Somehow when you’ve been cheated on you end up feeling ashamed. Even though you did nothing wrong. You feel judged for doing such a horrible job in picking a partner. You feel guilty for making others look at your partner in a negative way. You feel fucking weak and stupid just for considering giving them another chance.
So it is no surprise that I struggled to tell anyone.
I went for hours before finally calling my best friend Mark. He dropped everything and came straight to my apartment with a box of double stuffed Oreos: a solution to girl troubles we started back in middle school.
He helped me make it through those first days.
Mark made me talk about it, he made me laugh and poked fun at me like the sarcastic assholes we both are. He forced me to eat and just listened to everything I had to say. He offered his thoughts (he has a unique perspective having cheated in an early college relationship himself) but told me only I could make the choice. He has known me both in and out of this relationship and just wants the best for me. He called me every day after work for the next week and even Facetimed me shitfaced from vacation because I was having a bad day.
It can be hard to open up to friends and easy to feel like you are a burden, but it is times like these that make me remember, that is exactly what friends are for. So fuck it, use them.
I eventually told my best female friend, Amanda. Amanda is the kind of friend who knows exactly what to say. She reminded me that I am not weak for wanting to stay. In her eyes, I was picking the harder choice and she respected how much strength that took. She reminded me that I did not deserve this. Paragraph texts were sent and she calmly responded and listened to everything I had even as I felt like I was being nonsensical and ridiculous.
But then my friend’s support slowly slipped from neutral to very clearly against me staying in the relationship. They continue to respect that it is my choice and will genuinely support whatever I decide, but their thoughts are clear.
And that sucks.
The people who care about me are telling me what they think I need to do, and even though there is a part of me that agrees and knows they are making sense, it is not what I want, and just not what I am going to do.
So I distanced myself. I became afraid to tell them anything. Every time I even hinted at wanting to end things, they would seem happy for me to finally make what they thought was the right decision. Anything my partner did that upset me I felt like I couldn’t share because it only reinforced what they thought about her.
This brings up the most difficult part of working past an affair. The only person I want to talk to, the only person I fully trust, and the only person who understands is the very person who hurt me. But can I really tell her “I hate you and think it might be best to break up” if I want to work through this with her? Probably not…
So I’m left alone. I try to talk to my friends when I need to get something off my chest, but I know every speed bump that comes my way is just another reason they think I should leave.
So I am fucking alone.