With every ‘happy couple’ social media post I see, my trust in men declines…
I bet you’re expecting a tell-all story about my husband’s scandalous affair, or perhaps a tale about me finding text messages from another woman on his phone.
Maybe even a shocking recount of me discovering my husband’s attendance at a wild stag night filled with strippers?
I’m sorry to disappoint, but I have none of those things to report. Nothing even remotely juicy (well, not about my husband, anyway).
You see, my husband really is an upstanding and trustworthy guy. I’ve never found so much as a slightly incriminating email or a questionable link in his browser history. Nor have I heard any whispers on the grapevine of him acting like anything but a nice married guy (he even came home early from his own stag night because he didn’t want to go to the strippers. His friends went without him.) Despite this, I still don’t trust my husband to be faithful to me.
I haven’t been cheated on in the past (that I know of), my father didn’t leave my mother for another woman and my husband has never done anything to make me even remotely suspicious. So why the paranoia, you ask?
I’m sitting in the waiting room at the doctors, mindlessly scrolling through Facebook to kill some time. A photo of a guy I used to work with pops up. Let’s call him Mr Wednesday. The picture shows Mr Wednesday standing beside his beautiful blonde wife, his arm affectionately around her, the caption reading, ‘Twelve years since I asked this beauty out on a date. Never thought I’d get so lucky and marry her!’
Funny, I never thought he’d get so lucky either, because around ten years ago when I was single and he was supposedly in a long-term committed relationship with this blonde beauty, he cornered me in the work carpark and said ‘Let me come back to your place,’ while trying to shove his hands up my top. When I asked ‘What about your girlfriend?’ he replied, ‘She’s like Jennifer Anniston and you’re like Angelina Jolie. No man can resist Angelina.’
While I found his comment flattering, I also found it quite eye-opening, because I’d always thought that if a man found someone who was the equivalent of Jennifer to date, he would stop perusing Angelina. Apparently not so. This guy went on to send me flirty text messages every Wednesday night after we worked the late shift together. I feel guilty thinking about it now, but I used to respond, even knowing he was in a relationship (I was young and single and he was cute, OK?!).
I often see photos on Facebook of Mr Wednesday and his lovely wife (who actually happens to look a lot like Jennifer Anniston, come to think of it). They have two kids and appear to be completely in love. But as I look at their happy couple photos, I can’t help but wonder if she knows about those Wednesday night text messages, the ones he sent me that said he would do anything to sleep with me.
I board the train and take a seat. I look across the carriage and get a blast from the past. It’s Mr Tattoos. He looks much the same as he did when I knew him nine years ago – tall, chocolate-brown eyes, sleeves of tattoos covering his muscly arms – but with the exception of a slightly receding hairline now. Mr Tattoos pretends not to see me. I do the same while remembering what unfolded between us.
When I first met Mr Tattoos there was an instant connection between us, but because I knew he was in a long-term relationship, I kept my distance (I’d learned a thing or two about guilt from my conduct with Mr Wednesday). After months of suppressed sexual tension, Mr Tattoos pulled me aside and said he’d broken up with his girlfriend. I then spent the next two months with him, blissfully enjoying what I thought was the beginnings of a new and wonderful relationship. Boy did I feel like an idiot when I found out from some mutual friends that his girlfriend was actually overseas for a family holiday, and that Mr Tattoos was still very much in a relationship with said girlfriend.
Now, I watch him get off the train, where that very same girlfriend is waiting for him with a stroller parked beside her, and I can’t help but wonder if she knows about those two months when her boyfriend pretended he was single so he could get in my pants?
Then there’s the guy from my old job, the one I thought of as a friendly colleague, who I’m going to call Mr Opportunistic. Mr Opportunistic and I had a lot in common; our job, work friends, and interests. We spoke most days on lunch breaks and knew the same circle of people. He was in a relationship with his high school sweetheart, so I assumed his interest in me was simply a workplace friendship. I’d always thought about him in a platonic way and figured he felt the same. But one night I found out I’d been wrong about that assumption.
I’d had a crummy week at work, so Mr Opportunistic took me out for dinner and bought me several drinks. I’m a lightweight when it comes to alcohol, so by the time dinner was over I was a tad dizzy. Exercising chivalry, he escorted me home and made sure I got into bed okay. The next morning, I woke up with a splitting headache and Mr Opportunistic’s hand stroking my backside. I remember getting in the shower and thinking, shit, shit, shit, as the memories from last night’s impromptu encounter came flooding back to me. When I got out of the shower, I found him sitting on my bed, his phone in his hand. Smiling up at me, he said, ‘It’s okay, I just broke up with Jade. Told her we need some time to be by ourselves and find out who we are.’ Of course he didn’t tell his girlfriend that he needed time to himself after shagging someone else last night. I stopped talking to Mr Opportunistic, and he was back with his high-school sweetheart within two weeks.
I recently saw pictures of Mr Opportunistic and his high school sweetheart on their wedding day, but instead of looking at her wedding gown, I sat there wondering if she knows why they took a two-week break in their fairy-tale relationship all those years ago.
More recently, there was Mr Hollywood. As you can imagine, he’s an actor. He’s been on the soap opera Neighbours, has acted in some minor film roles and pretty much thinks he can have whatever he wants so long as he flashes his blindingly white smile. I met him while he was in between acting gigs, so he was working in a nine-to-five job to pay the bills. For some reason, Mr Hollywood took a shine to me and stopped at nothing to seek me out while we worked together. I spoke platonically with him, asked him about work stuff, told him I was married, very married, but that didn’t seem to deter him. He repeatedly asked me to come for a drink, for a coffee, to his apartment so he could show me the most recent show he’d preformed a guest role in. Turning down all his advances only seemed to make him try harder. It was getting to the point where I was considering telling him to leave me the hell alone or I would report him to my boss. Luckily, I left that job, so I never had to do anything drastic.
But then, not three months later, a former colleague of mine shows me an article about Mr Hollywood, which states that he is moving to LA with his wife and three kids to pursue a new acting role. Dumbfounded, I look at the photo of his stunning wife and their three little blue-eyed boys, wondering if she knows her husband is an absolute sleaze.
And the latest: Mr Old Friends; the guy who I thought was my mate. I’ve never had too many guy friends, so I was happy to have been able to keep one male as a pal over the years. Mr Old Friends moved interstate with his girlfriend at one point and we lost touch. Recently, he moved back to my area, so I met up with him a few times to catch up. For our third catch-up, he invited me to see his new house and for a quick morning coffee. As I’m admiring the big house he’d bought with his girlfriend, he puts his hand on my hip and flippantly says, ‘No one will ever know if we did anything occasionally, you know.’
I’m taken aback by his comment, utterly speechless. He goes on to tell me that he’d always thought about me, even when he was interstate, that he wished he could have gotten in and married me before my husband did, blah, blah, blah, that he just wanted to sleep with me one time, just once. I barely said two words to him as I left his house (while feeling like a naïve idiot for going there in the first place). I haven’t spoken to him since.
Then, just last night, I see a Facebook post announcing Mr Old Friends’ engagement. As I look at his fiancé’s smiling face and princess cut diamond, I can’t help but wonder if she knows that not two weeks ago her new fiancé was saying he’d wished he’d gotten married to someone else.
I can’t be so arrogant as to think that these men have only tried this on with me. I’m probably one in a long line of girls cast as a side dish to these men’s mains. I’m nothing special; I’m no Victoria’s Secret model, nor do I have long legs or big breasts, Angelina Jolie lips or J-Lo’s butt. I’m just a normal everyday girl, my only appeal being that I am different to what these men already have.
My social media newsfeed is a collection of men who’ve tried to cheat on their girlfriends with me. Men who’ve wanted something a bit different. I should delete them all, but I leave them there, to remind me to be on my guard. But with every happy couple post these men share, my trust in the male species declines. Sure, my husband is one of the nice guys, but how will I ever really know? All those girlfriends and wives assumed their husbands/boyfriends were nice guys too, all while those nice men were trying to shove their hands up other girl’s tops in carparks. I see their photos: their weddings, their housewarmings, baby showers, family photos with two small children in front of the Christmas tree, and I know I’ll never be able to completely trust my husband.
Because I can’t help but wonder if there’s a girl out there somewhere, looking at the wedding anniversary photos I post, looking at the happy smiling faces of my husband and I. Is she looking at my picture, silently shaking her head and thinking, I wonder if she knows about the time when he…
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Comment: Do you fully trust your partner?