We've all been blindsided by cheating men who claim to be single, only to find out they are seriously involved with someone. Most women run when they find out that the man they like has a girlfriend.
But there are the occasional few who stay. And yes, I'm guilty.
I'm not here to convince anyone that what I did was right. I have a hard time understanding it myself.
I'm only here to share my story.
I live on my own, in a city where the dating scene is sparse. This isn't entirely upsetting, considering I love being single. But, being the human that I am, I still have sexual desires.
That's right: Women have them too. Yes, I keep my trusty vibrator by my nightstand, but there's nothing that can replace the feeling of a man's hand caressing your body.
As much as everyone bitches about Millennials, you can't deny that we are a generation that embraces being alone. I'm not going to rush into sharing the rest of my life with someone just because I have sexual urges.
But before I jump into the lustful details of my love affair, let's rewind a bit.
The past three guys I liked turned out to be in relationships. I was attracted to them because they weren't needy. They were full of mystery. But in hindsight, this was most likely due to the fact that they were keeping a huge secret from me.
I know what you're thinking: It's 2016. How do you not know if someone is in a relationship?
Let me tell you, cheaters will go to the ends of the earth in order to keep letting women think they're single.
So let's dig in, shall we?
He was a college football coach who said he didn't have social media because he was too focused on work. He was coaching one of the best teams in the nation, so I thought that maybe he was onto something.
I woke up to a phone call from his girlfriend, who found my number while snooping through his phone. We talked for a bit, and I reassured her that I had no clue about her. She opened up to me, confessing that she loved him, even though he had been abusive and unfaithful.
Talk about a total mindfuck: She was seriously in love with someone who had zero love or respect for her. I wasn't surprised that he was abusive, given that he was so hostile to me after I ended things. He was extremely buff, so at the time, I assumed that he was either on steroids or neurotic.
I later found out that they were back together only two weeks later after she called me.
I had seen this guy out with a girl before, but he had assured me it was nothing. He went on and on about how bad he felt when he had to give her “the talk.”
I obviously believed him. Who hasn't given that speech? There were no pictures of them together on social media, and his Facebook status was set as single (which OF COURSE meant that it had to be true).
Imagine my surprise when I found out that they had been together for two years.
Once I confronted him, he had the nerve to ask me to wait for him to truly end things with her.
This time, I stayed out of it. But she found out anyway.
She made it clear that she wanted me far away from him, but she didn't make any plans to leave him. Was she really naïve enough to think that I poured shots down her boyfriend's throat and seduced him?
Two years later, she continues to date him... as he continues to tell people he's single.
This last guy is a fuckboy who should list "lying" as a proficient skill on his resume.
By the time he entered my life, I was savvier when it came to the “art” of cheating. I really dug around on social media, and I asked more questions than usual about his ex.
His annoyance became apparent, so I backed off after explaining my paranoia. He tucked my hair gently behind my ear, and assured me that all the other guys I had dated were creeps.
He invited me to college football games where he and his girlfriend had been in the top fraternity and sorority on campus. I realized that someone could have easily snapped a photo of us, so I began to let my guard down and trust him.
This guy had been trying to sleep with me for almost a year. I wasn't that attracted to him physically, but his persistence and intensity were such turn-ons, he most definitely caught my attention.
He was very persuasive, but an obvious schmoozer. I knew there wasn't a future for us, but nonetheless, he was a seemingly smart med student who had a fun, rebellious personality.
It didn't take long before we were having sex. Lots and lots of sex.
As a perpetually single girl, this was my dream come true. I had a friend-with-benefits who partied as hard as I did.
It was understood that we weren't exclusive. But something felt off. When we were together, he was so into me that I had to tell him to pump the brakes.
One time, AS we were having sex, he asked me to tell him I loved him. I knew guys were willing to tell girls whatever they wanted to hear to get them into bed... but what was the point after they had already succeeded?
After we played the cat and mouse game for a while, I couldn't shake the feeling that something was off. So, I brought up the ex-girlfriend again. As all sociopaths do, he turned the tables and said I psychoanalyzed everything that he did.
Like a fool, I started falling into his trap. I thought that maybe I was starting to develop feelings for him. Maybe I was looking for something to fight about. And, just as I began psychoanalyzing myself, the bomb dropped.
Not only had he cheated on his girlfriend with me, but he had a 1-year-old baby out there with another girl.
I couldn't believe it. She stayed with him, even when there was actual living proof out there that he was a cheater.
At first, I wanted nothing to do with him. But after some time, he started creeping back into my life, asking to see me so he could apologize. The harder I pushed, the stronger he pulled.
One night, after enough vodka, I decided to let him. If he didn't care about the girlfriend, why should I? It's not like she didn't already know that he was a cheater.
The sex this time around felt more passionate because we took the heat of our arguing into the bedroom. It felt like we could be our true selves around one another because there was nothing to mess up. What we were doing was already a mess in itself.
I tried hard to figure out what it was about me that made me not want to tolerate a cheater.
When I was about 16, I had a talk with my dad about love that stuck with me. He said that love makes you delusional, and to never lose yourself in it.
I grew up witnessing many women who stayed with their cheating (and sometimes abusive) husbands. He warned me that he was about to burst every fairytale I had ever seen, but that he was only doing it so I could keep a clear mind.
So many people waste their entire lives chasing people who will never chase them back, which is the last thing he would want for me.
I believe that you are never truly in love with a person. Rather, you love your idea of that person. So, it makes sense that people are often too prideful or embarrassed to admit when they have made a mistake.
Why am I telling someone to move on from a guy who I've continued to sleep with for so long? Because – as reckless as I was being – my happiness didn't depend on him. But hers did.
There is probably no psychological reason why he cheats. It's not a reflection on the girlfriend. He's just an asshole.
I hope that all these women realize the importance of making themselves happy. Stop depending on others for fulfillment. I decided it was time to end things, and I hope that someday, all these women do the same.
Women, please don't stay with cheaters. You're just allowing them to treat you badly and enabling their behavior.