I’ll start from the beginning.
I met Nate three-and-a-half years ago. I wish I’d kept those emails so I could recreate the enthusiasm and excitement that built up to our first date. Over the course of the years, there were so many times I scrubbed my emails and deleted every trace of him. So many times I knew he was poison. Like so many addictions I have dealt with in my lifetime (eating, drinking, exercising), he was one of them. I could never get away from him and I think, in some way, he was sort of addicted to me, too.
He found me on Match and his interest was obvious. “We sound like we’d really get along.” And when we met, we didn’t just get along–the chemistry was electric.
Nate was everything I wanted in a guy: brilliant, attractive, confident, artistic, talented, wordly, well-read. He was always up for partying, but we also had fun sitting at home watching movies and eating the dinners that he cooked. There was only one problem. I wasn’t everything he wanted in a girl. He tired of me easily and rare were the occasions when I saw him more than once in a week.
Through the years, I tried to get him out of my head. I tried to put an end to our affair, but I always relented when he called. There wasn’t a time I didn’t want to see him. It was like waking up hungover, but then having a drink later on that night. That’s the kind of addiction it was. You know you’re doing something wrong, but you can’t put an end to it. You can’t stop.
So instead of ending the affair, I tried to dull the pain by trying to think it was nothing. For seeing it as it was. A hookup. I was his lifetime hookup. That’s it. And I really believed I got there. I went on my merry way, dated other guys, had meaningful relationships with other guys. Nate and I would still hookup, and sometimes I wouldn’t care when he called again. It’s what it was. We were friends with benefits. No future together. He wasn’t going to marry me and I was ok with that. Given the volume of guys I dated, I was certain I was on my way to the altar way before he was. As long as I met someone first, it would be ok.
But I never get that happy ending. Never ever, it seems. After drinks with friends, I came home one evening to find pictures that he had posted of his weekend getaway with his girlfriend on Facebook. I felt ill. I was angry. I started to sob. How could he have a girlfriend? How did he suddenly have a girlfriend? And I had no one except a string of men who at that moment meant nothing to me.
Nate was the guy I’d been pining for all my life. He was the love of my life and I’d been replaced by someone else. Given her private profile, I embarked on a maddening search on Google for her. She was a half Asian, half white, natural Hawaiian beauty. Three years younger and a fucking Cornell grad. She had started up her own wine internet business. No wonder he’s in love with her. My heart caved in. I hated her.
I was desperate. I called Nate to come over. He gladly did.
In bed, I teased, “Don’t you think I’m skinny? You don’t like fat girls, do you? Don’t you like me skinny so you can toss me around?”
It was a dig on her. Her pictures online made me think of a song I raved about written by a Hapa. “Too fat to be Asian, too skinny to be white.”
Nate groaned at my teasing, wrapped his arms around me, and kissed me all over my neck. I didn’t confront him. I was too scared to hear the truth. So while he snored in the middle of the night, I sought it on my own. When I couldn’t find his phone, I carefully opened up his laptop and investigated.
What I saw ended it for me. Yes, she was his girlfriend. But he was sleeping with many others in addition to me and Meli. He was also continuing to setup dates on Match. He was very much the man about town. I hated that he was carrying on like this, jeopardizing women’s emotions and safety. I plotted his downfall.
I sent Meli this email.
i don’t have anything to hide, nothing to lose.
as of last tuesday, i was sleeping with nate for the past three and a half years. after being with someone for that long, you start to lose your mind.
i plain and simple lost my mind. i was so hurt to see pictures of the two of you together at sea ranch, knowing i had just slept with him not too long before he had posted the pictures. who does that?
i felt so deceived and misled. so i called him that night because i couldn’t believe it was true. he came over and spent the night. i thought, ‘well he can’t very well have a girlfriend if he’s spending the night with me!’
but still i couldn’t sleep. so i tossed and turned while he snored soundly in bed. i wanted to know. i wanted confirmation. i opened up his laptop and saw a folder titled dating. in it were hundreds of emails. my name and communications were scattered among many.
when i calmed down, i decided to start from the most recent which were match.com emails, then subsequent emails from others declaring their love for him, including one from you saying it warmed your heart knowing you had met a few months prior. all these emails and heartfelt messages. these were not vacuous statements women were making.
maybe you think i emailed you because i want him for myself. absolutely not true. after he dropped me off at work, i knew that that was the last time i’d see him. having him completely out of my life has already done wonders for me. maybe he is different around you. maybe he will change.
either way, i wanted you to know. i wish i had.
We emailed back and forth a few times. She didn’t believe me. She wanted more details. I gave her dates. She was in denial as they corresponded to nights she had not been with him. She wanted real details. “Unless you tell me something that only someone who knows him intimately could say, I will always have a hard time believing you.” So I went for it.
“Nate doesn’t wear underwear. He wears Comme de Garcon Odeur No.53 cologne. That’s his favorite, but he just recently started wearing Gucci. He has a mole on his left butt cheek and he’s got a purple birthmark around the base of his penis.”
She was in shock. She tried to compose herself. When I talked to her later she had thoroughly gotten over it. “Big deal. He told me he was done with you six months ago.”
During my email exchanges with Meli, Nate left two scathing voicemails for me. “Do not fuck with me. I’m serious Catherine. I will turn the tables on you.”
I talked to Meli before she left for Hawaii. “Catherine, you don’t understand. We have so much fun together. It’s not that I don’t believe you, but he’s opened up all his records to me. He’s showed me everything. There’s nothing.”
I did everything in my power to convince her. After I’d gone as far as I had, I wasn’t going to back down in defeat. I didn’t want someone out there thinking I was a liar. And Nate was telling her I was a psycho crazy person, that he considered getting a restraining order on me!
As soon as Meli left to spend Christmas in Honolulu, Nate texted me, “Now that I’m single…want to hang out tonight?”
I was floored. She finally had the sense to breakup with him. I didn’t respond. I felt nothing for him anymore.
The next time I talked to her, I asked if she was doing ok. I asked again how she was feeling.
She was confused. “Why do you keep asking that?”
“Meli, did you breakup with Nate last night? He texted me to come over.”
She was furious, but didn’t want to confront him over the holidays. She wanted to see the text. She didn’t want to believe it.
So I sent this email to the both of them.
i hope you both enjoyed the christmas holiday with your families.
i feel like our drama is a case study in game theory. but i’m done. i’m folding.
here are the facts:
1. nate, apparently you are now single and wanted to hookup the other night. attaching a picture of your text. this is very surprising since you left me a scathing voicemail telling me you never wanted to see me again.
2. nate and i slept together december 9th.
3. nate and i slept together either november 28/29th and again a couple days after that.
4. nate and i slept together november 13th. i know this distinctly since it was the last week of my writing class and there were persistent texts and calls before, during, and after class.
i think that is more than enough evidence given that nate and i apparently have not slept together in the past six months.
nate, i understand that the friend you brought to my birthday party was indeed a date. you are such a sweetheart 🙂
i’ll have you know that meli and i had a good laugh over your sexual performance.
meli deserves a lot better than you and i will expose you for the scoundrel that you are.
lastly, nate, i’ll toss your words back at you—the same ones you left on my voicemail. i never want to see you again. but i actually mean it. do not ever contact me again.
meli, wishing you all the best in 2009. you deserve it.
I followed up with a final email.
I know that you wanted to handle this by gathering all the information and having it on-hand to confront him. With all the hurt that Nate put me through, I refused to go away quietly, have my character compromised, and have him one-up me in the end. Coming from a broken-hearted, manipulated person with what I considered good intentions at the time, I just wanted you to be aware.
Here are downloads of my call log and text log. As I know you’ve been reluctant to believe me, I’m giving you access to the account so you can view the information online.
My sincere best for you, Meli,
I didn’t hear from her and never thought I would again.
In retrospect, I hated 2008. It wasn’t a great year for me. Nothing really memorable, mostly psychotic episodes on my part. And I ended it with a huge bang. I’d tattled on someone to his girlfriend. I lost his friendship in the process. I spent many sleepless nights, crying, wondering what I had done by inserting myself into a relationship.
But she called a few days into 2009. I hadn’t even plugged her into my phone. “This is Catherine,” I answered.
“Hey, Catherine, it’s Meli. Look, I just want to thank you. It extended into even more than what you told me. I told my friends about the situation, then they started telling me more stories about how he had hit on them. It wasn’t just you.”
We had a good heart-to-heart and I told her how much her phone call meant to me.
With every story, there should always be a message, a lesson learned. I don’t know what to say here except…one day everything will be ok again. It can be years and years later. You may have gone through a lot of pain. You may take drastic measures because you can’t help it. It is an addiction. And one day, you won’t have all the answers, but you will have moved on and become a better person. I’m certain of that.