"Okay, even I think you're psycho. That's not a good sign." I received the text from Anna minutes after I texted her to explain my discovery.
"I got the idea from you," I texted back with an eye roll emoji.
"Haha. How? Besides, being active just means he opened the app. Nothing more."
Anna could deny it all she wants now that she's engaged, but I distinctly remember her feeling insecure in the beginning of her relationship and going back on the dating app where she matched with Charlie to see when he was last active. And in her case, she was relieved to see that his last active date was the day of their first date. If that's not modern romance, I don't know what is.
I knew that just because Tom was technically “active,” it didn’t mean he was actively seeking out dates. Even if he were still flirting with girls, it wouldn’t really bother me unless he was going on dates. And even if he was dating other girls, we hadn’t discussed exclusivity. I couldn’t help but kick myself for thinking that we could avoid that talk.
But these thoughts were still premature. “You’re right,” I texted to Anna. “I’m probably being crazy. I wouldn’t even have checked the app if he didn’t get a text from some girl I’d never heard of.”
“That is a little weird,” Anna responded. “You’ll only know if you talk to him.”
I agreed with her before placing my phone down and taking a deep breathe. I then stood up and looked around the office a bit. It didn’t seem like anybody was being too active, so I figured I’d sneak out for a latte.
I was back within 10 minutes and once I sat down, I took a sip of my warm beverage and felt oddly calm. If there had been just one person ahead of me on line, I probably wouldn’t have been in my seat in time for that Zen moment because less than a minute later, Mr. Larson walked through the door and he looked angry. I frantically tried to look busy on my computer as I saw him getting closer to my cubicle.
I let out a sigh of relief when he walked straight past me towards Pete’s office. Mr. Larson never had anything positive to say to me, so I never wanted him to stop by me. Once I felt safe, I took another sip of my drink and began thinking about Tom again.
I decided I would try to be an adult and talk to Tom that week. Tom gave me no reason not to trust him and I was getting too in my head. I began organizing my desk and sorting out what I could do that week if it stayed this slow.
I saw Mr. Larson walking back out of the office about an hour later and he looked no happier than he did when he walked in. Once I saw that he was completely out of eyesight, I pulled out my phone and texted Pete.
“Everything okay?” I asked.
I didn’t get a text back so I just continued working, but by the time noon came around, I had officially run out of stuff to do. I decided to stop by Pete’s office to see if he needed any help and also inquire about possibly ordering in lunch.
Pete was staring at his computer with his hand stretched across his forehead. I don’t think I ever saw Pete looking this stressed out.
“Knock, knock,” I cautiously said as I mimed a knocking motion. “You need anything?”
“No, that’s okay,” Pete replied without looking up from his computer.
I bit my lip. “Um, want me to get you anything for lunch? I was thinking of going out and picking something up.” I hadn’t really planned on leaving the office, but I could practically feel the stress pulsating off of Pete and I wouldn’t mind distancing myself from that.
“Nah, I’m good.”
At this point, I felt incredibly uncomfortable so I just excused myself and walked back to my cubicle. What could Mr. Larson have said to Pete for him to be this wound up?
When I got back to my desk and looked at my phone, I had a text from Tom. “I hope your Monday is going well. I had an amazing weekend with you.” He added a smiley face and kissy face to the end of his text.
I smiled. I was reminded why I never felt the need to define the relationship with Tom. I felt giddy for a few minutes before the boredom made my mind wander again.
I came up with another idea. I checked the dating app that we had met on and saw that he was active, but what if he was on other dating apps or websites?
I took a deep breath and told myself not to dig anymore. But I couldn’t help it.
I went to a different dating website and began searching. I typed in Tom’s age, location, and even horoscope sign. I figured this would ease my mind.
But when a profile for Tom came up at the top of the page, with an ‘active today’ attached to it, I felt like I was going to cry.
And then I couldn’t stop. I tried every dating profile I could. I was relieved when I didn’t find him on one, but I still found him on a few more and all of the ones that displayed last active day showed the same thing as the others: he was active that morning.
I still wasn’t sure if he was actually seeing other girls or just went onto the apps and websites to clear his messages, but I had this feeling in my gut and at this point in my life, I had learned to listen to my intuition.
I still decided I would be adult about this, but I had no idea how.