In a visit from one of my ex, we’ll call him Michael, I found out that he was seeing a woman he met on a business trip when we were together.
Michael traveled extensively throughout our relationship, but I remembered this particular trip, and being curious about the woman who showed up in many of the photographs that he showed me. My woman’s intuition sent off an alarm. “Who is the woman in the pictures with you?” I asked. He said that she was one of the people in the group.
I am not one to go sniffing underwear and breaking into phones. If I have to become a detective in my relationship, I’m out. Trust is one of those things… if I can’t trust the person I'm with, I have no business being in the relationship. If a man tells me that he's going to do something, I believe him.
Michael wanted to have sex with me...desire had never been an issue between us. He still looks at me with the same blatant longing that he did when first we met. I told him no, and inquired about his current sexual involvements. That’s when I found out that he was having what he described as a ‘casual sexual relationship’ with the woman in the pictures. I experienced the feeling one gets when one steps into something soft and squishy and dreads looking down to find oneself standing in poop.
“Were you seeing her when we were together?" I asked, my voice crackled like a winter bonfire.
"No.I started seeing her about a month after we broke up." he said.
I stared at him, and it all came back – the photos of them from the trip where he met her – him telling me that she was in town and he was going to meet her for dinner – another trip he took that he said was a group reunion, that I thought was strange, but which I did not question.
I was devastated – not from jealously, but a sense of betrayal that cuts me to the core. “I don’t believe you,” I said staring at him as if I’d never seen him before. I’d never questioned Michael’s honesty or his integrity. But something about the photos had nagged me then, the same feeling crawled down my spine and settled in my tailbone – suspicion.
“I have never lied to you, Kit. I did not cheat on you. I started seeing her after we broke up,” he said again.
I threw a small tantrum and kicked him out of my apartment.
I may have overreacted, I do not concede that I did. But I am logical enough to step back and gain perspective on the situation, which I did – soon after I slammed the door behind him and bolted my lock with purpose. I stood in the middle of the room for few minutes enslaved by my ego, which fed on my emotions like a starving vampire. I couldn't hold back the tears.
I have come to believe that 'little Kitten' is not just my innocence, she is my intuition, and she is all emotion. She absorbs the world, unhindered by all the pain that I know, and she whispers to me life's secrets. She warns me of danger, and when I don't listen and life tears me apart, she puts me back together. I trust her implicitly. If I were to go to battle, I would follow her lead. She is intuitive and fearless. But she gets us into trouble sometimes when she ignores logic.
And so, when a situation requires a logical perspective, I step in.
“What the fuck are you crying about?” I thought, trying to get control of myself.
Frederick Nietzche said, “Whenever I climb, I am followed by a dog called “Ego.”
I decided at that moment not to give a fuck how, when or where Michael got involve with this woman. What good can come of wearing a cloak stained with betrayal now? Are we not over? My eyes are set not on the past, but on the glimmer on the horizon.
He said he didn't cheat - I cannot prove that he did. I regret that the trust I had in our relationship is now clouded with suspicion.
When Michael and I broke up, I told my friends that we had the perfect ending. We still cared deeply for each other and had mutual respect. Not an unkind word was spoken between us. We made love up to the day I told him that we were done and walked out of his house, not as enemies but with hugs, a last kiss good-bye, and a promise to remain life-long friends. We’d broken up several times during our time together, and were drifting apart again - neither was reaching for tomorrow. There was an undeniable sense of finality to us this time. We held each other for a long while and then let go with grace.
I sent him a text with two simple words. “We’re good,” and left the past where it belong.
“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”
― Marilyn Monroe