I didn’t find out my boyfriend was cheating on me until my best friend told me. We broke up and I’m glad I found out about it, but I still wish she hadn’t been the one to tell me—here’s why.
It was embarrassing. There’s nothing more mortifying than learning new information about your sex life from someone who isn’t your partner, especially when that new information involves you being cheated on. No matter how kindly this news is broken to you, it will still be horrifying to realize that someone outside your relationship knows more about it than you do.
I was able to convince myself it was a mistake. Because I was hearing it from a third party, I was able to tell myself she was wrong and that he hadn’t actually cheated. It must just be a miscommunication, right? I was able to cling to my denial for far too long, and it made the painful process of dealing with the situation a lot more difficult.
I wish she’d gone to him first. If my friend had gone to my boyfriend first to tell him she knew he was cheating and he needed to tell me, I wouldn’t have felt like she was the one who was hurting me and I wouldn’t have been in denial about it.
I felt like I was being publicly humiliated. The fact that she knew about it before I did made it seem like public knowledge that I was the last to know. I became paranoid about everyone around me, thinking they all knew and were pitying me and not telling me they knew. I spent weeks hiding from everyone just so I wouldn’t have to see them feeling sorry for me.
It made confronting my boyfriend much more difficult. If I’d walked in on my boyfriend cheating on me or if he’d told me himself, I could’ve addressed the situation right away. But because I was so shocked and able to convince myself it couldn’t be true, I let it drag on and put off confronting him about it for days. When I finally did, I was such an emotional wreck I was hardly coherent.
He was able to play the victim card. Because I’d heard it from a “rumor,” my boyfriend was able to deny he’d cheated and say it was all a mistake and that my friend was just trying to break us up because she didn’t like him. It wasn’t until I confronted him with specific evidence that he owned up to it, but the fact that he denied it from the beginning hurt so much more than it would have if I’d found out any other way.
A part of me wishes I had never found out. Yes, in hindsight it was a relationship that needed to end. Anyone who cheats and lies about it isn’t fit to be anyone’s partner. But learning about it and going through the process of coming to terms with reality and confronting my boyfriend was so painful that sometimes I catch myself wishing I could’ve stayed in blissful ignorance instead.
If it had to happen, I wish I’d heard it from him first. I have no way of knowing if my boyfriend would have told me he’d cheated, but the fact that my friend told me first made it seem like he was planning on keeping it a secret forever. If he’d told me himself, I could have considered forgiving him, but because I had to hear it from someone else, I felt even more betrayed and had to break up with him.
It made our friendship awkward. It took me a long time to regain closeness with my friend after she told me about my boyfriend’s cheating. Somehow I felt betrayed by her too, simply because she was the bearer of bad news. I felt uncomfortable that she knew so much about my personal life that I didn’t know, and for a little while, it felt like I’d lost my boyfriend and my best friend in the same day.
It brought her into the middle of our breakup. Our breakup was predictably nasty and my friend got dragged into it. My boyfriend blamed her for my decision to end the relationship and she ended up getting hurt by everything that had happened just like I did. I felt guilty for what she went through when she had only been trying to be a good friend, and it took a while for us to fix our relationship.
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