7 Important Things I’ve Learned From Being With A Chronic Cheater

Finding out I’d been cheated on was bad enough; discovering that he betrayed me on multiple occasions and with multiple women made me feel like I was being buried alive. I’ll never have the right words for the humiliation and agony I have suffered after I found out what he’d done, but it did end up making me an all-around better and wiser woman after I learned these important lessons:

  1. It’s not my fault. Too many women beat themselves up after being cheated on by their partners. I was one of them, but over time, I realized it was never about me — it was about what a heartless jerk he was and probably still is (thankfully we’re not still together so I don’t have to find out). Sure, I had flaws and made mistakes in the relationship, but that doesn’t mean that he can just make a fool out of me repeatedly.
  2. It’s not about being perfect. I’ll never be perfect(at least according to this world’s standards), but even “perfect” women get betrayed and screwed over by guys. It doesn’t matter how amazing I am — his decision to cheat was about him. It’s not really up to me to stop a guy from cheating.
  3. It’s okay not to forgive him right away. Healing is a process that’s different for all of us — what takes six months for one person may take a year or more for another. For me, it took years to finally be able to heal and feel as though I could put myself out there again. There’s nothing wrong with that — I don’t owe anyone anything. If there’s one person I owe forgiveness and love, it’s myself.
  4. Waiting around to see if he’ll change isn’t worth it. I strongly believed in the saying, “Once a cheater, always a cheater,” but because I was so blinded by my feelings for him, I tried waiting to see it if he’ll really “change for the better.” He never did, obviously, and I wasted a lot of time and caused myself even more heartbreak than necessary.
  5. Just because I forgave him doesn’t make it right. I didn’t want to forgive him before because I thought that meant that what he did would be forgiven and forgotten (and that’s the last thing I wanted to happen). However, I realized that hating on him made me lose more of myself and I didn’t want that. So as undeserving as he was of my forgiveness, I released all the grudges I had and it was the best decision I’ve made in my grown-up life. Still, forgiving him for breaking my heart didn’t change the fact that he’s a total jerk.
  6. Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. I’ve been a bitter and angry woman for the longest time because of my painful experiences, but once I figured out that forgiveness is something that I have to give him not because he deserves it but because I deserve to give myself the love he obviously failed to give me, I was able to let go of all the baggage and move on.
  7. Not everyone cheats. Just because I’ve been cheated on more times than I can remember doesn’t mean that I have the right to bash the opposite sex. This is absolutely going to ruin my dating game and would seriously keep me from having healthy relationships in the future. It took me some time to figure that out but now I know and firmly believe that a forever relationship is still possible despite the terrible relationships I’ve been in.
Maine Belonio is a twenty-something mom and writer who has a penchant for coffee, long distance running, Tolkien, Switchfoot, and Jesus. Find her broken, honest, and brave musings at mainebelonio.com.