Tom and I dated a year before things started getting weird. It was pretty perfect before that. He was very good looking and got along well with all my friends. We were everyone’s favorite couple in our friend group.
A few months ago though, the new relationship feeling was well worn off and I just noticed that he wasn’t as into me as he used to be. He used to want to hang out most nights of the week and it slowed to only a few. He was reluctant to go to our standing couples game night with our friends, and the biggest red flag of all — he started locking his phone. I used to peak at it when he left the room. It wasn’t major snooping, I’d just scan the names of the people he’d recently been texting.
I was at happy hour with one of my girlfriends and I told her that things were different lately and that I was suspicious he was cheating on me. We were pretty buzzed at that point (it had been a long week) and she suggested something totally crazy: there was a longstanding prank the local radio station we listened to did where they found out if a guy was cheating by getting a flirty “phone company” girl to flirt with them and offer them an incentive to switch companies. I’d like to think it was the alcohol but it was more likely my complete desperation to get my perfect relationship back. I had to know the truth. So, buzzed on happy hour pinot grigios we googled the DJ’s radio station email and sent him an email from my phone.
I didn’t expect to hear back, but I hoped I did. I wasn’t sure how else I would find out what was going on, so I was cautiously ecstatic when I heard from the DJ a few days later. He said he’d like to go ahead and use my boyfriend as their “subject” for the week, and I needed to give them some background info and his phone number and make sure he’d have a reason to answer his phone the following Wednesday morning. I always thought they did the segment life but I guess they recorded it in advance so I was at least going to have some privacy to digest whatever happened before it went on air.
Wednesday came and the DJ called me at home (I’d taken the morning off so I wouldn’t have to have such a bizarre conversation on my work phone). I talked to him for a few minutes and then he dialed my boyfriend with his co-host. The way the prank worked is that the co-host would say she was from his phone company and flirt with him for a bit until his guard was down, and then she would ask about his relationship status in a flirtatious way. My throat was in my stomach.
He answered the phone and I started sweating. I realized at that point that even if he wasn’t cheating he was going to find out in a few minutes that I was playing a radio station prank on him to find out if he was being faithful and he was about to be fucking livid.
The flirting part of the segment begins and even through my extreme nervousness I feel jealous that he’s reciprocating. I flirt with people casually, and it’s harmless. But it’s another thing to overhear it. And he was crossing the line. Why was he asking her what bars she goes out to? That’s not just conversation.
But then it only got worse. As the conversation continued it slowly dawned on me that I’d heard this routine before. He had no loyalty to me. The DJ offered him an incentive to switch his phone service — some flowers he could send to his girlfriend. He agreed and my heart leaped for a minute, he cared about me! He was going to send me flowers! But the name he gave wasn’t mine. I didn’t hear what happened in the next few minutes. I was struggling to understand what just happened. He was sending flowers to someone, to a woman, and it wasn’t me. As if it was a million miles away I heard her ask him what she wanted the card to say. He replied, “I can’t wait for our bundle of joy to come.”
The sound of the male DJ repeating my name brought me back. “Yeah, I’m here.” I said. I was holding back vomit, I couldn’t be on the phone anymore. I couldn’t explain the “prank” to my boyfriend. I couldn’t speak at all. Some angry yelling came out though. I don’t even remember what I said. I hung up. I packed a bag and I drove to my parents house a few hours away.
I had missed about 13 calls from him by the time I arrived. He was sorry. He screwed up. He knows he did something wrong. We’ve talked in the week since this happened, and he has apologized profusely and told me some of the details. He said he did love me and wanted to commit to me but he got scared and needed once last fling just to make sure I was the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Now he knows I am the one. Except, it took him cheating on me to get there and now I have to deal with his kid on the way and the baby mama for the rest of my life. Life is fucking great sometimes.