I am not one hundred percent certain my ex cheated on me, but I am pretty damn confident he was capable of it. With all the evidence laid out on social media, the move to her neighborhood, the meeting of the families, the weddings, the vacations, and the rapid escalation of a relationship within months… how could I not question the potential of an overlap? The only answer I could think of for him moving on so quickly from ending our half a decade together was infidelity.
I began my shameful scramble of looking for answers by doing what women do best when we’re determined: social media stalking. I was looking for answers anywhere I could (even in the most irrational places that went beyond Instagram and Facebook). I stalked Venmo, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and even Poshmark. I went into a social spiral until I finally asked myself…What exactly am I looking for? And why?
I realized that while I was looking for answers to his lies, I had been lying to myself about why I needed them. I was looking for evidence of betrayal so I could have permission to feel betrayed. The way I felt infidelity was like a thousand daggers repeatedly stabbing my gut. Those thousand daggers repeatedly stabbed at my intuition until I was ready to wake up to reality. A thousand daggers repeatedly stabbed at my reality until I accepted the pain that came with betrayal.
I eventually stopped digging for answers because I knew what I truly needed was to honor my pain. Whether he cheated on me or not, moving on so quickly to another woman from a life we built together over many years hurt like hell. So I honored that suffering. Seeing that he brought her to a wedding where she met his entire family made me feel humiliated. So I honored that shame. Seeing him cook her vegan Pad Thai for her birthday, learning how to use a vegetable spiralizer when he didn’t know how to use a toothbrush made me furious. So I honored that rage.
Sometimes, when we can’t validate our own stomach-churning emotions we seek external validation in the most ridiculous ways just to feel around the pain. I promise you that feeling your pain, as dark and twisted it may be, is the only way out of that pain. What comes after is a place of acceptance.
Even in a place of acceptance, we may never get all the answers, the closure, or the ending we were hoping for. But that doesn’t mean you are not allowed to feel your betrayal, your pain, or your heartbreak.
I give you full permission to feel all of it, every single excruciating ounce of it.
I know you can get through it. I know you can learn from it. And I know you can grow from it, with more self-compassion, self-worth, and self-love. I know you can reach the peace you deserve. I may not be there yet, but I know I will be soon. Have faith that you will too.
Honor your pain.