I believe in listening to the little voice in the back of my head.
I recently found out that the man I was seriously dating for two years was engaged to another woman for a large portion of our relationship. The strangest response I got to this story was “It happens.” Yes, obviously.
I understand that my story is not unique but unless it has happened to you, or worse yet you have done this to someone, I feel the only appropriate response is shock.
How I found out does not make me proud. My now ex-boyfriend had checked his email on my computer and I suppose didn’t log out. The little voice in the back of my head said “Something’s not right -keep scrolling down”. It turns out there were a few something’s. I encountered subject line after subject line flashing the words craigslist personal ad. Horrified, I looked through dozens of responses and postings for anonymous sex. I then looked into a saved file of photos labeled miscellaneous that indicated he and his ex were anything but.
I’m told that it happens.
If this were the end of the story, I would have to agree, “It happens”. However, all of the terrifying scenarios related to the words “anonymous sex” were running through my mind. I was scared. I was scared and I was furious. So I did the inadvisable. I emailed his other girlfriend with all of the information I found and then I told her about me. I wish I could say that the reason I did it was for her health and safety. I wish I could, but I can’t. I did it because my voice said “you would want to know”. That and I was really really angry. The almost hour long email correspondence with her that followed redefined shocking for me. It turns out that he had been with her for16 years and they had been engaged for almost a year. He had proposed to me with the same ring a year and half before that but I didn’t accept it because I felt things were moving too fast.
But you know, it happens.
To the people who think that, I say yes, you are right. It does happen. What also happens is that people can recognize and appreciate the truth even when it comes from someone like the other women. What happens is that I witnessed this poor woman whose world was crashing in on her react with grace and dignity. I don’t know if she will stay with him, but I hope she knows she can do a hell of a lot better. What also happens is that as the poison of betrayal slowly seeps out of your life you notice, maybe for the first time in two years, that the little voice in the back of your head shuts up. But not before saying “I told you so.”
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