Yesterday night. 8:39 PM. Reading on my phone, a Gmail notification pops up. I click on it…
“Hey Angela. Happy New Year. I thought you might use another guest post. Feel free to publish it. Anonymously.”
Since I learned about what happened, my friend and I haven’t talked. Yet. I find it difficult to have a conversation about the topic. I guess she writes (guest posts for this blog) as a way of communicating.
I think she needs help also. But I don’t know how I can help her. Or what help to offer. Giving out advice at this time may not help at all. And I don’t have the words to make things better. I can’t say anything to take away her pain. I don’t know when things are going to get better. In the meantime, the one thing I can do to help is to publish her e-mail. Anonymously as she asked.
And if you’re in the same place right now, this post is for you. You’re stronger than you know. Keep trying to get through it. One day you’ll be on the other side of the pain and things will be better again.
It’s been 5 or 6 months since my 2-year boyfriend cheated on me.
I’m still deeply pained… Fresh like it was yesterday. As much as it pains me, I haven’t talked to anyone about this. I want to talk to someone, but I don’t know what’s stopping me. Even when such kind of conversations come up…I find it hard to open up. I know they would be concerned. I feel that love and it reminds me that I’m cared for and not worthless.
From the beginning, my girlfriends knew something was wrong. It was like their femme sense went off the second the heartbreaking text showed up in my text box – like it was a female radar, from miles away. They could even tell by just taking a look at me…I lost weight, I didn’t talk as much as I did…I told them it was stress from school and work.
Being cheated on is the worst thing ever. I didn’t know how to digest the pain. It’s funny how when heartbroken, all you want to do is talk. Talk, talk, and then talk some more. But sometimes the timing is not right. First of all, talking while melancholic is already difficult to begin with. Sometimes someone will be talking about something intense when you’ll feel the urge to cry. Of course you’ll try to suppress it, but that just makes you want to cry more. You weeping uncontrollably while your friend is talking about their wedding preparations, will leave your friend dismayed and will probably freak them out. So, you’ll just sit there and listen, smiling to avoid crying.
And when you finally get the courage to tell them, your girlfriends see you in a whole new compassionate way that will possibly make you cry. They will probably put their hands on your shoulder, or will probably hug you telling you, “You didn’t deserve this”, “Everything will be fine”, ” You’ll get over this” blablaaa…and tears will come out. You’ll be sitting there crying so hard you can’t breathe, thinking, “Oh God, please make me stop crying. I feel like such a baby!”
People should never say such things. Not because it’s not true, but because it really, really doesn’t help. We know it’s true that no one deserves to be cheated on. No woman deserves to cry. But saying that to me in the early stages of the healing process, doesn’t help. It’s hard to believe in the midst of heartache and pain.
And that’s the reason why I’m not yet ready to talk about this to anyone. And presently, I feel like my sanity is deserting me. Therefore, I need to let it out before I lose my mind. I mean, really, really let it out. So to take the pressure off myself, I write it out. I write in the hope that I’ll be able to find a way to release the anger and pain. Writing is a refuge. It’s something I can turn to, that never lets me down. And music.
To begin, I wrote several letters to him (letters that will never be delivered), telling him all the things that I was feeling…pain, anger, grief, you name it. The first letters were full of anger and were horrible. Really. Horrible. I put every angry thought I had in them. And amazingly, after a while, things started improving. The letters slowly turned into loving and forgiving letters.
After he told me the bad news (which he did through a text by the way), I felt an explosion of emotion that was unlike anything I’ve ever felt. There was just so much of it. I had a lot to say, to him. Lots of questions. I was literally boiling with words. I needed to talk to him. I was driven mad by the pain that I would have said hurtful and damaging things to him. Things I would now be wishing to take back. Thanks to him, I didn’t because we never had any discussion. Besides, it’s not easy for me to communicate in person when I’m sad.
Rather, I put it in the letters. It was like talking to him, telling him all the things I wanted to tell him in person, telling him how mad I was at him…
While writing the letters, I ugly-cried those kind of tears that come from somewhere inside you that you didn’t even know existed. The letters helped to alleviate the pain.
Ever since then I’ve embarked on the journey of letting go of the pain. Letting go is much easier than holding onto bitterness and anger. I always tell myself that because it’s SO painful, I have to let it go. I then started forgiving and experiencing relief. Forgiving means accepting what happened, honoring the pain, and putting it away. Do I still feel pain? Yes. But I got to escape from the negative effects that come with anger and hurt. I could have behaved something like an obsessive mad woman running around doing every crazy thing I could think of to win my boyfriend’s affections back (as if it was all up to me!) and that could have only worsened the situation. I could have literally turned the world upside down to win him back…but that’s for him to do. Never did I think of devising a plan of revenge towards the other chick. Harassing her, threatening her, name-calling, criticizing or belittling her would only put me on the wrong side. Besides I don’t blame her, I blame my man. I’m very glad that the anger didn’t drive me to confront her. And I won’t because now I get to enjoy each day with complete freedom from guilt, blame and fear.
Before the incident, I was living in a fairytale. The boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl live happily ever after. But then reality slapped me in the face and opened my eyes. After learning about my boyfriend’s disloyalty, I remained numb and in shock for weeks. Shock and disbelief were the first feeling. Then denial. I hadn’t expected him to cheat. Slowly I realized that I wasn’t dreaming. I felt intense anger and pain. I sometimes still can’t believe he did it. Though I may not admit to people, but there were moments when I blamed myself for my boyfriend’s cheating. I asked myself what I’d done wrong, what I didn’t do that I was supposed to do, what was wrong with me, what if I’d did this or said that…my mind constantly played the only-ifs and what-ifs. One of the reasons I blamed myself was that I compared myself to the other chick. The self-doubt set in and it felt like darts stabbing me in the eyes. I assumed she was more beautiful, more affectionate, adorable, I imagined how happy she was…but I could never know how she really feels. Maybe she’s struggling with a disability. Maybe she’s coping with family problems. I never know. I don’t assume anything now, because it’s a waste of time.
I overanalyzed the situation, only to drain myself out. Then I realized that I had nothing to do with his cheating. I know that there is nothing wrong with me. I know that I’m enough. I know that his choices had nothing to do with me. I am not responsible for what he did.
He knows that I love him with every single bit of my being. I tried to be understanding, as much as I could. People do make mistakes. No one is perfect. He made a big mistake but I thought that we would recover from it. Maybe. I offered him a second chance. I was focused on getting everything back on track. Why? Because I valued our relationship more than anything. That’s why I wanted him back. And I love him, despite his terrible mistake. I didn’t care how complicated it would get, I still wanted him. I sometimes lost it but I did a lot to try to keep my temper in check. I wanted us to fix our relationship but I feel he doesn’t. And I can’t make everything right (alone), when he’s got one foot outside the door. I don’t understand his line of thinking. But I don’t blame him. I have to accept my heart knows what it wants while his is unsure. I don’t try to make sense out of nonsense anymore.
Keeping up with my routine was one of the hardest thing to do after what happened. I felt like locking myself in my room and watching movies for the next few months. It seemed impossible to return to my day-to-day life…studying, work, helping out at home. I turned to the internet. I spent hours reading articles about infidelities, trying to understand WHY he cheated. The internet is oversaturated with stories of people who have suffered exactly the same and reading such stories was remedial because I no longer felt alone. It gave me hope that I too could survive the heartbreak. And somewhere, deep within me, I managed to find the courage to believe that things would be better again. I believed that life would not forsake me. I manage to carry on my daily routine. Doing all the work took my mind off of the hole in my chest and I would spend all day without thinking about it. I began leaving the past behind and finding contentment in the present.
I read somewhere that the real breakthrough happens when you’re able to change your emotional response from seeing yourself as a victim, to seeing yourself as a survivor. I’m a survivor. This has surely broken me but I survived. And it’s time to embrace being the kind of woman I am. Who has a hopeful attitude. Who is spending time working on herself and maturing. Who asks God to help her to be a better version of the person that she actually is. Sometimes in life it feels as though things are so bad, that even God can’t do anything or say anything to help. Those are the very times, when if you do go to Him, miracles take place and indeed He does carry you, when you cannot carry yourself.
The bible constantly says over and over again to trust God, He’s already got it all figured out.
For what he did, I didn’t I try to get even. The thought never even crossed my mind. To some people getting even may make them feel better in the moment, but it is not the solution to permanent healing or relationship improvement. Cheating on him to get even would bring me nothing, but more pain. And regrets. I wouldn’t want to live a life with regrets. Besides, his choices don’t dictate my actions. His cheating doesn’t mean I should cheat too. I always say that if you wouldn’t want someone to do it to you, you shouldn’t do it to them. Pretty simple! That’s the rule I live by. Going through this experience, I would never cheat on him (or anyone) even though he cheated on me. The pain is excruciating. It’s something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. Not even him.
Some may even feel tempted to do things to change the outcome. You may think you can win his heart if you just slightly change who and how you are, or maybe act or dress like more attractively, or perhaps somehow can make them jealous, or whatever other sh*t you might think of. But none of that sh*t works. It only shows how you’re willing to go to absurd lengths to be with him. Which implies you don’t believe it will happen, so you’re willing to do dumb sh*t to control the outcome. Rather, you end up looking desperate.
To this day, I’m still not entirely sure why he cheated. What I do know, however, is how it felt. I had invested so much of myself into the relationship that it felt like the end of me. One can never truly understand, until it happens to them. You know when someone’s everything you’ve ever wanted in a partner, and you would do just about anything to remain in the relationship with them for as long as possible (if not forever). You think you can overcome any obstacle. You believe love conquers all. But then you learn the unthinkable. It’s a wave of confusion and pain. The future you’d treasured has gone up in smoke before your eyes. You thought he loved you. You thought he appreciated you for who you are. You know how amazing he is, but he doesn’t know how amazing you are. You thought he knew but he doesn’t. You think that if he knew, he would be surprised at what he found.
I felt helpless. But I certainly don’t want to live my life with the label “brokenhearted” on my forehead. There are opportunities for me in these miserable, painful, difficult untraveled roads of life that I’m journeying now. I am in this, I can and will make it through this. I can either choose to come out bitter or come out better. I choose better. And stronger. Stronger and better.
What comforts me is the saying that this too shall pass. Indeed, it shall pass. Nothing in life lasts forever, whether positive or negative, even if it sometimes feels as if it will.