I know it seems strange to thank someone for cheating on you. I think that when something like that happens to you and you are actually in love with the person, it hurts. And when I say hurts, it’s like a velociraptor swooping down and pulling your heart out of your chest while you’re still conscious. It’s like being submerged unwillingly in water, hoping that someone will pull you back up for air; and at the same time hoping someone will push you deeper, so that you can’t breathe at all.
I remember the day I found out that my boyfriend of over two years had been cheating on me for our entire relationship. First, I was in shock. There’s a million things running through your head and you’re trying to figure out exactly where you went wrong. You’re trying to figure out how you didn’t see the signs, and then you realize the signs were there all along and you chose to tell those voices to just hush and crawl into the back of your head because he would never do that to you.
Then, you get mad. You are furious. How could he do something like that to me? What did I do wrong? Maybe I’m not pretty enough. Maybe I’m not skinny enough. Maybe I don’t do enough for him.
And then you’re sad. You try drinking yourself into oblivion, only to find out that you’re even more depressed the next day. Your friends are telling you that you need to move on because this guy was an asshole anyways. But all you can think about is how much it hurts and how you’re never going to possibly move past this.
But here’s the thing I have realized over the past seven months since I found out my whole relationship with my ex was a sham: it has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them.
I remember him telling me he just needed an ego boost, and that he was so in love with me and he felt horrible and he would never do it again. Yada yada yada, you know – the same thing everyone says when they’ve been caught cheating. And that’s why I didn’t buy it. I didn’t believe his story one bit.
So I broke up with him. And then I found the six or seven other girls that he had been messaging on social media.
Girls, you all know that guy who messages you on social media and you know for a fact he has a girlfriend because his Facebook page has “In a Relationship” plastered all over it? Yeah, I dated that guy. Apparently that’s who my ex was. One of those guys.
I lost it. Totally lost it. I couldn’t do it anymore. Couldn’t be around him, couldn’t talk with him, couldn’t stand to look at him knowing that he had lied directly to my face for two years.
But after a few months of feeling like this was going to last forever, something changed and I found myself again.
After beating myself up, trying to drink myself into oblivion, and four straight months of crying every day – sometimes multiple time a day – talking to friends and family trying to figure out what my next step was going to be, I finally started to get better. I remember going to bed one night and writing in my journal “And there are some days that feel like your heart will never heal again and never be whole. Like it’s just too much to bear. You will get better though. Your heart will heal and you will find strength and solace once again. You’ve been broken before and will hopefully never be broken again. It will be okay. One day you’ll wake up and you will feel whole again.”
And it’s true. Somehow in the back of my mind I knew that it didn’t work out for a reason, and there was a better man somewhere in my future. I didn’t want to touch a relationship with a 1,000 foot pole at the time, but I still knew love was possible, and I would never let my next relationship be a lie.
So, to the guy who cheated on me: thank you for letting me go. Thank you for cheating on me and showing me how strong I actually am. Thank you for putting me down and telling me that my music and my art sucked. Thank you for acting like a man child and showing me that I was capable of handling the workload of two people. Thank you for being the worst kind of boyfriend and showing me exactly what type of man I never want to date again in my life. I try to think of everything that happens in my life as a lesson of things to do and things not to do. I think that shitty people get put into your life to show you exactly who you are, what you are capable of, and what you deserve. Be strong enough to know when to walk away and decide what your own worth is. Not the worth that someone else tells you.