So let me preface that I have in fact experienced a relationship where both people were true to each other. But this is about those relationships that you look back on as a defining one. Everyone has those types of relationships. The one where you're in it and think I could marry this person, or you do, or you look back and think "What happened? Things seemed to be going down that road." This was one of those relationships. In fact, to date, it's been the only one that I can look in on and think any of those things. However, in this case, the other person didn't think this way.
I must also preface this by saying that I too had my faults in this relationship, which also led to it's demise. I also only found out about everything by making yet another poor decision of reading her diary. I have had people attempt to pull me astray in the mentioned relationship and have previously been "the other guy" (knowingly). In all these cases, I realize that one can not truly appreciate the damage caused without having gone through something like this. Also, the relationship ended before any of this was found out, this was just an unknown cause of tension that underlied the relationship and makes me question many decisions along the way that would have gone unquestioned without this knowledge.
My parents are divorced, due to infidelity among other things, and I saw how it tore my mom apart inside. Being on the outside all I could do was be sad and angry for her, but most importantly be there for her as an ear. Over the past two weeks I've had many, many, many people jump up and be just that, a rock, a shoulder, and a beacon. It's been overwhelming and at the same time very sobering.
Now the crux of the story.....
I met Stephanie when she was 16 and I was 19 and we began dating shortly after her 17th birthday. Our first trial was great at first, however after a year or so, probably closer to a year and a half, things had lost their luster. I had been to yet another Prom and Homecoming and she was dealing with a boyfriend who was growing older and doing college things while she was still in high school. We started growing apart and were near an end when, WHAM!, she's pregnant. We ran quickly into crisis mode. Here we were merely days from ending a dying relationship when there was suddenly a new life to consider and we had to make decisions. We opted to go the marriage rout in lieu of letting the relationship be what it was and raise a potential child with parents in different homes. This rushed decision was the effect of immaturity. Both being so young we jumped into something that neither of us wanted but both of us felt was what needed to happen. Six weeks or so into the pregnancy, however, due largely to the stress of everything, she had a miscarriage and we decided to not wed so hastily. The aftermath was what ended up sealing the deal on our first relationship. She was unable at the time to move on from the loss of this life growing inside her and I needed to continue with life. Seeing that there was nothing that I could do to encourage her any further, and that our relationship was at a pass before all of this had happened, I ended things a year and a half after we began dating.
Flash forward through 2 years of being single, being "the other guy", being a near boyfriend, and ultimately being pretty happy, Stephanie and I ran into each other's lives again. We rekindled a friendship and ultimately a relationship. This time there was a definite back and forth as to where each of us was in the relationship. In the beginning she was madly in love with me, then there was a short period of time where we both were, and the past nearly year it's been the reverse of the start. I realize now that I've been holding onto something that wasn't there for far too long, but that's another story. Six months ago she moved up to Ashland, after talking about places we wanted to end up together (Oregon or Colorado). In the two months apart she broke up with me and after some heart-to-heart's we were back in business and I moved up here four months ago. Things up here have been tumultuous and have been full of conversations about the relationship was lacking something, a spark of sorts, and me not getting a job for a couple months definitely did not help any. However, I thought that when I started working things would get back to normal. They didn't and a couple weeks ago, she dropped a bomb and broke up with me stating that she loved me but wasn't "in love" with me anymore. Friend-zoned?
A couple nights of pretty heavy drinking and not much eating led to a night where I found her diary left out sitting in the bathroom when she had been so careful to keep it with her at all times. In my state I opened it and started reading. The pages were filled with nothing but infidelity that made my blood boil and my heart break into a million pieces. I'd like to think that had I read that it had only been going on up here I would have been crushed but almost understanding, even if it was just the "accidental drunken make out". It hasn't been great and I've been trying to make it work. However, I learned that it had been going on since the first time we dated and was not the "accidental drunken make out" I had hoped. As far back as a month into our first relationship, as I'm being told by other sources, and as recently as the week before we broke up things of this sort have been going on. This called into question the whole relationship. Was the miscarriage baby mine? Was the rushed wedding a way to hide any outside philandering? Was getting me to move up here a way for her to not have to worry about "losing me" in her life more than it was about actually wanting me up here? I obviously have more questions than answers right now and I don't expect to get any answers since we are no longer on speaking, or seeing, terms.
I'm angry about and at the guys who knew about me and still led her stray, however I've come to peace with them for two reasons, one being that I too have been them (I'm not proud of it and regret it deeply for what it ruined for a time) and while I now understand how it feels, I can't wholly blame them because...two being that all it took was a simple no from her and the simplicity of that gives her the weight of the blame. I've been pursued during this relationship, during both times, and each time all it took was saying no and walking away. Or saying no and making sure they understood it. It honestly is not that hard. But the amount of times that this happened and the risk that it put on me and the recklessness of her actions make one question not even appear. Did she love me? To which I answer I don't think so. Again, with the frequency and planned nature of this, I can't imagine someone doing this to someone that, even for a little bit, they loved. Unless the person doesn't have a soul, in which case they couldn't love anyways, who's ever heard about zombies falling in love? But it just is unfathomable. Infatuation? Maybe. Liked? Who knows. Cared about? For a time I'm sure. But truly loved? Absolutely not. Not even close.
This has brought to mind that times are changing. The world is a different place and people are not content with just one thing anymore, people want more and none of us is immune. Cheating has been going on since forever. It's been celebrated and caused anger, it's been both accepted by the partner and destroyed many relationships. But I dream of a time when no one think's that it's okay. When a cheater is ostracized by community for their actions. Like Cain being sent away for the murder of Abel. Who among us would dream of doing such a thing if it meant that you would be unable to maintain any meaningful relationships? It's a pipe dream and mostly because of how I feel right now. Society has taken two paths with this it seems. Men cheat and it's because they're wealthy and powerful and people feel sorry for their wives or girlfriends and the men go to sex-rehab because they're broken in some way. Women cheat and it's because they're being abused and they're looking for someone to be nice to them and it's their husbands or boyfriend's fault. It seems that it must be because the cheater is broken, which I don't think is too far from the truth, but there also seems to be a claim of some sort of "cure", which is where I draw the line. I think that this is just how a person is. If they have found an easy way to get away with this sort of behavior, and until I read her diary, she had gotten away free and clear, they will do it again and again and again and again until their life is over. Now I'm in no way saying that this is what normally happens or that this is socially acceptable, but I've seen a couple things and these seem to be okay ways of seeing things. I've seen neither response in this case, just an out pouring of support that I'll never be able to repay but will continue to try to. So thanks to all of you and if you feel so inclined, there will always be a place for you to stay should you decide to visit up here in Ashland.
This was more for a venting purpose than anything else. And I'm not editing anything so please ignore any weird transitions.