What Being Cheated On Taught Me About Love

Image for post
Illustration by Anna Parini

The day I found out that I was cheated on felt like a punch in the gut.

I still remember sitting on the corner of the bed, trembling as I read through the steamy conversation on my ex’s phone. At that instant, I could think of nothing but feel the weight of self-doubts pressing down on me.

I wouldn’t lie and say it didn’t hurt because it significantly undermined the confidence in myself and our relationship.

Even after we got past the incident, there was never a moment that went by without me having trust issues. It was exhausting to live each day with anxiety, overthinking that I wasn’t good enough for him to stay in our relationship.

Even after we’ve parted ways, it took me three years to fully heal from the wound of being cheated on.

Yet, today, if you asked me whether or not I regretted anything, I didn’t because ironically, my greatest trauma was also the best love advice I’ll ever receive.

I’ve never harboured any resentment towards my ex, and I certainly don’t blame him for what happened because we were young and hey, shit happens. We just need to learn how to deal with it.

You Can’t Force Someone to Love You

I’m incredibly loyal to whomever I love. I’d show affection for my partner in every major and subtle way.

Hell, I’d even travel the distance if I could only spend a day with my partner over the weekends. If I got into an argument with my other half, I’d be more than willing to compromise than let my ego inflate and worsen the situation.

However, those traits weren’t adequate. I learned the hard way that trying to be good enough for your partner doesn’t keep them, and you definitely can’t expect them to love you the way you want them to.

Being cheated on made me realise that a relationship isn’t the perfect composition of Mr and Mrs Right. Instead, Love is a choice, and loving someone is a commitment.

You can do anything in your power to sustain your relationship. Still, if the other person doesn’t reciprocate the same efforts as you do, it won’t matter — the relationship is bound to crumble one day.

Learning to Love Myself Better

The days that followed after I was being cheated on, I spent the time ruminating about our relationship and it led me to an epiphany.

It is this: It wasn’t only the relationship that I needed to pour all my love and attention to; it was me who also needed the love I’ve been giving away.

I used to be hell-bent on prioritising my partner’s needs that I neglected my own. I was willing to let my boundaries — red flags I know I wouldn’t put up with— be crossed. Over time, I lost a huge part of who I am because his world became mine.

From then on, I decided to stay true to myself by engaging in what I call “Project Rediscovery”.

I indulged in my favourite hobbies, spent more with friends whom I’ve not contacted for a long time, listed down my relationship deal breakers, and said “yes” to experiences that forced me out of my comfort zone.

Like a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces slowly fell into place and formed a clearer picture of who I am.

Learning to love myself better made me realised that being in a relationship is about two people with very different lives coming together to share joy.

The Only Closure You Need Comes From You

It’s tempting to overthink and let your mind wander in self-sabotaging thoughts. I admit it was addictive to make up scenarios in my head, justifying that I wasn’t good enough, but what good does it do? Nothing.

A closure was something I needed to find before letting this chapter close because “There’s a reason for everything”. Still, even after all the explanations that my ex gave me, I wasn’t ready to move on from that trauma.

In the end, the reason that helped me overcome the wound of being cheated on was the closure that came from within.

The first was to accept it happened — it was history, there’s nothing I could do to change it.

Letting go was the second reason — like every quarrel between a couple, it passes. So, this too shall pass.

The third reason was to move forward than staying stuck in something that no longer benefits us.

Just like that, I got over the incident and ever since then, giving myself the closure has become my mantra. If things didn’t work out between my future partner and I, I’ll accept it and move on.

Your life doesn’t stop when a person stops loving you; it stops when you give yourself the reason to.

Closing Thoughts

Writing about this made me nostalgic. It didn’t bring up any ill feelings or whatsoever.

I’m grateful to love and be loved, and with all great relationships, they’re bound to hit a roadblock at times. It’s up to both parties to make amends and get through tough times together as a team.

Maybe you’re thinking, “But it’s cheating we’re talking about, that’s something that can’t be worked out.” Well, yes, there’s nothing wrong with that.

However, I think everyone deserves a second chance. If the relationship still didn’t work out, then you know you’re better off finding someone more compatible with you.

Regardless, wear your heart on your sleeve and love courageously — you and your partner, that is.

Thank you for reading!

Freelance writer. I write about business and life. | Email: charlenee98@gmail.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store