Part I – Infidelity
I felt like I had been kicked in the gut.
He’d had sex with her.
Bragged about it.
He told all of our friends.
And he’d lied to me.
He was my friend.
He was my lover.
And he betrayed me.
We grew up together. I’d known him since I was a kid, a child. I thought that would protect me. I thought the bonds of friendship would override biology. I thought his sense of right and wrong would compel him beyond his sense of need and want. I thought his love would override the ego’s need for lust.
I was wrong.
It was the first time I’d been cheated on. I was a young girl. Little did I know, it wouldn’t be the last. And the pain would feel the same. Everytime.
Most of us have been in this place. Know this feeling of numbness. The vortex of feelings hurt and anger cloaked in gut wrenching betrayal. For some deeper feelings like depression, rage and revenge surface.
It’s not so much the act as it is the lies, the feeling of being abandoned. All this time you think he’s got my back. (All the while someone is blowing his front). Even at a young age I knew the power of a man’s word. You lean into it, trust it, cling to it when things get rough, in the relationship, in life. And when I can’t believe what you say, it’s hard to believe anything else about you.
This was my introduction to relationship. This was the first man (boy) I trusted. So much so, I trusted him beyond friendship, I trusted him with my body. He was my lover, my first lover. I thought being trusted with such a gift would inspire commitment beyond biology.
What I didn’t know then was how much I had it all collapsed into one big emotional soup. My trust, our friendship, biology, betrayal, his love, my love, my definition of my femininity, sexuality, attractiveness, and self esteem were all coupled together, tangled in a mess of hormones, and the angst of young love.
Too much was riding on his ability to be faithful, my ability to handle it maturely. What I know now is that some things change and some things never do.
Men will always been men, and women women. It’s not so much that we need to trust one another, it’s that we need to learn to trust ourselves without relying on the definitions of one another, without allowing the relationship define who we are as individuals. So many times, cheating hurts so much because we make it mean something about the cheatee, not the cheater. That’s not to imply that I or anyone who’s been cheated on is perfect. But if someone breaks their commitment to you, that has little to do with you and everything to do with them.
We should always seek to take responsibility in relationship and own our actions or lack thereof when it comes to creating a health relationship.
And we can never allow the actions of someone else to define how we feel about ourselves, to change our character, who we know ourselves to be at our core.
A lesson I learned all too well in the next chapter of my love life