By the time Katy and I moved out of our shared house and back with our parents things were as bad as they had ever been. Yet we were hanging in there with the hope that things could only get better. Who was I kidding, we were waiting it out, looking for the right moment to split for good.
It got to a point when I would talk with Michael and he’d comment on how desperately unhappy I was, often asking when I would break up with Katy. My answer was always the same “It’s not my turn.” I know this seems stupid but by this point on three separate occasions I had broken up with Katy and it never stuck, I knew that for us to break up once and for all she had to end it. I was too weak when it came to her, I hated to see her hurting and she knew it and used it against me, that’s why we gave it so many chances.
After we moved out we started seeing each other less, spending hardly any nights together. We’d go out with the guys regularly, often out in Bath at the gay bars. One evening Michael brought a colleague with us, a girl a year or two younger than us called Lara. She was young, single and gay and looking for more friends to hang out with. I was happy enough to be a new friend to her, yet with Katy’s roving eye I was wary and watchful.
I was right to be wary, all it took were two trips to the bathroom for them to swap numbers behind my back and for Katy to hit on Lara via text while I was sat at the same table as them. Nice. I didn’t find this out immediately but I knew something was up. Initially I discouraged any further contact with Lara, we didn’t need more drama and I didn’t feel comfortable with her around when Katy was acting out. She still felt like she had some score to settle from my open relationship.
We had a lot of friends out on the scene by this point, and I had gotten talking to Geri online before meeting her while out one evening, I introduced her to Katy and the rest of our friends. She introduced us to Amy her ex, and sometimes friend who she socialised with. I’m a chatty person so I enjoyed getting to know them both, these were the days of myspace, so there was a lot of communication. I don’t think I was flirty, just friendly.
I had to take a trip to London for a few days with work. All new employees have to attend a company induction, and although by this point I’d been working there for nearly seven months they sent me and a couple other colleagues to London. It was a pretty uneventful few days in London, the highlights were heading into Notting Hill on the last day with one of my colleagues and one evening after work I ended up in Soho.
I was relying on my memory to try and find the sex shop, Prowler. When we were here a few months before I had seen a really cool bag in the front of the shop that I wanted to buy. Yet it seemed the more I wandered around the more lost I seemed to get. Eventually I called the one person I knew would be able to tell me where to do, Ryan. I had completely forgotten that he was on the other side of the world at this point. I woke him up rather early in the morning since he was in Australia but he didn’t seem to mind.
I found the shop and bought my souvenir and was on my way. I remember the oddest thing about that day, the date was 06/06/06 and when I took the trip from the office to Oxford Street I had to get on the Underground during rush hour, a superstitious person never would have done that. I’m pretty sure my mum would have thought it irresponsible considering the events of the year before. Yet it’s not something that dawned on me until a few weeks later.
The time away gave me a few days away from the madness that had become Katy and my relationship, it did me some good. I decided that it wasn’t fair to be in the relationship with one eye on the exit just waiting for it to be over, it couldn’t hurt to give it one last shot. Since we’d moved out we were in a much healthier place.
I decided to put my trust in Katy again, that having a few more friends wouldn’t hurt. Shortly after getting back to Somerset Katy and I visited Michael at his work, I asked him if Lara was working. She was but was on her break at the time, I said to them both that I’d been a bit harsh before and it wouldn’t hurt to make friends with her if she wanted more gay friends to go out on the scene with. I scribbled down my number and asked Michael to give it to her. Nothing at all untoward about it, I was completely transparent in my intentions, all of this was done in the presence of Katy.
Lara and I quickly became good friends, we’d often stay up late chatting. I didn’t think anything of it. Sure I thought she was cute and I enjoyed spending time with her, I just never thought she looked at me any other way than just as a friend. I didn’t think it was a problem to spend time with her. Katy was naturally worried that I would find out about her having made a pass at Lara previously. I think Lara was too embarrassed to admit that to me.
Lara was actually already seeing someone else, perhaps a more accurate term would have been leading her on. When we’d meet up to chat it would usually be after a night out, we would all have been out together and Katy would go home as she’d have work early the next morning and I wouldn’t. That’s when I’d tell her I wasn’t tired and that I would meet Lara for a chat before heading home, she didn’t like it but my honesty was hard to argue with.
We’d talk about all sorts, previous relationships and experiences, any regrets that we had, confessions about the most awful things we had done. We were just getting to know each other really. I pointed out to her that if she really wasn’t interested in this girl she’d been seeing the right thing to do would be to tell her nothing would happen between them. However it seemed Lara liked to have a back-up plan, since no one else was in the picture she’d keep this poor girl hanging on just in case.
Michael would tease me often saying that I fancied Lara and that she liked me. He would often tell me to break up with Katy to go for it with Lara. I always replied with the standard “It’s not my turn” and “She’d never be interested in me.” After all I had once again committed to giving things another go with Katy, I couldn’t entertain anything more than friendship with anyone, I just wasn’t thinking that way. So Lara and I would just be friends, nothing more.
Meanwhile Katy had gotten a little frosty with me over all the time I was spending with Lara. It was odd to me, I had never lied to her about anything, I told her quite clearly every time we met up and what we talked about. I thought that was all there was to it, boy was I wrong. While I had been completely transparent she was not. I found that out when we were housesitting.
Katy’s aunty was away on holiday and we stayed a night or two there. In the middle of the night Katy’s phone was going off, it didn’t seem to stop and Katy wouldn’t wake up. So I went to shut the phone off thinking the only people that might be calling at this time would be Michael or Peter. It was neither of them, the number wasn’t saved on her phone, that was odd. I answered and whispered hello and nothing else. It didn’t take long for me to realise that the person on the other end of the phone was Beth, even worse was that when I had picked up she assumed I was Katy and asked if I was free to meet up for an hour or two. It was one in the morning, I thought clearly some sort of booty call.
I lost it again. Her lies were unacceptable. I was angry, I wanted answers. I woke Katy up in the worst way, I hit her round the head and threw her phone at her saying that her girlfriend was on the phone. Then I tried to leave. Katy wouldn’t let me, over and over again she attempted to explain to me that her and Beth were just friends, the same way that me and Lara were. That there was nothing between them now, Beth had moved on and was had a new girlfriend Gabby.
I felt so confused I didn’t know what to believe anymore. I hated being lied to and here she was again keeping stuff from me. I wondered if this Gabby knew that our girlfriends often met up in the middle of the night on the spur of the moment and if she’d be ok with that… I’d never interfere with their relationship, I didn’t have anything to do with either of them, ever.
Stupidly I went against my gut feeling which was that Katy simply could not be trusted, in the absence of any proof of her infidelity I chose to give her the benefit of the doubt. This had become a bit of a pattern for me, I’m generally too forgiving and too trusting, always willing to give someone another chance whether they truly deserve it or not. I figured out a long time ago that’s why I stayed in this relationship far longer than I should have.
I knew exactly why Katy stayed with me, there were two factors. Firstly I was her back-up plan and secondly the guilt. I knew that if any one of her affairs looked like it might have been something more seriously that eventually she would have left me, she was just too stupid not to get caught out each time. The guilt was what kept her in this relationship long after she should have left, every time we’d make up after a massive fight where I had lost my temper and lashed out physically, Katy would say that she deserved it when I hit and slapped her. I never agreed to this, all I asked it that she not lie to me in future, that I’ve rather hear the truth and be hurt than to find out she lied to me again. She never listened.