After He Cheats

For Girls, Get Over It

After He Cheats

27 Comments 15 September 2009

cheatHave you ever had a partner cheat on you?

Here’s my story:

Smoke curling from the ashtray. Half empty glass of red. Cold rain soaking the window sills. Wrapped in my cashmere blanket. Tears mingling with apricot lip gloss. David Gray’s “We’re Not Right”. Hands shaking. How could he? How could I not have known?

The cheap panties on the floor. Him, startled by my barging in. Her, soothing him with “it’s ok” and a smug smile that shined in the darkness.  My pulling him into the bathroom, demanding what was going on. Him, “nothing”. My pulling at his boxers, looking for what? Any sort of evidence, I suppose. Him pulling away. Then walking away. Me following, “If you love me, you’ll come with me now.” His silence. Her soft laugh. Him walking toward her. My pulling his arm. Him pulling away. The stinging slap. Backing toward the door. Running down the stairs. Throwing up in the bushes.

I’ll never forget that night nor the hell I put myself through for 6 months after. Taking him back. The lies. The drama. The sleuthing. The abuse. The fear. The anger, sadness, embarrassment, pain. Drunken nights. And days. Endless cigarettes. The sickness. Convincing myself that he loved me. That it was my fault. That I would die without him. So I existed. I didn’t live. Or love. Or care. I existed. Wasting away, fueled by cigarettes, wine and caffeine. Indulging in promiscuity. Excusing the abuse. Drifting in and out of the reality I somehow allowed my pain to create.

But there was still hope.

The summer bloomed fresh and shiny that year. Glorious sunshine beamed into my room and woke me from fitful tossing and turning. Warm breeze whispered along my collarbone as I stood on the lawn. I had made it, somehow, through the winter.For the first time in a long time, I felt alive. It was fleeting, but it was real. And it gave me hope. It unclouded my vision. I was lucky to have the good fortune to move away, closer to my family, and start anew. The fresh and new start allowed me to regain the strength I had known as a little girl – the belief I could face anything. I began to nourish my body again with food. I quit smoking. I resumed yoga and’d like to say I had an “ah-ha” moment, but I didn’t. Somehow, in my soul, I just knew. So I moved forward, slowly. In time, I healed.

I struggled, but eventually pulled myself out of it. I walked. He stalked. Flowers at my door. Incessant calls to my cell, my home, my office. Showing up unannounced. Changed my number. Moved. Finally, it stopped.

It’s been over 6 years. I thought I was over it. I know I’m over him, I was over him that night. It’s the fear. The distrust. It’s stayed and haunted me. Most days, I don’t even think about it. But it creeps its way in and invades my inner calm. It starts as a low rumble and slowly takes over and soon, I’m that shaking, scared girl again, believing I’m not good enough and the new guy will certainly cheat. He’ll walk – run – at any time. How do I keep him? What can I do to be the perfect one? Near desperation sets in – I’m never good enough.

Am I scarred forever? Will I never trust? Even with the man who’s given me nothing but love? Or will I always wonder?

I ask myself a lot of questions and, at some level, I know I won’t ever have all the answers. I am certain of a few things though:

  • Loving yourself is the key to loving another – Never ever will you be able to fully open your heart until you can look inward and respect what you see. Spend some quality time with yourself. (You can start out with a trusted friend who knows the value of silence and work up to time alone if need be.) Figure out what makes you–just you–happy, excited, intrigued, and even sad. As you regain touch with yourself and discover that your emotions need not be controlled by others, the fear of connecting with a new person slowly fades.
  • Get over one habit by getting under another – I know the original phrase is a bit lewd, but the updated version makes a lot of sense! Here’s how to do it: Choose something you’ve always thought about doing and use the shake-up in your life to inspire your dedication to the new habit. Get up early every morning, work out every day, (great for feeling better!) learn a new language or meet up with friends for dinner every Thursday. It’s up to you! If you need to start with something very simple (I know I did) try washing the dishes ever night before you go to bed. Waking to an empty sink is a small reminder that yes, you actually did something useful the previous day. It helps!
  • Don’t expect everything to happen at once – Remember how quickly things fell together in your last relationship? Don’t expect such swift trust in the future. It’s okay to take time and really learn about others before you give them your trust. If your new man really wants to be with you, he’ll be okay with waiting for you to make certain that you want the relationship as well. The real keepers are good about waiting. =)

And what about forgiveness? Should I have simply forgiven and forgotten? That will have to wait for a future article.

Have you ever had a partner cheat on you? What was your response? Would you be willing to share one of the things you learned with me? I’d appreciate it!

Love, Emma

Photo: Stephen Brace, christyscherrer

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Note: Post updated 9.16.2009

Life After Divorce: Papers Not Yet Signed & She’s Already Dating My Friend!

Communication, Get Over It

Life After Divorce: Papers Not Yet Signed & She’s Already Dating My Friend!

23 Comments 27 August 2009

Waiting aloneI need your help!

Hi! I’ve (Seth) decided to begin answering relationship questions more often here on The Dating Papers. Some, like the one in this post, might fall into an area where you have experience and/or expertise. If that’s the case, please, please chime in with your thoughts and advice. All I ask is that you maximize positive support and minimize judgement. None of us know each other well enough to criticize effectively but our humanity should be reason enough to empathize as best we can.

I’ll post questions as they’re sent in (a few at a time if need be) in the hope that we can offer some real-life advice and support to those readers who take the time to reach out. I’ll contact the individuals who submitted questions as posts go live in the hope that they’ll take a moment to read and perhaps give some more context to their questions. Obviously, I can’t make any promises. I’m hopeful that this will be a positive experience for everyone involved. Thanks for your efforts to prove my hope worthwhile!

Now, for the question!
Joe wrote in:

I am currently comming out of a 7 year marriage, were the decision to end it was a mutual decision. We both have just come to the conclusion that we are not right for each other. Yet at the same time I can’t seem to get over things with her. We have not even signed the papers yet she is allready dating one of her friends. I don’t want her back, but I can’t seem to let go of the idea that she is dating someone else so soon and a friend of ours on top of that. Well ex friend for me now.

Hi Joe,

You’ve put 7 years of your life into a relationship with this woman. A mutual decision to formally end your relationship doesn’t lessen the time invested nor make it easy to see her moving on so quickly! I can’t imagine the brackish rush of emotions you’re experiencing at any given moment. What I can do is offer you a few simple thoughts and put your question to some readers who have experienced a divorce (perhaps recently) and can offer you some personal encouragement!

First, you’re in a time of great transition. Don’t expect to find a happiness solution overnight or grow despondent because you occasional grovel in despair or self-loathing. You’re most likely experiencing a lot of different emotions. Go ahead and feel them. Experience them. Then set them aside.

How can you do that? The best way to push away your unhappiness and confusion is to help others bring sense to their own lives. Volunteer for a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen. If you live in the city and know people who struggle to make ends meet, spend some time helping them! In helping others, it’s often that we discover the simplest way to help ourselves. It also seems to put things in better perspective when we are in close proximity to the suffering and strength of others. Get close to people who are struggling and work to help them.

At minimum, you’ll have less time to sit home and watch TV with your thoughts!

I could go on but I think I’ve given you a good starting point. I’d also like to let the readers sound in with their advice and support for you. Sound good? I hope so!

Reader, what advice do you have for Joe? I’m sending him an email shortly se he knows to swing by to read your answers. Thank you!

Note: Comment moderation is turned on. Once you’ve had a comment approved, subsequent comments will show up immediately. I apologize for the inconvenience and thank you again for your input!

Photo: Bichuas, cio de foto

4 Things I Should Tell You Before We Start Dating

Dating Advice, Get Over It

4 Things I Should Tell You Before We Start Dating

31 Comments 26 August 2009

by Coralie AmatoFeetOver the past three years, I’ve been through three break-ups. The first was my six year marriage. The second was an eight-month-long relationship with a long-lost friend. The third was a five month long relationship which came out of the blue. That last one was with someone I came to know in such a random way, but who touched me deeply. I’m fortunate to still have friendships with all of them, even my ex-husband, although that’s more for the sake of the child we had together.

I’m sure everyone wonders if there’s something they could have said or done that would have turned the tide and stopped the breakup. In reality, there’s probably no one thing that could have saved the relationship. After all, relationships rarely fall apart because of isolated incidents.

Since I’m still friends with all three of these people, I’m able to tell them what I think of the time I was with them. For instance, what I feel about how the relationship progressed and how it ended. Strangely enough, while in the midst of a relationship, we don’t always feel so free to actually say some of the things we want to say.

I wonder if there are things I should warn a future partner about before we even start dating. The good things about me are fairly obvious straight away—probably the things that cause the attraction in the first place—but the ‘bad’ things often don’t show up until further into the relationship. If I was to warn someone of those more negative aspects of my personality, these would be some of the things I’d say

1. I can be needy.

To paraphrase one of my favourite movies, I’m the worst kind of woman: I’m high-maintenance, but I think I’m low maintenance. Let’s face it: in general, women are more emotionally needy than men. You need to give me a steady supply of attention. It doesn’t have to be flowers every day. Just regular reassurance with little things such as a hug, a kiss on the cheek, or a touch in passing to let me know you care, or a text message to let me know you’re thinking of me – even if you’re not. How needy I become is inversely proportional to how much of those bits of attention you give me.

2. I hate being left in the dark.

When you go into your ‘cave’ to think about things, I need to know if it’s about me. I don’t need to know all the details, I just need to know if I should be worried.

3. I often think it’s my fault.

If discussions with friends prove anything, I suspect that most women are wired this way. For some reason, I think that whenever you’re in a bad mood, it must have been something I did. When you’re grumpy, I feel as though it’s my responsibility to make you feel better. I have to consciously try to stop myself thinking that I’ve caused you to feel however it is that you’re feeling. I have to convince myself that I don’t need to make you feel better. Perhaps it’s an evolutionary thing; to be successful at nurturing, we need to feel responsible for the emotional state of the people closest to us.

4. Sometimes I’m insecure.

This is another thing with which most women seem to suffer. I consider that I have quite a healthy self-esteem; a much healthier self-esteem than most woman have, in fact. But when it comes to relationships, my expectations are much higher and when those expectations aren’t met, I feel insecure – much more insecure than I’m used to feeling. I wonder if those expectations are too high, but then, if this is the person you’re thinking of being with for a long, long time, isn’t it right that your expectations of them are greater than that of a friend?

If I did tell someone these things about myself, would they run a mile before the first date even occurred? Is it really better to know in advance?The Kiss

Would you like to know these sort of things about someone you’re considering dating? Or would you prefer to just enjoy the pleasantness at the beginning and find out about the more difficult aspects of their personality as you get to know them? Are you with someone now whom you love to bits and pieces and you’d never want to leave them, but if you knew then what you know now, you might never have asked them out? If this was the case, you might have missed out on something wonderful, right?

Your thoughts? I’d like to know!

Photo credits: shareen, corie howell

4 Things You Should Know Before We Start Dating

I live in Brisbane, Australia. I’m a gadget freak, a greenie, a bit of a hippie Mum to one small boy, and a word geek. I try to be as environmentally friendly and ‘live and let live’ as possible – except when it comes to cockroaches.

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