On top of being a great addition to the apartment, my new roommate Marjorie told me the craziest story the other day. A story of lies and infidelity, something you see on soap operas or those terrible, unrealistically dramatic CW shows where twenty-eight-year-olds play teenagers. Here’s the short version:
Before Marjorie moved here, she was seeing this guy named Leyland in Minnesota. They had been dating for maybe six months. Long enough to be exclusive, but it wasn’t like they’d moved in together or anything.
So they’ve been dating for a while and things are going well, but then Marjorie gets a job in New York and moves here. That’s when they decide that it’s probably best to break up. At least for the time being because the distance thing just isn’t worth it (something I can attest to as I wasted the better part of my first year in New York dating my college boyfriend who lived in North Carolina and then LA). However, Leyland is a web designer/developer (I can’t remember which) and he actually works for himself out of his apartment and had been considering a move to New York as well. So while he and Marjorie broke up when she moved, it was this kind of up-in-the-air thing. They got along well, they liked each other, had good sex… If he did end up moving to the City, then they would have gotten back together.
There’s a zero percent chance of that happening now, though. Because this is where the story gets interesting. For whatever reason (maybe the break-up gave her the distance she needed to listen to a niggling worry she’d always had that something wasn’t right with Leyland) Marjorie decided to look more closely into one of Leyland’s girl friends. (Note the space there. This was a girl that Marjorie had been told was just a friend. A former girlfriend, actually, who Leyland had basically shit on to Marjorie. Something about the sex being terrible and that’s why he had dumped her but for whatever reason was still “just friends” with her.)
Marjorie decides to do some snooping into this girl. She finds her on Facebook and Instagram and then lines up some dates and some of Leyland’s stories and starts to question what was really going on. Mind you, this took her hours to do. But Marjorie is a thorough girl (and maybe a bit neurotic), so she decides to take it a step further and emails with the girl. The girl is a teacher so she hunts down her work email since those things are public. Then it’s just a matter of waiting for a reply.
Marjorie’s frank but nice in her initial email. She asks the other girl about Leyland and then tells her that he was seeing her as well. When the girl responds, it confirms everything…she’s dating Leyland and didn’t know about Marjorie either. Leyland was dating them both and lying to both of their faces! The other girl lived out in the suburbs in Minnesota, so he’d spend time with her there and then spend time with Marjorie in Minneapolis. They never overlapped.
Shady, right? This Leyland guy was a real douchebag. After confirming that Leyland had two girlfriends, Marjorie confronted him. And he still tried to deny it! How ridiculous and dramatic. When you get caught, just own up to it. At least Marjorie is done with him. No regrets on that move. But still, she’s going to think twice about trusting the next man she starts seeing.
I still can’t quite believe it. Not just the fact that Marjorie’s ex- was seeing another girl on the side, but that he went about in such a planned — almost pathological — way. This wasn’t some guy who happened to hook up with another girl. This was a guy who purposefully hid the truth from Marjorie, making up elaborate lies even at the end after she had found out and called him on it.
Like I said, something out of a really bad soap opera. I didn’t think these things happened in real life. I guess you can’t really trust people.
I trusted you, though. You didn’t have a guy on the side, though there was one time late in our relationship when I thought something might be up. (And I know this might sound psychopathic of me, but really, I wasn’t snooping; I just happened to see this by accident.) You had left the room to pee or something and your your phone was face-up on your nightstand. A text came in and your screen lit up. I only saw a glimpse of it, but it was definitely a picture, coming in at eleven or so at night. I didn’t have my contacts in and it was across the bed, so I don’t know exactly what I saw.
All I know is what my instincts told me. The far-off camera angle. An empty living room or bedroom in the background. Someone standing in the middle of the frame, presumably posing. Most likely my paranoid mind playing tricks on me again. Could it have been a sext? Probably not. But it made me wonder.
What if you did have someone on the side? You met a lot of guys at the bar where you worked. And a lot of them hit on you. Who’s to say one or more of them didn’t get your number, didn’t start texting you pictures. Just because you got a flirtatious message from a guy didn’t mean that you were doing anything with him. While we were dating I got a few text messages from this one guy I had hooked up with before meeting you. I always deleted them without responding. He didn’t seem to get the hint, though. What if you had seen one of those? What would you have thought? He wasn’t sending me pictures or anything, but the concept’s the same.
We spent a lot of nights together, so I can’t imagine you’d have had time for someone else. And if you had, I’d think your roommates would have said something to me. I was friends with them. I would imagine they would have disapproved of you seeing someone else. But maybe not.
I still wonder what it was that caught my eye that night. Probably just your mom texting you a picture of how she redecorated your room or something. I had time to take a closer look. You were out of the room. But I trusted you and let it be. Curiosity always leads to more trouble.
I went to bed that night worried, though, wondering what I would do if I lost you to someone else, or if I had already lost you. Now I don’t know what I’d do if I found out you’d had someone secretly tucked away. I’d rather not know if you did.
You wouldn’t, though, so I don’t get worked up about it. But hearing Marjorie’s story, I can’t help but think what if that happened to me. I mean, she didn’t suspect her ex- was up to anything either. People can surprise you. Especially when you think you know them.