I had plans to meet my good friend Meredith this afternoon. You’ve met her at least once. I know her through this post-graduate program I did at NYU the first summer I lived in New York. Then she interned at my company for a while and got a job at one of our competitors. So we’re industry friends. She didn’t know that you had broken up with me. Not until I met her and told her in person. She immediately gave me a hug and we walked through Union Square holding hands. (I take back that good friend moniker. She’s a great friend.)
We found a quiet little burger shop to have lunch in and she let me spill. I’ve never met a better listener, or a better advice-giver. She’s been with her boyfriend for seven years. And despite that, she still has so much relationship experience it’s unbelievable. She’s had like eight different boyfriends. I don’t think she’s been single since she turned sixteen.
The first thing we talked about? When you called our relationship an “adventure.”
An adventure? That’s what you considered a year and a half spent together? I wanted to write off your poor word choice as something in the moment that you didn’t really mean. You were nervous, grasping at what to say and how to say it. So you said what popped into your mind first.
Except, isn’t that a psychology test they do? Word association or something? The moderator says a word and you say whatever pops into your head first. Aren’t those word choices supposed to mean something, to say something about you and how your mind puts things together? Wasn’t that exactly what you had done? I flashed the word “relationship” at you and you thought “adventure.”
Adventure…the word still rings in my ears. Like we were some kind of weekend lovers. We met serendipitously in an airport while we both were laying over and ended up fucking in the bathroom. That’s what I consider an adventure. What we had – a year and a half together – that’s a commitment.
Meredith agreed with me. But she had a theory of her own. One that I’d also harbored, though I didn’t want to think about it.
She wondered if maybe you’d met someone else. And that’s why you ended things so suddenly without an explanation. Because what explanation can you give for cheating on someone? How do you soften that blow? How do you come out as a good guy?
It seemed farfetched. Totally unlike you. We were in love. You’d never cheat on me. But then I remembered my second boyfriend. I may not have told the whole truth about how we broke up.
Like I said earlier, my second boyfriend and I were in a long-distance relationship. We hardly ever talked and we didn’t have plans on seeing each other. I was super unhappy and wanted to end things. But ending things is a lot harder than you might think. (Or perhaps you know that now.)
I had planned on breaking up with him two weekends before I actually pulled the trigger. I had gotten on the phone and called him and talked to him for thirty minutes each time. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. He’d have had a hard and exhausting day on the set. Or he had to drive from one location to another carrying props or cast members or whatever it is PAs do. He always seemed stressed on the phone. And so I didn’t break up with him those first two times.
Then I met someone. I had been unhappy for a couple of months at that point. In my entire first year in New York, I had been to a gay bar once. How sad is that? You could never live that way. I was a hermit, chained to my boyfriend off in L.A. And then my college friend had a very attractive gay friend visiting from out of town. He was tall (taller than me) and lean and muscular. He liked sports and had sung in an a cappella group in college. Pretty much a dream guy for me.
I ended up going to dinner with my friend and his gay friend. I hit it off really well with the gay friend. I didn’t do anything that night, though I wanted to. I controlled my impulses. He even knew that I had a boyfriend, albeit a long-distance one who I was unhappy with. I might have even told the guy that I was planning on breaking up with my boyfriend. My memory fails me on the specifics.
But later that week we ended up going out together again. He actually told my friend to invite me. One thing led to another and I ended up spending my Thursday night in a hotel room just off Times Square.
And it was great! It’s what I needed to get me out of my rut. That next night I called up my boyfriend and broke up with him. I didn’t tell him that I had cheated because I didn’t want to hurt him any more than I already had. Talk about rubbing salt in a wound. The guy I cheated with went back to Chicago or wherever he was from and that was that. Sure, I liked him, but he was just a fun hook-up. After a year and a half in a relationship, I was more than ready to be single.
I tell you this story to say that if you did cheat on me with someone else, I understand. I’ve been there. You were probably unhappy for a while and didn’t know how to tell me. You had just taken a couple of beach trips the month before you broke up with me. The first was to Fire Island with a bunch of your friends. I don’t think anything happened there, but it is the gay beach to go to. Then the weekend before you broke up with me you went out to the Hamptons. This is what worried me.
You were at the Hamptons for a weekend with one of your work friends. You guys had a big house with lots of beds. You even told me that you’d lucked out and gotten a room to yourself. Listening to Meredith’s suspicion, maybe you had met someone. Maybe the chef you’d talked so highly of when you came back. The one who made ten thousand dollars to cook four meals over the weekend for the house. Had you slept with him? Again, I don’t think you’re the kind of guy who would do that. But I also didn’t think you would walk out on a relationship – I mean “adventure” – with two sentences and no explanation.