I was married to a man for 20 years. We were happy. I guess. At least at first we were. But there was more than one point at which I strongly suspected he was cheating. The all-nighter with his best friend that one night he dumped over a thousand dollars at a strip club. The bill from a local hotel on the credit card statement he tried to hide from me. The texting with other women, shortly before the end of our marriage. Certainly I was upset about each instance. But, looking back, it was more of a casual annoyed kind of upset. I was never jealous of him.

I was actually a bit smug about my lack of jealousy. Proud of myself. Look at me, I’m an enlightened woman! I looked down on people who struggled with it – surely jealousy was nothing but insecurity. A sign of something wrong in your own life. And if he cheated on you, you must have driven him to it.

And then karma knocked me on my ass.

The irony was that I caused it myself. Chatting with a guy on Fetlife, of all places. Ignoring how I knew my Sir felt about Fetlife. Making a coffee date. Oblivious to how that came across. I was just being friendly, wasn’t I? But who else besides me would think that a girl from Fetlife wanted to have coffee with them just to be friends?

I was still blind to how he must have felt. Taken completely by surprise when he broke it off.

Continuing my path of destruction, I hacked into his OKCupid account. Where I got my comeuppance. Reading his chat with her. Numbness and shock at first. The world ceased to exist, except for the roaring of the blood pounding in my head. And then it hit – an actual physical pain, like I’d been stabbed in the gut. Doubled over in the chair, trying to breathe.

And now I understood. How he must have felt watching me fool around on Fetlife. How someone must feel when they watch someone else take the person they love. I wasn’t suicidal, but the pain was so deep, so intense, that I did get why someone kills themselves or their lover after a breakup.

I expected it to fade. But it didn’t, really. I said I was over him. Not hardly. Not a day went by when I didn’t think about him, driving myself crazy thinking about the things he used to do with me, that he was doing with her now.

So it’s funny the way things turn out. It was my hacking into his OKCupid account that caused my own agony. But it was the same act that taught me a much needed lesson in humility, in empathy, in understanding the pain I had caused. It was a lesson I needed to learn. And ultimately, it was what brought me back to him.

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