I did get to help him out with his Access database homework, though, which was a good thing; he needed the help. After that, I had to go out into the courtyard and get breakfast and sit by myself for a while.
It's not the end of the world. Darkside has not yet made his move; I am free to flirt with Dave online as I please. But Dave is not about to get in the way of anything I have going on with Darkside. If they were both here in the same state, in the same city, at the same school, it would be open odds on both odd parties.
I think I now have an inkling of what Darkside must have felt like when Sis and I decided to leave it up to him to decide which of us it was that he was to date. How in the world do I choose between two such worthy people? They each have their individual strengths and weaknesses.
If I had to choose one, I most likely would pick Darkside, all other things being equal. I've known Dave for longer, but I know him less well. Darkside is a known quantity, religiously. Dave isn't. Dave is a friend of the mind and heart and body. Darkside has, very carefully, very cautiously, very quietly, touched my soul.
Just... when Dave said a few of the things he said... my empathy alarms started going off. He'd far rather be in the active competition, where he'd have a chance. He's wishing me luck with Darkside, whether or not he ever gets to do anything with me, ever.
There's the very real possibility that Darkside and I, if we get together, might stay together for quite some time. Months, we should at least barely hope. Probably at least a year. Maybe more. If that happened, Dave wouldn't get a chance at me, if I were with Darkside when he returned.
Whichever way I go, the opportunity cost is going to be monumental.
This is why polyamory looks so appealing to me. If the opportunity cost is that great, and all parties are willing and able to enter into a meeting of minds and hearts and friendships, why not make a larger family rather than a small one? Historically, extended families work out together very well; why not just make it a non-related extended family?
The trouble is getting them to share, and if they don't share of their own free will, I would just have to choose.
Dave is right. Darkside automatically wins: Darkside is here, Dave is not.
Even if Dave never gets to see me topless, never gets to hold me in his arms, never gets to pester me until I'm out of my mind.