I don't like sharing ridiculously personal details about my life online but recently, this subject has been irking me and I felt the need to write it down. I don't know how this is going to go, so hopefully you can make sense of my rambles. Let's talk personal and thank you if you take the time to read this. It's the first post I've ever written which has filled me with anger and sadness whilst writing so hopefully this works out okay.
When I was 16, my first boyfriend cheated on me. This was my first 'proper' boyfriend. I don't want to give said boyfriend any airtime but for the purpose of this blog post, I'm gonna have to a little bit. More than being about him though, this is more about how it made me feel and 6 years on, still makes me feel. Being cheated on, affected me both positively and negatively and I guess that's kind of what I want to discuss within this blog post.
I put my all into everything I do and age 16, first boyfriend, I felt like I gave him everything really. It was one of those, oh my gosh I want to be with you forever moments (I certainly didn't and I'm glad I wasn't but aged 16, I guess you become smitten very easily!). 16 sounds so young and so trivial but I guess I'm trying to say that this relationship, when I was 16, actually really did affect me and change me as a person. As a 16 year old, I was care free, I'd never really thought about boys until this boy.
Getting Cheated On:
The word 'cheated on' sounds so immature but that's what it is, someone is your boyfriend and exclusive to you and they betray your trust behind your back with someone else, whether that's physically, emotionally, via text, in person etc. It's just not really okay at all. We were together for almost 3 years and throughout that period, I was cheated on more than 5 times. I kept going back. Why? I was 16, I thought I was in love and I wanted to prove people wrong really. Will I ever go back to someone who cheats on me? No. Everyone told me, do not go back there, you're an idiot, I lost pretty much all my friends and even family members were disgusted that I'd gone back to him. Going back every single time was the worst thing I could have possibly done, I felt like a punch bag and every time I found out he'd done it again, I felt like I'd been stabbed. I don't even know how I woke up some mornings after it had happened. I was in genuine pain. I always say though, you have to be the strong one who gets out of it, it doesn't matter how many times people tell you, you have to be the one who does it for yourself (eventually I got out thank god).
Up until the age of 18 (and actually, still suffering some weeks now - long story), I suffered from domestic abuse (something I may eventually go into when I have the courage), not from him but from someone else who was supposed to love me. I guess because I was used to being a punch bag, it felt normal to be cheated on all the time and I thought it was okay to keep going back to that. Nope, it's really not okay. Life is for living, you should be happy and no-one should ever make you feel less than 100% amazing.
Not only was I cheated on by the person I gave everything to, when there was nothing wrong with the relationship in the first place, but also, this person cheated on me with not one, but two of my best friends. Ridiculous, I know. Did I forgive the girls? No. Did I forgive him? Yes. For some reason, the girl always 'forgives' the guy but never the girls. It's always the girls fault. In this case, deep down, I knew it was him in the wrong but I still held it against these girls and hated them for it, even though, it was actually all his fault. Let me tell you, if a single girl goes near your boyfriend, yes, it is very bad but, he is your boyfriend and therefore, he should primarily be to blame. If someone is your partner/boyfriend, they should remain loyal to you. End of. If they can't be, they shouldn't be with you. Friendships were destroyed and I found it difficult at this point to even trust my closest of friends. I felt like I had been stabbed by pretty much everyone.
I once read a quote that said, once is a mistake, twice is a choice. True in many aspects but where cheating is concerned I just don't think you can ever be forgiven and personally, I don't think it's a mistake. I don't care if you were drunk (in this case, he wasn't, he was just 'being a lad') and I don't care if 'she threw herself at you'. If you cheat, you're responsible. When someone cheats, it's usually because they're very unhappy or, just trying their luck I guess. We'll never know. This guy, was trying his luck and boy was he lucky because he got away with it, over and over again. We weren't unhappy, as far as I was concerned, things were absolutely brilliant and we had everything, but, he was a young boy with female attention and not a very big conscience. I thought we were in love, clearly we weren't. At the time I thought that anyway. They're certainly right though when they say everything happens for a reason and a struggle is a lesson learnt because boy did I learn my lessons from this.
Finally, I broke out of this volatile, disgusting relationship. It sounds so stupid talking about this now as a 22 year old because I was 16 when it all begun, but actually, 16 is the time when you really start to learn about yourself and grow up. I was impressionable and things really mattered to me back then. I took everything to heart. I'd say 16-18 for a female is quite a prime period in life and I think I'm proof that if something happens between those ages, it does have the ability to affect you and stick with you sadly.
Since then, I have had two more boyfriends, both long term and what I thought were serious. Both were the loveliest boys who would never have done anything to hurt me but I spent the next 4 or so years after being cheated on constantly feeling like I was being cheated on again. It was crazy when I look back. These boys weren't going to hurt me but I had these constant guards and walls up almost making myself unloveable. I'd turned from carefree to constantly on edge. Being cheated on honestly turned me into a nightmare, I felt physically sick if the smallest thing happened because it triggered what happened to me in the past. I guess I had been conditioned to always be expecting the worse because of the experiences from my first ever boyfriend.
Now? 4/5 years on? For the first time in my life, I feel okay. It's taken at least 4 years and two more boyfriends to actually be able to trust someone. The other day, my confidence was completely knocked again and my family had to remind me: not everyone is like the first boyfriend. Not everyone is going to do that. It's really hard when you've been punched emotionally so many times to be able to trust again but it will come. Nowadays, I tend to look for the quickest way out the minute I see any kind of negative signal because I am so petrified of getting cheated on behind my back again. It's crazy really. I look at men so differently now because of this one person (don't worry, I know that they're not all the same).
Positives and Negatives:
As I said, this is not a blog post dedicated to the first boyfriend, it is a blog post completely about my feelings and how they've helped to shape me.
The positives of getting cheated on? (If any). If you read my blog a lot, you'll know I try to make a positive out of every situation. I'd say, it made me a lot stronger. It made me feisty (Mum always says being feisty is a positive thing!!!). It made me stand up for myself. It made me realise I will never, ever let anyone walk all over me again. For a while, it made me be care free, it made me not want to care. But deep down? I am a caring person, I wear my heart on my sleeve and I absolutely hate it. I fall too quick and too easily and I am always petrified (because of boyfriend number 1) that actually, someone is going to come along and destroy that, so I guess that makes it a negative. The way I see it though, I'd rather be over-cautious to avoid ever going through this again so I guess having walls up isn't always a negative.
The negatives of getting cheated on? Feeling like you've been stabbed when you find out. Feeling completely insecure. Constantly asking myself: What is wrong with me? Am I ugly? Is my body not good enough? Was I not giving him enough? Maybe I need to go on a diet. Maybe I need to work out more. Not being able to trust anyone, even my friends, I even questioned best friends and lost trust in them. Lack of confidence, always.
So what am I getting at here? In the words of Rihanna (and I don't think I have ever sworn on my blog before so I apologise in advance) 'don't let the b*stards get you down'. Seriously. Don't. Don't you dare let anyone make you feel worthless, make you lose confidence or make you feel like you're not good enough. You are good enough. I am good enough. We are all good enough. You just have to find the right person who appreciates you and loves you for who you are. I was with the wrong person and just because he was bad? It doesn't mean every single other one is bad, so don't punish them all. I cannot explain how hard it is to trust anyone but deep down, I know they're not all bad. Never change for anyone and never feel like you have to change for anyone. I did it, I tried to be more like the girls he cheated on me with; she wore black nail varnish and had bleach in her hair so I did the same. Looking back? I was a complete idiot. I don't want to say I'm glad it happened to me because I'm not. It well and truly affected me but I am happy that finally, I have dealt with it and know that it was not me in the wrong, I do not need to change to be more like other girls and I deserve to be appreciated. If someone doesn't appreciate you? Walk away. I know it isn't as simple as that, believe me. But emotional scarring can take a long time to heal and I promise, like me, you can find the power to let go of the tight rope.
Sorry about this negative ramble on a Wednesday evening. I really hope it helps at least one person out there but more positively, make you realise that YOU ARE AMAZING and NEVER let anyone tell you any different. It feels so good to be happy now. Finally! I spent so long feeling embarrassed that I was cheated on but I feel so proud now that I am able to write about this and have come out feeling more confident and stronger. If someone knocks your confidence? Build it right back up again and walk away with your head higher than ever before. You got this!
Lots of love, Em x
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