I initially really didn’t like Jim*. Isn’t that how most lusty relationships start?
We worked in film, in Toronto. He came to our office to use our photocopier during night shifts when theirs was broken. I never gave him a second thought until we were briefly working together, a few months later.
Jim and I started talking in our office one day, and he was charming. My boss had been trying to set us up, as he had broken up with his long-term girlfriend a few months previous.
We flirted a lot on the phone, and finally, we went out. Me, him, and his best friend, Matt. All three of us got drunk on pints and shots. He first kissed me in the pub, while Matt was outside smoking. We kissed all down Queen Street West, with Matt in tow. Eventually when it came time for me to head home in a cab, Jim jumped in with me, leaving Matt behind without a second glance.
Things between us were consistent. We both were working as production assistants, we had hours to talk on the phone, while stuck in Toronto traffic jams, and he had plenty of excuses to not see me more then once a week. Occasionally he’d ditch on me, or flake out, and then do something cute to make up for it. Like leave a postcard love note stuck in my door at home, or a bunch of my favorite flowers.
His mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and he moved home to help her. I was pretty unimpressed that he was still sleeping on the couch at his ex’s, but I found it incredibly endearing that he was taking care of his sick mother. My own mother died when I was young, from cancer, and I knew the pain.
His mom passed away 7 months later. That’s when things got weird.
He used his mom as an excuse. No way I was going to get mad at him for taking care of her. But after she passed away, the excuses continued. He complained of being depressed, and now another excuse came up: he was N/A a certain night a week for “therapy.”
After ditching a long weekend trip, I caught him in a huge lie. One of my girlfriends went out for brunch with me. She suggested if he was going to act like a high schooler, we could be high school, too.
She called him, from her cell, to see if he’d answer. No luck. We ate brunch. She checked her phone after, her ringer had been off, and he had called back, left a message.
“Hey it’s Jim, just saw I missed a call, are you calling about the apartment sublet? I’m just about to go into a Spanish lesson, but please give me a call back if you want to see the place today.”
“SPANISH LESSONS? APARTMENT SUBLET?! Well, I guess we are going to see an apartment today.”
He buzzed us in and we walked into the apartment, as he left the door unlocked. My friend was in front of me (they’d never met before), but she was short enough that I could see all of his facial reactions as they were happening.
Which went: “Wow, hot chick. OH NO MY GIRLFRIEND BEHIND HER.”
This is where I got cocky. I sat on the couch, put my feet up on the coffee table.
“So, how the hell are you going to talk yourself out of this?”
Well, his ex got a job in Thailand, couldn’t find anyone to sublet before she left. He was helping her because she was still his friend, his name was still on the lease. I questioned that 20+ pairs of his shoes were in the hallway. He said he still had stuff in the apartment, with all the business with his Mom, he hadn’t moved everything out yet. He hadn't told me about the sublet because he knew I’d get mad at him.
While he was in the bathroom, I creeped the mail on the table, and found out her last name. This came in handy later.
He did a good enough job talking me out of it that I kept him on “relationship probation.” I know, dumb ass. I loved the guy, he had me wrapped around his finger.
I was in LA for a few weeks during that time, he was working in Toronto. We didn’t see each other a lot, but we’d talk on the phone every day. One day, I got a phone call from his boss, offering me his job.
I called him. “Is there something you were going to tell me?”
He told me that he’d had enough of his boss’s temper. He convinced me not to take the job, even though I really needed the work. He said it wasn’t worth the aggravation. He told me that he was going to tell me in person, that night, as a surprise. That he wanted to go away with me in January. But, my gut feeling was, well, barfy. Anxiety ridden.
His last day, I tried calling his cell phone. It was off. I called his office, and he told me that his phone died, that he forgot his charger at home. He’d call me later.
10 days of nothing. His phone was off. No response to my emails or the few messages I left. He disappeared.
I WAS FREAKING OUT. I thought he may have killed himself. He’d been complaining of being depressed, he’d been going to “extra therapy.”
I didn’t know what to do. I tried his cell on the 10th day -– DISCONNECTED.
I waited for my roommate to get home from work to give me a ride to Jim’s stepfather’s house. We got to the house. I knocked on the front door, no answer. I walked to the back door. And that’s when I see THE SIGN. The sign reminding his stepfather not to let the cats out, signed by Jim, and his ex.
My adrenaline went into overdrive. I went back to the car and told my roommate what I saw, showed him the photo I took of the sign on my phone. We picked up my laptop, and went to a pub with WIFI nearby, and worked on an email. To Jim’s ex.
In the midst of all of my freaking out, I'd done a Google search on her. I'd found her work website, and with a little digging, I'd found her email. (This was before most people were on Facebook).
I wrote a pretty basic email, detailing the time I’d spent with him (14 months), including proof of our relationship.
By deductive reasoning, I figured he was in Thailand with her. 12 hour time difference from Toronto.
8 am Thailand time, I got an email back. “…I wonder why you didn't tell me when you began sleeping with him and knew he had a girlfriend? 9 years and we never broke up.”
Interesting math, as he’d told me they’d been together for 7 years. There were other girls. He’d told me about them. Very interesting, because they broke up in July, and I’d started dating him in October.
I got an email from him. By this point, I was at least 2 pints in, and having a great time. My roommate was loving it too –- he really didn’t like Jim and had been actively campaigning for me to date someone better for me.
The emails went on for an hour or so. Her. Then him. Back and forth. It was obvious that she was at work, and he was elsewhere. I kept picturing him getting kicked out in Thailand. Priceless.
Then he writes: “Please leave her out of this, you have hurt her enough, almost as much as I have hurt her.” To which I sharply responded, bcc’ing her: “What? Your girlfriend is hurting your other girlfriend?”
Six months after this went down, I found out that he’d told the show he’d quit that he was leaving, to go traveling…with me.
I decided soon after that success was the best revenge, so I focused on my career, and tried to forget. Therapy helped.
What happened to them? Well, that poor girl married him (thanks Facebook). They got engaged in Thailand. He lost 99% of our mutual friends in Toronto.
I’ve tried to keep the scumbag quotient to a minimum since then.
(Jim*…is so not his real name)