Have you ever had an experience that you believed passionately represented one specific thing in your life only to have a black mirror held up to show you a darker reality?
To be fair I’ve never been cheated on (to my knowledge) so I am probably simply experiencing what a lot of people have gone through and there’s nothing new or shocking about it. But there is for me.
It started when I decided to place a picture of myself as a vampire into the shared photo album I had with my ex – M – on Halloween. The album was empty since he deleted everything else in it so I commented “Happy Halloween from a ghost”.
To cut a long story short this prompted a text conversation which followed a pattern he has established since he dumped me back in March. He is out of contact for 6 weeks or a couple of months then he contacts me and quickly turns the conversation to sex.
I let him visit me a couple of times over the summer. To be fair I wasn’t over him at all – he’d been the best partner I’d ever had albeit for a very short four month time span. I would have let him come over a lot more than he chose to. Then he went quickly cold, told me that it all felt wrong and wasn’t for him after all and disappeared.
This time he did the usual, ask for pics, ask to come over and “cuddle” me all night long. He also told me, when I asked, that he’d had sex with a “friend with benefits who is no more” six weeks previously then became evasive on the subject. I was more conflicted this time than ever before. When you realise that you are feeding a toxic cycle and chances are you won’t even really enjoy it, it makes the whole thing a lot less appealing. But I acceded because, well I guess I thought I still loved him.
I discussed it with friends the following day and decided to back out but before I got the chance to message him, he beat me to the punch. I had another contrite message taking back all the assurances he’d given the night before and telling me “I really have to get you out of my head. It’s wrong of me and unfair to keep contacting you like this once in a while. I will delete all those lovely photos you sent me and also delete your number.”
I was upset and angry despite the fact that it sounds like he is being self aware here – he has done this before three or four times this year and it has really messed with my head. The worst thing was that he blocked my number so I couldn’t even have the last say.
I then did something crazy – looked up his previous ex on Facebook and sent her a long unsolicited message telling her what I’d experienced with him and asking if she had experienced anything similar.
It was a risk – she could have been angry with me but she wasn’t. She responded “You described almost exactly what happened to me” and gave me her number.
I called her the following day and we talked for two hours. We both found out some shocking truths. During my relationship with him (which started up just six short weeks after he dumped her completely out of the blue after a loving, seemingly perfect two year relationship) he was constantly texting her trying to persuade her to become a friend with benefits. She gave me specific dates and this was happening during what I thought were really special times for us as a couple: a romantic weekend away; Valentines; the point at which he first told me he loved me…
This whole year she says he has continued to be in touch with no more than a two or three week gap which is a huge contrast to the almost half hearted effort he has made to keep things going with me – maybe I just made it too easy for him, but then again she played a lot bigger role in his life, supporting him through chemotherapy (he dumped her after he got the all clear).
The way she described it he sounds almost obsessed with her although he told me that he had popped round to see her once after their break up to help with a job in her house and then had no more to do with her. This obsession does not, I hasten to add, mean that he wants her back – he just seems to want to keep her on the string and continually try to wear her down so she’ll sleep with him again.
You can imagine how I feel. Not only was I well and truly downgraded to a fuck buddy – one who got to have no say in when or how often, or to what standard – but I wasn’t even important to him when we were together – he clearly never intended to have a long term relationship with me or treat what we had seriously. That hurts like a fucking dagger in the heart. It makes me feel de-humanised, less than.
His ex told me that up to the point where she received my message she had always had a question mark over the possibility of getting back together with him – exactly as I had. She said he was the perfect partner to her – never put a foot wrong – and even when he dumped her his entire family were dumbfounded and his mum was angry with him.
Now she knows what he’s been up to and how he seems to have set up a Meet Up group so he can take his pick of potentially vulnerable, lonely women that join up (and apparently already has started a new relationship) she told me she thinks he’s a complete piece of work, a scumbag.
I can’t help but feel not good enough except everyone I’ve spoken to, including her, has told me it’s not me, it’s him. He obviously has issues with controlling all of us like some kind of back catalogue (his third ex from years ago is probably the “friend with benefits” who he described to me as someone who knows him better than anyone).
Both his ex and the first friend I spoke to about this told me that they would put money on him unblocking my number at some point and when he does I have this message to give him:
M, you are not the man I thought you were. You have been playing a cruel game and you should be ashamed of yourself for playing fast and loose with other human hearts. I feel sorry for any woman who gets involved with you – I feel sorry for G & J & S (and the children caught in the crossfire). How dare you portray yourself as some kind of perfect partner whilst sneaking behind your “lover’s” back to fuck someone else. Every nice, kind, romantic, thoughtful thing you ever did is tainted. I am left with nothing but a bad taste in my mouth.
One thing is certain, keep going the way you are and you’ll never be happy.