I wasn’t looking for anything when I found videos of my then-boyfriend masturbating with strangers on the internet. Honest, I wasn’t. In fact, I was trying to close applications so I could stream Big Brother 14 faster (this isn’t even the pitiful part). Regardless, that night I discovered my boyfriend had secrets, and I watched them unfold before my eyes. Images of my boyfriend and other boys in split screen having cyber-sex. Each video in his vast collection was dated, proving he began his collection as early as the third week of our relationship. At the very least, he was consistent.
Processing powerful emotions at two in the morning with toothpaste covering my blemishes is not something that comes naturally to me, so I called a friend. And that perfect, life-saving friend gave me the best advice. Pack up your stuff, forget nothing, and, without waking him, leave. Wait, just let him off the hook? I should’ve screamed bloody murder into his vulnerable ear. I could have made a skin coat out of him that would have made Buffalo Bill proud. But with all that rage churning inside of me, I gathered my belongings and left. Haven’t seen him since.
On my way I home, I coped using all the good break-up songs. I was already putting up a great wall. “He just lost the best thing he ever had!” Not a tear was going to spill from this tough guy. “I’m out of his league, anyway!” Water off a duck’s back, “I’m gonna be… fine.”
But I wasn’t fine. No self-reassurance or repeats of “Bye, Bye, Bye” would lead to peace. I wanted to know why. Not why he did what he did (he’s an immature coward), but how any trust exists between human beings. Why trust anyone? Bear with my slippery slope argument. World wars would break out all the time without trust (and, of course, strict laws and policies). Patients trust that doctors, from anesthesiologists to brain surgeons, won’t maim them in their extremely vulnerable states. And yet, some guy couldn’t go three weeks into our relationship without masturbating with random internet dudes? Why do we give ourselves to cretins if they always fuck it up in the end?
I’ve had three months to think about this and I don’t have an answer. There is no answer. Nothing he has said to me (“We would go five days without seeing each other sometimes!”) and nothing I’ve heard from others (“He did what?!”) is going to change what happened. Learning that his meathead roommates, whom I had considered friends, knew about the videos the whole time certainly didn’t help anything. Time was the only solution to my fury. One thing I can take away from this, however, is experience. It was about time someone took advantage of my trust, because there are an awful lot of monsters on this planet and they appear under every bed sooner or later. I have to learn from it and be picky. Life is finite, and I want to suffer as few fools as possible.
But fools are a funny breed. They come in all different shapes and sizes with more tricks up their sleeves than a dime-store magician. Watching relationships form and fall since the age of 15, I absorbed stories of failed romance. I figured that if I knew all the potential warning signs, I’d be fine.
Turns out, feelings aren’t that simple and warning signs are also very hard to read if you’re wearing Jackie O rose-colored glasses. Someone likes me? In a romantic way?! I’m in a relationship for the very first time?! I get to go to the movies… with a boy! I’m on a Valentine’s date… with another person! I am… in love! Golly, I hope this never ends.
But it did. What I was feeling was never love, rather just a blend of excitement and exhilaration. The good feelings stopped after three months, which I mistook for the end of the honeymoon period and the beginning of the “real” relationship. It can’t be rainbows (make your gay jokes) forever; so this must be when the relationship really begins. Well if a “real” relationship is running out of things to say to your partner and getting so bored during sexy stuff that you start rolling your eyes, then I’ll pass. Here’s where I impart my wisdom: if it feels wrong, that’s because it is.
You’ll never be ready for it. You can aggressively nod while your friend sobs about their ex. You can take detailed notes whilst watching Sex and the City. Still, you’re gonna fuck up your first relationship. And that’s okay. I gave an imbecile my time and affection all so I could take a right hook to the face. It’s your first for a reason.
For example, look at pancakes. The first pancake of the batch always sucks. It’s undercooked, misshapen, and resembles something from The Fly. Yet, it has to exist for there to be tastier, golden-brown pancakes. So you applaud yourself for trying, get off the kitchen floor, and change what made the first one so shitty! The second may also be shitty, but pancakes, like relationships, are equal parts luck, chemistry, and learning experience.
It has been three months since I tossed my first pancake (tired metaphor) and I’m still getting my bearings. I’ve been on a few good dates and the anger has almost completely dissipated. I won’t succumb to bitterness or fear. When it comes to love and relationships, consider me cautiously optimistic. Failure in love is imminent, but necessary for growth.
So, I didn’t write this for vengeance. Like a bad hangover, vomiting all this up feels a lot better than holding it in. But if you, dear reader, suspect I have ulterior motives, know that I left all my revenge on my ex’s couch when I urinated all over that fucker the night I left for good.