There is no balling of fists, but there is a never-ending stomach ache. There is a shortness of breath when you put lip balm on the lips that he has kissed, and a shiver when you push past the pink skirt in your drawer, the one you were wearing that night. Everything in the world is colored with your guilt, and there is no escaping it.
That’s not the worst part. The worst part is knowing that you don’t deserve sympathy. The person that was cheated on is showered with cards and nail polish and cookie dough from her friends, friends that were once yours as well, but now will turn on you with that terrifying mob mentality. Nothing is worse than a group of young women with a vendetta. They will laugh as you walk by, write slut on your car or your door or your locker. They will tell everyone what happened, effectively blacklisting you from any event with mutual friends. And there is nothing that you can do to stop it. No defense or excuse, because you know that what you did was horrible.
There is no one to share the guilt with. Pop culture tells us to blame the boy (thanks to Taylor Swift and Ke$ha) but that’s often not what happens in the real world. A lot of the time, the cheater is iced out, then welcomed back with open arms once he admits that he does wrong. The girl, though, is shamed for life. How could she go against girl code? How could she do this to a fellow woman? Does she have no self respect?
There is no sympathy, because you know you have done something terrible. There is grieving alone, there is crying to yourself, there is vowing that you will never do it again. There is avoiding their eyes on the street when you walk by them, hands and arms intertwined, laughing and reveling at their second chance as you cross to the other side of the street and duck your head. There is no sympathy, as it should be.