I Actually Blamed Myself For My Ex’s Cheating — Here’s Why I Shouldn’t Have

When my ex confessed to having cheated on me, I was crushed. How could he have betrayed me like that? However, it wasn’t long before I stopped questioning him and started blaming myself for his actions. In hindsight, I realize how ridiculous that was.

  1. He made a choice. No one drove him to cheat on me with his co-worker. No one held a gun to his head and forced him to sleep with her. He made that choice by himself. No matter what was going on in our relationship, he was the one who made his own decision.
  2. I could have been the best girlfriend and that wouldn’t have changed things. The same thing still wouldn’t have happened. I thought that I hadn’t been funny/smart/interesting/pretty enough, which I now know is total BS. Even the most amazing, successful, and supermodel-type women get cheated on. It’s not about them.
  3. I was giving him a convenient excuse. What I didn’t realize at the time when I was blaming myself for why my boyfriend cheated on me was that I was making it so easy for him to get away with it. I was handing him an excuse for his own actions on a silver platter. He didn’t deserve such good treatment.
  4. He chose to walk away from the relationship. For me, cheating is a get out of the relationship card, sort of like an eject button. When my ex confessed to cheating but then said he wanted to fix our relationship, it was totally ridiculous but I gave him a chance because I blamed myself. SMH. The thing is, cheating isn’t going to fix a relationship. It just makes any problems that were already there 10 times worse.
  5. I felt bad for expecting certain things. Looking back, it seems nuts that I felt guilty or ashamed for expecting my partner to be loyal and trustworthy. This was linked to how I didn’t feel worthy of love (more on that later). When my ex confessed to having betrayed me, I felt like this is what the consequence was of not choosing someone who was loyal and decent. But again, that’s not something I should put on myself!
  6. I didn’t deserve to be cheated on. One of the big reasons I thought I was to blame was that I didn’t feel I was worthy enough to have a loyal partner. That’s sad. By realizing that I deserved to have that type of person in my life, it was a game-changer. It made me realize that I was a person of value who didn’t deserve being treated so badly.
  7. With cheaters like this, there’ll always be some excuse. It takes a real person to step up after cheating and say, “It was all my fault and you didn’t deserve it.” For cheaters like my ex, they will always find a way to blame other people for their mistakes. I wish I hadn’t fallen for his crap.
  8. I bought into his lies. “I was so stressed out at work,” “I was lost,” “I needed someone to give me attention.” These are some of the things my ex told me to excuse his behavior. What a load of crap! These excuses weren’t even half-decent but I tried to believe them. I thought that since he was keen to make things work after his disloyalty, that was the most important thing. Whatever. The fact that I accepted his lies further showed me that I was keen to sit with the blame. I thought, “If I had helped him find himself/not be so stressed/given him more attention, he wouldn’t have cheated.” BS!
  9. I suffered from a savior complex. At the heart of my thoughts that I was to blame for my ex cheating on me was the belief that I could make someone be better and fix their mistakes. If I was perfect, I could make someone stay with me. This is faulty thinking that would never have worked, so I was doomed from the start. After that experience with my ex, I realized the last thing I want to do is try to fix anyone. That’s their problem to deal with. Not my circus, not my monkeys!
  10. Even if it had been my fault, it still wasn’t my fault. Right, so that might sound a little nuts and like it doesn’t make sense, but what I’m getting at is that I realized that even if I had been such a bad girlfriend who made my BF miserable, it still wouldn’t have been my fault if he decided to step out on me. If someone treats you badly, that doesn’t mean you have to treat them worse or be a jerk about it – you can still choose to end things and walk away. We’re all in control of our choices, but not other people’s decisions. Bottom line: his choice wasn’t my fate. Hell no!
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.