This is a rather personal topic for me as two out of the three serious girlfriends I’ve had cheated on me.
The second person who cheated on me decided to sleep with someone on Christmas Day while I was busy cooking us dinner. When they returned home they expected me to cheer them up as they felt they’d been ‘used’ by this person. Suffice to say, given I’m way too nice (and was bound by the expectations of my abusive relationship that dictated if I didn’t focus entirely on her, chaos would ensue) I spent the evening trying to make my girlfriend feel better whilst bottling up my anger, hurt and pain. Every Christmas since has been affected by bad memories of this betrayal and is one of the many reasons that I hate the holiday period so much.
However, this pain pales in comparison to that inflicted on me by the first person who cheated on me.
After nearly eighteen months of living together she decided to travel to Europe. As I couldn’t afford to go with her and (for unknown reasons) she was unable to wait for me, I had to move back in with my parents. So for three months I was bombarded with bad memories of my teenage years whilst she gallivanted around Europe; all the while expecting me to book accommodation, send care-packages ‘poste restante’ and research her destinations online.
After a brief return to the UK she left almost immediately for Australia. For several further months I lived in my parents house until (a) my confidence had been reduced to that of my thirteen year old self and (b) I could afford the expense of emigrating to the other side of the world.
Flash-forward three years – three years of intense stress over multiple residency applications, debt, building a life on the other side of the world, trying to deal with being so far from home and constantly being made to feel like a bastard for suspecting she had been sleeping with her ex-boyfriend – and she sits me down and informs me that, shortly after she’d arrived back in Australia, she’d begun a relationship with her ex-boyfriend and had been sleeping with him after all. In fact the relationship had continued for many, many, many months after I had moved to Australia for her.
To say I felt betrayed was an understatement. To say I felt hurt doesn’t even come close. I had sacrificed my family, friends, country of birth and home to move to the other side of the world where the only person I knew was her; all because I loved her and genuinely wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. My girlfriend however, had not been sure. So instead of having a conversation with me, she allowed me to make these drastic changes to my life whilst continually seeing, sleeping with and maintaining a relationship with her previous boyfriend.
Ultimately it wasn’t the affair that caused the end of our relationship, there were other issues bubbling beneath the surface that this revelation set free, but it sent my mind spiralling back into depression and it’s safe to say that the years of lies and betrayal were a major trigger toward my suicide attempt in 2006.
Both of these affairs – in combination with the abuse I received – have rendered me incapable of being in a relationship. I no longer trust anyone (not just women) and the impact to my self-confidence/self-belief these betrayals caused were immense, to the point that I cannot imagine opening up to anyone, ever again. Why would I when all it will bring is such pain, heartache and agony?
I can understand reasons for cheating on someone.
I can accept that in certain circumstances it can bring positives to a relationship.
But personally, based on the damage cheating has wrought on my life, it’s not something I would ever do.