And in hindsight, that should have told me something. “She doesn’t have to know how serious we are yet. She just wouldn’t understand.”
I thought it was romantic that he would lie to her by omission. That we’d have little secrets that only the two of us would know. I thought they were harmless and bred intimacy. He’d tell me when he’d screwed up and bummed a cigarette, knowing I wouldn’t yell at him, only encourage him to do better. Adding, “Don’t tell her. She’d freak.” It made me proud. I was chill. I could handle the fact that he was imperfect. In reality, it should have made me nervous. Very nervous.
I became addicted to his confidence. To this feeling that he could tell me things he couldn’t bear to reveal to her. Over time, I felt his loyalties shifting, subtly, then explicitly. “Tell no one this, but if I’d met you when I was dating her, I would have dumped her and gotten with you instead. You’re the kind of woman I wish I’d married.”
I knew they’d become poly in the first place because the two of them kept cheating on each other, that all of their extramarital relationships had been full of dishonesty. That her ex-boyfriend of 4 years was married, and that the metamour, her ex-boyfriend’s wife, never knew. That my boyfriend had slept with another woman the week before they were married and didn’t let her know for a few years after the fact. That he had broken rules with exes like “don’t fuck in our bed,” “let me know beforehand”
It was arrogance to think I could be anything but part of the pattern of behavior, that somehow I could break the cycle through love, support, and my own efforts at ethical communication.
I should not be surprised he lies to her about what happened. How he probably lies to himself.
But a small part of me still is.