She was one of my best friends; he was the man I was supposed to spend my life with. They weren’t supposed to be climbing into bed together. The day I found out, I sat in shock, not sure whether to be angry or cry. I did both. I’m not sure how many days passed, but eventually I stopped crying and started the process of getting back on my feet. Here’s how I did it:
- I realized it really wasn’t my fault. My biggest hurdle was guilt. I can honestly say I didn’t see it coming. It’s true I had an odd feeling of something isn’t right, but I trusted my relationship and I trusted in the power of friendship. I kicked myself for a long time for not trusting my instincts, but I eventually realized I had nothing to feel guilty about. I had done nothing wrong, and I would be damned if I was going to own someone else’s crap. It wasn’t my job to feel sorry for them or help them carry their burden. It was my job to be fabulous and blind that bitch with my shine because no amount of betrayal can compete with that.
- I screamed it out. Yes, literally. I had to let it out so it wouldn’t stayed pent up inside of me. I think I said the word “f*ck” more times in that period than I’ve ever said it in my life. I always kept a filter going in the background, though. It’s one thing to find a safe circle to vent to, but obviously my 3-year-old niece didn’t need to know the gritty details.
- What didn’t kill me literally made me stronger. There comes a point when you have to stop and remind yourself that you have a relationship sitting on the side that needs dealing with. I had two options: fix it or ditch it. Whichever I choose needed to be the right thing for me — not my ex-friend or my boyfriend. I eventually decided it was worth fixing, and I don’t regret that decision at all.
- I stopped listening to what everyone else said about it. I heard every single theory on why a leopard never changes their spots and I was told about a billion times that in a few months or years, I would be facing the same situation again. It’s now four years later and I know that’s BS. There’s always a way to beat the odds.
- I refused to believe my boyfriend’s BS excuses. There’s only one reason people cheat: they wanted to. My boyfriend didn’t “accidentally” fall into bed with my friend or have sex with her in his sleep. He wanted to sleep with her despite how much he knew it would hurt me, so he did. There’s nothing I could have done to prevent it, but that doesn’t mean I let him off lightly.
- I refused to react out of anger. This is probably the hardest part of the process. Should I sink to her level and tell everybody within a 100km radius that I personally know the whore of Babylon? Do I bang on her door ’til she’s game enough to stand in front of me and then punch her lights out? Do I call her mom? Or do I honor myself and stand in what you know to be the truth by taking the high road? (Hint: I went with the latter.)
- I decided the best revenge would be to live my best life. It’s cliched, but the best revenge is to be happy and live well. Oh sure, slashing her tires or hiding rotten shrimp shells in her car sounded satisfying (and I had driven halfway there before I made myself turn around), but I convinced myself to take a step back and think. I had to figure out whether my passionate dislike of the other woman was worth losing myself and my happiness over. I chose me.