Here are excerpts from an email I received from a single mom who writes, “I was cheated on.” The woman dated this guy for 8 years. Seven months ago, she found out he cheated on her for the last year of their relationship, basically living two lives. He ended up choosing to be with the other woman.
I asked him 5 times over the last year if he was seeing anyone else and he said no.
It’s been almost 7 months and every day I wake up with a punch in my stomach. When will this ever end? The feeling of worthlessness I have is overwhelming. He and I were together for 8 years and for him to treat me so poorly the last year of our relationship has made me feel worthless.
He knew I trusted him completely and he looked in my eyes and lied and knew I would believe him. He was my friend, my best friend and he made me feel safe. The person that made me feel safe destroyed me. I know life isn’t fair but where is the justice in any of this? I have to get over it, I have no choice. I can’t feel this sad and worthless for much longer. My friends are tired of my sadness and I feel 100% alone.
Per my therapist, I am doing all the things I am supposed to do. I haven’t missed a day of work, I work out every day, I see a therapist once a week, I have planned a vacation for my daughter and I, I have done things for myself. But as I type all of this, I want to cry. What else should I be doing?
My advice for “I was cheated on.”
My heart goes out to this woman. I have a lot to say. First of all, on The feeling of worthlessness I have is overwhelming, my question is, why does she feel worthless?? Because he cheated? Because he lied to her face and deceived her? Because he chose the other woman? This woman is anything but worthless.
It is time for her to look in the mirror and say, “I was very much in love and blinded by that. I didn’t want to see that he was cheating, so I didn’t. I wanted to see the good in him and believe it. Anyone in love would do the same thing.” In other words, it’s not her fault that HE cheated! She is full of worth! And now, she has the opportunity to be with someone who sees her worth and appreciates it.
My friends are tired of my sadness and I feel 100% alone. First of all, her friends (if they are real friends) love her and care for her, and are most likely just frustrated because they want her to move on. But she is the only one who can make the choice to move on. It’s different for everyone and there are a few factors involved when it comes to who moves on and who can’t:
1. How the other aspects of your life are going—work, hobbies, family, etc. If you are relatively happy or love what you are doing and how you are living your life, that helps.
2. Who you meet. Trust me, I think the first time this woman meets a man who she is even remotely attracted to, it will give her hope and she will find tremendous relief and joy that life goes on and that she is going to be just fine.
3. How spiritual a person is. If you believe in fate and that God loves you, and never stop doubting that there is a reason this happened and that you may never know what that is, which is OK, you might find peace and acceptance sooner.
4. Self-love, self-esteem, and self-confidence. The more of these things a person has, the more likely they are to accept the past and focus on the present. Appreciate every single day for life and health and little things that bring joy.
What else should I be doing? More of the same!! This woman is doing all the right things. She should try to be patient. A wonderful thing could be right around the bend. It could happen tomorrow. That doesn’t mean sit and wait for it, but rather taking pleasure in everything that comes her way every single day: the beauty of nature, a cute dog, a cute baby, a cute elderly person, chocolate, that perfect glass of pinot noir, self-actualization (saying “I’m really proud of myself for…”, the voice of your best friend, a hug from your mom or dad or sister. I could go on and on. When you focus on the present, you forget about what’s not optimal in your life and gratitude outweighs stress, bitterness and fear.
Lastly, I want to say one more thing, not just to her, but to anyone who has been cheated on. Everyone makes choices. The decision to get another girlfriend was his choice. He will have to live with it. Whether or not it works out for him remains to be seen. I personally would rather be this girl than the new girlfriend, because the new girlfriend will always have to live with the fact that her guy cheated on someone who loved him. I bet it feels kind of yucky, like you just settled. On the flip side, when this woman meets someone, her new relationship will be untainted. She can look forward to a guy who goes gaga over her. What fun!
Big big hugs to this woman. She is going to be just fine. But I hope that she will let herself out of her prison; free herself from toxic feelings of worthlessness, and instead focus on the beauty of our world and the people in it, her inner beauty, and the promise of a bright, happy road ahead.
Like this article? Check out, “Your Painful Breakup: 9 Things You Might be Feeling”
Cindy Reed Manuel
She really should read up on narcissistic abuse. This guy may fit the NPD diagnosis. If so, she may be dealing with trauma bonding and narcissist victim syndrome. Recovery from NVS is a whole different animal than recovering from the average betrayal/ breakup. If her therapist doesn’t recognize it, he/she could be doing more harm than good!
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