Way back in the long ago, I was in a relationship where my fiancé cheated on me. Lots and lots of times. He wasn’t discrete. But it took me a while to find out. And when I did, he certainly wasn’t apologetic. He expected me to just accept it. In fact, the last thing he ever said to me was, “If you loved me, you would.” The last thing I ever said to him was, “You’re right.”
That’s dramatic, and truthful, but not completely correct. Because it wasn’t about whether I loved him or not. It was about whether I loved me.
You see, we didn’t have an open relationship. We weren’t intentionally polyamorous. So it hurt.
I thought I could trust him. I thought I was safe. I thought I was respected, treasured and special. None of these things were true, and I was crushed. I was humiliated because I had been fooled AND betrayed.
And I vowed, as one does, never to feel like that again.
But there was a time, honestly not soooo long ago, where I felt shades of those same feelings creep in. Not as strong, but it was familiar – the humiliation, the lack of trust, the disrespect, being taken for granted, being strung along.
And I realized that I had been staying in the situation for a while. It wasn’t a romantic relationship and no one else was actually cheating on me, so it took me a minute to figure out that I was cheating on myself.
I was cheating myself because I put up with it. I stayed in the victim position even after I realized that the situation wasn’t right for me. It didn’t honor me. I didn’t honor me, and so I wasn’t being who I wanted to be. I wasn’t being my best self for me or anyone else.
I decided that it wasn’t about blaming or shaming myself for what happened, but I was just not willing to stick around for it. I came up with my exit strategy and made sure I was okay through the process.
I want to be honest with myself and be a person I can trust to have my own back. If I am treasured and special and loyal to myself, I can be the same for others. And ironically, that’s when I can be more open to others, too.
So I made a different vow this time, one that I can actually keep. If I notice these feelings of betrayal, my first question will be: how am I cheating myself? My second question is: If I love myself, what will I do about it?
In the meantime, remember these things: You are loved. We are all loved. Let’s all be kind. And in all things – progress, not perfection!
Love and light,
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