The first month living with The Ex Fiance was, at best, strained.

We fought about everything: what furniture to buy, where to place said furniture, what we were going to eat for dinner. He started staying later at work; I started going out with friends more.

One day, I came home and saw him on Chatroulette – and, let’s be honest, we all know why people go on that site. He clicked out of it immediately, then nervously told me how someone at work told him about it, and he wanted to see what it’s about. Sure, Jan.

We grew further and further apart, all while sleeping inches away from each other.

One night, we were supposed to meet up at a party, but I got stuck late at work.
He was unresponsive to my texts asking how late he was going to stay and if I should still come, and when he finally answered me I’d just gotten back to our apartment, and the answer was “IDK.” I felt lonely.

While scrolling mindlessly through Facebook, waiting for him to get back from the party, I got a message from someone we’d met the week before at a club. It was just a simple “Hello, it was great to meet you and your boyfriend, you’re such a cute couple.” We kept talking, and I could tell from his little comments that he was attracted to me – and yes, I liked it. I liked the attention. I liked someone telling me that I was attractive.

I got out my new pair of underwear, black mesh briefs, put them on, and took a photo from my belly-button down, flaccid. He responded that I was beautiful, and that my boyfriend was lucky. That was the extent of our interaction; we said goodnight, and I went to bed.

The next day, while at work, I got a text from The Ex Fiance. “I think we can agree that sending sexy photos to other people isn’t something we want the other doing, right?” My heart stopped. I had no idea how he would have found out, unless he knew both my computer password and my Facebook password. I also didn’t think the photo was especially scandalous—but, yes, I knew that he’d be upset if he knew I sent it.

Maybe I wanted him to be upset. Maybe I wanted him to feel any part of what I was feeling – that I’d made a mistake. I text him back “Agreed,” knowing that he didn’t trust me anymore.

Why do I always end up back here? I asked myself. Why do I keep going back to someone who doesn’t value me, who doesn’t want to spend time with me, who doesn’t think I’m the most amazing person in the world? Shouldn’t a boyfriend think that? Am I the one with unrealistic expectations?

When I went home that night, he was already in bed, pretending to be asleep. I got in bed next to him, closed my eyes, and we both pretended that everything was fine.