I’m not going to sugarcoat it—being cheated on rocks your world. And it takes time (unfortunately, a long time) to feel “healed.”
Being replaced is a shitty feeling. But being replaced while you’re still in a full-blown relationship … that’ll cut ya deep. It’s a gut-dropping feeling I’d never cast on anyone. No one, NO ONE, deserves to feel replaceable—especially in a relationship—but it happens and there are silver linings that can come from the experience.
Disclaimer: this isn’t a story to bash on my ex. I’m so thankful for him and what I learned from our five-and-a-half year-long relationship. Believe it or not, I would never say a bad thing about him. We had a happy relationship and I was in love. He was my biggest supporter when I decided to move to Los Angeles after college, and I’m forever grateful for his encouragement. He just happened to find another relationship and happiness while we were dating long-distance during our last year together. I don’t agree with or approve of cheating, but I did learn that I have the power in the situation. I got to decide how I wanted to handle how I moved on. That’s why I wanted to share my experience of how a hurtful situation pushed me to grow into a stronger version of myself that, frankly, I never imagined I’d become. Sounds cheesy, but hey, I’m only sharing the truth here!
Every cheating experience—every relationship, really—is different. Without going into the details, I went home for the holidays, heard rumors, asked about the rumors, and he didn’t deny it.
After that one conversation with him, all communication was completely cut off—not by my choice. One convo and then I was on a flight back to LA, boyfriend-less. No texts, no calls, no emails, and definitely no closure. That, in my opinion, was the hardest part. But usually when a relationship ends you never get the closure you want anyway, which is why I had to find it in my own way.
Let me start by saying that denial is a hell of a drug, and by no means was I denying that this had happened. But in some ways, I denied I was in pain for the first few months. I was so busy and distracted with work, meeting new friends, going out, you get the idea. I didn’t really let my mind “go there.” Yes, the pain was inescapable, but I didn’t want to suffer. I just handled it in my own way and preferred not to let myself sulk over the situation (that said, what worked for me might not work for everyone).
I guess you could say I’m thankful the relationship ended and things worked out the way they did, because if they hadn’t, I wouldn’t have the career and life I have today. I would’ve missed out on the incredible experiences I’ve had over the past six years, including learning how to be comfortable and happy with myself first and foremost (see, silver lining). When all else fails or someone lets me down me, I now know I can count on myself. I have my own back and that gives me the power of resiliency.
But again, it takes time to realize and trust that everything happens for a reason and there’s another plan/path out there for you. Reminder: rejection is redirection (def had to remind myself of this many times).
You can’t control what’s out of your control. If your partner is going to cheat they will, and vice versa. Harsh, but it’s true. What you can control is your outlook on your new path. Here are some tools and reminders I found helpful in turning an unexpected experience into a positive curveball in my life:
-Rely on your support group, whether family or close friends.
-Never do anything out of revenge or have a revenge mindset. Good things will come your way, trust me. Do things for you, always.
-Don’t let it get to you if people compare you to the other woman, because that will happen, people will talk, and word, unfortunately, gets around. I heard it all; not that I agreed (lol), but it still hurt. Just don’t take it personal. We shouldn’t be comparing women anyways—remind yourself that you’re a catch and definitely not less than anyone else.
-Distract yourself, whether it’s by focusing on your career, setting a new goal, or planning a trip. For me, I found saying yes to plans made things easier.
-Consider therapy. I didn’t take this route, but if you’re needing more support, don’t hesitate to see a therapist or life coach. I know this has worked for my friends.
-Avoid talking badly about your ex. Sure, vent to your closest friends, but take the high road and keep the negative words to yourself—it’s not a good look and your fuming feelings will fade, plus you don’t want to regret saying something. Instead, write out your negative or angry thoughts and keep them to yourself. It’s therapeutic, believe me.
-Don’t feel ashamed. For a while, I felt like the people who knew about it looked at me like a broken bird, which was frustrating. Eff that. Don’t automatically doubt what I can and can’t handle. Did I want this to happen? No. But, am I strong enough and level-headed enough to get past it? Yes. I learned to just own it and take charge of the conversation. Like I said, people will talk no matter what, so you might as well share how you’re feeling. This doesn’t mean talking badly, just simply clearing the elephant in the room.
-It shouldn’t define you. Yes, it’s part of your past, but don’t let it be who you are. The only time it really crosses my mind now is when I’m back home in Kansas or visiting friends from college that I haven’t seen in a while. But my life is way more meaningful than that time my long-term boyfriend cheated on me.
-It’s OK to cry and let it out; some days will be harder than others. Just try to remember that seasons change and this feeling will pass.
-Realize that you most likely won’t get the closure you hoped for with your ex. The sooner you come to terms with and accept this, the smoother it is to move on.
For me, I had to have a positive outlook because, what was my other option? To be miserable and dwell? Not my style. So, onward and upward. I truly believe everything happens for a reason and what’s meant for you won’t pass you by. What’s most important, though, is to find ways to heal that work for you. It’s not about a checklist or a timeline.
Now, treat yourself with a few of my favorite items: