Remember how Jordan described her language exchange experience as akin to online dating? Well…
I was cleaning out my email inbox, which is full of unread messages I’ve received from people who found me on conversationexchange.com, the site that connects people who want to learn the other’s language. I’ve been ignoring the message notifications for awhile now, since I’m happy with my current situation Skyping once a week with Philippe. I don’t have the time or inclination to do it more often than that, and we always have stuff to talk about, so there’s no point being in touch with other people.
I was curious, though, about who had contacted me. I didn’t want to delete the message notifications without first reading their actual messages, so I logged in to Conversation Exchange for the first time in months.
I worked my way backwards through my inbox, reading everyone’s message and then looking at their profile. I was happy to confirm that I wasn’t missing out on anything. When I got near the bottom I saw my initial emails with Philippe. I re-read them and looked at his profile, wondering whether the way he presented himself would align with my current impression of him. I was amused to see that his profile picture is of a very fat angry-looking cat that he has never once mentioned.
I was less amused to notice that his last log-in date was that very day. Despite acknowledging my own ridiculousness, I felt slightly wounded. Philippe is Skyping with other people? How does he find the time? What does he talk to them about? Are they better at French than me? Do they know about his pissed-off cat?
It had crossed my mind before then that Philippe might have more than one conversation partner since he speaks much better English than I speak French. He’s got to be practicing a whole lot more than me. But seeing such open evidence of his philandering took me aback.
Not being completely removed from reality, I quickly recovered and reasoned that if I’m not fully satisfying Philippe (linguistically!), it’s perfectly fine for him to look elsewhere to meet his needs. I’m OK with polyamory in this particular relationship. Especially because if we’re going to take the dating analogy to its logical extreme, I basically attend swingers orgies every Monday night.
(Photo of a cat that resembles but is definitely not Philippe’s actual cat: Craig / Tjflex2)