In short, I'm going to, first of all, relieve everyone else of any misapprehension they might have been operating under that I'm going to be a cheater apologist. I'm not. Ladies, if your man crush Monday is a repeat offender, there's only one thing you can do.
Trust yourself enough to walk away. Don't settle. Send tweet.
You mind 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 mind your own business and then you realize 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 realize 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 dramatic, but also I'm not.
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.
You have to know your worth girls.
I know it's hard. It's alien, and it's a risk. You might be comfortable in your toxic relationship. Hell, you may even think you're happy. I don't want to discredit people's emotions en masse, but there is so much more out there in the world than we think there is. So much more that we deserve to experience. We don't deserve to get hurt every day. That's just not right.
We need to be better at recognizing that we deserve better than what we sometimes get. Often, we might be investing more in ourselves and putting our time on the line for a relationship that isn't being reciprocated in the same way. Also, we often feel guilt for thinking about stepping away from such relationships, as though we are withdrawing a service that we 'owe' another person. We don't owe people anything in this world, not inherently. Not if they're not giving us the same in return, it's just not emotionally sustainable. You end up expending and exhausting yourself and having nothing left for yourself.
If you are your partner's favourite person, their conduct with you should reflect that.
If not, then you should feel no guilt in exiting a rapidly progressing situation. As soon as it's toxic, you're in trouble, because it becomes harder and harder to extract yourself and your emotions.
You aren't selfish for leaving a relationship, even if there are other parties involved. Your life shouldn't constantly be on hold just because there are children involved, friends, or a contentious situation. If you're unhappy, you have to start to work on that straight away. Children of divorced parents aren't unilaterally worse off than those whose parents stayed together. Wouldn't you rather your parents were happy, even if that wasn't with each other anymore? How is living in a house with constant fighting or tension preferable to a more open, communicative environment? It's not.
Plus, having your heart broken isn't for nothing.
It's scary, certainly, but you can learn lessons. Indeed, you will realize, looking back on that relationship, that your heart was getting broken every day anyway.
Don't look for the one out of fear that they might be the only one.
And there you have it, a couple of consolatory ways to emotionally approach a breakup. It's so tough, and you won't feel better overnight. But these feelings and the way you feel now won't last forever. Try to think productive thoughts about what you've learned and even if it hurts, mistakes aren't reasons to never try.
Go and watch an episode of Gilmore Girls and have your girlfriends bring you a gallon of Ben & Jerry's.
I'll be thinking of you all.