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She Cheated and I'm Broken

10 Things I'm Learning the Hard Way

By Ray BohnPublished 5 years ago 11 min read

Six months ago, I found out that my partner of five years had cheated on me. Worst yet, it happened enough times over a long enough period that it was more than a fling. I have to live with the pain that it was enjoyed so much that it occurred often.

While I was at home watching the kids, three blocks away.

I'm still learning how to live with this.

How to heal. Most days, I fail. I keep it all in, hoping that time and keeping everyone happy will fix things enough that it's bearable. It really is a wound I'm trying to mend before the cast comes out and it can bare weight again.

We are trying to work through this, and it's harder than I’d ever imagined. I mean it's just sex right? Don't I have some blame in this? No it’s not so simple. If you’re reading this, neither did you.

I was suspected of cheating myself. I didn't. It was revenge for actions I didn’t do, and and some I did, living with it eats me alive. There are no sure things or easier answers here. I'm still a mess, and it should all be taken with a grain of salt. I can't tell you five ways to fix your relationship after cheating. Instead I’ll tell you the 10 things I’ve learned from the experience that I feel are universal.

Also this is about the infidelity, and although I'm innocent of that, it doesn't mean I've been perfect, and there are other issues I was downright guilty in. So although this article slopes in one direction, I'm not a saint or easy to live with. Doesn't mean it's at all justified but, it's not nothing either.

1. It’s embarrassing but you have to be open about it.

I don’t just mean with your partner. Plenty of sites will tell you that open communication about what happened is a must. I mean you have to share with everyone important to you. You are not going to be yourself, and in some cases, having someone who knows you, watching, will keep you alive, or at least employed. Naturally people will take sides, and you're going to need that as well. Plus, believe me, they took their sides long before now. People supporting you and saying fuck them is important. However, you'd be surprised how common this is, and a word or wisdom in this dark time will help you through. Also you're going through one of the worst things you can ever feel, you'll figure out who your real friends are by the people who check up on you. They know what you're feeling, and they know it's a day to day struggle.

In my case, a friend and boss of mine knew my situation, and that I was a raw nerve of emotions. I've always been a good employee, however in the months to follow I was terrible and made some big mistakes. Had I not been open with him ahead of time, I probably would have been fired. Instead, I found out that I had a better friend than I had known.

Also when you're the victim of cheating, you’d be surprised how many of their friends and family reach out to voice their opinion, and that means a lot. It may be petty, but knowing they are disgusted makes you feel less alone.

2. Good days and bad days. And they will flip on a dime.

*Note, I was good when I started this column and twelve hours later, I'm a violent angry mess with bloody thoughts. Tomorrow, I might just be sad and self-deprecating. The day after in love, and the next on the verge of revenge. The only thing that's kept me from crossing lines that can't be uncrossed is time. Knowing that a nap, some food, or a good TV show can distract you long enough to feel like the world is worth seeing through a while longer.

For example, I saw a meme on her Facebook from when it was happening that said, “The best things in life are the ones you can’t tell anyone about.” All I could think was man, “FUUUUCK YOU!”

Movies. There is a lot of cheating in TV and film, and for a long time, it will be enough to send you spiraling. Not only that, but your own partner's words will often set you off. Casual comments that they don't realise shed light on the events, or cut deep. Or the way they see others who did what they did. Not to mention things you can't even fault them for, but that will sting like a bitch all the same. Ten times a day I’m reminded of another man's dick in her mouth, inside her, unprotected, etc. I know what a freak she is. It's why I love her, and that makes it all the worse.

3. Don't be alone. You’re gonna lose a lot of sleep, and your thoughts won’t help.

Personally I drive a truck. I'm alone in it up to 16 hours a day. This is the worst possible thing, and for the three months after that was my “dark” period. I plotted and planned, cried, screamed, and just bathed in every horrible detail of it, whether it was true, or my imagination.

4. People will tell you to leave, and you should. You're probably not the exception, nor are their actions.

Doesn't mean trying can hurt. What more could you lose? Bottom line is only you know when it’s time. I still want to leave daily. Or threaten it. But I can’t because I don’t mean it. I always loved her, even if she didn’t always respect me.

5. You’re gonna want revenge.

It’s a natural reaction. Personally I’d advise against confronting anyone. However I did. It brought me a satisfying amount of closure scaring him. Not enough to forgive putting his dick in my woman. Enough thought to get my balls back. Being heard is powerful. Him knowing and fearing me is exactly where I want him. You'll be tempted to cheat yourself. In all our years I never considered it, not really... now though. Its a common day dream I haven't acted on. Just know, it's not from attraction, or desire. It's a wanting in your soul for them to understand the pain. After that, it seems to pathetic to act on.

6. You're gonna act in ways you never do; you're on the verge of insanity.

I’m not the same person I was before. My heart literally broke. I'm not the same man, parent, or lover. In some ways, I’m better. In others, I’m colder. As I mentioned, I've always been a great employee, and my erratic actions almost cost me my job. Not in my behavior, but because I couldn't focus. I made lots of mistakes, big and small. I was late or absent. My work behavior did a 360, and I’m still in the dog house. Being in the truck was an emotional prison, and the last place I wanted to go.

7. You're going to want to leave. If you don't, there has to be change. On both sides.

Simple, and not. In my case, I'm still waiting for real regret, or a real show that I’m wanted in numerous ways. Some days I'm too cold to accept gestures. Others I’m begging for them.

8.Gonna blame yourself. Then them. And you have to forgive. Or it's doomed.

Bottom line. They could have left. Unless you cheated yourself, nothing is an excuse. She thought I cheated (I can't stress enough that I never even considered it. Not in any REAL way. Not more than everyone I imagine).

She thought I lied, and pushed her away (I did). She researched a few articles with titles like “She cheated, and it's your fault.” Broke my heart all over again. Took time for me to not believe that.

Bottom line, I was used and comfortable. Sure, she loved me I’m sure, but she should have ended it, or been honest up front. Fact is, I’d invite another man into our bed if I was involved and could have had the same. Maybe. But she forever altered that faith and trust. Now I probably wouldn’t be able to handle it.

9. Doesn't mean you have to forget, or be happy.

You have to forgive. And sooner rather than later. Im still working on this. However, holding on to this pain and simmering, bitter foulness hurts me more than anything else. My being so broken doesn't make them more loving or sorry. Forgive. Move on as a wiser man. You're gonna grow cold. It won't ever be the same. But if it was amazing, it can be good again.

"Gold don't come off. What's good stays gold." - Joe Hill NOS4A2

Some things are broken forever now. But not all. I have faith that we care about each other to heal and build something new and better. Or maybe I hope I can love enough for both of us. I might be wrong. Only time will tell.

10. You’re gonna have to figure out why, and work at it.

Just because it's not your fault doesn't mean you’re guilt free. If you do the same old shit, you’re asking for more pain.

You're gonna be insecure in two ways, even if you never were or never showed it; insecure in your abilities as man/lover, and insecure in the affections you receive back.

I’ve never been clingy or needy in any way. I’ve never been suspicious. Even now when I know better, I trust her because I always did and had no idea at all.

Now I'm the guy checking her phone and computer use constantly. Tracking locations, making anonymous calls to work, etc. Eventually I had to stop for my own sanity. However, it's another example of how profoundly it changed my character. I did a lot of things I’d normally never do. For five years her phone was locked. Never once tried to open it. Mine was always open. After four years I put a pin on it, just to prove a point. The point was lost.

I also feel unwanted, beta, and generally less of a man now. I find small victories sometimes. But despite me seeing the negative effects it's having, now more than ever I need to be reassured. If you have to ask, it doesn't work.

My only real advice is to find something and someone; something that comforts you, and someone who understands but won’t judge or push too hard. Music and a friend's ear are the only reasons I'm alive right now. Not to mention, someone who won’t encourage bad behavior like revenge, but will help you get answers if you need. It's a balancing act.

I try to hold in this daily struggle, because bringing it up all the time will kill us as fast as anything. Even this article, that has been therapeutic to a degree, is a risk that might unsettle the peace in our house. So should I hit delete? Ignore all I'm feeling, and my attempts to find others who can help, and need help? Should I act like I'm good? No, because anyone who gets mad at you for expressing the truth or who retaliates when you do isn't ever gonna be happy.

Bonus shit...

This should go without saying but pursue each other. Date. Treat it like a new relationship. Don't be lazy in being a man who wants a woman. You cant control them, but really you should see the same back.

*Also know, kids pick up on everything.

You’ll connect the dots. And you’ll learn more than you wanted.

This is a lot of heartache. You're learning what took me hundreds of agonized hours to learn. This is all the most potent bits at that. My point is, this one-sided story would have ended six months ago if there wasn't real love and devotion keeping me here. Love hurts, it's true of all love eventually. If you're gonna sign up for a beating, make sure they're worth it. In my case, I'm willing to die for this shit. And thats the sad truth.

That's all I got for now. I'm erratic in who I am these days. Even writing this was near impossible to focus on. I wish you luck friend. You’re not alone. It gets better. I wouldn't wish this on anyone, and before you do something dumb, you can always call me: [email protected]


About the Creator

Ray Bohn

Aspiring writer and Octonaut.

Author of horror novels "Pray For Punks" and "Slaughtering Shadows and Other Things I Thought Were Shadows". Available now in paperback and kindle at

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