10,000 Lovers

Here it is! The post I’ve been alluding to for nearly a year regarding an ex boyfriend’s infidelity. It’s taken me a while to really write it out in a way that is both honest, and doesn’t make him sound like a total cheating asshat. That’s not what happened. Well, so okay. In basic terms yeah, that’s what happened, but there were underlaying issues that contributed to it at that point in his life. It’s a bit complicated, because even as valid as his reasons are, it still doesn’t justify his behavior. I certainly didn’t deserve it, nor did any of the other girls.

The fact of the matter is, even as brutal as his behavior was he truly couldn’t control himself at that point in his life. He was recovering from some massive head trauma which severely impaired his impulse control. Like, physically damaged his brain so it was unable to process self control over basic instinct. He was working on it, but still couldn’t quite conquer it. There were some emotional things going on related to his injury as well, but primarily his biggest issue was impulse control. So there was a whole lot of cheating going on for quite a while, the entire time we were together, a while before, and even a few incidents after we split. Incidents WITH ME, but still. He had made the choice to end our relationship and be with someone else, yet continued to pursue me for a few months after the fact. As far as I know after he finally ended it with me, he’s been faithful to her, but we haven’t been in contact aside from a few conversations she has been aware of over the years so I can’t really say.

What I can say is that during our time together he was an impulsive emotional wreck, which was the biggest factor in his infidelity. I’ve always understood that, but trying to find a way to write it has proven pretty difficult especially with some of the other circumstances surrounding our bass akwards dysfunctional relationship. Just take this post with a grain of salt, readers. He really isn’t as awful as it makes him out to be. Somewhere in there under a mountain of baggage is a decent guy. If there wasn’t, I wouldn’t have stayed with him as long as I did, or taken such care before publishing this.

While I was living with the boy who would later become my partner, and before we began our consensual sexual relationship, (as I explained in this post) he really opened up to me. He explained that he was dating, but he was also still trying to win his ex-wife back. She was the only woman that truly held his heart, but there were several women he was sleeping with on a regular basis recreationally. I don’t remember all of their names, but there were four different women. He explained to me, and then asked if it was something I would be interested in: casual sex with no strings attached. We had already been together twice before this exchange, and I enjoyed being with him very much, (at least when it was consensual) so I decided to try it. I was still in my explorative sexual phase and hadn’t yet discovered my need for emotional attachment as well as physical attachment in regards to sex. It was all new to me, so I joined his harem. Which probably would have been okay if his definition of our relationship had remained casual sexual partners, yet sometimes he would refer to me as his girlfriend and begin discussing our future together. There were even a few weeks when he dedicated all of his time to me, it was only when I walked in to find him updating his online dating profile that I realized the true nature of our relationship hadn’t actually changed. It was hurtful and confusing, not because I wasn’t willing to accept a casual relationship, but because he kept blurring the lines between the two.

Eventually, he began to take interest in another girl as more than a casual hook up, and told me that he would be bringing her to our apartment for the evening. She was okay with our living arrangement, but unaware of our true relationship. As much as I wanted to understand what was happening between he and I regardless of which way things went, emotionally I couldn’t handle it. Compounded with everything else that had happened in the few short months, between the holidays, launching into this undefined sexual adventure after the (firmly repressed) sexual trauma, it was too much. There really isn’t any other way to put it. All of my remaining rationality went out the window, and survival mode kicked in. I’ve always been a fighter, even from a very young age, so instead of packing my bags and leaving I did my best to keep up my facade, while the turmoil built and bubbled within me. I tried to occupy myself with other things, work, my own online dating adventures, reading and journaling but because I couldn’t truly identify the source of my angst none of the other coping mechanisms were working. I felt like I was drowning, but I couldn’t swim to shore.

After spending several weeks with this other girl, he once again invited me into his bed. He told me that things weren’t working out with her, (the only reason I agreed in the first place), yet the very next day I found out he had a date with not only her, but another girl he had met online. This was the last straw for me. I confronted him in an angry emotional explosion, which he reacted poorly to. Our relationship had always been physical as far as playful jabs and punches, the occasional correctional slap on the wrist, boisterous rough housing, etc. even before I moved in with him. In the midst of our argument, he said something that lead to me smacking him on the back of the head which I had done without consequence before. I don’t know if I was so upset in the heat of the moment I hit him harder than I intended to, or he never liked it but didn’t feel the need to correct me until that particular incident, but instead of continuing our argument he rose from his seat, smacked me across the face, and pushed me out of the room slamming and locking the door.

I was in complete and total shock. I touched my face which stung, but didn’t bruise and wandered into my own room unsure of what to do next. I couldn’t even cry, as I sat there on the edge of my bed staring off into space. Eventually I had enough wits about me to call a coworker, desperately trying to figure out what to do. I had to tell someone, but beyond that I was still at a complete loss. I should have called the police, but the thought never crossed my mind especially since I had been the one to really initiate a physical confrontation in the first place. The more people I tried to reach that were too busy to talk or unavailable at all the more I grew desperate and my fight response, coupled with a surge of unused adrenaline kicked into over drive. Before I really knew what I was doing I bounced up off of my own bed, marched across the hallway and started banging on his door demanding an answer.

He mumbled something derogatory through the locked door as I pounded first with my fist splintering the top layer of the door, then rearing back to kick at the latch. I honestly was so overwhelmed I basically blacked out, tipping right over the mental/emotional edge I had been teetering on for so long, so I really don’t remember all of the specifics of what was said. I remember kicking at the door at least twice before he opened it, and once he did I threw all of my weight at him launching myself into the room, causing him to go stumbling back tripping over the bed and quite nearly out of the open second story window, which in the moment was of no consequence to me. At some point during that exchange he grabbed a piece of construction all thread which he kept stashed beside the bed and raised it above his head screaming and threatening to kill me if I took another step toward him. Thankfully I had enough wits about me to stop my physical advance as he raised his weapon, but I did continue to scream at him, daring him to hit me again. We stood there in the awkward standoff for a moment both poised and ready to fight for our lives, before I finished screaming whatever I felt the need to say so strongly and walked out of the room slamming the door behind me.

Needless to say, after that moment using all of my pent up adrenaline the tears began to flow. I sobbed for nearly half an hour before heading out of the apartment looking for solace in the company of others. He called me about an hour later and demanded that I be gone when he returned with his date. He didn’t care if I had my things or not, he wanted me out. I tried to convince him that I had calmed down substantially and wanted to discuss what happened but he wasn’t having any of it. Still, refusing to simply get tossed out on the street I refused to leave until we had a chance to talk. Which of course lead to him calling the police and having me escorted off of the property.

After my rage explosion I can’t hold that against him. It’s true, he shouldn’t have reacted the way he did when I smacked him, but I didn’t have the right to hit him in anger either. It also wasn’t the first time a heated argument between us turned physical. One evening while we were working together, I got so mad at him I chased him out into the parking lot and threw rolls of change at him. He flinched, and the plastic rolls broke open across his back so I know there was quite a bit of force behind my throw. That was interesting when he turned back around to confront me, getting in my face even as I refused to back down. I don’t even know how we both kept our jobs at that place after such an explosive public confrontation, but somehow we did. Or how the hell we ended up dating after fighting with each other so viciously in our early getting to know each other phase.

Anyway, after our second fight ended with my police escort I found a place to stay for the night, and returned with the police myself the next day to retrieve my belongings. They asked me if I wanted to press charges as I finished loading my last few things, but I decided against it content to never speak to him again and forget about it.

That lasted around six weeks, until he called me and left a message to inform me that I still owed him a substantial amount of money for rent, and if he didn’t receive it he would be taking me to court. I did owe him the money, but instead of merely returning his phone call, I met him while he was at work, confronting him face to face, telling him that I would indeed pay him what he was owed (I also offered to pay for the door I destroyed), but he would have to wait until I received my first paycheck from my new job. We were both fairly standoffish, but eventually our business conversation gave way to small talk and tensions eased. He bought me dinner, and we parted ways on better terms. I did pay him what he was owed as soon as I received my paycheck, and assumed that was the end of things.

About two weeks after we exchanged the back rent he called me to ask if I still wanted the furniture he had offered me before our falling out. Of course when we were living together he gave me the items for free, but since our falling out he instead offered to SELL me the same items. Since I didn’t have anything of my own, and the price was pretty hard to beat even though it was quite a step up from free, I agreed and met him once again as he dropped off a computer and microwave for me to take home as sort of a deposit/promise that he would deliver the rest of the agreed items when he had the means. It was then that he told me things had fallen apart with the girl he had been seeing, and he asked if I wanted to go out sometime and start fresh.

I do remember that exchange specifically, because he phrased it oddly. He explained that they had broken up, and making small talk I asked if he was seeing anyone else. His response: “Well, I’m kind of interested in this one girl, but I’m not exactly sure how she’ll react if I ask her out.”

To which I laughed and said: “What do you mean, not sure how she’ll react?”

And he replied: “Well, I don’t know. Wanna go out?”

I laughed again and replied with a heavily sarcastic: “Right.Yeah, sure. Let’s go out.”

But, he was serious. I decided to give him another chance since once we got the initial confrontation out of the way, our subsequent interactions had all been civil, and I had been the one to really initiate the physical aspect of the fight in the first place. He wasn’t completely without blame, but really we both reacted inappropriately.  We made loose plans for him to call me and possibly get dinner and a movie. I think it was two days later that he did call me, but instead of dinner and a movie invited me up to his apartment, with the only intent to get me into his bed. I’m not sure why I agreed instead of clarifying our relationship then and there, but I did which lead to falling back into our previous patterns. This time he wasn’t seeing anyone seriously aside from his ex-wife. Plus we were no longer living together giving us much needed time between our “dates” to do our own thing, and for me to process things with out having him around 24/7.

It was also during this time when we were in transition between hooking up and dating that I discovered my allergy to acetaminophen. Yes, the majority of my instability and ALL of my violent behavior was tied to acetaminophen. I had been taking Tylenol quite regularly to deal with back pain from work, as soon as I stopped and began to detox I began to level out. There was still an emotional aspect which I wasn’t ready to deal with in relation to my undiagnosed mental issues, but with out the acetaminophen exacerbating things, it was mostly just instability with moods. Never again did we have a physical confrontation, although there were quite a few screaming matches and heated arguments.

We did the hook up thing for a few weeks, until we reached a transition. He wanted to try a specific sex act, and I wasn’t interested unless we became more than casual partners. Not the best reason to start dating someone, but… that’s what changed our relationship from casual sex to a dating relationship. I explained that if he wanted to be in a serious relationship, I wouldn’t be opposed, and would be much more willing to expand my sexual horizons. I believe his exact response was: “Sure… what the hell? Why not?” Yes… the relationship started off so wonderfully, it’s kind of amazing it lasted as long as it did. I see that now, but in the moment it never occurred to me. He was my first recurrent sexual partner, I’d always been drawn to him, and I wasn’t really interested in anyone else even though I had gone out with a few other people during our time apart. He was exactly what I wanted, and honestly what I needed in that phase of my life. So… away we went, into our “exclusive” relationship.

Being intimate with him several months before “officially” dating I knew exactly what I was getting into. I was his girlfriend, but I was always second to his ex-wife. I knew that wasn’t going to change, and actually encouraged him to pursue her in an attempt to fix things. They had been together for quite a long time and he had practically raised her young son. If there was anyway he could have fixed whatever broke in their relationship I wasn’t going to stand in his way. We discussed it on several occasions, but he either didn’t take me seriously or forgot somewhere along the line because he generally tried to keep his dates with her a secret. Tried, being the key word there, as he failed more often than not. He would always come home or call me upset when she broke his heart all over again. He was very rarely quiet, but on those days all he wanted to do was lay on the couch with his head resting on my lap. Those were the only moments I remember him seeming small, vulnerable, and defeated. It was always after her. I noticed, but I tried not to bring it up unless he did.

She was one of the things on the “No Sleep List”. Which would trigger his night terrors, and sleep disturbances. After getting literally pushed out of bed on several occasions, nearly strangled once, and thrown across the room into the dresser by an ankle (hello mysterious cause of my hip problems) while he was in the throes of his night terrors, I quickly learned to tread lightly around anything that might upset him. He wasn’t always violent if his sleep was disturbed, but it wasn’t pleasant either way. I let a lot of things slide with out discussion simply to get a decent night’s sleep most nights.

Then there were the other girls. Much like he had entertained the idea of a relationship with me during his previous dating relationships, he would pursue anyone who caught his eye to a certain point even after we began dating. I believe there were five or six different girls (that I remember anyway) during our time together, but they never kept his attention more than a few weeks at a time, rarely for a month or two and he always told me about them. Of course he never came right out and said: “I’ve been seeing this other girl” but I quickly learned that his “friends” of the opposite gender that weren’t directly attached to any of his other male friends were a bit more.

There were also a few times where he actually got caught. I surprised him at work one afternoon to see a mom with her young son clearly flirting with him, and becoming horribly uncomfortable when I walked in and called him “babe”. I gave him an opportunity to confess, playing dumb in the car as I pointed out her discomfort over me showing up in the middle of their rendezvous, but he avoided the direct approach and decided to go with: “She’s unhappy with her husband but she won’t leave him…”  It was mostly his nervous laughter that gave him away, but it was all the answer I needed.

Or the incident when he came home from a “sports bar”, covered in red glitter which wouldn’t wash off for almost two weeks. That one was particularly amusing because he had a deep rooted hatred of all things glitter. When he got home he was extremely agitated. I asked him what was wrong, and he explained that he was upset that this “girl at the bar” had been hanging all over him. Not because it was another girl hanging all over him, but because she was covered in glitter. He showered three times daily trying to get it all off, actually ended up cutting his hair, and shaving his beard trying to get rid it. The only things he hated more than glitter were super short hair and a clean shaven face. I eventually offered to help him, but I might have enjoyed watching him squirm a little bit too much over those few weeks, pointing out all the rogue glitter that wouldn’t come off. I don’t know what the heck that girl was wearing, but it took me almost half an hour to get it off of him, picking out individual pieces by hand, and that was just the lingering bits in his hair, on his face, and shoulders. I suppose it could have also taken weeks to wash off, because he kept seeing her after the first initial encounter and was merely trying to hide it, but his desperation and willingness to let me help toward the end didn’t give me that impression.

Then there was time he decided to do a long distance phone thing with his roommates “girlfriend”. She called his phone while we were out as he was driving, and he asked me to look at the caller ID. It wasn’t really unusual that this girl was calling him, because she was in a long distance online relationship with his roommate. His roommate who had fallen on hard times and didn’t have his own phone. I knew how she got my boyrfriend’s number and that she called frequently. What gave him away was how awkward he was after he answered, and how he launched into the whole: “She’s not actually a model like she says she is. She’s lying to *insert roomates name here* and I feel kind of bad for him.” The same devaluing story he used to justify his relationships with all of his other “friends” when they no longer piqued his interest.

He called it off with her a few days later and I arrived at his house in the middle of the heated argument with his roommate discussing her infidelity, and my boyfriend desperately trying to cover his tracks by exposing her own lies about her career. Oh yes. I heard the entire exchange, standing at the top of the basement stairs before I called out my boyfriend’s name alerting him to my presence. Plus, the few times I was at the house with out my boyfriend his roommate had a horrible time trying to keep the “secret” that my boyfriend was unfaithful. I’m not sure if my boyfriend ever brought other girls to the house, or just told his roommate that he was going out with them. His roommate almost told me at least twice, but decided against it each time after the most awkward conversations. I knew there was something he wanted to say, but never pressed the issue. Especially since (at least according to my boyfriend) he never really wanted me in the house in the first place.

The other girls all had similar scenarios. He would mostly entertain them completely on the side of our own relationship, the few times he did start canceling plans we had made or obviously take advantage of me I took issue with it, but as far as the rest of it went, I sincerely didn’t mind. I wasn’t nearly as oblivious as he thought, it just didn’t matter to me. As much as he strayed he always returned, and it had always been a part of the relationship dynamic between us. I had hoped that he would change, but never truly demanded or expected him to.

Plus, dude had a voracious sexual appetite. We were together almost daily, often times more than once. It was kind of nice to get a break every once and a while. I was always satisfied when we were together, just as I was always content when we weren’t. I enjoyed the nights he came home and just sat with me and watched a movie, or took me out to dinner, or curled up next to me in bed just to be close to me. Working 50+ hours a week, trying to keep up with housework, chores, and other adult responsibilities PLUS being intimate every day, multiple times was exhausting.

He was always very insecure about our intimacy so I never told him, fearing he would take it the wrong way. There were valid reasons he was concerned with our intimacy, but I didn’t actually figure all of that out until recently. He alluded to it often during our entire dating relationship, but I wasn’t ready to hear it back then, so I basically ignored it. It makes sense now why he was so worried, and often felt inadequate. It also makes a whole lot of sense why he never could truly commit to me the way he was able to commit to his other long term partners.

But that’s another post for another time.