I ask Zoe if she deleted anything while I was gone, and she promises she hasn’t and states again that that’s all behind her. I ask her if she’s ready, but she’s not yet, so we spend the next few hours trying to figure out how we’re going to make this work out. At one point she sobs desperately that she doesn’t know how long she can be in a relationship where her partner doesn’t trust her, and I tell her she’s demanding trust again. She sobs harder and tells me how terrible it feels that I don’t trust her anymore, that she really ISN’T that person she was before, that she really IS the person I fell in love with now. That she couldn’t even dream of acting like she had back then, and that she wishes I could just SEE that. She calms down and says she’s tired, and would like to wait until morning to do this.
For the next four hours I lie awake next to the woman I love – or someone who I thought was the woman I loved, but who has yet to provide a reasonable explanation for what she’s done to me. Who even after all of these revelations, I still can’t help but trust.
The dissonance gets to me, and I tell her it’s time. She stalls for a while, then begrudgingly grabs her laptop — and then stops. She starts to cry and tells me she doesn’t think she can be in this relationship at all if the trust has gotten so bad that we need to do this. I tell her if she really feels that way, then it’s her decision, and I get up to get my stuff. She backtracks quickly and logs into Facebook.
Before turning to the messages, I ask her to show me which of her friends she‘s given permission to view her relationship status (which she only just changed a few days ago). I’m disappointed to find she only set it to viewable for 50 people or so. Conspicuously missing from this list are any of the people she had cheated on me with. She gives a tame reason for the discrepancy, which is likely untrue, but even so, a minor enough lie that it isn’t worth losing her over. She hands me the laptop to look through her inbox.
I run a search for “love”, then a few other keyphrases. The results are all pretty innocuous. I open up the messages between her and Robin.
But the chat is empty.
“You deleted your message history with Robin.”
“Oh yeah, no I only ever talk to him through text too.”
I sit quietly for a moment, then get up and grab my bag “. . . I’m sorry. I can’t keep doing this.”
“What the hell? I told you I only talk to him over text, here, look!” She holds out her phone.
“Zoe, you promised you would take this seriously, and you promised you wouldn’t delete anything, but you’re not taking it seriously, because you did delete things, and you’re still lying.”
“What do you want from me? You’ve convinced yourself I’m lying and there’s no way to prove I’m not.”
I think for a bit. “Fine, put your phone on speaker, and call Robin and ask him to read out the last facebook messages he sent you.”
“Okay, let me just text him to see if he’s up.”
“No, if you text him first that will let you — what the hell am I doing, I already know you’re lying. I can’t do this, I need to go.” I head for the door.
“Oh wait no! I just remembered! I deleted his messages two weeks ago because he sent me something private!”
Oh god why won’t she stop? “No you didn’t. I can’t believe you’re still doing this.”
“What the hell! I’m not lying — how am I supposed to fix this if you won’t even believe me when I’m telling the truth?”
“We can worry about that when you start doing it.”
“Fine, whatever, if you don’t even believe me about this then it’s over anyway”
I leave the hotel, and ten minutes later, as I’m walking through the Tenderloin trying to find the library from the day before, Zoe messages me:
Act 3 TL;DR:Act 3 TL;DR:Act 3 TL;DR:Act 3 TL;DR:Act 3 TL;DR:
Zoe deleted the messages she promised she wouldn’t. She did a terrible job at hiding it, and it’s entirely plausible this is because too much of a few conversations were incriminating, and she had to delete them in full. She lies and backtracks about it multiple times, until I finally leave.
She texts me a few minutes later to admit she deleted the messages when I left for 6 hours the day before. She tells me she thinks she has a problem with lying compulsively. She tells me she wants to get therapy. And (likely because the previous night I had expressed concern about so many people looking up to her) she tells me that for some reason she doesn’t understand, the behavior is only directed toward me.
This kills me, because I’ve seen her lying multiple times in multiple settings, and up until then stupidly thought I was the exception.