My housemate Janet’s boyfriend Rick called me all the way from Russia, where he had been for weeks. Janet wasn’t returning any of his calls, so naturally he was worried. This was back before cell phones and the world wide web were a thing, so I have no idea how he got my number, especially from Russia. He must have been desperate. He asked if she was out of town, or in trouble, or just exceedingly busy – anything to explain why she was unresponsive.
I hadn’t the heart to directly tell him there was already another man in her life. In fact I was surprised he didn’t know, or that Janet didn’t tell him, about her new lover, Christopher. Nor could I bring myself to lie about it. All I could offer was, “No, man. She’s.. uh.. she’s still here.”
Rick was a smart guy and got the hint: Janet was simply ignoring him, and that he’s old news and she moved on. After a long and painful moment of silence he whispered, “I see.” He apologized for calling and having to put me through this awkward exchange. I apologized too and said, “take care.”
I got off the phone and felt terrible. I just broke up with this really nice guy, and he wasn’t even MY boyfriend.
[names were changed to be polite]