Every now and then a gem will pop up — like this guy, John (all the names have been changed).

This was in 2013. I remember I was at the climbing gym, looking at my phone, and thought, "Who the hell is this? Where did he come from?"

He's someone you'd never think you'd find in Little Rock; he was fascinating. He's Syrian-born, French-raised and lived in America since he was 16. He'd been traveling around the world for 18 months. He was a photographer and had this really pretty life that he painted on OK Cupid.

So I message him, and we meet up at the White Water Tavern — and it's, like, talk for hours. This guy was brilliant. He had his Ph.D. from MIT. He spoke like five languages. And then, to top it all off, he was handsome — like, super good-looking — and humble. So humble. This was like the package deal.

We just sat outside and talked and talked and talked. It was starting to get cold, and he puts his arm around me. I'm like, oh my God, this guy is perfect! So I say, "Hey, let's go drink some hot tea at my house." We sit and drink tea and talk and make out on the couch. We say goodbye at, like, 3 in the morning. It was this fabulous evening — I've never connected with anyone that fast and easy. We made arrangements to meet up a few days later. He shows up at my house, and he's acting very different. Significantly more downtrodden; he's bummed. He's like, "I have something to talk to you about."

He was in college when his parents became citizens, so he was too old to get citizenship with them. In order to stay in the States, he went through grad school straight through without any breaks. Now he's like, SOL.

He breaks it to me that, basically, he came back home to the U.S. expecting that he would get a work visa and hang out here indefinitely. But he wasn't really up on his game: It's October, and there are no work visas available, because they go, like, on the first day. He had a limited number of (nonconsecutive) days that he could stay in the States, and he wanted to come back to be with his family for the holidays, so he was like, "I've got to leave — it's just a matter of time, now or later."

We're faced with this dilemma. Do we pursue the relationship? He kind of left it up to me, but I felt so strongly about him, immediately. In my mind, I thought, "Maybe this could extend beyond the month. Maybe we could make something work. And then I thought, "Just knowing this person is worth it," because he was so fascinating, and so kind. He was ... lots of things.

So I said, "Let's just do it. Let's enjoy the time we have together, and, you know, go with it."

We had a really good month and a half, and I just totally fell for him. Like, face-planted, you know? When he left, it was a huge heartache. I knew it was going to be, and I did it anyway.

He went to Mexico City because it was cheap. He got a shitty little apartment there and worked on writing and doing things he needed to get done. But it was weird. We'd left on really good terms, and then he was MIA. Like, incommunicado.

I would email him and stuff, and I got a little obsessive about it. He'd say, "Look, I'm not avoiding you — I'm just really struggling here. I'm being a recluse." I was concerned about his well-being, because he sounded so stressed. I wanted to be there for him, but he wouldn't let me. It was really painful and frustrating. It was a total turn from the attentive partner that I'd seen the previous month — aloof and emotionally unavailable.

So then he came back for the holidays, and we met at Flying Saucer. It was New Year's Day. We're just like, hanging out, but he's not the same. It is the same, because I can look in his eyes and feel the same. But it's not the same, because he's a little bit more — just a little bit — standoffish, or guarded. I'm like, dammit, what is this?

And then he tells me about this girl in Mexico.

He had met her at some point while he was traveling the previous year, and they had had a romance. He had briefly told me about her before — but apparently she came to Mexico and lived with him, and he never told me. I was so hurt. I was sitting there crying, and I was like, "Why weren't you just open with me? You could have told me this, and I would have understood. I know that there's other women in your life, I know that you have feelings for this woman — like, I can get that, and it's so much easier, actually, if you were honest."

So we're talking, and he's apologizing — he knows he should have told me, he feels really guilty. And then ... I don't know how, but we moved on from the painful conversation, and eventually he brings up this conversation we'd had before he left. About threesomes.

He was one of those guys who would talk about anything, so we had talked about our love lives in detail. It was something we'd said, like, "Maybe one day we'll do that." And then we're sitting there at the Saucer, and he brings this up kind of out of nowhere.

By then, I was hanging out with this other guy, Tom. We were real casual and there was no commitment or anything there. But — well, he had brought up the same thing a week or two before, and when I had asked Tom, you know, a preference of male or female, he said he didn't care.

So I said to John, the Syrian guy, "There ... is ... some potential here."

I realize that that's kind of nuts. But I thought, "I can be really pissed at this guy — or I can just take it for what it's worth and enjoy what I can enjoy now, which is something that I'm very interested in enjoying, and he is, too. Let's just go with it, you know?" And at that point I had already had to get over him, in a sense, because of this whole last two months without contact.

John had said he was more interested in a female partner, which, I'm not really interested in that? I'd much prefer to have two guys, rather than a guy and a girl. I realize most men are the opposite.

So I told him, "I think we could make that happen with this guy."

And he was like, "Well, yeah, I was really interested in the other ..."

And I was like, "But — we could do both. Because I think I know a girl, too ... ."

And he's like, "OK. Deal."

The problem is that we have like a week and a half to make both of these happen. So I call Tom and asked him if he meant it when we talked about a threesome a couple of weeks ago. And how about tonight?

And he's like, "Sure."

We grab some whiskey from the liquor store and head over to Tom's house, and I'm like, "Hey. This is John. This is Tom." They had never met each other. But the cool thing about it was that they were both, like, my lovers and I knew them both very intimately.

We sat around for maybe a half hour, drank a little bit, just chatting with each other. Tom had Beyonce's new album, which she had just dropped online. He put that on repeat, and we just — when I hear that album now, that's what I think about. It's a pretty sexy album, and it was a pretty sexy night. I thought it was just absolutely spectacular, actually.

So then I talk to my female friend. She and I had had really open sexual conversations before, and she's a very open person, and she had expressed interest in that situation, although not necessarily with me.

She's somewhat interested, albeit somewhat skeptical. She was like, "Well, how about I hang out with you guys and we get to know each other?" She wanted to ease into it, which we really didn't have time to do, considering the short schedule.

And then ... what happened is that I start my period.

This is a huge kink in the works. I mean, it's one thing to have sex with a guy on your period; it's another thing to have a threesome. I'm not gonna go there. And, eh, I didn't really want to do the girl? I was doing it to be fair, and, you know, for exploratory purposes, but it wasn't really my thing.

So I call John to break the news — A, she's not that interested and wants more time to ease into this, and, B, ah, the situation has changed.

He blows up. He explodes. I knew he was going to be disappointed, but his disappointment was more like a 5-year-old's tantrum. He accused me of manipulating the entire situation. He was like, "You did this on purpose," and I was like, "Well, I wasn't super excited, but I was going to do it for you," and he just went off.

We met for coffee before he left the country. I think the big element was that he had cheated on his girlfriend with me. You know, maybe he was thinking, "I'm going to be with her forever, and this is my last chance to do this." I don't know what their situation was — monogamous or not. I didn't ask. But he was basically, like, "I have to break this to her now," and he never got the experience that he had really wanted — just the one that I had really wanted.

We ended on decent terms. Somewhat strained. And then, a little later, he told me that he thought it best we not talk anymore, because they were moving to Europe together. I talked to him a couple times after he told me not to — just curious — and he took it the wrong way and blocked me on everything. I haven't talked to him since. To my knowledge they're still together, living in Berlin.

—As told to Benjamin Hardy



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