When we’re cheated on, it hurts. Cheating destroys the foundation of trust that a monogamous relationship is built on. It can affect how we approach every other relationship we enter into for the rest of our lives. But sometimes when someone we trusted reveals themselves to be a dirty no-good cheater, it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes, it turns out to be a blessing in disguise.
Some part of me always knew something was wrong. Even before he started cheating, something was just not right. The way he looked at me — the way he looked at other women — the way he thought about people in general. These things weren’t so much red flags as they were a sense of vague wrongness that permeated the entire relationship from the start. I should have trusted my gut — but I didn’t think I’d have to.
I was tired of acting like more like a private eye than a girlfriend. When there’s something so sketchy about a dude that you can’t help but wonder what exactly it is he’s up to, no one is going to have a good time. It was exhausting, never knowing whether or not he was lying and always wondering how he was pulling the wool over my eyes.
I was too scared of being alone to break things off. If I’d always kind of known that he was a piece of crap, reason stands that I should have left him long before things got to this point — but I didn’t. I was young and naive and scared of being alone. Even though part of me knew that he was only bad news, an equal part of me wanted to believe that I was wrong.
It felt empowering to have all my suspicions verified. The moment that I finally discovered the full scope of his infidelity, I should have been heartbroken — but instead, I felt vindicated. In my heart of hearts, I’d known it all along… I’d just needed proof. Once I had it, it felt like the skies had opened up and my whole world had finally come together again.
His infidelity felt like a wake-up call. I’d never been cheated on before. I’d never wanted to learn how it felt. But as painful as the discovery of the other woman, the depth of his deception and the weight of all his lies was, it was also a moment of awakening. I hadn’t realized it, but I’d been cheating, too — cheating myself out of a relationship that I actually deserved.
He gave me the reason I needed to leave. I never should have felt like I needed a reason in the first place, but with all the evidence stacked against him, there was finally no alternative. For so long, I’d needed to amputate his dead weight from my life — and when he cheated, it was like handing me the knife.
He made me realize my own self-worth. Being lied to and betrayed, and knowing it all the while wasn’t a position that I wanted to be in again. I was disappointed in myself for not trusting my gut and getting out sooner. But the pain of being cheated on was nothing compared to the joy of knowing that I deserved more — that I was worth more than that — and the decision that I would never put myself back in that place again.
It changed how I dated for the better. When you’re cheated on, it changes you. You become slower to trust, more suspicious, quicker to assume that you’re being fooled around on again. His cheating hardened me — and that was just what I needed. I dared to put my needs first in relationships. I started dumping guys I knew were jerks. Most importantly, I stopped dating for other people and started dating for myself.
It scares me to think what my life would have been if I’d stayed. Where I am now is so much better of a place than where I would have been if I was still with him. My life, my emotions, my career — the lot of it — have all taken such a better road than the path he was leading me on. I shudder to think of where I’d be if I hadn’t left when I did — because my life is all the better for being without him.
I’d always been too good for him, anyway. It wasn’t that he cheated, or that he lied, or that I stayed for far longer than I should have in the long run. It was that he wasn’t good enough for me. I wasn’t happy when I was with him. Like an animal caught in a trap, I’d been trying to chew off my own limb while I wracked my brain for a reason to leave… and instead, in an act of pure mercy, his dumb, cheating ass set me free.
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