In all honesty, I didn’t think that being cheated on by the love of my life messed me up that much, and this was actually one thing that I was so happy about and proud of. Yes, it did break my heart. And yes, I spent so many days crying on the bathroom floor. Yet it didn’t make me lose my hope in love or develop the kind of mindset that made me believe that everyone cheats at some point during a relationship. However, what I realized is that it did actually mess me up in other ways I wasn’t even aware of.
I realized that I started becoming too damn protective. I began putting up walls around me. Whenever there was any kind of a potential relationship, I was too cautious and skeptical about it. I was entering it with too many fears, and I kept walking on eggshells while I was in it. I realized that I became too damn scared to expose myself again and let someone in, because what if what happened to me in my previous relationship happened again? Maybe then I would completely lose my hope in love for good.
I started being worried and stressed about the idea that one day I’d realize that the relationship I was in happened to be a lie too. I thought that these were just random thoughts that would visit me every now and then and that was it. But what I didn’t understand was that these thoughts were very real and that they were influencing a lot of the decisions I was making. I realized that I started backing off from any kind of relationship before even starting it because I was too damn scared.
I didn’t let myself be vulnerable or open or as expressive as I used to be because the idea of getting too involved became too hard for me to bear. I was acting out of defense all the time. I started ending things before even starting them to avoid getting hurt. I kept doing this over and over till I realized how much being cheated on actually affected me and how much it changed me.
I realized that I changed in so many ways. I didn’t trust people like I used to. I couldn’t just be or let my guard down. I was scared that the minute I did so, I would be in a state of weakness and that then I wouldn’t be able to pick myself up in case I relived something similar. I knew it was not fair to the person in front of me, but I couldn’t deny the traces that my previous experience left on me.
I tried to convince myself that I was the same as before, but I was not. And that was something I needed to accept in order for me to start working on who I had become. Because in the end, no matter how much “moving on” I did, I was never able to erase this experience from my mind — it was there, and it was always going to be there. So yes, maybe this experience didn’t make me lose my hope in love or completely lose my trust in people, but it did mess me up in other ways.
Being cheated on changes you, whether you like it or not. You don’t come out of it the same exact person. The thing is, you need to understand how it changed you. You need to figure out ways to overcome the negative thoughts that you’ve developed regarding relationships because of this experience. However, If you let yourself just keep denying its impact, then you are just allowing this to define you. And this is an awful thing to do to yourself, to let this one chapter of your life be who you are and let it influence who you become later on.