This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.
This story is written as an example to anyone who wants to believe that we are more than the patriarchy deems us to be, more than our limitations, and more than our fears.
29th September, 2020 – Berat, Albania
I receive a whatsapp message from Marianne.
“Hey, can I ask, have you and Gideon still been in contact?”
I look at her message and I wonder what’s going on. Gideon must have been lying to her.
In March, when one of my cats died, Marianne felt that I had to know so she called me to tell me and then she launched into a conversation I never asked for, starting with
“Woman to woman, are you REALLY okay? Your pictures make you look so happy, but are you REALLY okay? Woman to woman, I feel really bad for you. I keep asking Gideon if he wants to change his mind. I just feel like marriage is sacred. But you know, Gideon tells me that even without me, he would still leave you. That’s the only reason I’m still with him. ”
My cat had died and this woman was trying to see if I was recovering okay from my husband leaving me for her. My cat dying had nothing to do with her. My recovering and healing has nothing to do with her.
Me being in Boise with Gideon had nothing to do with her but she felt the need to spy on us, even asking Gideon to move the security camera into the house so she could watch us watch Netflix. She didn’t care about my feelings at all, so I never thought that I needed to care for hers. Since she didn’t respect me or my family but putting up all the photographs of them, I didn’t think she would mind if I finally told her the truth about her fiancee.
Who is she anyway? I don’t know her. I have nothing against her.
These thoughts were going through my mind while I decided if I should tell her the truth.
I make the decision to tell her the whole truth. Not because she deserves it. But because ‘woman to woman’, I wanted to do for her, what she never did for me. I wanted to let her know that she was with a compulsive liar, a narcissistic person. Not even a narcissistic lover – because as long as you remain a narcissist, you are incapable of truly loving someone else.
I felt for her, because I was in her position once.
“Let’s have a chat,” I tell Marianne.
“We’ve been fighting alot” she tells me.
“I’m honestly so tired of his lies. He keeps lying to me about things. He already knows he has to save money but he keeps spending money to buy starbucks drinks for his friends. Do you want him back? Just say the word and I’ll back off, I’ll return him to you”
In my mind I thought – who does this woman think she is? That she can just fling a person around and then give him back to me now that she’s sick of him? Instead, I realize that she’s on the same boat as I am. We’ve both been lied to. So instead of reacting to her words that definitely hurt me a lot inside, I decide to tell her the truth.
I tell her about our week in Mountain home together, how I helped him lie to her that we weren’t hanging out. I tell her that we’ve been having calls over the last 9 months and that Gideon was helping me with many questions I had. I tell her that it wasn’t her fault that our marriage broke apart, and that Gideon and I just had too many incompatibilities. I also tell her what happened in the hotel room – so that she would know he has already cheated on her. I wanted her to realize that him deciding to sleep with me wasn’t “an accident”. It was a decision that he made.
She thanked me for my honesty and before we hung up, she said – “This is really weird to ask, but when you come back to Singapore, do you think we could have a drink? I just feel like we could have been friends if not for the way we met.”
I knew how she felt, because I myself have made friends with 2 of Gideon’s exes before. They have remained my friends even after Gideon and I have parted. I knew what she felt – a kind of ‘sisterhood’.
I would only understand why I felt this way much later on.
During therapy, when my therapist said, “It will be common for you to feel like you want to reach out to his exes. Narcissists leave a trail of empaths behind. Because they typically hunt for the same type of women, women who exhibit similar traits and would experience the same kind of trauma during the relationship. This trauma is what makes them feel like they can relate with each other.”
Hours later, Marianne messages me again.
“He told me that you’re lying – do you have proof?”
I give her all I have and she grills him for the truth. He must have admitted his side of the story because she came back to thank me for my truth again. I said “No worries.”
From leaving each other in January till now, Gideon and I have still been in regular contact. So to stand up for her, I send him a message, feeling so much anger for both her and I.
For months now, he had been lying to us both. He would tell her lies about me and tell me lies about her.
He painted me as the sad ex who couldn’t move on and painted her as the insecure new flame. He used the word ‘psycho’ to describe her so many times. I can only imagine the word he used to describe me.
Through our conversation, I found out that he had told her we were already separated when they first met. He had told Marianne that he never loved me. That he only stayed with me in the marriage because he felt bad. He told her that he didn’t find me attractive and so didn’t sleep with me.
To me, he told me that he didn’t care about her. That he was only with her because he didn’t want to be emotionally alone. He told me that he wasn’t sure if he wanted to marry her because she was so psychotic. He blamed her for everything.
Yet, during our conversation she showed me proof that the security camera was his idea. Her extending her stay in Mountain home was his idea. That he had lied to her we weren’t still in contact. Additionally, she told me that he had cheated on me during his bachelor’s night.
Lie after lie after lie.
I couldn’t take it any longer, so I shot him a message.
“Stop lying to her. You’ve already messed up our marriage by constantly lying. Why don’t you just tell her the truth? Stop throwing other people under the bus and just own up to your mistakes. If she truly loves you, like I did – she would forgive you.”
My message bounces – he has blocked me. I check all the other apps – he has blocked me off everything.
I shoot him an email out of anger – Why do I deserve this treatment? You’re the one who’s been lying to her and now I get shunned out?
I didn’t know then, but this was my trigger. His actions towards me had triggered my wounds – wounds that were still so fresh.
Similarly, his actions towards her triggered her. Triggered her into then sending me so many messages full of personal attacks.
Attack after attack after attack.
At some point, I asked myself.
Why are we, two capable, strong, beautiful and amazing women – fighting over a coward like that??????
That day, I reminded myself not to react to her personal attacks. Because for the first time, I realized that her attacks, though meant to hurt me – were only evidence of her own pain. Her reactions to me, were because of her triggers.
They had nothing to do with me.