I Was Cheated On

When I first heard Elin Nordegren chased Tiger Woods with a golf club after finding out about his numerous affairs, my first thought was “of course.” If being cheated on with one woman is an indescribably painful experience, I cannot imagine what being cheated on with 14 feels like.

When I was 16 and a sophomore in high school, I was head over heels in love with my boyfriend, Steven. He was unlike any guy I had ever met. He was intelligent, ambitious, funny and my friends loved him.

Our relationship was not perfect, but it was amazing on every level. He was my boyfriend, best friend, study partner and shopping buddy. He was the first guy I had ever dated with whom I felt completely comfortable being myself. He was the first guy I dated who could actually hold his own when we had intellectual conversations, and he sometimes even baffled me with his dreams of a communist revolution, but that’s what I loved about him. He was the first guy I could open up to about absolutely anything. I knew that I had found a keeper.

What I especially loved were the little things he did to show me how much he cared. He would surprise me by leaving flowers in my class before I got there, just because. He would send me caring text messages right before I went to sleep. He encouraged me and supported me and all my dreams, no matter how farfetched they may have been. If I told him one of my dreams was to make pigs fly, he would be right there cheering me on.

But just as there were good things, there were also bad things. Like there was a time when I waited for him outside of one of his classes so we could walk together to the next. I looked around and he was nowhere in sight. When I turned around, I saw him several yards away, with his arm around his ex-girlfriend, walking her to class. He would also get mad and start problems if another guy told him he had a pretty girlfriend. He had a jealous streak. In spite of all these things, I was crazy about him, and apparently he was crazy about me.

However, one day, everything changed. It happened like magic, just randomly. One summer day he walked me home and we talked about random things, like always. Until  we got to my doorstep.

“I have to tell you something,” he said. I knew then that whatever he had to say was going to be very bad “So last night at the concert, uh, we were drinking, and I went back to the car with some girl and, uh … stuff happened,” he said.

I always thought that if I found out my boyfriend was cheating on me, I would go into a psycho rage and dump him on the spot. But things never happen the way you think they will. At that moment, I felt like a bucket of ice cold water had been dumped on me. All I felt was an extreme shock, and pain. I was speechless. Eventually I said “I’ll just talk to you later,” and went inside the house.

Once inside, I secluded myself in my room and cried for hours. I could not believe this had actually happened. It all seemed like a bad dream. I could not believe he had done that to me. Why? What did I do wrong? I was unsure about what step to take next. I was extremely hurt by his betrayal, and knew it would be very difficult to forgive him. But I was also very much in love with him (or so I thought) and I could not imagine leaving him.

Although I decided to forgive him, he decided he wanted nothing to do with me. That was excruciatingly difficult to accept. I spent the rest of the summer feeling ugly both inside and out. I felt completely worthless. Something had to be wrong with me if he not only cheated on me, but also rejected me once I forgave him. Of course, over time, I realized he had the problem, not me, because he had cheated on girlfriends before me, and on girlfriends after.

The process of moving on was not at all easy. For the first few weeks I just let myself grieve as much as I needed to. That involved a lot of crying. Since I have always been fond of writing, I would also write letters to Steven, telling him exactly how I felt. I never intended to give them to him, it was just my way of letting my emotions out.

I also made a list of all the upsides of being single. One thing I kept telling myself over and over was that at least the next time he cheats, it will not be on me.  I also immersed myself in my favorite hobbies, like baking and knitting. I did whatever it took to keep my mind busy. Once school was back in session, I devoted myself completely to my schoolwork. Getting over it was a long and slow process. But looking back on it, I realized that it’s was an experience that has made me stronger.

The experience, as negative as it was, helped me become a better person because I learned that I could never again take back a cheater, regardless of how much I loved him. I am way better than that.

Another thing I learned about myself from this experience is that I could never cheat on someone myself — not that it ever crossed my mind. I now know that there is no way I could ever hurt someone else like that; I couldn’t live with myself. I know the pain and difficulty of the experience firsthand.