When two people come together with the express purpose of being committed exclusively to each other, infidelity strikes hard and deep. It makes the person cheated upon doubt everything about themselves. Their bodies, their personalities, their entire beings. The first thing that happens is you wonder what you did wrong. But you didn't. You did nothing wrong. You did not go out of your relationship willingly looking for another partner. No matter how fat you are, no matter if your sex life sucked, no matter if you're the smartest pea in the pod or the ugliest thing that walked. You did nothing wrong. You are responsible for your relationship, not your partner's choice to cheat on you.
Being cheated upon breaks you like little else can. It makes you doubt every moment of your relationship, not only with the person who did it but for other's that come in the future. It is not the death of my marriage that got me as much as my loss of faith and trust in men. To be hurt in that way takes a lot out of you. It doesn't help that people expect you to get over it or to be flippant about it. Or that they say it's not a big deal, or that it made it easier for you to leave the man. It is a big deal. And it doesn't make it any easier to walk out on your relationship. It makes you sit on the toilet floor and cry for hours. That's the truth and the sooner you accept it the better.
Yet I have met in the last year, men, who have helped my process of healing to begin. Men who have demonstrated extreme kindness and thoughtfulness. Men who have walked away from temptation. Men who have acknowledged the deep pain infidelity can inflict.
It's a long way off yet but I can see the beginnings of the scab on my wound. I'm still too scared to be in a relationship but I feel like I may be able to trust again. To give freely. To not look over my shoulder at every turn of a relationship. I have learned to raise my standard and have found men who meet the new standard. The scars years of infidelity left on me may never heal completely, yet I hope they won't overshadow my view on love and relationships either.