He was my boyfriend for 5 years. That Christmas, he proposed to me. Of course, I said yes. He was the ideal partner. Kind, caring and my family loved him. A month into our engagement, our relationship was rocked to its very core with three words. And it’s not what you think.
It started when he told me that he was going away for a short trip. He was headed to his hometown as he always does once a month for as long as I’ve known him. This time, it will be for five days. He was going just in time for their high school reunion. He also wanted to spend a bit of time with his mother who was still living there so he could tell his family about our wedding plans.
I was happy for him to go. It was a great way to reconnect with his buddies -- some of whom will be part of the wedding entourage. I was also busy with wedding preparations. He even promised to call me every day that he’ll be away (I didn’t really expect him to or need him to do that, but okay!)
Day 1: Everything was fine. He told me the four-hour drive to his hometown. He said he was tired but was so happy he could spend the day with his mom. They just went through some old photo albums. He’ll be bringing them with him so we could do a cool wedding video.
Day 2: He was set to meet his best friend. They’ll have some male bonding time. They’ll drive around the old neighborhood and maybe meet up with other friends who have started arriving for the high school reunion.
Day3: The day of his high school reunion. He was fairly busy and we only had a short chat. It was expected so we just sent each other the usual text messages.
Day 4: Absolutely no contact.
Day 5: Still no call or text message. I started to worry. By 6 pm, I got a message that said he can’t talk because he’s already driving and should be home in a few hours.
It was unlike him to not do what he said he would, but I thought nothing of it. He was probably just tired. So, I let it go.
We had a date two days later. I noticed he was a bit different. More aloof. Perhaps even a bit colder. His phone was on the table while we were having dessert. A text message came in. He suddenly grabbed it and put it in his pocket. I started to feel that something was wrong. Like he was hiding something.
A week went by and he accidentally left his phone in my bag after we met up for lunch. I knew I shouldn’t have done it. I knew it was wrong. If I trusted him fully, I should never have the need to look at his phone. But I did.
I found the message he tried to hide the week before. It said “Thanks for last Friday!” My heart was in my throat. Why was a girl texting him about Friday? I scrolled to the calendar on my phone to check the date. What was the Friday before this? It was the same day he didn’t contact me.
I know I should have stopped looking at this point but it was so terribly hard to do that. So I kept scrolling. I found out he asked her out as soon as he got to his hometown. He scheduled for them to have dinner the day after his high school reunion. Who is she? Why is she overly nice to my man?
So, when he came by later that day, I confronted him.
“Who is she?” I asked. His brows knitted together. He knew exactly who I was talking about. He also knew at this point that I read his phone messages.
“You read my messages?” His voice was rising.
“You don’t get to turn this around and make me the bad guy. I will ask again, who is she?”
“Nobody, just a friend from high school.”
I erupted at this point and a lot of expletives ensued. Had it been a different situation, I would have laughed my head off. It became utterly clear that he was cheating on me. He had the gall to hide it behind the guise of the girl being a high school friend. He went to an all-boys high school!
It took a while for the truth to come out and it all boiled down to the three words that almost destroyed us: “high school sweetheart”. It’s that sweet innocent love that has been idealized by many. I knew I was in for a fight. It’s hard to go against the person he shared a long history with. It was someone who he’ll always feel nostalgic about and think of in the best light. Not to mention that she was actually hot.
According to statistics from Brandon Gaille, “People who break up with their high school sweetheart and marry someone else are more likely to have an affair with their sweetheart if they are able to reconnect”
So, I went straight to the point. I asked if he loved her and if he wanted to break up. I wanted to know before I invest another minute in the relationship. Even worse, I needed to know that this won’t be an issue when we’re already in the middle of preparing for our married life.
It turns out he really needed to know what’s out there before committing to me. Only to me. For the rest of his life. I believed him.
He tried to make it up to me in the following months. Flowers. Chocolates. The works. He also started asking me to go with him to his hometown every time he goes -- sometimes I go with him, sometimes I don’t. He gave me full access to his phone to read any messages there, to show me I can trust him again.
The truth is, I still couldn’t watch a high school sweetheart movie that doesn’t make me cringe. I know all too well from experience that when people reconnect with their high school sweetheart (as they tend to do in today’s social media world), there’s always that possibility that he or she would cheat. It doesn’t necessarily have to mean the end of your relationship. It is entirely up to you if you could look past it. It took years before I could fully trust my man again, but it happened.