Confessions of an Internet-Famous Cheater
When I betrayed my fiancée, I destroyed my relationship. But the shadow stretches over the rest of my life as well.
There’s nowhere to start but at the beginning, so let’s do that. Last year, my fiancée discovered that I had been unfaithful to her. She called the wedding off and ended our relationship for good. I made no attempts to reconcile. Four months later, on the June Sunday we’d planned to get married, she shared her story in a post on our onetime wedding website, describing in excruciating detail the pain I caused her, showing the graphic text messages I sent to another woman, and generally reading me for filth. The post, as well as her tweet about it, went viral. (I’m not linking to either of those to avoid bringing her unwanted attention.)
The words she used to describe me — narcissistic, manipulative — torched me. They were also true. “He will have another story to tell,” she wrote. I don’t. Poisoned by narcissism, I sought validation from other women. I gaslit her, her family, my family, the other women, our mutual friends, and anyone who followed our relationship on social media, where I’d built a brand around the image of a reformed playboy, giving advice on how to be a “good man.”
People often tell me I cheated because I did not want to get married. While that may be true — I thought getting married was something a man my age was supposed to want — it doesn’t excuse my despicable actions. A real man, an honest man, would tell his partner he wasn’t ready for marriage, not cheat to get out of it. I was a coward for betraying the woman I loved, for letting my body speak what I didn’t have the spine to say. I will be sorry for the pain and embarrassment I caused her, her family, our friends, and my family for the rest of my life.
I’m not writing this to make excuses. There are no excuses. I’m not writing this to atone; I can only do that for myself and for the woman whose trust I violated. When my ex learned about my infidelity, I had to accept the loss of our relationship. When she aired me out online, I had to accept the loss of my social reputation and…