Are you the kind of person who wants to know why something happened, or do you just accept that it happened?
Being cheated on was the best thing to ever happen to me.
No, I take that back. My wife and kids, my family. That’s the best thing to ever happen to me. Being cheated on was the most important thing to ever happen to me. Without the latter, I would have never had the former.
This is being written from over fifteen years of perspective, mind you. I’m not trying to tell anyone currently going through hell, “Hey, you’ll be fine!”
(But you will be.)
I was emotionally raw and in therapy for two years. When everything first fell apart, I didn’t eat for two weeks, which resulted in a 35-pound weight loss.
(Eating right and exercising doesn’t have anything on heartbreak when it comes to losing weight.)
These thoughts all bubbled to the surface of my mind because of my friend Kennedy. We were in the middle of a discussion on failed relationships, and given the stance I was taking she made the comment, “This is a perfect example of a major difference between men and women. We tend to want closure, to understand, to talk about why everything ended. Men, not so much.”
Men do want closure, to understand why everything ended. But I think time and perspective is enough. Sometimes you don’t need to talk through anything. I don’t want to fall into a gender stereotype trap—men think this way, women think that way—I think it’s a people thing. Some people want to talk, while others just need to reflect.
I never got a reason from my ex; one day we were together, the next she was with “him” and telling me it was over. I haven’t talked to her since. I received no explanation, answer, or justification for her actions. Today, the “why” isn’t important to me. What happened is set in historical stone, and there’s nothing I can about it. So why would I want to nitpick reasons?
I took a long time off to heal. As I said, two years in therapy. But it was solid, inward-looking therapy. There was no distraction from the pain, no, “If you’re feeling down, I’ll prescribe a pill!” There was also no denying my involvement in the relationship; I wasn’t allowed to point fingers and lay the blame solely at her feet. I was asked why I chased after and remained with an emotionally-distant person for many years. I had to take accountability for my insecurities, my desires to please another at my expense.
Owning up to my responsibilities to both myself and a partner allowed my next relationship to be with an emotionally giving woman. That lasted several years, and though it didn’t work out it was a positive learning experience. After the infidelity, every new relationship helped teach me what to look for in a woman, and what kind of person would I work best with. Dating helped me fine-tune everything, to the point I eventually met my wife.
Though it is a cliché, the truth of the matter is that the woman who cheated on me afforded me the ability to be happy. It’s simplistic, yes, but sometimes the best answers are the easiest. I don’t need to have a discussion to find that ever-elusive closure, I’ve received it by way of love and family. Going back and looking for specifics would add nothing of value to my life.
To put it another way: some people want to know why something happened, others just accept that it happened.
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