I recently had the opportunity to cheat on My Boyfriend.
Now before you all get riled up, no, I didn’t put myself in a compromising position. I wasn’t at a bar slinking across a velvet lounger with the thin strap of my sparkly dress falling fetchingly off my shoulder, laughing lightly and sipping a cosmo that was bought for me by a charming gentleman leaning into me on said lounger.
It wasn’t like that.
In fact, I was home. Alone. It was late one Saturday night and I was cleaning my apartment and catching up on my DVRd Investigation ID shows. And I was in my pajamas, contemplating whether it was too late in the evening to start dyeing my hair.
And then I got one of those texts.
And I think we all know what I’m talking about, when I say, ‘one of those texts.’
I was actually quite surprised to get this text. It was from someone, who at some point many years ago, I’d really liked. We’d ‘dated’ briefly but it soon became clear that we were not on the same page. There were a few months of awkward exchanges, but now, even though I hadn’t talked to him in a long time and hadn’t seen him in even longer, I considered us friends.
So we were friends.
But, although there was nothing salacious in the text, because of the timing and certain things he touched on, there was no denying what it meant. I grabbed my phone and moved to the couch, where I paused, “My Dirty Little Secret” and looked over the message.
I once was out to dinner with Colette and our friend, Brian, and we were talking about relationships. I was single at the time so didn’t have much to add to the conversation but Brian, who has been with his boyfriend, Sacha, since the dawn of time, had offered up, when we moved to the topic of infidelity, “It’s sometimes different with gay relationships. As long as you’re open about it, being with someone else is not necessarily the end. At all.”
“Really?” Colette asked. “So have you? Have you cheated on Sacha?”
“No,” he said.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because. Then I’d have to tell him,” he said and took a sip of white wine. He then placed the near-empty glass on the table. “And it would hurt him.”
This really struck me. It was such a simple and loving response. I remember thinking that if I was ever in a relationship again, I’d hoped I would answer that way.
But as I looked over the text I’d received that night, I realized I did not feel that way. And this made me feel guilty. Now, of course, no, I didn’t want to hurt My Boyfriend. But that isn’t enough to to keep me from cheating on him.
And I actually don’t think loving him is enough either.
I once had a boyfriend a long time ago, who I actually believe loved me very much, cheat on me once when he was angry and hurt (and fucking wasted out of his mind) because he felt I wasn’t being supportive of a certain life-decision he’d made. I knew he loved me so I tried to get past it. For about a year. And then I realized that I’m not the kind of person that can get over that kind of thing. Not because I don’t believe it can be worked out. But because my mind will not fucking shut up about it. I did not have a moment of peace in that year and I’ll never do that to myself again.
And the thing about love being a preventive measure for cheating is – there are a lot of times in a relationship when you’re just not feeling particularly loving. I mean, even now, My Boyfriend and I have days where we’re distant or we’re off or get on each other’s nerves or just not really liking each other for whatever reason.
And as I sat and looked at that text, I thought about why I didn’t just cheat on him. I mean, I could get away with it. No one would know and he wouldn’t, couldn’t find out.
Unless I told him.
Which is the problem.
I would tell him.
As we’ve seen, I don’t have very good impulse control and once something starts rattling around in my mind, I have to address it. I don’t like knowing things My Boyfriend doesn’t know. So I just can’t not tell him. This has nothing to do with our relationship. It’s just how I am. And It’s not necessarily a beneficial trait. It’s why, when I make a mistake at work, I have to tell my boss right away, or if something is off in one of my friendships, I have to hound them until we make it right. In fact, when My Boyfriend and I started talking again in July, I kept bringing up things I felt he should know. I believed that if he was going to love me, he had to know everything about me. I’ve told him everything, even those darkest, ugliest things where you think to yourself, “If anyone ever found out about this, they would never love me.”
So if I were to cheat on My Boyfriend, there is no doubt in my mind, whatever the circumstances, no matter where our relationship was, I would tell him. Even though I know the outcome.
Which is – he would leave me. Because that is our agreed upon #1 Dealbreaker.
And the thing is, I don’t want him to leave me.
I have waited too long for this and have loved him too long to fuck this up. I simply do not want to be without him. Ever. So while I don’t want to hurt My Boyfriend, (and I’m ashamed to say this because it’s rather selfish) you know who I don’t want to hurt even more?
So that’s why I chose to fire a quick response back to that late night text, which diffused the situation immediately.
And that’s why I chose not to cheat on My Boyfriend.