I had reason to believe something odd was happening. My girlfriend of nearly three years had started hanging around with a new guy friend and messaging him a lot. A little too much. When she went on nights out she stayed at his house, instead of with a number of the girl friends she had, or even me. We lived together.
The problem with this whole situation was that I genuinely didn’t believe she was capable of doing anything wrong. She had been cheated on herself years before and had sworn that she’d never subject anyone to it, despite knowing that her ex had professed to having his ‘reasons’ – she’d said all reasons aside, it’s the worst thing you can do. She was right, it is the worst thing you can do, but that didn’t stop her. [Read: Once A Cheat, Always A Cheat? 10 Signs They’re Cheating On You]
Turns out she’d been cheating. Not once, not twice, not some ‘accidental drunken kiss’ (not that that’s an excuse), but knowingly, multiple times over a period of time. And sometimes in our shared home. In our bed.
The deceit was actually harder to deal with than the cheating: She cheated a few hours after telling me how much she loved me and reassuring me that I had nothing to worry about with the boy whose house she was about to stay at. The same guy she asked me to befriend and invited in to my home. I had my concerns, because it doesn’t take Sherlock to suss out when there is interest between two people. Despite this, she branded me manipulative and controlling when I messaged her to make sure she was safe, and all along she was with him, whilst I sat at home trying to convince myself that I was just being paranoid.
Men get such a bad reputation for cheating, but women can be equally as bad. She didn’t tell me straight out, she continued lying to my face when I asked her if anything was going on. After a while of probing, she gave in, she told me. [Read: When Is A Mistake Unforgivable?]
All I felt was a huge, heavy, cold weight of disappointment. I felt sick, confused, deflated and let down. Irritatingly, that disappointment quickly turned to desperation because, despite the bombshell, I did want it to work and was going to try anything I could to salvage the mess. She got upset about it all, and because I have always put her happiness first, I tried to make her feel better.
She continued to lift and drop my hopes for up to a week afterwards because I wanted things to work, and she made me believe at times that it would. She told me that she needed time to think and decide, and I said it was only fair that she didn’t speak to me or him in that time – to make it fair. In that time, she met up with him and confessed to kissing him. She changed her story so many times, I didn’t know what to believe. [Read: 5 Red Flags You’re Dating A Habitual Liar]
After it happened, she told me that she wasn’t sure if she loved me because she had feelings for him. She told me that she’d never fallen for someone as quickly, and that made me feel sick to my stomach. It took me a while to realise I was fighting a losing battle. I wish I had the courage to just walk away. If you really love someone, can you physically bring yourself to cheat? [Read: How To Handle Being Cheated On]
I was also asked to not tell anyone what had happened, to not embarrass her. Because her embarrassment evidently outweighed my embarrassment of sharing her and being taken for an idiot for weeks. Originally, I agreed, I wouldn’t tell. But it slowly ate at me – I couldn’t talk to anyone about what happened, I felt so angry, alone and hurt and had no one to express it to. A few friends were the first to know, and I even felt bad for confessing, but talking about it turned out to be the best thing: it was cathartic and my friends made me feel, for the first time, like it wasn’t my fault.
Maybe I was naive, but my life was centred around her. Working is second nature to me, it’s my home life that I live for. She was my home and now she’s stripped me of home, taking my ability to trust, self-confidence, and the scraps of my heart with her. My trust for future relationships has been shattered. I don’t know whether she’ll stick with this other guy or not, and part of me still hopes she won’t – but all I can say is, ‘what goes around, comes around’. [Read: How To Handle Seeing Your Ex With Someone New]
To anyone who finds themselves in the same situation
Don’t be taken for a fool. You think that you need them, that without them you have no purpose in life. But, if they can cheat on you, and lie to your face about it, are they really the type of person you want to entrust with your happiness? With your soul?
There will be the odd couple who have gone through a cheating incident and lived happily ever after, because they are the exception to the rule. The fact of the matter is, the cheating happened for a reason. Do not blame yourself. Don’t waste time on trying to work out why, or finding reasons that you may have caused this. Instead, focus on your future and the better life you can create.
You will find someone again. There’s not just one person for everyone in the world, it’s about creating the most perfect yet imperfect balance of personalities, traits and feelings. You’ll find love again, and you’ll be thankful for the cheating in a strange way, because it not only showed you that the relationship wasn’t meant to be, but because it shows you that you deserve only the best.
This post was written by an anonymous contributor. Edited by Eve.