My Ex Proposed To Me Then Cheated On Me — WTF?

I used to worry in relationships that the guy I was dating might stray — God, don’t we all at some point? It’s not that I was incapable of trusting men, just that I know how tempting it can be for some guys to step out on their partners. Unfortunately, my most recent ex turned that vague paranoia into a real life nightmare. I thought we were pretty solid, especially after he proposed to me… but then he cheated on me pretty much immediately after we got engaged. WTF?

  1. It got too real for a faker. All I can think is that we were in such a serious relationship that it made things real — perhaps too real for the loser. It’s not an excuse or good enough reason for him to cheat on me, but it just goes to show that sometimes during the best moments, the worst thing ever is just around the corner. Lesson learned.
  2. By locking me down, he could have his fun. The other woman didn’t just appear out of nowhere — they’d been working together for a while. That means he knew her and was obviously attracted to her while we were dating and before he proposed to me. Perhaps he thought by being engaged to me, he had more security in our relationship — you know, a soft spot to fall if things with his other woman didn’t work out. What a coward.
  3. His big move concealed a big secret. I think that this guy wanted to make a big move in our relationship by getting engaged out of guilt for what he was doing behind my back. You know, it’s like when cheating men buy flowers, only multiplied by a hundred. He could also show me how much he loved me even though he didn’t in reality. Sadly, I believed that if he was engaged to me, he really did have feelings. Turns out, a ring means nothing
  4. I feared commitment for a long time (thanks, jerk). After this relationship, I really battled to commit in relationships. I’d feel anxious and worried that the guy I was with would do the same thing to me. Only, what if it was worse? What if we got married and then he cheated? Or after a baby? God, it was crazy! I became really scared and pushed two guys away who were serious about me because my trust was thrown for a loop.
  5. He ended up marrying the other woman. What’s worse than a guy cheating on you when you’re engaged to him? Him ending up married to the other woman. Ugh, this was really tough to deal with. It’s not that I wanted to marry him — hell, I didn’t want anything to do with him ever again — but it hurt because it made me wonder if perhaps I hadn’t been enough for him and he had to go look for someone else. It felt like I’d been the mistake and she’d been the right decision.
  6. My self-esteem took a dive. For many months after our relationship, I felt like I was worthless. I heard that the other woman was older and had gorgeous blue eyes, so I felt like I was too young and my eyes weren’t beautiful like hers. It’s ridiculous, but I was comparing myself to her and feeling like I was always falling short. Bye, confidence.
  7. He taught me something important. Although he had wrecked my trust and confidence, I did learn something valuable from that cheating jerk: there are no guarantees in life and relationships. Anything can happen, and I have to be on my guard to look out for myself instead of thinking that someone has my back.
  8. There’d been signs that he was a cheat, but I’d overlooked them. During our relationship, there were a few things that had just felt “off” to me, but I tried to ignore them, thinking I was just being paranoid — like when this woman started working for him and he had to go into work on weekends out of the blue. Another example is how he’d have to help her with things, whether it was a ride to work or letting her use his car. She started to appear in little ways in his life all the time. It disturbed me at the time, and I should have realized that he was slowly replacing me with her. Now, I know to pay attention to the signs and be much wiser about them instead of turning a blind eye.
  9. He should have been man enough to end things. After a while of feeling like crap about what had happened, I realized that he should have been a grown man and ended things with me. There’s no excuse for cheating. If he was unhappy with me, he should have ended our relationship like a decent human being, not started cheating behind my back because it hurt more than he could have imagined.
  10. Karma is a bitch. Thanks to social media, I discovered that after about a year, he and the other woman got divorced. Ha, serves the loser right. He’s married again, by the way. I don’t think this idiot will ever really commit to anyone, but I’m lucky things ended before we headed to the altar because I dodged a huge bullet.
  11. I fine-tuned what I wanted in a future partner. He didn’t have a clue about who he was. He wasn’t just a cheat, but a guy who was all over the place. He was the first to talk about being honorable and honest, but also the first to run out and be a lying jerk. This experience taught me the importance of dating a man who means what he says and knows what he wants out of life. If he’s all over the show, then he’s just going to bring drama to my life.
  12. I had to trust again. My trust muscles were weak and not working at all. After this guy did such a nasty number on me, I realized that I had to try to work on trusting men again. Even though there are lots of jerks out there, I knew that I couldn’t put them all in the same box. Just because I’d been hurt by one guy didn’t mean I’d opened the door to others. I had to trust people if I wanted to have happiness again. The thing that finally helped me give people a chance was that there was no way in hell I was going to allow that loser to ruin another minute of my life.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.