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The Cheating Game

"The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too."


For brief moments I’ll forget her name. Granted, it always comes back. But the fact that I can forget, for even a second, is encouraging. I’ll never forget her face though. No, that’s ingrained in my mind and comes back to visit me sometimes in bad dreams.

I wrote her a letter before it happened. Or as it was happening…I guess that part I’ll never know. The letter asked her to back off. To leave him, to leave us, alone. In the letter I explained how much we had been through, he and I. I told her that our relationship deserved this fighting chance, but with her in the picture it was making it impossible. I told her that I was actually a pretty cool person, and that I was sure she was as well (she must’ve been a cool girl, because he was a cool guy). I told her that it wasn’t fair of me to come back after so long and steal him away again. I said we hadn’t planned on getting back together, which was the truth, love makes you stupid sometimes. I acknowledged that it wasn’t really fair for her to get pushed to the side, but I was asking her to respect the love we shared.

I never sent the letter. I should have. I even knew where she lived. I had dropped him off there before, it was where all of his friends hung out and I was trying to be trusting. Trying to be a “cool girlfriend,” even though it tore me up inside. I was so tempted to just drop it on her front porch, but I couldn’t bring myself to. Maybe it would've made things different, but maybe it would have made me hate her even more, knowing that she read it, and did it anyways. I thought about egging her house a few times after it happened too. I probably should’ve done that as well; I’m sure it would have made me feel better for about ten minutes.

Cheating has always been a baffling form of betrayal in my eyes. I guess it’s because it’s been done to me, on multiple occasions. You see cheating doesn’t make the person you cheated on feel very good. No shit, right? It makes you think that it was your fault somehow. That you weren’t hot enough, funny enough, smart enough, etc. It makes you think that there was something you could have changed about yourself; some fundamental problem that could be fixed, when in reality it usually has nothing to do with you at all.

It’s a two way street, cheating is, and it seems like there’s a struggle on where to place the blame. I’ve seen it go down multiple ways. Either it’s all the girls fault: she was a slut or a tease, she tempted him too much, she knew he had a girlfriend and she urged him on anyways. Or, that she enjoyed winning him over, she enjoyed knowing that she was the straw that broke the camel's back. On the flip side, and in most cases this is the best way to go about it, the blame goes to the guy who cheated on you. The guy who, by asking you to be his girlfriend, by saying I love you, and by kissing you morning after morning, promised he would be faithful to you, then wasn’t.

The truth of it is, the blame falls on both sides. If you know someone is in a relationship, and you do it anyways, then you have to take responsibility for the fact that you probably just hurt another human being pretty badly. You may not know that other person, you may not want to think about the other side of it, you may only be focused on your wants and your desires, but that’s the way it works. And if you are in a relationship, and you aren’t happy, and cheating looks like the easiest way out (or if you see a girl at a bar, and she is looking at you like she would bang you until the sun comes up, and you just can’t resist the temptation), then words are usually a better first option, rather than unzipping your pants and letting the rest go to shit.

You see words save you from all the messy stuff. They save you from looking like a total asshole in the eyes of a person you once really loved, or liked, or even cared about. They save the person you dated from all questions of “what did I do wrong?” and “am I just not good enough?” They allow you to maintain your dignity, your reputation, and your conscience.

Cheating is not an easy out. Saying the words “I just don’t want to do this anymore” is. Or, if you still want to be in a relationship then maybe the words “Hall Pass?” might help you out. You might get slapped in the face, but it’s worth a shot. Apparently open relationships are the wave of the future.

But if you're not the one in the relationship, and you are just planning on hooking up with someone who is, then think about the roles if they were reversed. Think about the person who is really going to suffer from your actions. Think about the pain you will cause, and then think about whether or not it would actually be worth it; if the 20 minutes (if you're lucky) of rolling around will really be worth becoming the root of someone else's pain.

I think respect for one another as human beings is something we all need to work on a lot more in this world. I think placing yourself in someone else’s shoes is something we need to be doing on a daily basis. Respect is something that needs to be practiced a thousand times more, and by thousands more people, but respect for relationships is a good start.

Maybe I never will forget her face. A face I’ve only seen once, in a picture the size of a dime, on the top of an Instagram account. But one day, maybe I really will forget her name. Perhaps one day, when my mind draws a blank, those two words just won't come. And maybe one day I’ll look back on all this and only remember it as a learning experience. Perhaps sooner or later I will write it off as a lesson learned and I won’t think anymore about the person behind the scenes.


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