“Once a cheater, always a cheater”
It’s possible you’ve heard this saying a few thousand times in your lifetime (possibly even with a “giiiiirlfriiieeennndd” on the end) and in some cases, it’s probably accurate. Someone breaks our heart by running around on us, and because we’re so broken up about it, we write them off as some despicable nothing who doesn’t deserve our time, effort, or love. And that’s probably accurate as well.
I’ve cheated on a girlfriend and I’ve had girlfriends cheat on me. If you’re in more than one relationship in your life, it’ll probably happen to you some time or the other (unless you only date good, wholesome people, I suppose…).
To be cheated on carries a pain of betrayal that few situations can match. You’ve placed your love and trust in this other person, and though you think they’re fully committed, they sneak behind your back and are getting it on with some other dude/chick. It hurts and it hurts big.
In addition to the pain, it can be extremely hard to learn how to trust again. Because you’ve been betrayed in the past, you can treat your new relationship as if it’s an offspring of your past; constant check-ins and questions about where they’ve been and who they were with are not-so-subtle hints that you’re not that trusting just yet. Being able to trust someone new after we’ve been so effectively burned in the past is not an easy thing to do. Trying to trust someone when we “know” that we’re just going to get hurt again can make us feel like we’re going crazy. And at their basis, those feelings and hesitations are just us trying to protect ourselves from being crushed again. We feel that type of protection is vital.
Yet, when we approach a new relationship with the same mindset in which we’ve left the old one, we automatically handicap our new relationship and point it toward failure. First and foremost, we shouldn’t even begin a new relationship until we’ve completely healed from the ending of the last one. If not, we just end up dragging all of our baggage and insecurities into the new relationship and sentencing it to death from the start. A new relationship will not heal us from an old one. We have to do that on our own (and with God’s help, naturally) before starting anything new.
Once that’s happened, it’s absolutely vital that we approach our new relationship with a slate clean of hesitations and an unwillingness to trust. There’s no harm in going slow and allowing this other person to earn our trust, of course, but we must be willing to offer it at some point. Otherwise, we don’t have a relationship—we have an expiration date. It isn’t our new love’s fault that our old love did us wrong, and it’s irresponsible and unfair to hold them accountable of such.
Personally, I don’t believe that old saying about cheating is true. I believe a person can feel the failure of a relationship because of their wayward ways and rectify their behavior so that it doesn’t happen again (I know I did). But when we hold onto that betrayal, to that pain of a past love’s cheating, we are only cheating ourselves out of something wonderful in the future.
Yes, it takes time and yes, it takes work. But forging a new relationship with someone wonderful without any harm or hesitation from our past causing an issue is the beginning of something truly special that we can cherish.
Don’t let being cheated on cheat you out of something good.