“I’d always been thankful that my friend, Shannon*, got along well with Eric*, my boyfriend of three years. As Shannon was single, the three of us hung out together quite a lot and even holidayed overseas together. Eric didn’t mind Shannon being around because he understood that she was like a sister to me. Little did I imagine, then, that they would betray me by getting together behind my back.
Shannon’s “new man”
One evening, Shannon told me that she was having problems with a guy that she’d just started dating. I was surprised because I had no clue that she was seeing anyone. I invited her out for a drink that night so that I could find out more.
I learnt that Shannon and her man had only been together a few weeks. She refused to tell me his name or how they met; only revealing that they had been friends for a while. I thought it was odd that Shannon didn’t want to divulge more about her new boyfriend, but I respected her privacy and tried not to probe too much.
According to her, this guy was in love with her and wanted to commit to her, but couldn’t because he was in a relationship with someone else and didn’t know how to break up with his girlfriend. When I expressed my disapproval about Shannon dating someone else’s man, she was quick to point out that her boyfriend wasn’t satisfied in his relationship anyway. As lame as that excuse was, I tried to be supportive of my friend because I wanted her to be happy.
A touchy subject
Over the next few weeks, Shannon would come to me for advice about her guy and I would counsel her as best I could. I could see how much she loved him, and besides, she told me that the guy was close to breaking up with the other woman. I honestly had hope that things would work out for her in the end and urged her to hang in there. ‘He must not love his girlfriend if he’s considering breaking up with her to be with you, so if you really love him then just wait till he’s ready’, I told her.
I wanted Eric’s opinion about Shannon’s relationship, but every time I raised the subject he would look uncomfortable and talk about something else. I put his reaction down to not wanting to get involved in Shannon’s personal problems.
Around this time, I also began to notice that Eric was never available whenever I invited him out to meet Shannon and me. In fact, whenever I told him that I was going to be with her, he would look annoyed and tell me that I was spending way too much time with her. I thought that was an odd thing to say, coming from him, but didn’t think anything of it. I also noticed that Eric and I had grown emotionally apart, but put this down to the fact that he was stressed at work.
A shocking discovery
One afternoon, I was going through Eric’s clothes that he had left at my place over the previous months. I decided to launder and return them to him. As I was emptying the pockets, a couple of written notes slipped out so I picked them up and read them. Almost immediately, I felt like someone had punched me in the gut. The notes were love letters – from Shannon!
I fell to the floor, shocked and confused. From the notes, I gathered that Eric and Shannon were in love with each other and planning to be together. Shannon had also expressed guilt about lying to me and betraying me.
My confusion gave way to anger. How could the two most important people in my life do this to me? I knew I had to cut ties with them, but first, I wanted answers.
The truth comes out
I got Shannon and Eric to meet me the next day for coffee. Eric came up with a million excuses as to why he couldn’t join us, but it was only when I told him that I had something important to share with them that he agreed to come out. Shannon kept pressing me to tell her what I wanted so urgently to say, but I told her that I would open up more the next day.
Finally, the time came to confront my friend and my boyfriend. Sitting in the cafe, I pulled the handwritten notes out of my bag and placed them on the table. Almost at once, Shannon’s face turned white and Eric looked panicked. ‘You know what these are’, I said calmly, ‘so do you want to tell me what’s going on?’.
It was clear that I’d caught them both by surprise. All Shannon could say was sorry, and Eric said that he had been waiting for the right time to tell me the truth. ‘I’m really sorry you had to find out this way’, he said sheepishly, ‘but I don’t think it’s going to work out between you and me’.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. As much as I wanted to cry, I told myself to keep my feelings under wraps. When I asked them how they could betray me like that, neither of them could give me an answer. ‘You’re both pathetic’, I said in disgust, ‘Shannon, I can’t believe you did this behind my back, after all the talks we had about your relationship – you were seeing Eric the whole time!’. And with that, I tore up their love notes and threw the shreds of paper at them before walking out of the cafe, my eyes filled with tears.
‘Sorry’ isn’t good enough
Over the next couple of days Eric pretty much stayed away from me, but Shannon messaged me incessantly, offering her apologies and wanting to know if there was a way we could be friends again. How could she think that I’d even want to look at her after what happened? I simply ignored her messages.
It’s been almost a year since the confrontation. I’m no longer in touch with Shannon or Eric, and I heard from a mutual friend that, after a few months of dating, Shannon broke up with Eric because she couldn’t live with the guilt of what she’d done to me. I couldn’t help but snicker when I heard the news.
It took me a while to get over the pain of what happened, and these days, I’m less trustful of people. I’ve decided that the next time I’m in a relationship, I’m going to make sure that none of my female friends ever gets close to my guy, and I’m also going to keep tabs on my boyfriend to make sure he isn’t cheating on me behind my back. I know that being paranoid is no way to live, but I don’t think I could handle the same thing happening to me again.”
*Names have been changed