I like to do very bad things, and I like to do them with very bad boys.
Well, at least that’s one way to romanticize my latest bout of hedonistic behavior. By blaming it all on my inner “wild woman,” I know that I’m essentially letting myself off the hook, when in reality what I’ve done is really, really bad.
I’ve been the “other woman”—twice in the past month. Sure, it was with the same guy, but still.
In the past, I’ve been the cheater who had the boyfriend, and I’ve also been the cheater who just aids the crime, i.e. the single girl looking to score. But as far as I know, I’ve never been cheated on. I did have one boyfriend who mysteriously disappeared into Dallas, and before he stopped returning my phone calls he talked endlessly about some chick who worked at Starbucks. So it wouldn’t surprise me if the two of them had been knocking boots behind my back.
I’ve never confessed to any ex that I cheated on him. Instead of feeling guilty about lying, I came to the conclusion that if I was fooling around with someone else then I shouldn’t be in my relationship. I knew the cheating meant it was over. And I didn’t think it was worth telling my ex about the other guy and hurting his feeling even more. Especially when, at the end of the day, I didn’t fall in love with this one-night stand. I was just acting out and trying—in the least healthy way—to get out of the bad romantic situation my ex and I had found ourselves in.
To this day, I still don’t feel guilty. I think cheating is only really bad when you do nothing about your flawed relationship, and you keep going and lying to your partner. I realized my indiscretion was a symptom of a bigger problem, and so I addressed that problem—we broke up.
I do remember, though, when I was taking the cab to my clandestine rendezvous, that my heart was beating hard against my chest and I chain-smoked the whole time. I was so nervous I thought I was going to throw up. It was one of the most thrilling moments of my life.
Years later, I tried to have sex with this same guy again, but it was so awful we settled for spooning and sleep, deciding it was better to quit while we were ahead. Based on our one previous night together, I had been fantasizing about fucking this dude again for years. But it turned out that it was the circumstance of us being cheaters that made the sex exciting and electric, and when we didn’t have that taboo hanging over our heads, we found out there was no chemistry between us.
However, despite the fact that I seem pretty morally lenient on the topic of cheating, my indiscretions this month have left me with a lot of feelings. Namely, embarrassment, shame, anger, and even denial. I don’t really know how to sort it all out, and I’m not even the one with the partner.
The guy in question had been a friend of mine for years. I would see him every four or five months, normally in a large crowd of people and we would flirt endlessly with each other. Unfortunately, one of us always had a partner, and so it never went any further. That is until a few weeks ago when we were at a birthday party at a bar, and he leaned in and kissed me.
It was a kiss well worth the years of waiting.
Then he told me he had a girlfriend.
I said “Ok, let’s end it right here.” I paid my tab, got a cab, and spent the night alone.
Before that night, I had never really seen him outside of that specific friend group, but after we kissed, he was suddenly everywhere—on the street, in the supermarket, even at my movie theatre. Finally, I ran into him at a party, and as soon as we both saw each other, we knew we would be sleeping together that night. Eventually, he walked me home, told me a convoluted story about “taking space” from his girlfriend and then we had sex in my bedroom for about twenty minutes.
It was very fast and very goal-oriented. It was nothing like the kiss. As soon as we were done, he put his clothes back on and told me he had to leave. He had to go home to his girlfriend.
Naked, I walked him to the door and said, “You know, I would never let you treat me this way.” I was thinking of his girlfriend, and of the fact that he was going home to her smelling like another woman. But, then I shut the door behind him, and realized I had let him treat me that way. And that this is a situation I feel guilty for.
I didn’t feel guilty right away though. Initially, I thought, “This is not my problem. It sounds like something he’s got to figure out with his girlfriend.” But,we’ve we’ve had no contact with each other since, and I realized it was a bigger deal to me that I let myself believe in the first place.
Maybe “guilty” is the wrong word; what I mean is, I’ve always thought there were only two people in trouble in these situations—the people who are partnered. As an outsider, with no expectations, I could get off scott-free. I know now that the residual ickiness that comes over me when I think about walking him to the door means I’m accountable too. Maybe I’m not accountable to him, or to his girlfriend, but I am accountable to myself, and I wasn’t doing me any favors that night.
For years all I wanted was to sleep with this guy, and then as soon as we did, I respected both of us so much less. I keep thinking about what if I hadn’t been so persistent, and what if he hadn’t come upstairs? I wish he had been bigger and stronger than me, and said, “It’s gone too far already, and if I come up now I’m not being fair to you, to my girlfriend or to myself.”
But I know that’s asking a lot.
I’m more than curious about what’s happened between him and his lady. But I also don’t want to every see him again. I helped someone do a bad thing, and maybe this time it wasn’t worth it—even for the sake of the story.