Sunday, October 24, 2010

Very Important Advice I Hope You Never Need

I feel a lot better than I did yesterday so I'm going to offer some good life advice. For the past month and a half I have been having trouble with my now ex girlfriend. Turns out she had been cheating on me with another guy for about a month. She lied to me, to him and to everyone we both knew. I won't get into details because I'm not vindictive, but I will state that it was by far the most painful thing I had ever gone through.

It is relative to this blog because it was long-distance. Tech really made the separation attrition a lot more bearable. Skype, Google Talk, AIM and even other less known protocols let us talk basically every day without missing a beat.  However, the distance really makes it easy to hide actions like cheating especially if the other person acts "busy" with other things. Long distance requires that you explicitly trust the other person and when things like this happen it can cut very deep.

I wouldn't wish this kind of thing on anyone, even my most disliked adversaries but I know it happens.  Here's a method that worked for me:

1) After you learn about it get in contact with a very level headed friend before you do anything. They'll keep you from doing anything you might regret when you're overcome with emotion.
2) Stay calm. This can be the hardest step of any of them because if you're the one being cheated on, you have some very justified anger and sorrow. There will be time to deal with it later.
3) Confrontation. This step can be optional but in my case I needed the closure. In hindsight I wish I could have done it in person, but you don't always get to choose the place and time. Try to keep it civil, my recommendation is to not involve the new person, but if you have to do not get overzealous.
4) Don't try to salvage the friendship. This one hurts a lot. The other person might want to stay friends, but  you shouldn't. Cheating is a complete destruction of trust, and there is at least some level of trust between friends. Or at least right now, don't try to fix anything.
5) Cut off contact. Another hard one. You might be curious as to what they are doing or what is going on but don't look into it. It prolongs the pain that you feel because it keeps you from truly dealing with what you've lost.
6) Delete everything. (Trust me, you're much better off) If you can't bring yourself to delete everything then you can do what I did: place everything into a password-secured file and give it to a friend, out of your reach. Give yourself real barriers, make it hard for you to get. Eventually you can delete everything when you're truly ready.
7) Surround yourself with your friends. I'm normally a loner and introvert; I like to deal with things on my own but in this case I needed to be surrounded by people that care. Not everyone is suited for this, but you'll know who you want around you as you deal. Talking about it does help.
8) Don't do anything you might regret. Think about every decision you make and the consequences of every action, but do try to get your stuff back.
9) Move on. Cheaters will cheat again. If they cheat with you they'll cheat on you too. If the other person is truly remorseful then give it a lot of time, months and months. If he/she cares that much then they can wait.  In my case she wasn't remorseful so it made it easier to move on.

Remember: In most cases if they do this to you they weren't worth your time. Find yourself someone who can really care about you and appreciate you for who you are. Don't give in to guilt and do what you need to.