There was a time in my life when I was in a relationship and I was extremely unhappy. I had been with my boyfriend for an extremely long amount of time and due to the fact that I was young, I was too naive and immature to realize that being unhappy is a perfect reason to leave. But, being so young, I thought that leaving was “not the answer.” Instead, I looked for what I felt was missing in my relationship with other people and in places.
My boyfriend and I were together for six years—throughout high school and then for part of our college careers. We were each other’s best friends; we did everything together. If we weren’t at school or at work, we were together. We stayed over each other’s houses virtually every night, we texted all day long, we couldn’t make big decisions without consulting each other first. We were each other’s “everything.” But, eventually, we stopped holding hands, we stopped kissing, we stopped being intimate with each other altogether.
Before I knew it, my six-year relationship had become a close friendship that I did not know how to live without. My boyfriend had become my best friend, but, so much so that it had come platonic—we were no longer involved in a fiery romance, but instead, basic friends who wanted to be close to each other. We still laughed the same, we still had the same fun—but I stopped and realized, I couldn’t remember the last time we had even made out with each other. We were young—young—in college, in our 20s. There was no reason we couldn’t be all over each other—having wild, youthful, intimate fun.
I ended up looking elsewhere to fulfill my desires. What started out as a casual fling, turned into a regular booty call and I became infatuated with the idea that I was living a double life.
Looking back, I regret all that had transpired. I hurt not only myself but, also, everyone around me. I had to look my best friend in the eye and let him know that I had completely tarnished his trust. I had to look my parents in the mirror and let them know that all of their life lessons had fallen on deaf ears. I had to live with the fact that I was, in fact, a cheater. Throughout my life, I had always talked poorly about women who weren’t strong enough to leave before they had decided to cheat. I had watched TV shows, screaming at the protagonist who had done the dirty deed. I had always thought of myself to be better than this.
When things got out, I lost a lot of friends. Some of my best friends—the ones who were supposed to be my “ride or dies,” they decided that being friends with someone who cheats is not a good look. They decided that they couldn’t trust me around their boyfriends. Some of them said that I was disgusting, others called me a whore.
Truth be told—I have regrets. I have tons of regrets. I wish I had broken things off with my boyfriend sooner. I wish I hadn’t gone out and started an affair behind his back. I wish I kept my affair to myself and not told people I thought I could trust.
But, at the end of the day—my mistakes were my mistakes. They weren’t my friend’s mistakes, and it wasn’t their place to judge me. My affair, my cheating, and my mistakes had to do with me, my boyfriend, and the person I cheated with. They had nothing to do with the dozens of people who decided to spread my business around. It had nothing to do with the friends who dumped me like a bad habit, after 15 years of friendship. It had nothing to do with anyone else but me.
I made the mistake. I did the deed. It was my place to deal with it. It was my mess to clean.
The fact that people in my life, those who were closest to me, chose to leave me high and dry showed me a valuable life lesson. Although I was someone who made a mistake, the mistake opened my eyes to people’s true colors. Something that was my burden to bear became a silver lining to see who was really there for the long haul and who was there for a temporary season.