A true story.



He was my bartender on a tropical island. I was dizzy from the sun and he made me laugh, but something was different. Magnetic maybe? There was an imprint in my mind that made it impossible for me to forget him. I asked him out after his shift on the last day of my vacation and we stayed out until I suddenly saw the sun rising. That night was a heady mix of sangria, sand, rain, his hands, tangled bed sheets. After that night, we continued galavanting via text and the phone for months. Everything seemed too good to be true… We had met on a tropical island, he was kind and smart, I felt totally sexy around him. Even my most protective family members and friends were charmed. Six months and one visit later, we were “official.” (whatever that means, these days) I was in love and everything was perfect, except for when it wasn’t.

There was always a voice of uncertainty in the back of my head saying, “His stories are so grandiose and crazy, his past can’t be this complicated.” When I’d meet his friends — and they would repeatedly tell me how incredibly different of a person he is now than he used to be — that voice just got louder, but still, I insisted on ignoring it. There were also stories about his ex-fiancé, his sociopathic father, the multiple girlfriends at the same time, and the numerous outlandish near-death experiences. But I was the oh-so-cool, chill, sexually liberated girlfriend who didn’t care about his past and chose to ignore the weird little nuances that were woven between all the really, really great moments.

After about a year of traveling back and forth to see each other, he got a job offer in a state closer to me and moved only three hours away, which was seemingly like being in the same bed, after being far away for so long. Conversations got more intense, the romance novel was growing page by page… You know how it goes. With this new level of significance came turmoil. We started to fight more, which is normal in relationships. When you get to really know someone, things like money become important. The distance (even if it is closer than before) seems to be insurmountable miles. Our relationship was strained but we had gone through so much and made it despite the odds and I didn’t want to give up.

While away at a wellness retreat, the mix of meditation and self-reflection made me realize that I wanted to do everything in my power to save the relationship I was in. At this point, there was just something that wasn’t right, something wasn’t totally connecting and making sense. On the last day of the retreat I had a lingering feeling, all day; a buzzing heaviness that made me restless and twisted my thoughts together to where I couldn’t relax. I checked my phone at night and I had a Facebook message from someone I had never met or spoken to before. Her name was Bryn*, and her message said “Corey* is a bad person, I am sorry.” Now… I had gotten threatening messages from girls before, telling me that they would take Corey away from me… He contributed them to all being crazy/stalker past lovers and ex’s. My inner voice was screaming and making a fool out of me, constantly saying that he was the common denominator. This message was different, my curiosity peaked because it wasn’t threatening or bitter. I asked Bryn why she thought that, and what she was apologizing for.

She responded with “Corey and I have been seeing each other for the past year.”

Everything started to spin and slow down at the same time; it’s difficult to explain what goes on in someone’s head when hearing something like that. It’s a swift icy sharp pain that makes you hold your breath, and then a rush of numbing heat. It’s like someone is shaking you and screaming “Everything you know, and everything you built is wrong.” But I was stubborn and smart and refused to admit that I had been fooled and blindsided. I called Corey and asked him how he knew Bryn, he was calm and collected. He said that they had slept together before we met and remained friends, she lived in Philadelphia so they started speaking again when he moved up north. I told him what she said and he chuckled and called her crazy. There was no convincing me, no apologies, just a general expectation for me to turn my cheek and ignore the red flag, again.

I asked her for more details without his knowledge, she responded with the passcode to his apartment, itineraries of flights she took to see him, receipts for books and clothes she bought him, a detailed account of the inside of his apartment (down to the basket of dirty laundry in his closet,) but it still wasn’t enough. He had an excuse for everything, and when there wasn’t excuses, there was blatant denial. I couldn’t argue, I was in complete agony.  The conversation turned and he began toying with the idea of breaking up with me “even when you find out I am telling the truth, you won’t able to get over your trust issues.” I, in turn began apologizing and yet again, fighting to keep the relationship afloat. Begging him to give me time, so I can figure myself out. I blocked her on Facebook and told him I would sleep on it.

The moment I opened my eyes in the morning the only thought that came to my head was “I am being lied to — What the fuck am I doing?” I knew I shouldn’t be apologizing. I don’t have trust issues, I have never looked through an email, a text message, and have refused his password to Facebook on multiple occasions. I added Bryn on Facebook again and told her I needed more information, drove to my girlfriends’ house for moral support and waited. She answered back later with solid information including stories proving that she was visiting him on the island at the same time as me, one being onour 1 year anniversary, when I was sick and sleeping in his bed. He literally had left my bedside to go and get me some medicine and tea, and instead, went to see her.

Every answer and bit of proof she gave me made me want to pretend that I never found out, and to continue thinking that the man I was sleeping next to for the past two years wasn’t a manipulator who saw me as a game and a challenge. My final call to him I told him to just tell me the truth, because I know everything and he might as well admit it. He paused, for a little too long, deliberating, considering whether or not he has lost the game. I knew the truth then, but he still pushed and denied. I asked him why he wouldn’t confront this woman, the woman who is tearing down everything we had built. Why he wasn’t knocking on her door right now asking for answers. His response spun me out of my sadness, the man that has never raised his voice at me despite my temper, who would never dream of saying anything biting or spiteful towards me said: “Who the fuck are you? I don’t have to jump through any fucking hoops for you, I’m not your fucking dog.” And with that I realized the Corey I had been dating was an entirely different person than the stranger on the other side of the phone and he didn’t like to be backed into a corner.

That solidified the end, and was the last time I have ever spoken to either Bryn or Corey. I never got a confession from Corey and as much as I would have liked one, it didn’t change the fact that I needed to let that relationship go and create my own closure.

Everyone around me treated me like a ticking time bomb for a short while after and didn’t understand how I was okay after having the rug pulled out from underneath me and the only way I can explain it is this: there was nothing I could have done to make him NOT betray me. It didn’t matter how amazing of a girlfriend I was or how trusting I had been, he would have done the exact same thing because that is just who he is. And even if he was honest and wasn’t dating another woman, he didn’t fight for me. He stood there and let someone else destroy us and allowed me to feel everything on my own. So in the end is was really, just him, that allowed me to move on so quickly. Sometimes it really isn’t you. It’s him.