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Things You Learn After Being Cheated On

Dear Cheater, You Never Got the Best of Me

To the Ex Who Cheated,

This is a letter I never thought I'd be able to write. When I first found out that you cheated on me, I was devastated, sad, and angry for a long time — and I didn't even know what a time-consuming and painful journey I would have to face. Most importantly, I never thought I would be able to overcome it and confront you as the stronger, happier person I am today.

After your best friend confessed to me that you were cheating, I asked you a direct and simple question: why? The (seemingly) perfect relationship we had formed over a year's worth of time, the amazing trips we enjoyed together, all the laughs, the movie nights, the ups, the downs, but most importantly, the bond that we had formed . . . I couldn't believe you would jeopardize throwing that all away. But you couldn't even answer my question. You had no idea why you cheated, and you never even tried to explain.

Your cheating never defined me.

This was the hardest part for me. There were so many loose ends, and I wanted them tied up. I wanted closure. I wanted to understand. Not knowing your reason for cheating got the best of me for a long time. I used to rack my brain for something I did wrong, spending hours thinking about whether or not I made you want to cheat. I took it personally, and my self-esteem took a serious hit because of it. I often criticized myself for not seeing the warning signs. What brought me the most pain was the way your cheating had a direct influence on the way that I began to see myself.

After I made it through the tougher times, though, I started to spin all the consequences your cheating had on me in a positive light. In a way that not many would understand, I learned some really hard lessons that nothing else but the experience of being cheated on could have taught me. These lessons made me into the stronger and wiser person I am today.

In the new relationships I entered after you cheated and we broke up, I found myself a little more cautious, but never refused to trust another person — even though you had shattered my trust, I was still confident that not everyone would hurt me. Because of you, I also had the ability to recognize all of the red flags of a cheater. I was able to walk away from the men that were like you and stay in healthy relationships with the ones who were honest and loyal.

My favorite lesson of all was learning that I could still find happiness and love after having been cheated on by you — I realized your cheating never defined me in the first place, nor would it define the happy life I would keep on living without you in it.

The one thing I want you to always remember is that you never, ever got the best of me.

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