Okay, everyone please gather round and find a beanbag on my imaginative therapy room floor space. Roll with it. I'm about to spill some tea on the eternal wisdom of relationships.
In particular, when to end them and what constitutes a red flag. You know, those relationship markers that signal something is deeply wrong but because we're comfortable and afraid of change, we ignore them. Yep, those ones. Ready? I'm not – but let's go ahead and unearth our emotional triggers for the greater good anyway.
The long and short of it? Cheaters are the biggest 'no-no'. There's a lot I'm willing to forgive in a relationship. But not that breach of trust. Nope. Don't believe me?
You're minding your own business, stupidly in love with Harry from down the road. He bought you flowers last week and always cooks for you. Life is good and you consider yourself safe and sound – it never even crosses your mind that he might not have been faithful.
Or equally, it could be the one that we really should have known better than to fall for. It's always the people we shouldn't have fallen for that hurt the most when they leave because it means you were right. But we can't help it. Love is all about those moments when you're minding your own business and then you realise your heart has gone on a romp about in someone else's bag. And there it goes! Nothing you or I can do about that. No sir.
But back to the emotionally turbulent matter at hand.
He's cheated. You hate the way it makes you feel and you break things off with him. But it's not as easy as that. The only reason it hurts so much is that you cared about him so much. Missing people against your will. Like it or not, your heart is still at their mercy. They may not even realise it, but that makes it even worse that people can keep such a casual, loose grip on all that tethers you to this mortal coil. I'm being dramatic but also, I'm not.
The issue of control is a short-lived one, simply because you ceded it immediately the second you fell for them. That's just the nature of love – you have to be willing to fall flat on your face and get your heartbroken for the price of love. Whether or not it's a fair trade, I couldn't tell you conclusively. Maybe it is; maybe it isn't. There's more to life than relationships but love itself as a mode of affection and connection is pretty much the sum total of life.
Confused? Don't be.
The thing with cheaters is that we have to teach them that what they do – while it may occasionally have reasons and excuses that track – can't be sustained. It's not right. End the relationship and pursue your new love if you must, but don't string along a relationship because it will end up hurting more parties than it should.
Maybe it's because we're all taught that we're the worst person in the room and that because – finally – one person loves us despite all our flaws, we believe that we have to love them above and beyond their toxic behaviour. That's not how it works. You don't owe anyone anything.
The right guy – who will treat you the way you deserve – is out there for you. There's no reason you should pressure yourself or push for what you aren't ready for.
Don't worry about what other people are doing around you.
They don't matter. Seriously, it's your life that you need to live – not theirs. You can't judge your success on their terms or constantly be comparing yourself to them because then you can never win.
Or feel satisfied. That will be because you are living your life by other people's timelines and stressing yourself needlessly over something over which you have little control. Emotions and the heart are liable at any given moment in time to do whatever the hell they want.
Therefore, it stands to reason that we are sort of wasting our time trying to fit into someone else's template.
Dump the cheater.
Know your worth.