finding freedom from the scars of infidelity
Infidelity is a painful experience to recover from with the person you imagined would be a trusting partner.
It can be completely gut-wrenching to the relationship and incredibly hard to heal from.
Some couples are able to slowly heal, rebuild trust and fall in love again.
And for some of us it is the ultimate betrayal where we can’t find trust again and subsequently end the relationship.
Experts like sex and relationship expert Esther Perel believe that sometimes infidelity can make relationships stronger in the end.
Personally I have scars around infidelity from a relationship that ended over five years ago.
It probably was the most impactful relationship I had in my early twenties.
What was most impactful and scarring was that she cheated on me.
We will call her, Taylor for this story.
Taylor was my first ever long-term relationship with a woman.
I met her in New York City at a well-established lesbian bar, Henrietta Hudson. We locked eyes from across the room and her boyish charm instantly had me hooked.
We slept together that night.
Months later she messaged me out of the blue when Obama got elected.
We went on several dates and shortly after committed to a relationship.
I had no clue what I was getting myself into.
But she was exciting and I felt a connection with her.
Many people knew her well in the New York City LGBT community.
She was outspoken, fun and adventurous.
I liked being by her side.
She made me feel special and I loved that.
We had great sex for a while.
We loved partying. We loved gambling.
We were what you would call a scene couple.
If you flipped through LGBT magazines you might find several photos of us at signature lesbian parties and events.
We also had a spiritual connection.
We would meditate together.
We went on a spiritual quest together and studied with international metaphysical teachers.
I think it was the one thing that really saved our relationship when everything else felt awful.
After four long years we finally severed our relationship completely.
Our relationship was a drug for me.
It was a rollercoaster of highs and lows.
Mostly lows. And mostly exhausting.
But when we were high… we were invincible together.
We were on top of the world and nothing could stop us.
I should have paid attention to the signs but I didn’t believe in my own strength.
Our fights were abusive.
Like get arrested — jail abusive.
It makes me sad to this day thinking about it.
She would disappear and come back in the morning.
I’d ask where she went.
And she would reply, “Oh I met a stranger at the bar and she let me sleep on her couch.”
It bothered me.
I always felt insecure and always wondered if she cheated on me. She would say I was acting crazy and that it was all in my head.
It’s funny our intuition can be so spot on and yet we will ignore it.
After our horrendous break-up mutual friends and people in the scene approached me.
They shared they knew she cheated on me multiple times and felt sorry for me.
They thought I knew.
I felt embarrassed, angry and betrayed.
Mostly I felt angry at myself for choosing to stay as long as I did.
Toxic relationships are not easy to break away from.
It was only once I sought help from a therapist was I able to begin to end our sick cycle.
It’s been over five years since we last spoke.
She’s moved on. I’ve moved on.
Her mother reached out to me recently congratulating me on my newborn.
The trauma of the infidelity is what I am left with.
I am still working on trust with my partner.
I get waves of anxiety when he goes out with close friends for dinner or drinks despite him being one of the most honest people I know.
Healing from infidelity is not easy.
Creating a new relationship with a different partner and learning to trust again is a milestone.
I am ready to make peace with the scars from this relationship.
I am ready to move forward and really heal.
I’ve always wondered what I would say to Taylor if I ever saw her again.
I would say…
I forgive you.
I am deeply sorry.
I wish things ended with love and respect.
I wish we had been more kind to each other.
Taylor taught me a lot about love, myself and sexuality and for that I will always be grateful.