According to columnist Cary Carr, cheaters shouldn’t get second chances at love.
Nothing is worse than that goose bump-inducing, hair-pulling, completely nauseating feeling that comes right before your heart drops to your stomach and utter disbelief sets in.
That’s how I felt the second I found out I was cheated on, and it seems many young adults can relate. We’re at an age when parties, clubs and bars are brewing with temptation, and a committed relationship can seem more like a chore than a choice.
I have heard polar-opposite opinions on the cheating epidemic. On one hand, people argue that we’re young college students, and the concept of fidelity is only applicable to married couples or fully matured adults. On the other hand, some claim even a quick peck on the cheek can be considered cheating.
Regardless, the sting burns the same, and being a victim of a cheater’s two-timing ways can forever damage someone’s trust. I would know.
I fell in love for the first time toward the end of high school. My ex was the most genuine, kind-hearted guy. But when he had me convinced that he would “never do anything to hurt me,” I discovered the truth.
Six months into our relationship, I found a message on his Facebook from “the other woman,” which described how wonderful their little affair had been. I admit, I should not have been snooping, and honestly, I don’t know why I was – I wasn’t suspicious at the time.
I reread the message five times before I could wrap my brain around it. I felt so naïve, like I should have been able to catch a warning sign or use common sense. But this self-pity and regret soon transformed into unadulterated anger, and unfortunately, my soon-to-be ex was on his way to my house.
As he pulled into my driveway, I ran to the car with mascara staining my face, profanities flying from my mouth and little dignity left. I unsuccessfully threw a few punches and disregarded the neighbors who were watching.
He denied the whole thing and claimed it was a “misunderstanding,” until he realized I had proof. He then resorted to crying, too, and begged, promising it would never happen again.
If I could go back, I would have reacted differently. I would have calmly explained to him what I discovered and politely told him to find a new girlfriend – one who would put up with disrespect and six months worth of lies. But I didn’t.
Instead, I took him back, and six months later, he cheated again.
I wish I could say I left him and moved on, but it is never that easy. This incident only led to the downward spiral of our relationship and his eventual end of things, for good.
This does not say a lot for my judgment or emotional strength, but I am proud to say I have already survived my first heartbreak, and it made me see the light at the end of a nightmarish romance.
I now refuse to trust people until they’ve earned it. I’m not going all bitter ex-girlfriend on society and discrediting true love – I just acknowledge that not everyone is worthy of my trust and dedication, and those who are will prove it with time.
I also promised myself I would never cheat. It’s not as though I considered it in the past, but after being scorched by disloyalty, I know I could never put someone through the same thing.
If I am in a relationship, I am dedicated to it, and if I’m tempted to cheat, then the relationship should probably end.
But the most important thing I learned was to be understanding of other people’s situations and to never judge someone else’s decision.
I did not make the best decision, and I understand I should have had the courage to leave my ex and stand strong, but I didn’t. I was in love, and I didn’t want to believe it happened.
My friends judged my decision harshly, so when the same thing happened to one of them, I gave her my advice, but I also held her hand and told her I supported her and only wanted her to be happy.
And that’s what I really needed – not a lecture on being strong or finding some self-respect.
I am not going to lie and say I wouldn’t take that relationship back. Of course I would, and I would change a lot of my decisions. But the best way to pay back all those two-timing scumbags is to take the heartbreak they cause and twist it into self-discovery and confidence.
Cary Carr can be reached at email@example.com.