Three's A Crowd & Three's Company Equals "Nine Spells Trouble!"  

Posted by Heidi in ,

(Soap Opera Sunday—it’s a good thing. The theme this month is: Three’s a Crowd or Three’s Company)

Okay, there weren’t really nine other guys the Spouse had to compete with for my affection. At least, not all at the same time. Recently, though, I went through my old high school scrapbook and lo and behold! things were a bit more crowded than I realized. Or remembered. Or cared to think about. Apparently. At the very least, there were three occasions when there was one guy too many in the scenario and the spouse had to endure them all. The twenty-two years of married life since then, years filled with infertility, joblessness, chronic health concerns and three children (including the Big Guy) must seem like a cakewalk compared to what I put him through during our courtship.

The first threesome was really his fault. I was sixteen and had a steady boyfriend. The spouse, one of a tribe of men who believe they are God’s gift to women, not just because they are-duh!-men but because they have this incredible Irish charm the girls really fall for, didn’t see my beau as an impediment. However, he was too smart, too slick and too sly to go for a full frontal attack. Instead, he slithered his way into my heart through his acts of service, love and constancy. Competitor number one, down!

Yet, while I was still dating comp. #1, there was a guy I met when his youth group had driven down from Oregon to my area in California for temple baptisms (it’s a Mormon thing). Our family “hosted” him and another fellow at whom I did not look twice. However, competitor #2 was a real cutie with blond curls, china blue eyes and rosy cheeks. Plus, he was at least a year older than I and sported a darling accent from a stint living in New Zealand.

I confess, I was smitten, in spite of my boyfriend/comp. #1, and the spouse, with whom chemistry was already brewing. I know I mentioned to comp. #2 that I had a boyfriend (comp. #1) but that must have gone clean out of his head when, upon his departure, I made sure he got my address and phone number should he choose to use it. And he did. We chatted on the phone on a fairly regular basis and a few letters went back and forth. Since I felt sure he knew about my boyfriend from the beginning I didn’t feel the need to inform comp. #2 there had been a change when comp. #1 went down for the count and I moved on to my not-yet-husband.

This proved to be a tactical error when, about a year after our first meeting, comp. #2 decided to drive back down the coast to visit. I was forced to make a clean breast of it to my boyfriend/the Spouse whom, by then, I had been “exclusively” (or not) dating for about six months. I was crazy about him, hated to hurt him, but he had to know of this predicament I had gotten myself into since this guy was about to show up on my doorstep. I even had the gall to ask the Spouse to go to a local dance by himself and then had the further gall to drive over to the dance with comp. #2 and peer through the windows to see with whom my guy was drowning his sorrows. He had better not be with one of the girls who had their eye on him, who were just waiting for me to make a false move, or there would be “things” with which to contend! Clearly, I was evil.

To this day, I still feel badly about comp. #2. I suspected he didn’t realize I had a boyfriend and I didn’t fill him in. It seemed easier to just skip it since he lived so far away and I was sure I would never see him again. Needless to say, I was shocked when he called another year or so later (I was still dating the Spouse) to say he was making a detour from Seattle to California on his way to the MTC in Utah to visit. With his parents. The very next day.

Since they were already in California for no other reason but to see me, I could hardly say no. It was an interesting visit. No one was more interested than my parents who had to sit in the living room and entertain this nice couple while secretly wondering, What the heck? When he and his parents finally departed, he handed me a copy of the Ensign, the page outlining how to support your missionary through the baking and mailing of cookies clearly book marked. I was horrified.

In my youthful naïvete (read: denial), I wondered how in the world he could have ever gotten the wrong idea. Twenty some odd years later, the answer was clear when I looked through my scrapbook and saw he had steadily written to me (as I must have to him) for about three years and well into his mission. I can only assume the beautiful Tahitian girls (in Tahiti where he was serving) were more to his taste because the letters finally stopped about one year after he washed up on those blessed shores. A number of years later, I found out through a mutual friend that he was still unmarried. Had my evil ways soured him against all woman kind? To this day, I still worry that they did. When I fret about this out loud to the Spouse, he has no pity for me. None whatsoever.

Then there’s competitor #3. He showed up about nine months after the Spouse left to serve his own mission in Mexico. Through every moment of those nine months I had been in deep mourning. I had no appetite, I was losing a lot of weight, my hair was so nutrient deprived it was brittle and breaking off in every puff of air and my skin was a mess. It was in this skinny, scrawny, non-glowing state that comp. #3 first saw me. He later told me it was love at first sight. I have to admit, there was a bit of a pull when I first looked into his eyes, as if there was a tether connected between the two of us and someone gave it a firm tug. To this day, I don’t know why that should be the case except that perhaps, in the teeniest-tiniest of ways, he saved my life.

As I said, I was desperately unhappy and depressed but comp. #3 brought sunshine into my world. I learned my lesson from comp. #2 and made sure comp. #3 knew about my missionary from Hour One of our meeting. In spite of my love for the spouse, and the fact that I was also temporarily going out with a guy who had been admiring my identical twin sister for a number of years but had settled on dating the far more (apparently) accessible me, comp. #3 and I spent a lot of time together. My health was restored and I was happy. At the same time, I learned what it meant to love, truly love, two guys at the same time. It isn’t fun.

Meanwhile, the Spouse got wind of what was going on and wrote me a stern letter. To paraphrase, he explained that being far away as he was and not allowed to see or call me, there was little he could do to compete with a living breathing comp. #3. However, the way he could compete and win was his true love for me and for the gospel and by being the best missionary ever. There was never any doubt in my heart that the Spouse was the man for me, but when I read that letter, I knew, in an intellectual way, that he was the one I truly wanted.

I hate to admit it, but I continued to date comp #3 straight through to the 11th hour, 59th minute in spite of the fact that my missionary/boyfriend/now-husband called me a month or so before he was to return home (it was Christmas) and asked me to please dump the guy already. Comp. #3 and I discussed the pros and cons of dumping now as opposed to dumping later. He decided he would rather spend that last little bit of time with me and I was flattered enough to acquiesce. In retrospect, I am pretty sure he felt I was looking at the past through rose-colored glasses and would dump my missionary instead of him. Indeed, the day my guy returned from Mexico, I talked to comp. #3 on the phone nine times.

It only took a few days with my returned missionary to gather up the courage I needed to go to comp. #3’s house and make it clear there was no hope. I hear he took it pretty hard and sometimes I feel a little guilty about it. He, however, did get married, to the girl who passionately hated me for stealing him away just as they were starting to get interested in one another. He has a family and is very rich while we are SO not. This alleviates the guilt a little.

As I said at the beginning, these weren’t the only guys with whom my long-suffering husband had to contend. There was the guy who sat behind me in my high school English class who had eyes like jade and called me duchess (I had a huge crush on him!), the one who was brilliant and loved opera though I always thought we were just friends until I went through my scrapbook and saw what I refused to see back then, and the Spouse’s good friend who surprised me with a kiss under the mistletoe in the middle of the hallway at school prompting the Spouse to smash a locker with his fist and smashing his knuckles in the process. There was the “stalker” who put anonymous notes in my locker and took pictures of me when I wasn’t looking; his activities were revealed to me by a mutual acquaintance who had been in his room and seen that every wall was plastered with his photos of me (I still don’t get that one but this guy was weird, so okay), and the one who was my distant 16th removed cousin who was very shy but liked me from afar and left a Christmas present for me in my locker.

Am I bragging? My (twin) sister would say I am. She also, back in the day, called me a whore which really nettled me at the time since I never did more than kiss these guys, and only a few of them at that. However, time does give one perspective and I have to say, she might have been the tiniest, teensiest bit right.

To read more Soap Opera Sunday blog posts go to

And last but not least--I guess there is this new thing called Follow This Blog. I wasn't going to do it but the other morning when I logged on, two bloggers were already waiting to be my followers, so I figured I had better get with the program. If you want your pretty face up there with these other to, then, by all means, follow this blog!

This entry was posted on Sunday, September 14, 2008 at Sunday, September 14, 2008 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

12 wise, witty and wonderful comments

I loved this entry. I logged on twice wanting to comment but not knowing what or how much to say. That is usually my problem with commenting. It is more natural for me to quietly observe (be shy).

Anyway, it brought back memories for me of boyfriend situations I wish I handled differently. I just didn't know how at the time things were happening. I usually end up feeling silly for even letting it still bug me sometimes so it was very interesting for me to read this entry.

September 15, 2008 at 2:08 AM

It's some crazy hour. Four AM? My teen and my baby woke me up. I saw the computer was on. Zombie-like I walked to it, being led by the Spirit to notice your very sad plea for comments. So, my dear, know that tomorrow when it is a reasonable hour, I shall read your post and make a pertinent comment.

September 15, 2008 at 4:14 AM

You girls rock! Sorry about the being awake at 4 am, tho. Yikes!

September 15, 2008 at 6:47 AM

you are such a popular little diva. I on the other hand never had that dilemma, I married the first and only guy I dated (I was very young, but still made a great choice). So I will have to live vicariously through your post. (sigh)

September 15, 2008 at 7:50 AM

Well, you know, I had my older sisters as my example. A couple of them were pretty big daters so I guess I just assumed it was the way to go. Still, I am kind of embarrassed.

September 15, 2008 at 11:31 AM

This post cracks me up because it brought back memories of my young years. It's funny how at the time you don't realize the pitfalls of dating and then later look back thinking "hmmm was that how I should have treated guy X." I sometimes cringe at my old behaviors even though I've dated my husband from the time I was 18! Although there are times I think back to how fun and exciting it was back then!

September 15, 2008 at 12:26 PM

Oh, my, yes, it certainly was exciting! Glad I don't have to do it again, though. Yikes!

September 15, 2008 at 12:31 PM

How in the world did I miss this? I was sure I had been around to all the Mr. Linky links, and you're also in my reader! WEIRD.

But I do love it and thank you for sharing it. Sorry I'm so slow to notice - you're always worth a read! Never a pew ew from ya!

September 15, 2008 at 12:43 PM

I am SO glad that all that drama is a distant memory. Should my man run off with an opera singer or drop dead I am SO not doing all that again.

Seems to me you were not particularly boy-crazy. You were a teenager, a cute teenager with a very loving heart. (Besides sisters are frequently harsher than the general public, but if anyone else tries to insult you a sister will TAKE THEM DOWN!)

September 15, 2008 at 3:54 PM

Wow, Jami, I'm so glad I have you at my back!

September 15, 2008 at 3:59 PM

Heidi, I think you logged on to LAST WEEK's linkies. Because i always comment on everybody's and I missed yours too.

This was a fun story. Don't delete it. Here's the link for this week:

September 16, 2008 at 10:04 AM

Hi Charrette, thanks for filling me in--I linked up to the link you provided but I still couldn't figure out how to leave a comment afterwards. I'm hopeless! Thanks, tho, for following my blog!

September 16, 2008 at 10:48 AM

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