Why I Joined Facebook

It was a quiet Saturday afternoon. I was alone my apartment. I had just settled into my favorite big, comfy chair for the day to watch a few shows on my laptop, when I heard the text alert from my phone chime anxiously in my pocket. I twisted myself around awkwardly to pull my iPhone out of my jeans, and as the screen came into view, I saw an unknown number with a Texas area code and a message that no one ever wants to see pop up on the notification screen. It read simply “You can have him. I don’t want him anymore.”

I felt sick. I’d always suspected he was cheating on me, but I never had any solid proof before. My heart rate quickly shot up, as it’s beat took root somewhere in my throat, pounding away uncontrollably as I fought off the urge to vomit. My hands shook like leaves in the wind, as I did my best to hold on to a tiny bit of hope that this might be a wrong number. “What are you talking about?” I texted back, in shock and denial.

“Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. Don’t you dare act like you don’t know.” She responded and, before I could even react to her words, she had attached a screenshot of a conversation that looked something like this:

My ex: I wish I didn’t have to go to work today…

Andy: I wish you could have stayed too. The bed doesn’t feel the same without you.

My ex: You looked so good this morning. I’m going to be thinking about you all day today.

Andy: You better! I love you. See you the next time they let you out of your cage at the office.

As I took the contents of the message in, I realized that this looked oddly like a conversation I’d had with my boyfriend earlier in the week. Except that, last I checked, my name has never been Andy.

Before I could fully process that non sequitur, there was another screenshot in my inbox. This one included a much more graphic conversation that I won’t reprint here, but let’s just say that there could now be absolutely no doubt that these were definitely texts between me and my ex.

At that point, my heart stopped beating just long enough for me to wonder if one really could die from heartbreak and humiliation. But, then it suddenly kicked into three times it’s normal pace when it hit me that, not only had he betrayed me with another woman, he had also renamed me “Andy” in his phone. He’d given me a boys name to cover his tracks. Andy. The first and last letter are the same, but the middle letters stand for every lie and half truth he has ever told.

I’ve never been the type to want to look through my boyfriend’s phone. At the time, I wasn’t active on most social media sites. I had a Twitter account and an Instagram account, and that was it. I didn’t check up on his Facebook page. I didn’t make it my business to keep tabs on who he hung out with. I trusted him at his word when he said he was working extra hours or busy with freelance projects.

As I soon found out from a simple google search of her name, this other woman was very active on all the major social networks. Looking at things from her perspective, it was easy to see how she thought I was the side chick. In spite of the fact that I was with him long before she ever came into the picture, there was really no evidence for our relationship online.

We didn’t post pictures of one another on our respective websites. We didn’t claim each other in relationship status updates. I didn’t tweet about his upcoming projects or feel the need to post PDA type pictures on Instagram. In the digital world, there was really no evidence that I existed with him at all.

If he pursued her on the side and never told her that he already had a girlfriend (which, spoiler alert, is exactly what he did), her conclusion that I was the extra person in *her* relationship is actually perfectly understandable. She only knew me as ANDY, his friend who texted at odd times throughout the night and apparently aroused enough suspicion to hack into his phone.

On the flip side of the world, there was a veritable mountain of evidence for his relationship with her online. They attended a tweet up night at the Museum Of Natural History together, using a duel membership in my name I might add, and documented the whole thing on Twitter. She commented on nearly all of his posts on Facebook. He was mentioned on her Tumblr.

But, it gets worse.

She was a photographer. She had a personal blog, on which there were literally dozens of albums full of pictures of them doing all kinds of fun things together. There were birthday parties, weddings and even a few shots of them celebrating at a grand opening event thrown by someone I had been friends with even longer than I had been dating my ex.

But, it gets worse.

There were pictures of him in Texas, meeting her family. He had told me he went on that trip to go see “an old college friend”. He had sent me pictures of himself wearing cowboy hats and all the usual tourist nonsense. He texted me everyday that he was gone. He called several times too. Obviously, she had never been mentioned. Yet, there he was, in her family’s home, casually posing with her dad.

But, wait. It still gets worse.

They went to Disney World together. DISNEY WORLD. He had told me it was a business trip, which, considering his profession, was actually a believable cover story. But, there they were, happy as could be. Riding the teacups. Hugging Goofy. Wearing Mickey Mouse gloves. Watching a parade. Attending another wedding. Posing with ridiculously oversized lollipops.

The lollipop picture proved to be too much for me to take, especially since he had brought the lollipop and the hat he was wearing in the picture home for me as souvenirs. I ran to the bathroom and immediately surrendered the entire contents of my stomach to the toilet.

To say that I felt hurt would be the understatement of the century. To say that I felt that the entirety of my inner being had been poisoned and was eating away at me from the inside out would still be an understatement. To say that I felt as though I wished I could shed every single inch of skin that he had ever kissed, touched or even so much as looked at might begin to approach the truth of that moment, but would still leave you a few floors shy of how far my heart dropped through the ground.

There are no words to adequately describe how horrified I was, so the impact of the moment was instead visualized by the foam streaming from mouth as I ran out of viable fluids to expel from my stomach. I nearly choked on it, as I fell over in my bathroom and began to cry. The tears came like blood from an open wound, as my body struggled to find any kind of liquid to convert and release from the sticky mess of repulsion and violation I felt inside.

He had always encouraged me to stay off of social media. In his words, “Facebook is just a creepy, monolithic, big brother type organization that wants to know everything about our lives. I don’t need Facebook to validate my relationships, and I love that you don’t feel the need to live your life through pictures and status updates online.”

Of course, in retrospect, these words now sound very different to me than they did at the time when he said them. I can now officially translate his bullshit to what he actually meant: “Facebook is a place where people get caught cheating. No matter how careful you are, there will always be a suspicious comment or a tag that you forgot to delete. I love that you’re not on it, so that I don’t have to worry about screening all my posts and blocking you from half my pictures. Thanks, babe.”

He wanted me to stay off Facebook because he realized that I would have almost certainly connected the dots before they were thrown in my face if I had been on it. This had nothing to do with a desire for privacy or a problem with our generations obsession with self documentation. This was about wanting to keep me as quiet and difficult to find as possible. This was about him.

The true tragedy here is that I actually quite like sharing with my friends online. I am a naturally social person. I enjoy taking selfies, and putting together dumb video posts to make people laugh. I am a writer and, although no one would call a Facebook status update the most important place to show my skills with an idea and a turn of phrase, it is a forum that a lot of people use and that a lot of people read.

I’m not really sure why I let him convince me that being open about my life was a bad thing. I’m not sure why I let him persuade me to change some of the most basic elements of my personality to better accommodate his. I don’t know why I let my love for one person cut me off from so many other people who love me so much more than he ever did.

He would later go on to describe his Facebook page as “a fortress of protection” that he keeps curated, manicured and scrubbed clean to the point of being an almost pointless gesture. For him, Facebook isn’t about sharing information. It’s about protecting it. Like every other part of his life, it’s a front. You can see his profile picture and read his name, but all of the actual substance is kept locked up and carefully hidden from view.

I joined Facebook to reconnect with the people I lost track of when I lost track of myself in that relationship. The majority of my page is public. I try to post things and create content that I think people might get something out of, whether that something is a good laugh or the jumping point to start a conversation. I also post completely shallow selfies and petty complaints about how long the lines are at Target.

The main point here being that it’s my page, and I share whatever I want to on it. I do so openly, and I sincerely hope that the next person I fall in love with will too. I don’t want to be with someone who lives in a fortress of any kind. Fortresses are for fighting primitive wars, not for living your life. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to guard.

The Most Important Sex You Will Ever Have

There are many things about sex that we are woefully unprepared to encounter in our youth when we come face to face with someone else’s naked body. They teach us about the facts of life in school in a rather cold, basic, biological way. But, they don’t teach us much beyond the physical mechanics of the act itself.

Recently a friend of mine confessed that she had never really understood why people make such a big deal out of sex. Why do people chase after something that comes with so many risks? Pregnancy, disease and heartbreak all are very real side effects of sexual contact. Also, for all the time invested in finding a partner, one could easily accomplish many other things. She said she felt she could take it or leave it, and that it was just another physical activity that one could chose to either do or not do with another human being.

As someone who has devoted years of my life to writing about and trying to understand this very topic, I felt compelled to ask questions.

“Have you ever had an orgasm?” I asked.

“Sure” she said

“But, have you ever had one with a partner?”

She said no, and I made my best talk show host finding the heart of the problem face, as I continued “have you ever had sex with someone you were in love with?”

Again, she answered no.

And there was the problem. She had yet to experience the two most important kinds of sex you will ever have.

Some people may think I’m speaking in hyperbole here, but there was a time when I didn’t feel all that differently than her. The catch 22 about sex is that you really don’t know how good or bad it actually is, relatively speaking, until you have amassed some experience with it. In the beginning, you just assume that taking your clothes off and doing the deed is all there is to it. Then one day something life changing happens and you realize that everything you know is wrong.

The first time I had an orgasm, I had absolutely no idea what was going on. He was a little bit older than me, and a little bit more experienced. We weren’t dating. We didn’t even really start off as friends. We were coworkers who hooked up after a night of drunkenly complaining about our job.

The first night we were together, he asked me if I’d ever had an orgasm, to which I tentatively replied “I think so”.

The thing is, if you have to question your answer in any way when someone asks you that, the answer is no. You haven’t. Because, if you had, you would be shouting “yes” from the rooftops. If you think you’ve had an orgasm, and the experience left you feeling like “that was it?” You have not, in fact, had one.

He gave me a look that said he doubted my response as much as I did, and took my shirt off.

He gave me directions and suggestions without ever making me feel uncomfortable or coming across as controlling. It didn’t take me long to realize that, up to that point, I had honestly been completely clueless in the bedroom. I’m not sure if all my previous partners were just as lost I was, or if I had just never been with someone who wanted to take the time to teach me what I’d been doing wrong. But, his patience and dedication to getting things right paid off.

When that orgasm hit me for the first time, I was honestly completely freaked out. I felt like I had lost all control of my body, and the sensation seemed to go on forever. It was like a high I couldn’t come down from. I didn’t know what was happening, or how long it would last, and it took me longer than you can imagine to let go of my questions and enjoy it.

I know for some people (I’d imagine most people) the first time feels like fireworks and rainbows, and the sensation is immediately welcomed. But, it’s important to note that everyone is different. I’m sure I can’t be the only person in the world whose initial reaction was shock and confusion. If you’ve never felt something that intense, it can be pretty jarring.

He and I continued whatever we had going on for awhile and became fairly good friends in the process. This was the first time my view of sex was changed forever. Sex was no longer just something that happened or didn’t happen, it was this amazing high that I wanted to feel over and over again, on as regular a basis as possible.

Sex had become one of the greatest thrills of life, and from that day forth it also became an endless well of creative inspiration for me. I’m sure I’ve written more on the topics of love and sex than all other topics combined in my adult life. Shoot, I have an entire journal devoted to just him somewhere in my apartment, for that matter. The impact was real.

When we decided to go our separate ways, I made the rookie mistake of believing that, now that I had unlocked the mysterious orgasm code, I would be able to use it with everyone. Well, surprise, that turned out not to be true!

As it happens, finding a good partner with the same level of sexually compatibility and chemistry was actually much more difficult than it looked. I still occasionally had bad sex, even after learning how to have good sex.

But, that didn’t stop me from continuing to chase down the next great orgasm, because at that point I thought that’s all there was. Of course, I knew love existed too. I even thought I’d been in love a few times at that point! I thought I had things completely figured out. I thought I knew everything I needed to know about sex, love, chemistry, the universe… And, once again, I was wrong.

Much like the orgasm question I mentioned earlier, if someone asks you “have you ever been in love?” and you have to think twice about it, the answer is that you have not. If your “yes” comes with caveats and conditions, you don’t really mean it.

The age old expression calls it “falling in love”, but that isn’t how it happened for me. The first time I really loved someone, it wasn’t like falling at all. Falling implies a kind of quick and violent experience, and this was anything but.

For me, finding myself in love was more like going on a long walk. I never knew where he and I were going, I just knew that I enjoyed the company. He stayed by my side across boroughs and untold city blocks, until one day I looked around and realized that he had inadvertently lead me straight into love.

I didn’t intend to fall in love with him. He was one of my best friends, first and foremost, and I valued that relationship for what it was. I didn’t want to risk losing that by having all these extra feelings. So, I told myself that I didn’t have them at all, and tried to push those thoughts to the back of my mind.

To this day, I think he is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. He has such a beautiful heart. He’s honest to a fault, compassionate, kind, curious and creative. He’s also extremely hard working, and he had this constant drive to improve himself that made him a really wonderful person to be around.

I’ve suffered from consistent nightmares for most of my life. It’s the main reason I have such terrible insomnia. I always liked crashing at his place, because when I slept next to him I could manage to sleep through the night without so much as an unpleasant thought.

I think since I knew he would protect me through just about anything during my waking hours, some part of my mind extended that feeling of safety into my dreams too. Honestly, that’s a level of trust I had never felt with anyone before him, nor have I felt it with anyone else since.

I slept by his side many times without sex ever even remotely being a factor. We were friends, and we respected those boundaries. I know a lot of people didn’t understand our relationship, and I think at least half of our friends thought we were having sex long before we ever did. But, that was one of the things I respected most about him.

He never tried anything with me. He was always a perfect gentleman. He never made me feel like his loyalty or affection were in any way affected by whether or not he wanted my body.  In the end, I was the one who suggested that sex was a possibility.

When we went home that night, I was still trying to push myself into denial about how I really felt. I told myself that he was a really good friend that I just happened to be attracted to. Maybe if I got this out of system, I could stop being distracted by all these feelings. But, that isn’t what happened.

Instead, as he and I came closer and closer together in bed, I felt something not unlike what I felt the first time I had an orgasm. Except this time, it wasn’t my body that I felt I had lost control of. It was my heart. As I looked into his eyes there below mine, all I could think to myself was “oh god, I’m in love with him.” And, in that moment, that was all I could see and all I could feel.

Just like that first orgasm, the intensity of that feeling shook me right down to my core. I felt confused, because I thought love was a feeling I had already experienced and understood. It was deeply disorienting to realize there was a whole other layer to sex I had never even considered a serious factor before.

That moment also left me feeling deeply vulnerable. In fact, I don’t think I have ever felt more vulnerable in my entire life than I did that night. In that moment, he had my whole existence in his hands and he could have made me the happiest person in the world or crushed me where I lay with nothing more than a look or the right combination of words.

I’m going to be honest. I was not ready to have those feelings at that time. I was a total mess back then. My living situation was questionable at best, I had a legitimate drinking problem and I had a lot of emotional issues that I hadn’t dealt with yet. I was in no position to be in love with someone else. I was young, and I still had a lot of work to do on loving myself.

Plus, I am quite possibly the most oblivious person in the world when it comes to deciphering how other people feel about me. I was too scared to put my own feelings out there first. So unless he had taken my hands, looked straight into my eyes and said “I love you”, I was always going to have my doubts about whether or not the feelings I had for him that went beyond friendship were in any way mutual.

So, all this is to say that, I kind of freaked out a little bit afterwards. I didn’t know what to do, or how to handle what had just occurred. So, I reacted by pretending that, aside from the basic physical aspects of the sex, absolutely nothing out of the ordinary had happened. I processed that earth shattering moment silently and went to sleep.

Shortly after all of this, I made a decision to continue to try to just be friends, because I didn’t think I was ready to deal with how I really felt. We never spoke about what we meant to each other, but our relationship was never quite the same after we crossed that line. We stayed close for a long time after that, but the context of our relationship became blurred to the point of being something I still can’t really define.

I tried to shake off what happened that night as a fluke, but the truth is my experience with him changed me profoundly. I never looked at sex the same way again after that. Even the best orgasms seemed meaningless to me if I didn’t really care for the person I was having them with.

Since then, my standards on sex have evolved a lot. I have zero interest in fuck buddies or casual relationships. I don’t know how to give my body to someone anymore without also giving some part of my heart along with it. There was a time when I would have considered this level of openness a weakness. But, if there’s anything the years have taught me, it’s that transparency is a strength.

I have said before, and I will say again, that most of our secrets are not worth keeping. Life is too short. If you love someone, you should tell them. Even if the feeling isn’t returned in the way that you want it to be, I have learned that it’s better to pay your positivity and gratitude forward than to hold onto your feelings for fear of rejection. Say whatever’s in your heart once, put it out into the world with the best intentions that you can, and then let it go.

I don’t usually do this, but if by some chance the person I’m writing about here reads this story and recognizes himself in it, all I want to say is thank you. Even if I didn’t say this to you when I should have, I want you to know that you inspired me to grow and that I am better person for having met you. I sincerely wish you nothing but the best with everything you do in life. You deserve all the happiness in the world, and I hope you find it.

Chasing after the next great love is admittedly much harder than chasing after the next great orgasm. The disappointments involved hurt more, and the selection process is significantly more work. I’ve been in love once or twice since that first time, and I have had my heart broken into tiny little pieces on several occasions as a result.

Still, I would not trade my open heart, fractured though it may be, for anything. Once I took that step and allowed myself to feel something bigger than my body, there was no way I could go back on it. In the end, sex isn’t about the cold, basic, biological facts of the act at all. It’s about the people you choose to have it with.

Tire Swing

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It’s funny how music can become permanently tied to certain moments in time. As I sat on an oddly vacant uptown bound 1 train tonight, a song  came on my iPod, and in my mind I was instantly back on a swing set in Croatia. I was thinking about someone I shouldn’t have been thinking about, and missing a long departed train that I should have been on.

I’d somehow managed to leave my wallet behind in Budapest before crossing the border, and thus I found myself alone in a new country with only enough cash in my bag for a return ticket and a little bit of food. At least I knew the wallet was in good hands. There was no question that I would get it back. The only question was when I would be arriving to pick it up.

All things considered though, I should have felt a much larger sense of urgency about the situation than I did. Maybe I should have even felt a certain sense of destiny. After all, someone was waiting for me with that wallet, and perhaps this was the sign that I needed to show me this was meant to be. If my life at that time had been a movie, I’m guessing this grand return to my lover’s arms would be the most climatic moment.

However, something held me back. Although the script made sense, I couldn’t quite bring myself to believe the lines.

I’d been wandering Zagreb all day looking for distractions, answers, a place to think; anything that would help me understand the mess of emotions floating around inside me, when I found that park. It was like a little gift from god, lined with flowers and flooded with sunshine. And so I got on that swing, put my headphones on, and let my mind wander through the clouds as I pushed higher and higher up towards the sky.

I thought about the people in my life. I thought about love. I thought about the things I’d done wrong, and what I could do to better myself in the future. I thought about second chances, wrong turns and twists of fate. I thought about everything on that swing, and I stayed until I saw the sun lowering over the trees.

As I walked back to my youth hostel, I passed by a man selling tourist trinkets on the street. He said something to me in Croatian, which meant very little to me since Croatian isn’t similar enough to anything I speak for us to communicate. But, I pulled all my loose change out of my pockets and used what little I had to buy two postcards, just the same.

By my second night in that hostel, tales of my lost wallet had gotten around to every English speaker in the building and I had become something of a favorite orphan to the other travelers. The hostel owner bought me a bottle of vodka and wished me well. Two Canadian girls took me out to dinner and offered me dating advice, and a group of Australian boys bought me several rounds of beer at a bar down the street.

When I came home that night, after everyone else in my room fell asleep, I quietly took my flashlight out and filled out my postcards. I wrote one to the man who would be waiting for me at the train station in Budapest, and one to someone I had left back in America. When I was done, I nestled them both under my pillow and said a silent prayer that they would make sense in the morning.

The next day, I finally did manage to get on my train. I had tucked my postcards into my backpack before I left, and I removed them once again as  we rolled out of the station. I read through them both thoughtfully, and considered the words I had written down in front of me with the full weight of my heart on every letter and every bit of punctuation.

As we crossed the border, I placed one postcard back into the front of my backpack, while I carefully stowed the other inside of my journal. The letter to Hungary was eventually taken to it’s intended recipient, but the letter to America was not. Of course, it came to the states when I did, but it never left my notebook.

Those were words I decided to keep in my heart, rather than to give them away. Maybe I thought I needed them more than he did. Maybe I didn’t want to ruin a good narrative. Maybe I was worried they would fall on deaf ears. Maybe I was scared to take that chance. Maybe I just really liked the card.

Because The Sky Is Blue (and other reasons why we broke up)

(this is a repost from an earlier blog)

 
Once upon a studio in Brighton Beach, my roommate and I had a long talk about break ups. However, not the kind of break up that most people think of when that term comes up in conventional conversations.

No, we were discussing a different sort of break up. We were pondering the sort of break up you have with a close friend.

For many of us, our friends mean more to us than our lovers, blood ties and sometimes even ourselves. I have always been of the mind that you can’t truly love someone unless they are first and foremost your friend. This may account for why I am so passionate about my close friendships. So, that being said, why not have a serious talk about what happens when those relationships end?

Why do I break up with close friends? And, similarly, how do you know when I’m breaking up with you?

With me, it’s often a very subtle thing. I’ve never been one to have a big blow up with someone I love. I don’t like to say things that I know I’ll regret later. I would always like to leave on as positive a note as possible. So, as a result, when I let someone go it’s often a very internal thing. I won’t make a scene. I make peace with our break up within myself, I go my own way and hope you find the path to go yours.

Keeping that in mind, I never stop caring about the people I let into my heart. It’s just that, sometimes people aren’t meant to stay together. I believe that sometimes we really are just meant to pass through each other’s lives and move on.

When I break up with you, it’ll be a silent affair. One day you will look at your phone, and you won’t see my number in your call list. There will come a moment that you realize you haven’t gotten a text from me in days. Eventually, we’ll only be together when we’re out in a group. And finally, you’ll recognize that our conversations are no longer as personal, or as seemingly important to me, as they once were. When I break up with you, it’ll take you a while to understand what’s going on.

During that same conversation with my roommate, I promised her that if I ever decided I no longer wanted her as a friend, I would tell her. She’s the only person I’ve ever made that promise to. So, for the rest of you, you might want to read this next portion carefully.

Why do I break up with people I love? It’s really pretty simple. If you lie to me, I will leave you. If you lie about me, I will leave you. If you hurt me without reason, I will leave you. If you decidedly disappoint me, I will leave you. If you prove yourself to be incurably ignorant, I will leave you. If you don’t know when to defend yourself or others, I will leave you. If you break my heart, I will take the pieces and walk away with them.

For me, breaking up with anyone always comes down to violating one of my basic needs. Sure, I’ve broken up with people over obvious things before. Everyone has broken up with someone because of disagreements and lies over bed partners. Everyone has had at least one out of control friend with whom you simply had to break up with because it was all too much to handle. We all know the mundane reasons to break up with someone.

But then again, there are some people whom I’ve broken up with over much more attenuated issues. I once broke up with someone over a comment they made about child abuse. I broke up with another friend for sharing a very personal, and disturbing, secret that another mutual friend had entrusted him not to tell. I had a long separation from someone I’m very close to, which mostly stemmed from a division over a coke can and an ashtray. I know that might all sound a bit petty, but that’s really how my mind works.

Sometimes life gives me these little moments of clarity, and it’s like I can see inside of people’s souls. Sometimes I see something beautiful, and I remember why I love you in the first place. The reasons why I love people are often just as random as my reasons for breaking up.

However, just as I have these moments, sometimes I glimpse inside your heart and I see something else. Sometimes I see something in you that will never change, and that I just can’t reconcile myself with. Sometimes I can see inside of both of us, and our relationship, and I know that we just don’t fit together anymore.

When I break up with you, I will still love you. In fact, chances are I will always love you. But my loving you, doesn’t mean we belong in each others lives.

No, Actually Your Boyfriend Is Just A Jerk.

(this is a repost from an earlier blog. Also, I wish I’d listened to my own advice more often when I was younger!)

 

After having not one, but an utterly alarming four, separate and unsolicited conversations in the same week regarding lovers who cheat, I have come to a couple of very important conclusions on the matter.

I’ve been struggling with whether or not I should write this particular blog for a few days now. But, after going over it in my head many times, I’ve decided that this is something I need to say. For the sake of women everywhere, I want everyone to please pay attention and mull this over.

I think we all have to admit that cheating is a disturbingly everyday thing in New York City. It’s mostly my intimate knowledge of other people’s messed up sex lives that makes me so wary of being in a relationship in the first place. It’s always shocking to me how people can maintain the front of a perfect relationship, but still be looking for something else on the side. Why bother going through the motions at all?

Anyway, that being said, what happens when a cheater gets caught? Pain, outrage, depression, heartbreak… of course. All of the above. Learning that someone you love is lying to your face, and sleeping around behind your back, is one of the worst feelings of betrayal you will ever encounter in life. I know. I’ve been there.

Apparently, a lot of my friends and associates have been there too. But, here comes the part that I feel needs to be discussed…
In speaking to people who had been cheated on, I began to notice a strange discrepancy between the reactions of men and women who had been through the same situation.

In my experience, men who had been cheated on almost universally had the same thing to say about it. That statement being something along the lines of “I dumped the bitch and got over it.”; usually followed by a couple of additional negative comments regarding her unforgivable promiscuity. At any rate, there was certainly no effort to rationalize things or make excuses for someone who had done them wrong.

Now, let’s examine the multitudes of statements made by women who found themselves going through the same scenario. It seemed that there were basically one of two reactions to the situation.

Many women blamed themselves for the infidelity. Although the words may not have been stated quite this plainly, what I basically heard were admissions of failure to live up to his expectations of what a girlfriend should be. I gained too much weight. I wasn’t good enough in bed. I wasn’t good enough for his family. I wasn’t pretty enough. The list of totally unfounded and ridiculous self doubts goes on and on.

Still others placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of the other woman. She’s a home wrecking slut. She’s a cold hearted bitch. She is the antichrist. We never give any thought to how she became involved in the first place. Does she even know that you exist? As far as she’s concerned, she might believe that you’re the other woman just as much as you believe she is.

Excuse me ladies, are we forgetting something here? Who did the actual cheating? Who abandoned the great thing that he had with you? Who is the real villain here?

For Gods sake, the problem is your boyfriend!

There is nothing wrong with you, and you can’t blame his other lover. If he hadn’t run off with the girl from his gym, it probably would’ve been the girl from the coffee shop down the street. My point is, your boyfriend is a jerk.

Personally, I’ve been taking a good look at my life recently and thinking about some of the things I’d really like to change in it. I think a good place to start (and a good place for a lot of other woman to start as well) is to make a promise to myself that I will never be that girl again.

I like to think that I never let men cloud my judgment, and generally healthy self-esteem, to the point of utter stupidity. However, if I tried to convince anyone that I am totally innocent of occasional self-depreciation or unwarranted dislike of other females, I would be lying. I am guilty of doing the same bullshit that everyone else does.

So, in an effort to stop myself from making the same mistakes again, I am going to try something new. From now on, when a guy is being a total douche bag, I am going to recognize that for exactly what it is. I’m not going to compete with anyone for someone else’s attention, or blame myself if I don’t get it.

I think women everywhere need to take a second out of our lives to remember how beautiful and wonderful we all are capable of being. Why bother with needless and shallow comparisons to each other, or suffering with someone who doesn’t really love us? We all deserve so much better than that.

So your boyfriend is a jerk? Get a new one. Trust me, he’s the one who’s missing out, not you.