Picture this: you have found YOUR person. The one. The guy who holds your hand in public and looks at you THAT way. He tells you you’re beautiful and wouldn’t dream of letting you pay for anything (#TheDream). You go on adventures together and your family loves him, just like you love his family. When you have a horrible day or something fantastic happens, he’s the one you immediately want to tell because he truly is the person you go to for everything. You’ve even (accidentally) farted in front of him once or twice, and he didn’t make you feel like you had committed a crime. Not only is he your boyfriend, but he’s your best friend, and nothing could ever come between you two.
Until it does. Until someone does.
With technology providing us with endless opportunities to be unfaithful at our attention-starved fingertips, more often than not, we find ourselves let down, devastated, and holding our broken heart in our hands while trying to flick off the asshole at the same time. What does cheating even mean nowadays? Webster’s defines it as “to act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage.”
Which, when you think about it, is a lot of stuff.
There are the first level offenses–they’re “just friends and only talking.” This includes Facebook messaging, Instagram liking, Tindering, Skyping, FaceTiming, sending sexy smoke signals to each other, and if you want to go old school, straight up face-to-face talking.
Then, there are the second level offenses, where they virtually saw each other naked. This includes snapchatting, sexting (Do kids even still do this?), sending dirty pictures on some other form of technology, or the classic printed out picture that they can hide under their pillows.
The third level offenses are when actual contact happens. This includes holding hands, cuddling (I don’t care what you say, friends in other committed relationships do not need to cuddle), kissing, making out, taking turns sucking on each other’s necks like leeches and leaving hickeys, and, if you didn’t feel like you were in ninth grade again yet, second base.
The fourth offense is “anything but…” This includes touching, sucking, licking, blowing, and most likely other things I don’t know about that might actually be illegal in some of the continental U.S. Basically anything sex-wise, minus ACTUAL penetration.
And finally, the fifth offense. You guessed it: the big one.
Is that to say the first few levels of offenses hurt less than the fifth offense? Not necessarily. I’ve had all levels committed against me (hold your sighs of pity, please) and I have to say that my ex who asked a girl for naked pictures (and yes, it’s still cheating, even if her face isn’t in the picture, asshole) hurt me almost as badly as the one who had sex with someone else and got her pregnant. Almost as bad. #HappyChildSupportPayments
What does that say? Cheating can be anything that would break trust. Having sex with someone else? Uh, duh. Flirting with someone on Facebook? Yeah, that fucking hurts, too. And newsflash, that’s cheating.
How do you even begin to move on after being screwed over (no pun intended) like that? You don’t. You can’t. And I mean that in the best way possible. Being cheated on is one of the hardest, most painful, life-changing experiences that someone can be unfortunate enough to experience. You almost can’t get over it, and shockingly, that can be a good thing.
If we just “got over it,” we wouldn’t value relationships as highly as we do. We realize that while the person might be attractive, funny, wealthy, or any other number of traits we seek in a mate, if he didn’t value our time and commitment, he isn’t worth it. We learn trust is the key to a relationship, and in turn, we can vow to never make someone else feel that way. After being cheated on and trying to make that shitty relationship work (which most of us try to do) I realized just how vital having a good foundation is to a strong partnership. I became certain that I would never do that. And years later, I feel the same.
My advice to you cheaters or potentials–take it or shit on it–is to never do something you wouldn’t want your partner to see. This includes Facebook messages (and no, even if you delete them, it still happened), flirting, or hooking up. My advice to the victims is to learn. It’s easy to become jaded. It’s easy to spread hate and anger and become someone unworthy of love. It’s hard to use your strength to come out on top and become even better for what you’ve been through, but you’re strong. Much stronger than even you think.
Ultimately, you can’t control another person, and if someone cheats, it’s his fault, not yours. What you can control is how to handle the situation. You can give up on love, on trusting, and on being the wonderful person you are, or you can rise above, vow to never make someone feel the way you feel now, and look toward the future with hope, because there is someone out there MUCH better for you. Someone who values your time, your commitment, and you heart. He’s not talking to other girls or making you feel insecure, and most likely, he’s not your cheating ex. Oh, and as for that asshole? Delete him, block him, and don’t give him the time of day. He isn’t worth the space on your newsfeed or a moment in your thoughts. Plus, I hear his life is totally miserable and he has to shave his back now. #Karma