Everyone I have ever known in my life has morally, ethically, spiritually, physically, positively, absolutely and undeniably cheated on their partner or has experienced being cheated on themselves.

Let that sink in for a moment. Everyone I know has known dishonesty in some way, shape or form.

That’s 33 years’ worth of traumatised humans who have had their still-beating hearts ripped out from their chests like something resembling a Mortal Kombat fatality, all because the person they thought truly loved and adored them was, in fact, a complete and utter cheating jackass.

Illustration by Shane Luskie

Whether it be friends, acquaintances, work colleagues, the person whose shoulder I brushed past in 1992 when I was ten years old, a faraway family relative that I didn’t even know existed; everyone within radius of me has either cheated on their significant other or has experienced the loneliness and sorrow of infidelity.

So with that mind-boggling realisation etched into my mind, how the fuck am I supposed to open up and ever trust anyone when cheating is occurring all around me like an Ebola virus outbreak? How can I possibly even consider opening up my already obsessively anxious, suspicious and mistrustful heart to someone, knowing full well that statistically speaking, most people are two-timing, deceitful, lying imbeciles with no conscience or essence of a soul?

My friends easily full into this bracket, most of them being world class professional cheaters with stern poker faces. The most distrustful, false, dishonest and two-faced people you will ever have the misfortune of encountering down a dark alleyway on a Saturday night. I also associate myself with these kinds of monstrous abominations, and deludedly have actually found myself turning to them for love and relationship advice in my desperate hour of need and reassurance.

With friends like these who needs Isis terrorists? No wonder I am a radicalised dater and slightly mentally deranged, whilst also suffering from paranoid dating schizophrenia if this is the kind of company I keep.   

Being in such close proximity of these primitive barbarians, I have heard countless tales of adultery and infidelity as they confide in me their fables of fornication. One such occasion was when a close friend, who had cheated on his adoring and clearly unassuming boyfriend for the entirety of their relationship, actually committed an act of unfaithfulness a mere one hour before his partner was due to meet him for the weekend at his house.

It gets worse when the cheating boyfriend actually became a cheating girl, meeting countless supposedly heterosexual men for sexual liaisons dressed in the best Primark stockings and suspenders a national minimum wage can buy. After his / her sexual escapade the cheating girlfriend transformed back into the cheating boyfriend, stuffed their eBay brunette wig shipped from China in the back of the closet and lovingly met the boyfriend at the front door as if they had not had a cucumber inserted into their anus during a sexually perverted fisting session a mere one hour before.

“The thought of being cheated on absolutely petrifies me and leaves me a shivering nervous wreck when entering new relationship territory.”

How they ever managed to walk unsuspiciously in front of their boyfriend I will never know.

Hearing about such sleazy encounters left me absolutely flabbergasted but not shocked or surprised at stories like this had become the norm for me. Though I couldn’t quite believe how casual and carefree the concept of cheating was to some people, it sent shivers down my spine that someone could one day actually treat me with such disrespect and disregard.

“I love my girlfriend, but I’m a man and I have sexual needs. To me, it’s just sex but I love my girlfriend more than anything’’ was the brief yet blunt response I got from a friend who had cheated on his girlfriend throughout their relationship with a number of willing participants.

One of those willing participants included a six 6’3” transvestite. Yes, I was the middle guy caught in between a sex-obsessed unsavoury tranny and an apparently straight guy who clearly had some kind of sexual dependency disorder and commitment issues, not to mention a suffering and totally unaware long-term girlfriend. If this was love then love is clearly fucked up and I don’t want anything to do with it.

So how do the cheating exploits of other people affect me personally? Simple. Since I am associated with these low-life fraudsters, I know all the tricks of the cheating game. Every little sign and suspicion, I know how to identify it. Hell, I know you’re going to cheat even before you’ve thought of doing it. Fortune tellers read tarot cards to look into the future, I read into everything. Call it an intuition I’ve developed from a young age. My association with cheating first began with my comfortably numb fetus wrapped up in the womb. My mum was a teenager when she gave birth to me, yet during the pregnancy, my unwilling and irresponsible dad cheated on her with another woman. Even as a sperm cell, I have known cheating and people still question why I am overly paranoid?

As a result, a demonic half-sister was born into the world. She too inherited our shared father’s inability to keep their private parts in their underwear and as a result, caused unnecessary hurt and pain to loved ones in her wake of catastrophic disaster and prostitution. Thankfully I quickly discovered that penises belong in pants and shouldn’t be exchanged for money; I guess that’s the conservative in me. I only met my half-sister on a few occasions. We are now estranged.

“How do you know that friend? Why did you like that photo on Instagram? Who is that person who commented on your photo on your Facebook in 2012?”

I’ve been in relationships and dated numerous people and have discovered upon intense investigation those apparent partners browsing dating apps, checking out other homo sapiens and generally just being dodgy individuals. So the thought of being cheated on absolutely petrifies me and leaves me a shivering nervous wreck when entering new relationship territory. I always assume that I am not good enough and I devalue my worth as a result. I question why anyone would even want to be with me and assume they are shagging behind my back, or the very least talking to other people when I am not around and watching over their every move like a vulture. It terrifies me that I could invest so much time, intense feelings and emotions into someone, only to find out that my partner never truly cared, loved or appreciated me. Knowing that I was never good enough for them, knowing that our entire relationship was merely just a smokescreen for their infidelity.

I don’t want to be hurt, I don’t want to be broken-hearted. I just want to be loved and adored, and most importantly to not be cheated on. I mean, is that too much to ask?

Cheating is as simple as a swipe to the right with your thumb thanks to the current Dating App Generation we live in. From Tinder to Grindr, it’s so easy to meet any old disreputable character within a few miles that you could be fucking an anonymous and convenient hole in less than a few minutes. All while your loving significant other is at home picking away in the kitchen like a slave on a cotton plantation. It’s a petrifying realisation how you think you know someone yet you really don’t know them at all. Thanks to this realisation that not everyone is who or what they seem, I have become the person that I never wanted to become. Always on edge and expecting the worse, never able to fully let myself go and enjoy the escapism of love because that feeling of love is too good to be true. So I ask questions, I question absolutely everything.

How do you know that friend? Why did you like that photo on Instagram? Who is that person who commented on your photo on your Facebook in 2012? It’s exhausting and mentally draining being so aware of everything around you, it’s like my spider sense is triggering all the time as I look into every move and situation with microscopic precision. I have become that suspicious, distrustful, doubtful, insecure, anxious, possessive, clingy and jealous person who your parents warned you to stay away from. I am a catfish away from being outside your house in the early hours of the morning because there is only 1 tick on the 30 messages I sent you on WhatsApp.  

But I would rather be overly vigilant and attentive then trust you fully and let you cheat on me.

In a society where partners, boyfriends and girlfriends are obviously being cheated on left right and centre, I don’t want to become that person who is stupidly oblivious to all the tell-tale signs.

Borrowing an interpretation from a Rihanna song, I don’t want to be a victim of a no good cheating murderer.

Michael Lee

@MangledMichael