Cheating – The Other Side of the Coin

It took me quite a while to sit down and put this topic into words. Maybe it’s because I didn’t know how I felt about it, maybe it’s because I didn’t even want to admit it, but for whatever reason, this took place more than half a year ago, whilst I was still with Serge. Cheating has been one of the main themes of my blog the last few years. Every time I went over this topic, I was usually the ‘other woman’ – I was seeing a guy that already gad a girlfriend. So I wasn’t exactly on the receiving end of it. But as luck has it, there came a time when I was actually cheated on. And I decided that even though it’s a topic that really hurt me, it was about time to share with you and explain how being on the other side of the coin felt.
 Serge started cheating on me about mid-November and it went on until the beginning of this year. If I were honest, I probably could sense something was wrong straight away, but I only knew for sure he was cheating on me by mid-December. By the time I went away for a weekend trip to Italy with Serge, as my Christmas present to him, I was positive that he was seeing another woman at the same time. I always knew that I wasn’t what Serge was looking for, not in the long term at least, but I always believed that he would end things before moving on, instead of cheating on me. During those months, we were going through a rough patch and we also spent quite a while apart because of travelling. By the time Serge came back from a two-week holiday in November, I could sense that something had changed. In a way I felt us growing apart, but then again there were behaviours that threw me off and at the time, didn’t know how to interpret – he would hold me more, he’d spend more time cuddling and would pay a lot more attention to me. At first I was naïve and actually thought that he missed me – I thought to myself “what do you know, distance does make the heart grow fonder!” Now, months after everything ended, I couldn’t’ help but wonder – was I actually that naïve or did I secretly know that he overcompensated for something that he did wrong and was just trying to postpone my own heartache from finding out by turning a blind eye to the situation? Maybe I’ll never know the answer to that, but ignore it I did, until one evening when I couldn’t any longer.
 After coming home from work, I saw a text from Serge saying “I’ll meet you outside Edgware Station at 8”. Before I had time to reply to the text, he called me and came up with a long story of meeting a friend that he hasn’t seen for months and then accidentally sending me the message. Two minutes into the call I knew he was lying right through his teeth – so I couldn’t ignore it any longer. Shamefully, I started keeping a closer eye and I’m embarrassed to admit, but I even looked through his phone. So I found out about Laura – as far as I could tell they were dating since mid- November and had met up quite a few times. I was quite sure he hadn’t brought her to his flat – my belongings were everywhere and I knew he never moved anything. Every time I came back everything was exactly where I left it. So for that I was positive. I never found out whether he went to her place or just met with her somewhere else – and by now I don’t even want to know. I know I’m at risk of sounding cheesy and completely predictable here, but if you want to know the truth about how it felt – it felt as if someone had pushed a dagger in my heart and knocked all of the oxygen out of my lungs. It was so overwhelming, that even now, if I close my eyes for a split second and remember everything, my breath is still cut short and I can still feel the pain.
 By this point you are probably wondering why I stayed with him for six more months, until he eventually broke up with me. There were actually a number of sad reasons to that. For one, I thought that he wanted to be with me. If he went through the trouble of hiding it from me, it meant that he didn’t want me to find out and leave him. And I tried to sneak it into the conversation many times and one way or the other asked him quite a few times whether he was cheating on me. I hate myself a little for writing this, but the reason I asked him every time wasn’t because I wanted to know the truth – I already knew it. I asked because I wanted him to lie about it. Every time he denied it, it was a confirmation that he didn’t want me to leave him – if he cared enough to lie about it, he cared enough to be with me so it gave me a reason not to leave him. That’s not the only reason – I was secretly hoping that it was a stupid fling and it would end, so I waited it out. And in a more twisted and masochistic way, I was actually punishing myself. I was seeing a guy that was cheating on his girlfriend with me for years – realistically, what did I expect to happen? It was karma – I was being punished for being the ‘other woman’ (see “Being the Other Woman” and “Will he ever leave his girlfriend for you?”), and it felt horrible and heart breaking, but I felt like I deserved it. So I stayed and I let Serge cheat on me, because Matt cheated on his girlfriend with me and I deserved to know how that felt. Writing about this feels dumb and stupid, but I just thought that it was karma taking its course on me and I had it coming. But above all this, I stayed mostly because I was a fool in love who didn’t know better – and that’s the painful truth.
 
 After it all ended with it, he finally admitted to it. And what’s more than that, he told me that he cheated on me because he was looking for something more and “if it had worked out with her, I would have broken up with you”. So maybe I deserved it, because of what I did in the past, or maybe I didn’t, because if anything, I treated Serge right throughout our relationship. So whether it was karma or just sheer foolishness on my end for not confronting him and leaving him, I now know how it feels to be cheated on – and it’s soul-wrenching, heart-breaking and deeply traumatizing.  By now I know that I will never tolerate cheating on me again – I’ve done it once, I punished myself for it and I won’t allow it again. But to this day, I still can’t help but wonder – “is the habit of being with someone stronger than the love you feel for them – so much that you can’t imagine being without them even when they humiliate you and make you feel insufficient by their side?” I guess the answer for me was yes back then, but not anymore. And that’s what it’s all about – making mistakes and learning from them.

 

Did you ever have a similar experience? Did you stay with a cheating boyfriend and why? Comment and let me know.