S had the harshest luck with romance that I’d ever come across. When I first met him, he told me enough relationship war stories to turn me into a cynic, and that’s quite an ask. This man had been cheated on, lied to, and abused five million ways from Sunday, so of course, I understood his suspicions of me.
I never considered that his trust issues caused his failed relationships rather than the other way around. I found out soon enough, though.
He began accusing me of cheating on him within three months. Then he stopped accusing and started telling me what I was up to when he wasn’t looking. He was so sure of my lying ways that I began questioning my own motives for my friendships. Maybe S was right and my coffees with C were sexual. Maybe I had a blind spot about the platonic nature of my interactions with M. Maybe S knew me better than I knew myself. Maybe.
Even when I became The World’s Blindest Cheater, I didn’t see the full picture of S. That only happened after we broke up. When we were together, I was so caught up in questioning my own integrity that I didn’t realise S’s history was fabricated out of his own toxic insecurity. I found out soon enough that his previous ex had had precisely the same experience I had: She’d never cheated either. He had just redefined her reality as much as he had mine. I imagine most of his exes would tell the same tale.
The twist in that story was as unexpected as the end of an M Night Shyamalan movie. I’d never once wondered whether S’s history with infidelity had been a lie. When we go into relationships, we take our pasts with us, and the last time I was cheated on, I was barely 20. My exes have taught me that trust is usually warranted, so that’s what I drag into my romances.
Eventually, you meet someone who disproves all your beliefs about love. Well, that applies with most of us, anyway. This will probably never happen to S because all his future lovers will cheat on him. Just like I didn’t.