Finding love after being cheated on? Yes, it’s possible
Kendrick Lamar once said, “I’d rather you trust me than to love me,” and we agree! Love can be blind, but trust shouldn't be. We can fall in love with someone that we don’t personally know (coming from a K-pop stan), but trust is something that needs to be earned. The presence of trust implies the possibility of it being broken, which makes it valuable beyond words. So when someone we love breaks our trust, how do we move forward?
We got in touch with Grace (20), Marielle (22) and DJ (27). One thing these strangers have in common is they have grown to love again after being cheated on.
Wonder: If you’re comfortable, kindly give a brief background of what happened.
Grace: We were together for approximately two years. I found out [he cheated on me] multiple times, but the first one [I found out] through his phone. He was lying [about] where he was and who he was with, but I gave him a chance to change.
Marielle: It was [after] almost a year when I found out. It was through a friend of the girl he cheated with. I confronted him about it and he eventually confessed. He also admitted cheating with the same girl months before. No wonder why our relationship was falling apart for the past months. I broke up with him immediately but, because of my strong attachment, I allowed us to be together again after a month. We tried, but things just got more hostile and painful, and he eventually gave up.
DJ: Our relationship was about six years. It was kind of an on-off relationship. When it was hitting a rocky state, she started going out frequently with some friends I had never met. A few months after we decided to part ways, she and one of the friends [from that group] started dating and, not long after, became official. That’s when I thought that something was already “there” during the time we were together [and was confirmed later on]. I gave her the benefit of the doubt, though.
W: How did the cheating affect your life? What was the healing process like, and what were the steps you took to overcome it?
Grace: The healing process wasn’t easy. I used to isolate myself because I thought I didn't have anyone else but him. I was pushing people away and I stopped going to places we used to go, and it affected my everyday routine—to the point where I would cry out of nowhere.
Marielle: I had a really tough time healing from all the trauma and pain, especially since we broke up during the pandemic. My bad habits started to add up—eating unhealthily, [not getting enough] sleep, drinking and isolating myself. My academics were also affected. I was already struggling mentally, so it worsened my condition.
I was eventually diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and clinical depression and had to take medications and talk to my therapist regularly. It really took a lot of time, support and love from my friends and family to help me realize my worth again. The therapy and the push from my family and close friends were a huge impact to my choice of standing up again. Ultimately, how I responded to what happened was all up to me.
DJ: I’m the feel-it-all kind of guy now. I cry my heart out and feel all the pain in one go, so that I can start moving on already. But, of course, it’s not that simple. It’s a process. One thing I learned is that, after crying everything out, you have to distract yourself to avoid remembering. I started going to the gym and biking. I moved to a condo and lived alone for the first time. I even tried to be a coffee aficionado! Not to mention, all of these happened during the lockdown! Extra challenging.
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W: Do you think people have to be healed completely before entering a new relationship?
Grace: I don’t think we can ever be healed completely from our past experiences. But it depends on the person if they are ready to commit [to a new relationship]—as long as they’re ready and sure that they won’t use their traumatic experiences against their partner.
Marielle: I personally think it’s important to heal completely before entering a new relationship. I learned that getting to know yourself and learning to love yourself more is necessary before you decide to give your energy and time to another person. You can’t give what you don’t have.
“I learned that getting to know yourself and learning to love yourself more is necessary before you decide to give your energy and time to another person. You can’t give what you don’t have.”
DJ: Some people can help you to heal completely. It’s a risk going in a relationship not completely healed, especially for the other person, but you just have to be honest—with yourself and your partner. And remember, it’s normal to long for the feeling of love again, but that feeling is not limited to being in a relationship.
W: How did that experience change you?
Grace: As someone who entered a new relationship years after it happened, I was able to be a stronger person. I am no longer the person who would beg for the other to stay. Instead, I [know] my worth more than anything else.
Marielle: It made me recognize that I am whole alone, and that there are people out there who can and will choose to grow and love me better. I’m more independent and confident in myself.
DJ: I realized that I should value myself. During that time, I focused on myself—my health, my work, my talents. I did all this not to show that I'm “winning the breakup” or that I'm doing better in life; I did those things for myself and, honestly, those new ventures and risks I took made me happy. Know your worth and love yourself. Every setback is a set-up for a greater comeback!
“Know your worth and love yourself. Every setback is a set-up for a greater comeback!”
RELATED: Debunking Breakup Rule Myths
W: What was the defining moment when you realized that you were ready to love again?
Grace: When I did not think about him anymore, when I loved myself more and when I took care of myself more. I choose myself and my inner peace at the end of the day.
Marielle: Besides no longer being triggered by any mentions of cheating, it was recognizing that I am confident on my own and capable of taking care of myself more without depending much on others.
DJ: It was when I established myself again and knew my worth. It was when I realized that I deserve better, let alone know what I deserve. That’s what we all hope for, right? To get the love we think we deserve. I didn't go looking for love, it just came. Right person at the right time, I guess.
W: How difficult was it to adjust to a new relationship?
Grace: It was difficult at first, but being with the right person made it easier. Being treated right made me think that [taking a risk on love is] not bad at all.
Marielle: It wasn’t so difficult to open up again; it was more difficult to ease into my partner’s dynamics. I did not trust anyone so easily anymore, and I was keen on doing everything by myself that I had to relearn to share a part of me with my partner and involve him more with what I do.
DJ: Honestly, it was challenging, but adjusting should be minimal—it’s accepting and learning [about the person] that makes a healthy relationship. Be who you are, and love the way you love and want to be loved. Being who you are is already the start of having an honest relationship. Yes, we change for the people we love, but during the “getting to know” stage, be who you are! Stop saying “I like that, too!” even if you haven’t heard of it before. I guess it’s a take-it-or-leave-it kind of thing!
“Be who you are, and love the way you love and want to be loved.”
W: What makes trying to love again worth it?
Grace: Just having someone to share my day and life with [makes] it worth it. Getting to experience life, having the chance to travel, trying new things and discovering who I am whether we’re with each other or not makes it all worth it.
Marielle: It’s having the hope that love will always be out there. Once you are patient enough to find it, keep, grow and build it. It adds more meaning and purpose to your life.
DJ: It’s fun to love! It’s worth loving again, especially if you feel that you’re learning more about yourself through another person. That [caring] feeling and the growth that comes with it [are foundations] of a healthy relationship. Don’t look for someone to fix your problems, but someone who will be with you as you face them. Look for a partner.
W: What is your message to people currently going through what you went through?
Grace: If you think it's the end, it's not! Love yourself and know that you are worth more than that person. It's okay to be sad and to cry—what you feel is always valid. But always stand back up and know your worth. There is so much to look forward to in life, and there are so many things in store for you. Hugs!
Marielle: Healing is not linear. Take your time to reflect and feel your emotions, but don’t forget to look forward and be excited about what the future has to offer. There is time and there are many people, experiences and things for you to encounter.
DJ: Don’t rush! We all have our timelines. Rushing into things often ends in disaster. Take your time to get to know yourself better, love yourself and value yourself. Always remember these three things:
- It’s hard to love others if you don’t love yourself
- It’s hard to value others if you don’t value yourself
- It’s hard to have a healthy relationship with others if you don’t have a healthy relationship with yourself
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Try to be guided by love, not blinded by it. Take care of yourself and always remember that somebody loves you, and you should love you.
Words Kyla Villena
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver