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Do guys even consider building a connection with a woman other than their girlfriend cheating?

My best friend called me yesterday to tell me that she found her boyfriend, who never called, texted or came home the night before, was at another woman’s apartment. She said she felt empty, immediately fallen into the nothingness that surrounds unfaithfulness. She added that it was like she’d been swallowed whole and was looking at her life from the vantage point of someone else: she wasn’t here, but she wasn’t there, either. She was suspended into the void.

Among the many things I asked her once she stopped talking a mile a minute was whether or not he cheated. Call me crazy, but I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. This girl — this stranger who had infiltrated my best friend’s relationship and stopped her world and mine in the throngs of its spinning — who was she? Why did she do it? She’s a friend, she told me, adding they’ve been friends for years. She concluded with, he leans on her, and just then, in that moment, my heart exploded. I no longer cared whether or not he’d cheated because in that moment, I knew that his emotional abandonment was unforgivable. He has sacrificed their connection to “lean” on another woman. Now I was empty too, a chill running up and down my spine.

What Guys Really Think … Of Emotional Cheating  was originally published on