they say you don't know what you got 'til it's gone / / they say that your darkest hour comes before your dawn

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bleed out;

This is going to be a long post. I'm going to write about something I've chosen not to speak of often. And I'm going to do it in great detail. I've had this conversation many times, but I've never fully expressed my answers. Until now. I know that the person this greatly revolves around may get angry with me, or upset with me, for the things I'm about to say, but this isn't about you. And it's not about me. This is about the people who have been in the same position as myself, who have come to me for advice on how to handle it. I want them to know, to really believe, that you can move on from that situation in a positive manner. And if Michael and I can do it, anyone can.
Michael, I don't hold any of this against you, you know this. I know that you love me and that you'll never do it again. I trust you 100% and I love you on a level that I never thought I was possible of reaching. You are one of the best things that has ever happened to me, honest.

Two of my friends are in separate situations, yet I've been in both, so they've come to me for advice on how to deal with it. The first one is dealing with a partner who's cheated; and the second is dealing with the insecurities of an ex-girlfriend. I'm about to say things that no one has heard of. Things that never leave my mind. I'm going to be honest, real honest.

Michael and I started off as strangers, we grew into best friends, and then slipped into a relationship. I believe that this is what makes a successful and happy relationship. Although, it has not come easy. It's been a hard struggle to reach this point, and I'm stronger and more secure in my relationship because of the way things have been. Michael cheated on me within the first 3 or so months of our relationship, and I knew about it the whole time. His ex-girlfriend believed I was the last to know, I wasn't. I knew about it after the first two weeks, but it took 3 months for it to finally come out in the open. Do not underestimate me. How did I know, you ask ? When the person you've been sleeping with wakes up and txts someone else, first thing in the morning, before even saying good morning to you, you know. You just know.

He was constantly on his phone, txting away as soon as he got that message. And he was super protective over his phone. I was never allowed to go near it, and he would take it with him everywhere he went. A person who harbours something so close to them has something they want to hide. It's basic law of human nature. Before Michael and I started dating, we had a very interesting conversation - an honest one. We compared our past behaviour to see who was the worst person. There were no secrets - he told me of the countless times he cheated on his past girlfriends, and all of the hurt he had brought others. I told him of mine, and we decided he was the winner. From this, I knew he had always cheated on girlfriends, and I knew if I were to get involved with him, then I ran the risk of history repeating itself. Nevertheless, I still took that risk, and I experienced first hand how it felt to have history on repeat for the hundredth time.

I had no solid proof to begin with, just intuition that told me something was wrong. I waited two weeks, patiently and in silence, for the perfect moment. I do this a lot when it comes to things I want, and it always works. One day, he left his phone, on silent, in my room, on charge, while I was still getting changed, and he was down stairs with my brother. That perfect moment was right there for the taking, and I took it with both hands. I went through that phone and I found message after message about how excited he and his other girlfriend [because he was dating both of us at the same time] were about moving in together, how she had found the most perfect place in the city, how she was scared he'd back out of it, and how he was surely convinced it was going to work out. I remember every message in clear detail. Even their plans to holiday in Bali in November.

I'll tell you this now - no one fucks with me and gets away with it. "All's fair in love and war" is a rule I live by. You want to go ahead and cheat on me ? Fine, but be prepared to face the consequences. I took it a step further - I forwarded all those messages to my phone, deleted those from his sent folder so he had no idea, and then I put the first message that she had sent him that morning as the one just opened. I walked down stairs, I threw his phone at him and I clearly said, "Get your shit and get out of my house." Those exact words no less. I still remember the immense anger and betrayal I felt. I had packed all of his belongings from my room and left them waiting for him by the front door. I was serious. He then denied everything, like I knew he would, and said that they were old txt messages, that h phone had got the dates wrong. What he didn't know was that the subject of every message was of a present issue. There was no way she could have been talking about his "new job" and finding the perfect apartment in the city, so close to his "new job" if they were old messages. I'm not a fool.

I read back those message, word for word, from my own phone to show him how naive he thought I was. My brother and two of my best friends were there at the time, and they tried to break up our fight because it was getting heated. I remember the distinct urge I had to hit Michael, and hit him hard, but I didn't. He kept saying how I was being crazy and that he didn't want to leave because he "really, really liked" me. If it wasn't for one of my best friends calming me down, Michael and I would have ended right there. My best friend told me to give him the benefit of the doubt, so I did.

Two weeks after that, his other girlfriend's best friend added me to MySpace. I had no idea who she was, but she was a friend of Michael's so I thought nothing of it. She then sent me a message telling me that it was interesting to read how Michael was in a relationship with me, while he was in a relationship with her best friend. She told me about everything, and I was sent home from work for being unable to stop crying. It was 10am, I had been there for two hours, and I was incapable of doing anything knowing what I knew. When I got home, Michael was there, and I confronted him about it. I showed him all the messages, told him how it made me feel, and I listened to what he had to say. He denied it, again. This best friend of his other girlfriend had done this in the past, and he convinced me that she was doing it again. Told me that his "ex-girlfriend" wanted Michael back, and if she couldn't have him, then nobody could. I let it go, for the second time.

It wasn't until a couple of months later that I received an interesting message on MySpace from none other than his other girlfriend. She had told me that she knew about me, about how Michael was living two separate lives, and that she felt "sorry" for me because I was "the last to know." Obviously I wasn't the last to know. Once again, I was at work when I received this message, but this time I held myself together and waited patiently to go home at the end of the day. I sat there playing through my mind how exactly I was going to deal with things when I got home. I called Michael into my room, showed him the message, and told him no more denial. I had my proof, solid, undeniable proof. And for the first time, he went silent. I remember the moment clearly - he was breathing rapidly, swallowing hard, picking at his hands, and staring into nothingness - all signs of a classic liar. I had just discovered his base line, and from that moment forward, I was always able to tell if he was lying to me.

I told him, in the most firm tone I've ever spoken in, that he is to make a choice - it's me or her. And he was to make it right then and there. And of course he said he'd pick me, and of course I let him believe that I believed him, and of course I didn't believe a word of it. I upped my game, "You can send her a message, right now, saying that it's over and that you're with me. I want to see it before you send it, and I want to see what she says back. If you don't, you can get your stuff and never come back." And he did. And I thought that would be the end of it. It was far from over. It had only just begun.

Multiple times, he used my laptop to go on his MySpace account, and multiple times he would leave my house with it still signed in. And every time that it was, I would check it. And every time that I did, there was a message from his now-ex-girlfriend. You can bet your bottom dollar what those messages said. All of them were along the lines of "How could you do this to me ?," "I thought you had changed," "I know everything, stop lying to me," blah blah blah. I copied those messages, and I saved them to my laptop in a folder that I knew Michael could never get to. I sat there, for a few weeks, in bitter silence, waiting for the message I knew was coming. That message came. It was about how they had promised they'd always be together, about all those juvenile promises you make when you're young, about how they'd always get married, and have kids, and a dog, and how they'd have the best family in the world; about how she missed everything from when they first started dating; about how she knew that if he would leave and move to Queensland with her, that they could start over and it would be perfect.

He had replied, saying that he wasn't going out, that he'd be home alone, and that she could "come over and we can talk about it." He had previously told me, only 30 minutes prior, that he was going out to his sister's dance performance and therefore I wouldn't be able to talk to him. I copied that message, and sat their with a decision I had to make - I could either send it to him now and tell him if that's the way he's going to let things be then he can get the hell out of my life, or I could save it and wait until I was face-to-face and see him squirm. I called one of my best friends, who advised me that I should do whatever the hell I wanted because I was still going to end up with the same result. I copied that message, and I sent it to him, saying that I told him it's was me or her, and clearly he had lied to me, again. We fought for a long time, and he convinced me that he was only going to talk to her about how it can never be the way she wanted it, because he was committed to me.

After that, he made me a promise that if he were to ever talk to her again, that he would tell me; I promised that I would no longer get mad if he did. But of course, I found more messages between the two of them, and of course I got pissed off because he broke his goddamn promise. I was at breaking point, but held it together, because I had told him that I loved him, and he had said it back. At that point, I had regretted telling him such powerful words, and wished I could make it all stop. July 4th 2009 was the night I told him I loved him, and he said it back. That was the night of my 21st, and I spent a good portion of the night crying over it because I didn't believe he really did love me. And how could I ? After all those times he had betrayed my trust, I was finding myself struggling to hold those words true.

Months went past, and soon enough, Michael and I had been together for a year. And in that whole year, I had never met his parents, or anyone from that side of his life. He was still keeping them separate. I told him that I wanted to meet his parents, and we fought about it because he refused. We had been together for a year, and we were making plans to move in together, but I wasn't going a step further until he did as I demanded. I was asking, I was telling. There came a day, which would have been perfect for me to meet his parents, but he didn't allow it. He was going home, to drink with his parents for the Tour Down Under, but he hadn't asked me to come with him. So I asked him why. "I didn't think you'd want to come. It's going to be boring. All we're doing is sitting around and drinking." I knew better. I knew that the reason why he didn't want me there was because his ex-girlfriend was going to be there, and I told him so. He told me she had nothing to do with it, that he wasn't going to see her, and then he left without me.

When he came back, I asked him if he had seen her. I knew that he had. I knew for two reasons - one, a friend of mine had lurked her Facebook profile, found out that she had posted about it, and then told me; and two, I sent her a message asking if she had, to which she replied yes. She then proceeded to tell me that it was none of my business whether he had, that I shouldn't be asking her, and I shouldn't use her to check up on Michael - "What I do with Michael is my own business, and what you do with him is yours." HA ! FUCKING HA ! That couldn't have been further from the truth if she tried. I told him about the message his ex-girlfriend had sent me, but I left out the part where she admitted to seeing him. I wanted him to think that whatever answer he gave me, I would hold that as the truth. When he gave his answer, I busted him on lying to me about it again.

There's a line that you have, where if someone crosses it, that's it and you're done with them. Michael had not only seen that line, he crossed it, then danced on it, and spat on it. Like fuck I was going to sit there and take it. We fought for two-three days about it. I didn't sleep, I didn't eat, and I got really sick from the emotional stress of it all. At the end of it, I reached a conclusion - I needed space and time away from him to decide whether being with him was the best option for me, and that I needed at least two weeks. This is where I would like to think that things changed between us for the better. I finally put my foot down. I told him that this was bullshit. I told him that I deserved better. I told him that I don't want to see or speak to a person who constantly lies to me. And I told him, that if he could not give me what I wanted, what I deserved, then that would be the end of it. I was more serious now than I ever was before.

He deleted me off Facebook, and everyone asked questions. In my past relationships, I had always spilled the details, but I thought I would try something different this time and refused to tell anyone why. I just said that he had lost my trust and that was that. He then decided after a few days that he wanted to add me back on Facebook. I did what the better person does in this situation, and I accepted. You can imagine the reaction my friends had when someone of them thought that this was the first time he had added me to Facebook, that prior to that moment, we never had each other on Facebook. I was still insanely angry with him, so I didn't make a big deal of it because I wasn't going to give him the time of day. I posted a status, he commented on it, and then I deleted it. I was fucking serious when I said I had no intention of talking to a liar, and I made that very clear.

After a week, we started talking again when I had finally calmed down. I had a list of demands that he was to live up to, and if he failed at just one of them, then I would wash my hands clean of him and move on with my life. I refuse to be treated like a weakling, and I will not settle for anything less than I deserve. Ever. Slowly but surely, things started to turn around. Michael and I finally sorted out our problems, he recognised his mistakes and made the effort not to do them again. I still had a great deal of trouble trusting him, but I knew I had to take the risk if I really wanted it to work out.

At the time, Facebook initiated new security settings, allowing people more control over what people can and cannot see. My profile, up until that point was set to Friends Only, so that only my friends could see my profile. There was an option that struck my interest - Friends of Friends. This allows mutual friends to view your profile without having to add you to their friends list. As much as Michael wanted me to believe things were finally over with his ex-girlfriend, I still knew better. I knew that she was predictable, and so I set my profile to Friends of Friends, knowing that sooner or later she would see everything Michael and I had said to each other. FYI - Michael and I are rather affectionate, in person and online, to the point our friends thought it was rather cute and adorable. I knew she was going to see it, and I knew she would crack and lose her shit at Michael. It was only a matter of time.

A month after changing my settings, she lost it after seeing everything on my page. She sent Michael a hate filled message about how he had been acting towards me, about how he would call me "babe" and "bub", how he would say cute things to me, about how he would always say "I love you" at the end of every comment, about how we were so happy even after all that bullshit we had endured. And he did something I didn't expect. He fought back and told her to shove her opinion on the matter up her ass because she had no say in it. She tried to make him feel bad for being happy with me, possibly even happier than he was with her. I was completely satisfied with what just happened between the two of them. I was. I was pleased beyond belief that he had finally told her to fuck off, that he didn't want to see her or talk to her every again. That it was completely over. I was satisfied with that result even though I knew it wouldn't last very long. I didn't care that it wouldn't last long, I was just happy that he finally took a stand against her bullshit. That'll teach you to talk shit about me to MY boyfriend. Fucking idiot. What was she thinking, that he'd think she was right and break up with me ? Ohyeah, sure.
"What I do with Michael is my own business, and what you do with him is yours." HA ! FUCKING HA !
Hypocrites get the worst of me. I fucking hate that bullshit.

Things now are greatly different as to how they were. I am no longer insecure, I no longer have trouble trusting Michael, and I no longer care what his ex-girlfriend says or thinks. Michael has said that he would like to remain friends with her, and that's perfectly fine by me. I know that if she were to ever try taking him from me, it wouldn't work. Michael would shut her down before she even got to that point. I honestly, deep down believe that there is nothing she can say or do to take him from me. If all those past attempts failed when Michael and I were unhappy, what makes you think she'd succeed now that we're at our happiest ? That's all I ever think about when someone asks how I dealt with it. You've got to change the way you think about it if you don't want it to bother you anymore.

And yes, there have been times were we've fought over it in more recent times, but only because she's crossed the line. Michael and I are now open when it comes to her, and I know a great deal more about her than she thinks. When I think about it, I realise something that I was blind to before. Every dark cloud has a silver lining. Yes, he cheated on me with her, but of all that time, even when he did have her and he could have been with her, he still didn't leave me. He spent 6 out 7 days with me, not her, but me. And even when he did have her, the most he could spare her was one day a week. One. Sucks to be on her side of things.

And yes, I do take joy in knowing that I make Michael the happiest. I do a damn good job of being the best girlfriend I can be. Call me a bitch if you want, but I don't care (:

Michael and I have now been together for two years, and none of what happened back then bothers me anymore. I know you probably think it does because of the anger you can see in the things I've said, but it's not like that at all. Sure, when I think about it, a part of me still gets mad, but that's only because I still can't believe that someone who loves me so deeply could have ever done a thing like that. Then I remember something very important, something that you should never forget; Michael has changed, he has grown, and he is no longer the same person he was back then. I can see it, he can see it, she can see it, and if you were to meet him, you'd see it too.

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