My boyfriend and I have been together for almost two years, and for most of that time, we were a happy, connected, and peaceful couple. People like hanging around us. Our respective families have embraced our bond and each other. We are best friends and enjoy each other’s company immensely. We speak about marriage, not as an “if” but as a “when.” From the outside, we looked perfect, and from the inside, it looked about the same until a few months ago.

We both were dealing with some serious personal and professional issues. My sister was going through a nasty divorce, and he was continuing to cope with the loss of his mother, who passed just six months into our relationship. His career began to thrive as mine hit a major halt. A number of his friends relocated, making his circle in our city very small.

As my stress levels increased, my libido decreased — before, finally, disappearing altogether. Sex lost all appeal for me, and while I still enjoyed cuddling and kissing, I didn’t want to make love. After forcing myself to a few times, I explained to him how I was feeling, and we stopped having sex all together. All the while I was attempting to research ways to bring the fire back into my loins. As I took on the burden of work to pay my bills — which I hated — I maintained my inability to be sexual, hence he found himself often isolated and alone.

You know where this is going.

I started checking his phone, which was an old, bad habit from the early stages of our relationship; back then, a pesky ex was poking around trying to come back, and he actually allowed me to read their correspondence (during which he kindly — and then very firmly — told her he was over her and had moved on). My “Spidey” senses were tingling this time around, and sure enough, there was a new friend, Sarah, who had began texting him in a moderately flirty way that was not befitting of a man with a partner.

I didn’t immediately hop up and inquire about Sarah but, instead, waited a few days to see if there was concrete evidence of line-stepping. I peeped that she had just moved here and had requested “strong man muscles” to help her. He told her he was busy — good sign. A day later, she texted him when arriving at a party, where he was (bad sign), and then to let him know she had gotten home safely … alone — good sign. But when she remarked about the number of men who’d hit on her he replied, “you know why.” That’s a bad sign, and my God, who had I become, agonizing over these damn texts? She shot back, “Well, you were a gentleman,” to which he replied, “That I am. A gentleman and a scholar.”

What kind of Casablanca bullshit was this? Isn’t the only appropriate response, “That’s because I have a girlfriend, and you knew that already, and these are innocent text messages between a spoken-for-man and a platonic friend.” Am I right? Right. So now I had a reason to ask about her. I then had to think of the best way to fess up about reading his phone without being too out-of-pocket with my accusations because I really didn’t have much evidence yet.

“Who the FUCK is Sarah?”

Ever the classy dame, I kept it simple, and I did not offer a bunch of explanations as to why I was in his phone because, really, who the fuck was Sarah? He said she was a friend of a friend, who’d just moved here. She’d hung out with his crew (this was on one of the many nights I toiled at my evening job and missed out on any fun), and that was it. I asked him if he liked her because it seemed like she liked him. He said, “no,” and he didn’t find her attractive and nothing inappropriate had transpired.

I didn’t need Maury’s “lie detector” to find that to be untrue.

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