This is a post I struggled to write. It felt almost too personal, like airing I’m airing dirty laundry, however I have done nothing wrong, so why should I feel ashamed to share what I went through…
After talking to some of my girlfriends who are in similar situations, I realized that this is a post that will resonate with so many others and hopefully be a helpful resource because break ups are tough, but when you add infidelity, it adds another layer of trauma that you need to overcome.
I will be honest, although I did put together a post on forgiveness, there are still days that I get a wave of anger or sadness even. I sometimes wonder what used to occupy the space in my mind before I experienced heartbreak. We had a daily routine and he was my best friend that I shared everything with and protected, so it is only natural to have the constant reminder of inside jokes, or experiences together, or get caught up in the highlights of the relationship rather focusing on all the lowlights.
I have never been one to police my boyfriends, I have always thought that if I feel the need to question them than it is probably not a relationship that I should be in. When I first learned about the infidelity in my relationship, I went crazy because I felt like I had done everything right, I had fully trusted him, I let him do whatever he wanted and I was never controlling and this is how he decided to repay me. It was tough. He made a million excuses, which was very hard for me. It took hours of me justifying his actions in therapy to come to terms with the fact there is never an excuse for cheating and that there is nothing I could of done to single handedly save our relationship.
You have an agreement when you are in a committed relationship, once you let someone else in, you have voided that agreement.
Its Not Your Fault
I think most people do this, but I replayed every decisions that I had made. I thought about all the things I could of done differently to make sure my ex didn’t stray. I took extreme ownership of the fact that my ex was okay with cheating on me. It is only natural to second guess yourself.
It really is not my fault and every person who has ever been a victim of cheating needs to hear this. I could be the most beautiful, charismatic, intelligent person in the world and my ex would of still cheated on me. If he felt there were issues in our relationship, we could of talked about them, we could of worked on them, we could of decided to call it quits. There is never an excuse for cheating.
The Other Women Hasn’t Won
My initial reaction was to contact the other women and let her know that not only was I the one who initiated our break up, but we had overlapped, however the other women knew I existed and was okay with it. I had a really hard time with this, since I consider myself to be a girl’s girl and I would never be ‘the other woman’. This woman’s values didn’t align with mine at all.
At first I felt like she won, she would be the stand in for the life I had created with my ex-partner but my girlfriends/therapy really helped me see through this. She is not exempt from this happening to her. The day will come, maybe not this year or next year or the next four years but history is going to repeat itself. The early days of my relationship, my ex had showered me with attention and been just as infatuated with me as he probably is with her right now, but her time will come. No healthy relationship can be a product of infidelity.
My parents really helped me to see this as a blessing, he showed me his true colours. He was selfish, with no respect for me or our relationship. I can wish that I had walked away sooner but I can’t go back in time so I just have to accept that it was a lesson that I needed to learn and move on.
Things Will Get Better
I remember the exact moment I found out. I remember I couldn’t eat, I felt so sick to my stomach and I felt like everything my ex had ever told me was a lie. I remember him telling me he was going to work on himself, and that he didn’t want to do the things he used to do to me anymore. That he wanted to be better. It was all bulls*t. It was so effortless to him to lie to me directly to my face.
What has really helped me is how accepting people are, I may have gotten a little crazy but with breakups, you get a Crazytown Hall Pass. Finding a friend to confide in and to just listen to me vent and be supportive and understanding and gentle has been instrumental in pushing past my experience.
Reading has been a good outlet for me, almost like a form of self-care. I really want to understand my emotions and work through them, so I don’t continue to make the same mistakes and let the wrong people into my life again.
Acceptance was a hard one for me. It took a while to feel real. Every time I would go on a bad date, it made me angry at my ex. I would just think about the bond we had and how comfortable our relationship was, and how I wasted my evening smiling and nodding with Mr.Not Right For Me. Dating is supposed to be exciting and fun, so I just need to be lighthearted with it and collect my dating stories for my next girls night. They aren’t all going to be winners, but it’s important to keep putting yourself out there and know that there is someone better out there for you.
Building Real Relationships
Talking about my experience has brought me closer to so many people. When I share a major hurt in my life, there is always someone who can relate to it, or have a similar hardship; I now have this yearning for only authentic relationships and I shy away from surface conversations. The connections in my life are more meaningful and fulfilling now.
I had a hard time understanding someone that would be capable of cheating, it just seemed so foreign to me, and since I didn’t understand it I took a lot of ownership. It wasn’t until I read some articles on infidelity, that it really helped me have a clearer line of sight into cheating, and how it had more to do with what was going on with him not me. These are the articles that I thought were very helpful for me to have a greater understanding.