My friends were having a conversation in a near-empty coffee shop the other day about how they think all men cheat. Despite the fact that both of them are in monogamous relationships, they were quite adamant that no matter what, if you’re with a guy, he’s going to fall into the arms of another woman.
At one point they realized they were having this conversation quite loudly, so they turned to the nice-looking man sitting at the table next to them and apologized.
“I mean, we don’t think YOU cheat,” they said. But then one of them hesitated. “Do they, though? Do all men cheat?” she asked the man.
He took a long sip of his coffee, put down the mug, and with a resigned sigh, said, “Eventually…”
When I heard this story, I got defensive. “Not all guys cheat!” I said to my friend. “My last boyfriend NEVER would have cheated!” Even as the words came out of my mouth, I realized how cliché I sounded, but I meant it. (Seriously though, he wouldn’t have. He was the best.)
“Of course not ALL guys cheat,” my friend said. “There’s always an exception to the rule!” But as she said that, I realized she truly believed that the majority of guys would, in fact, under the right circumstances, be unfaithful.
“I dunno,” I shook my head. “Of all the guys I’ve dated, I only think one of them was a cheater. But maybe I just pick guys who are fiercely loyal…”
She just shook her head at me and she didn’t have to say a word for me to know she was thinking, “Silly girl… now let’s go get you drunk on mimosas.”
As I sipped on my mimosa… fine mimoaS, plural… I took an uncomfortable stroll down memory lane, trying to figure out which of my boyfriends cheated on me while I was in blissful denial.
No offense to the Boys of My Youth, but I can’t really take any relationships I had during college or my early 20s very seriously, especially since I’m pretty sure I was cheating left and right, but I will say that there was that one guy from Long Island who took an hour to get dressed and thought I wasn’t pretty enough for him and I’m positive he cheated. I mean, you don't get a house in the Hamptons for the summer and only let your girlfriend come once if you’re being faithful.
Other than that though, my most serious relationships were all with guys I found to be totally trustworthy. I mean, sure the tattooed lawyer guy called me the day before my birthday to say he’d fallen in love with his co-worker and was getting engaged, but that was my fault (not really) for agreeing to an open relationship.
There was the shy, sweet nice guy who lived off his parents’ money, didn’t have a job, and spent his day playing racquetball, but though he sounds like a player on paper, he was way too stoned to ever cheat. Plus, racquetball was the only game he had.
There was the Republican (I know) from outside of Boston who dry-cleaned his shirts and loved his mom more than any guy I’ve ever met and covered my bedroom in construction paper hearts one Valentine’s Day.
There was the crazy former heroin addict who was too abusive and controlling to let me out of his sight, so he wouldn’t have even had the opportunity to cheat. (WHY, DAISY, WHY?)
And then there was Campfriend. Who was my best friend in the whole wide world and would never have done a thing to hurt me.
Nope! I didn’t date cheaters. Go me! And I poured another mimosa to celebrate.
It was just a few days later when one of my Twitter followers pointed out that we had a friend in common. Turns out she used to work with The Republican who loves his mom. We exchanged a few direct messages about how amazing and awesome he is and then she sent me this message: “Oh! I heard he got engaged last year!”
Wait WHAT? Engaged? Last year? That’s weird because he sent me this text message in January…
I assumed she had gotten the timing wrong -- after all, what newly engaged guy would solicit his girlfriend from almost a decade before for sex? I quickly sent him a text confirming the news and then congratulating him. What happened next was a little odd, but I wrote it off as a joke. I mean, what guy HASN’T grown tired of waiting for me to get my act together?
And while it was a little disconcerting because I would hate to think that when I get engaged one day, the man I choose to spend the rest of my life with would even JOKE with a girl like that, I wrote it off as friendly banter and still told him I’d be down to grab a drink.
After all, this is a guy I spent a lot of time with. Someone whose home I went to for Christmas. Who I really cared about. Of course I wanted to catch up and see how he was doing. Plus, I totally stalked him on Facebook and his fiancée was gorgeous. Clearly he was just joking around.
And then this happened:
The worst thing? This guy was one of the “good” ones. I would have sworn up and down that he was faithful and loyal and decent and kind and amazing. He’s the kind of guy I would have been happy for any of my girl friends to end up with. And I say all of that even knowing he’s a Republican! I mean, he was THAT amazing of a guy.
And who knows. Maybe he still is. Clearly there’s more to the story than I’m privy to. All I know is that I don’t have sex with guys who are in relationships, I certainly don’t “owe” anyone anything, and telling me to “step up” only makes me want to put on my flannel pajamas, eat cookies, and wonder what’s wrong with the world.
I ignored his texts because it’s silly to argue with a drunk person. I ignored his texts because I was embarrassed for him. And I ignored his texts because I was hoping that he’d wake up in the morning, realize he was out of line, and profusely apologize.
Maybe, just maybe, if he did, I thought, we could still meet for a drink. Somewhere very public. And for just one. Because even after everything he’d done, I still wanted to believe the best in him.
But it didn’t matter. Because those were the last texts I got. Granted, it only happened a few weeks ago and there’s a good chance I’ll hear from him again at some point in life, but things will never be the same.
He was an important part of my past. Now I know that’s where he needs to stay.
Guess the good guys do cheat after all.
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