Letter to… An Emotional Cheater

You know who you are: We bonded over our love for our work. And burgers.

We both ditched the buns.

It has been exactly one month. And it’s funny the range of emotions you can go through within the space of 30 days. How is it that someone capable of making you so happy can also make you feel incredibly sad?

We met at a conference we were both presenting at. Something happened in one of the sessions that resulted in you messing up. I felt responsible as I had to cut you off. I could tell this sort of presenting was new to you.

After the event, I came up to you to apologise and offer to take you out for a coffee and discuss what went wrong. I genuinely had no other intentions but to help and offer some pointers for next time. After all, we lived in different countries.

We chatted for over an hour and then you had to leave.

“Are you coming to the event’s after-party?” I asked.

“I’m not sure,” he said.

And that was that.

You then texted me. Thanking me for fixing your “chaotic morning”. Confirming you were coming back for the after-party.

I smiled. I was happy I was going to see you again.

As you returned, I was surrounded by many friends; some made that day, others who have been with me for the entire event. Hour by hour, people started to leave until it was just you and I. We didn’t stay for the remainder of the after-party; we decided to go grab a coffee.

Coffee turned into hours of conversation. You told me about your battle with depression, you told me about your love for your work, you told me how you lost your sister to cancer. Shortly afterwards, your mother was touched by the very same disease, but has thankfully gone into remission.

You told me you were married years ago. And how you don’t regret it but she wasn’t the right person for you.

After coffee, you wanted to grab some dinner. We walked around the neighbourhood looking for somewhere open and we settled on this burger place (sidenote: that burger I had was amazing). You were cute, charming, vulnerable, intelligent, sweet… I found myself wanting to spend more time with you. My heart skipped a beat when you said you wanted to move on and have a drink somewhere. You didn’t want the night to end.

Neither did I.

We found this little spot nearby and talked until the owner told us it was closing time. As we waited for a cab, you suggested we go to another place. It was late so there wasn’t anything open. We ended up hanging out in my hotel.

Nothing (physical) happened. Again, we just spent hours talking. I felt I had never met anyone like you before. In fact, I hadn’t liked anyone like you in what felt like years.

It was 3.30 am and you had to leave. I thought it was a little sudden, but you had valid reasons. Your mother is sick and she has to take medication in the early morning. You explained how she moved in with you when she fell ill so that you could take care of her. It was believable then… now I’m not too sure.

I receive a text minutes later: “I like you. A lot. And I hope we see each other again.”

A few texts later and you decide to come back to my hotel room and see me again. It’s 4.30 am and my flight is at 6. I have to admit, it was such a romantic move. And as soon as we see each other, you take me into your arms. But now I just wonder… how many people you have done this with?

I leave for my flight. We say goodbye at the cab, and to me, that was that. As I arrive back in my city, I find texts from you. You want to stay in touch, you want to come visit me and see where this goes.

I’m on cloud nine. But cautious.

I tread carefully for the coming weeks. I’m busy with work, and I put down your feelings as something that will stick around for a few days before getting tiresome.

But you don’t. You continue to pursue, saying you want me. But I still tread carefully. And I am grateful that I did.

As work winds down for the festive season, I notice your texts coming in at certain times. I hadn’t noticed before because I was so busy I barely had time to eat or sleep. But I noticed this weird routine, and when you don’t answer for hours, you apologise and say you’ve been in meetings.

Red flag.

But I didn’t want to be ‘that person’. That person who trusts no-one. That person who is too suspicious of everything.

You then disappear completely on Christmas Day.

“Is everything okay?” I wonder. Silence from your end.

You then respond a day later and we decide to talk. You tell me that you needed time to think as you weren’t sure I liked you enough and that you felt you were chasing me.

Red flag.

At the end of the day, 1+1=2. If you liked me, you’d show me you liked me. This began to sound like a soap opera.

Yet you persisted for the next few days. And I entertained it. “Again, don’t be that person; we process things in different ways,” I reasoned with myself.

But always trust your gut.

It was the day of your birthday, and I had arranged a surprise delivery for you. It was organised a few days before.

On the same day, I was back in the same country as you, but in a different city. I met my friend for coffee in the morning. The conversation turned to guys, and I told her about you.

“Show me!” she squealed. And so I proceeded to show her your page on Instagram. Data roaming issues meant my phone wasn’t working properly, so she gave me her phone and asked me to type in the username.

“Hmm,” she said.

‘Hmm’ was not the response I was expecting.

She continued: “I could have sworn he is married to…”

Red flag.

Red flag.

Red. Fucking. Flag.

Turns out, they have common friends. And your wife is a common friend.

A wife you are *still* married to.

A wife who, based on the same home background in both of your photos, clearly lives with you.

A beautiful, talented wife who clearly doesn’t deserve you.

My heart sank. There I was sending you surprise gifts, thinking you were living with your sick mother, when all this time you are married to someone.

As I write this now, I realise how stupid I have been. And how I should’ve known this all along. But I had believed you. I believed in you.

The worst part is, I could have found this out within 10 minutes if I had gone through your social media at the very beginning. But again, I don’t want to be ‘that person’.

The next day I call you out on it, and as expected you don’t respond.

You haven’t responded since.

And now I am left here wondering: why?

If it was about sex, I would have understood. But our connection was emotional. I genuinely felt that you needed someone.

Is it insecurity? Ego? Was it revenge for messing up your presentation?

I will never know.

All I know now is that it is people like you who create insecurities and trust issues for people like me. Being on the receiving end of fake feelings cuts like a knife.

But it’s not me I feel sorry for. I feel sorry for your significant other who has no idea you are cheating on her. Who has no idea that her husband is calling her an ex behind her back.

She doesn’t deserve this. She doesn’t deserve you saying that you are not with her. That it was a mistake. That you’ve completely changed the house since she left. That she now lives in another city and has a boyfriend.

I’ve realised you’re a narcissist. Who craves attention. A coward who hides behind lies in deceit.

A narcissist paints a picture of themselves as being the victim or innocent in all aspects. They will be offended by the truth. But what is done in the dark will come to light. Time has a way of showing people’s true colours.

Goodbye. I’ve now let you go.

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