Yes, it happened. It happened more than once - and yes, it could happen to anyone.
It killed me, of course, both times. But it didn’t just kill me. It made me stronger. As cliched as that sounds, it is true.
My ex cheated on me with the high school hottie. I was only 16 then. This was ten years ago, but till last year neither did I have the details of what had happened, nor did I know the truth. I just knew that one fine day my ex had just stopped receiving my calls and had stopped responding to my texts. As a naive teenager, it felt like all of this was my fault - he chose someone else over me because I was not pretty enough and that my unappealing body was practically nothing in comparison to her developed, firm body. He didn’t even have the courtesy to break up with me. Not even over the phone. After days of silence and ignorance from him, I decided to just stop trying. Rumours flew around in school that they were a “thing”. Every day I went to class with my head held high because I couldn’t show him how broken I was. I did not want to look like the weakling. I pretended that I was unmoved. I cried every day and it felt like death was seeping into my bones. My heart hurt, like someone had wrung it out of my chest and trampled on it, over and over again.
In hindsight, I realise that he was 16 too. We were extremely young. People make mistakes, many of them. Your life will have no stories to weave unless you make some mistakes. I will never forgive or forget that he cheated on me. I don’t want to know if he exists anymore or if he’s doing good in life. All I know is that what happened made me a stronger person. I grew up to realise that what I look like is very insubstantial to who I am as a person. How my mind works, what I do in life for a living and a good life, is much more important than what I look like. I realised that he cheated on me because he just wanted to. He put his needs before my feelings and in this he was utterly selfish, then again, so are we all.
The second time someone cheated on me was a couple of years ago. And I deserved it. It was because I had cheated on him too. He admitted to cheating on me later because it was his way of revenge. I had come out clean right after I had cheated on him. It was the right thing to do, it was the only thing to do. It doesn’t make me a better person for being honest, and I shouldn’t be forgiven for what I had done - and I am not even asking for it. I live with the guilt everyday and this is my punishment. This guilt that follows me everywhere I go.
We were in a relationship and after a year of being together I had to move to India, but we decided to give long-distance a shot. For a while it was fine, things were smooth-sailing. Slowly, I started noticing how he was losing interest in me. The calls were infrequent and even if we did speak, we would easily run out of things to talk about. I was in a new country for the first time with all the freedom I could have asked for and suddenly I started misusing it. I fell for another guy and with him cheated on my boyfriend. I came out clean but he still wanted to give us another shot.
So, we did and I found out that the only reason he had ever wanted to get back together was because he wanted to cheat on me too - just to get back at me. I was completely aloof to what was happening, he kept cheating on me while simultaneously making me feel like the worst person alive for cheating on him. Yes, I repented what I did and listened to his numerous taunts because I was at fault and I had to make it up to him. To prove that I was a better person. I had to prove that I was more than a mistake.
However, when I found out that he had been cheating on me too - I broke down, again. I felt weak. Mentally and physically, I was at my worst.
Suddenly realization hit me. Why was I crying for this person? I made a mistake and on the other hand, he cheated on me with intent. We were both at fault and it was high time I buried this. It was time I moved on in life and never looked back.
We hurt people without intending to and people hurt us back. No one ever said that life was going to be easy, that it was going to be fair. You just have to pick up the pieces, take life as it comes and be the strongest version of yourself.
Cheating is wrong, but sometimes it happens. It happened to me and I lived through it and got out of it. There is no forgiving in cheating, there is only heartbreak. But remember, this is a heartbreak that will help you figure out who you don’t want to be. This is a heartbreak that heals.