submission fifty-five (55)

Your Age: 21-30

Length of Relationship : 6 - 10 years

How long ago did the betrayal occur?: A while ago - 6-12 months

How did you learn about it?: I learned about it through one of the higher ups at my company. My partner at the time had been caught by the cameras in our break room having relations with my former best friend and coworker months prior. Just so happened that this manager had been looking through old footage for something unrelated and stumbled upon that.

Describe how you are feeling now, or how you felt when you found out.: I am feeling ok about it all now, but I am a much different and less trusting person than I was then. I thought that I had been jaded by life before, but I feel a lot more cynical now. At the time, it was earth shattering. Everything stopped when I saw the video, and I immediately confronted them in person. I want to say that I felt strong in those moments, but I didn't. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my adult life and I didn't eat for almost a week afterwords.

How have your normal habits changed (eating, sleeping, etc)?: At the time I didn't sleep well if at all, I almost stopped eating entirely as well for a long time.

What are you using to cope with your emotions? Is it working for you?: I've since moved on and have a new partner and they help a lot, but that doesn't change my overall cynicism. Fortunately I do actually trust this new partner and am happy that I no longer have to live a life always wondering if they're doing something behind my back. I suggest giving yourself some time to grieve and then getting back to old hobbies, and if you're up to it seeing some people (while being upfront about your past). It can help to get away from toxic people and see the world for what it is.

What are your next steps?: None at this point. I am over my ex, but I would be lying if I said I feel completely ok with what happened because I do not. While I have moved past the initial emotional trauma and grief, I still have many financial and social struggles that resulted directly from the actions of those people in my past and I still actively hate them for what they did to me.

What emotions have come up for you as you've been going through this? (select all that apply):Shock/Disbelif, Anger, Sadness, Alone, Afraid, Voiceless, Replaced, Betrayed, Devalued, Invisible, Shame/Ashamed, Cornered/Forced

What emotions are missing from the list?: Suicidal thoughts, worthlessness.

What advice would you give to others in this situation?: Move on. Don't give them a second chance, they will not change--they will just get better at cheating. I gave my previous partner many chances when I caught him on dating sites and all it did was escalated years later when I least expected it. I could have saved myself a lot of time and misery by just ending it when he was mentally straying. Living a life of paranoia isn't worth it.

What else would you like to share?: These events will have changed you drastically, whether they be for the better or worse just know this--it was not your fault and they're the ones with deficiencies. They will try and play the victim, or even the hero, but deep down they know they are not. YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN THEM. If you didn't cheat then there's a chance you will find someone who respects you and your relationship as well. You are worth it.