This life is all I have ever known. I don’t know how to be a good girlfriend, but I know how to be your boyfriend’s wet dream.
I am the girl you wouldn’t even wish on your worst enemy. Girls say my name with contempt, and my reputation precedes me so much that one look in my direction would send a group of women into whispers.
I have been a home-wrecker ever since I discovered the art of texting. A boy in my class would send flirty messages to me and I would flirt back, knowing full well that his girlfriend was in my bio class. I have been a home-wrecker ever since I discovered Skype and realized how a simple video chat could be so innocently intimate. I have been a home-wrecker ever since I graduated university and a fellow graduate’s boyfriend gave me — and only me — a teddy bear wearing a black mortarboard holding a rolled up certificate.
“Congratulations to us,” he said, tapping his own graduate cap. “I’m going to miss seeing you around.”
Because most of my friends are men, I am bound to rub elbows with a couple of boyfriends. A lot of the time, I am the only girl in the room, and I have always been comfortable with that. I grew up with male cousins and I’ve always felt better in the presence of boys than girls.
I’m just here with the boys, they always tell their worried girlfriends over the phone. No, no, she’s not here.
Being a home-wrecker has less to do with being a boyfriend-stealing whore and more to do with being a good listener.
Although a girl with fishnet stockings and a low-cut dress can easily woo your boyfriend, it is not her that he wants. As much as you’d like to imagine the home-wrecker as a brazenly promiscuous woman with long, slender legs and cigarette breath, most of the time, she isn’t.
It is not always the slutty, sexy woman with the coquettish bedroom eyes that always gets your boyfriend — it’s me. The girl in the denim shorts and oversized T-shirt, blaring some indie rock band from the front seat of his car. The girl with her hair braided to the side with a cup of cappuccino and reading a novel in a little obscure café.
I am a great listener and an even better advice giver. Any problems you two may have will be unsolicitedly given unto me to fix. At first, I will be your secret best friend. I’ll fix your relationship until I break it with my own hands.
I’ve heard the words, “I’ve never told anyone that before,” a million times and more. Your boyfriend will tell me everything about his life and yours, and I will genuinely listen. I will not interject unless necessary.
Your boyfriend’s friendly eyes will suddenly dilate with excitement as he looks at me like a shiny new toy.
Your boyfriend will talk to me every day, and what started as a conversation about his relationship will develop into a two-sided friendship. He will start to care about me as I have cared about him. This stage is platonic, of course, and by this point you would have heard my name peppered in a few of your conversations. You’re starting to be wary of my existence. I am here, and now you know.
“Let’s have lunch tomorrow,” your boyfriend will ask me one day. I will always be hesitant. I will never say yes straight off the bat. I will think about you and how you would feel. Your boyfriend will sense my apprehension and convince me that it’s nothing more than a friendly lunch. So I'll go.
“You look great,” he says.
We are friends having lunch. But by now, you will know that there’s something more. You’ll tell him to stay away from me. You’re jealous. You’re starting to dislike me even though I have done nothing but become an ear and a shoulder to lean on for your boyfriend who is trying so hard to love you. Little did you know that I have glued the broken pieces of your relationship together plenty of times before.
He disobeys you because he sees me as a trustworthy friend. There’s nothing wrong with this, he thinks. Your boyfriend asks me out for lunch again — no, this time it’s dinner. I worry. I always do. He convinces me again that it’s a friendly dinner. So I go.
“You look great,” he says.
He stops talking about you now. He’s showering me with compliments. “Why don’t you have a boyfriend yet? I’d date you if I was single.” He pays for the bills. He wants me to drop by his flat for a while. “As friends.”
“Okay. As friends.”
Your boyfriend will suddenly turn on his charm as he drives me to his flat. Music up, with both my legs crisscrossed on the passenger seat, we’re both singing loudly to whatever band he thinks might set the mood. He laughs, looks at me, and squeezes my knee ever so slightly in one childlike motion.
We arrive at his apartment. He gives me a drink. He takes me around his place, and I rummage around his DVD drawers and bookshelves. I take a book out and ask him what he thinks of the author. He tells me he doesn’t like his work lately.
We sit on the couch and he shows me a funny YouTube clip on his laptop. I show him another. It becomes a cycle of who can show the funnier clip. Our legs touch, I pretend to be oblivious to it. He puts his arm around me. I sit still.
He leans over and kisses me, and I kiss him back.
I am the home-wrecker. But I don’t climb to your boyfriend’s lap. I don’t ask him to come to my flat at 11 p.m. I don’t tell him he looks handsome. It always begins as innocent friendship.
I am the home-wrecker. I sit in silence as I hear people point and whisper. I don’t tell them how I am nothing but someone to fuck, kiss, receive pleasure from. I don’t tell them how empty I feel. How used. Rarely do they tell their girlfriends. Never do they break up for me. The home-wrecker is never The One.
I am wrong. I am stupid. I am immature and irresponsible. But this is all I have ever known. I don’t know how to be a good girlfriend, but I know how to be your boyfriend’s wet dream.
I am the home-wrecker, I think to myself as I feel his fingers slide down my underwear. I think about you. This is wrong, I repeat in my head. But I cannot help myself as your boyfriend unbuttons my shirt and unhooks my bra. This is wrong. Your boyfriend slides down my skirt. This is wrong. He kisses my neck. This is wrong. Finally the clock strikes 12 and your boyfriend lies naked in bed, looking at me with an indescribable look of guilt and happiness. That was wrong.
Your boyfriend will talk to me like nothing ever happened, like our lips had not touched and his hands did not cover every inch of my body. We will be friends, because that’s all we ever were.
Only this time, when you’re not looking, or when we’re alone, his hands will rest on my thigh, begging for another night.
I will give him that night and every night he begs for, because this is what I am. I am the home-wrecker, and this is the only life I know.
Have a story of cheating or being cheated on? Submit your pitches for this column to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Cheaters."