I'd had a long day; fresh from a family funeral in Connecticut, I was back in Manhattan. I'd been helping a friend pack, waiting for my boyfriend of six weeks to get home so I could sleep at his place. Finally, we were in his apartment and did what we normally did: have frantic, hot, wonderful sex. Then he fell asleep.
I had work to do so I went quietly into the living room. I was having trouble getting online with my laptop, so I logged into my email account using his. At least, I tried to. When I went to gmail.com, his inbox popped up.
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This is not my proudest moment. I started reading. Snooping, if you will. His inbox yielded nothing, but I was still curious. I wanted to see what, if anything, he was telling his friends about me. I wanted to get some clue as to whether or not I was a long-term prospect because I was smitten—already dreaming of having his babies.
I don't know what I expected to find, but it certainly wasn’t the numerous "Massage in fifteen minutes?" messages sent from him to random Craigslist addresses. My first thought wasn’t shock so much as rationalization. I thought maybe he really was getting massages; regular people do that. I couldn't equate the man I knew with the person whose hidden side I was getting a peek at.
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I kept going, and my stomach dropped as I realized that "massage" was simply Internet parlance for sex. All the time we'd been together, when he'd refused to use condoms—until I finally went on the Pill—he'd been hiring, or trying to hire, hookers. I could tell at least one of his attempts had been successful; a woman emailed back to say that he'd left a piece of jewelry behind with her. Another response, from an escort site which I promptly visited, made the imagery all too real.
And I had just told him I loved him. In a card, but still, I wanted him to know. “You have my heart," I wrote inside an image of that bloody, messy, complex organ. It was early, but things seemed to be moving along quickly—for me, anyway. So he knew how I felt about him and was somehow compelled to do this anyway. It didn’t make any sense. Was he a sex addict, I wondered. Did he even care about me at all?