“Why did you stay after he cheated?”
Uh. Wow. A question I had never been asked so directly before.
I had to stop and think for a second before I answered. Even still, I don’t believe I answered it fully. So.. I’ll answer it here.
I never believed I was a woman that would stay after getting cheated on. I always thought I would be the kind of woman that would be strong enough to walk away. The kind of woman that knew her worth and value. The kind of woman that would never settle for second best. In my mind, that was the woman I was.
And in my mind, I thought the person I was with knew I was that kind of woman too.
But, the moment it happens you literally don’t know what kind of woman you are. Not truly.
The signs of cheating were there very early in our relationship. But I think at that time, the relationship held no value to me. It was early, we were young and there was like no HARD proof of unfaithfulness. It was always he say, she say. And I always believed what he said. I was that kind of person. If you tell me your truth, I’ll believe it. I don’t question or second guess it.
Besides, this was the person that loved me. Why on earth would he lie to me of all people???
So, four years into the relationship when there was cold hard proof that infidelity had taken place, I initially thought I was that woman I believed I was.
I was done. It was over. I was never going to look back.
But then.. I had a moment to process. I had invested FOUR years into this relationship and given everything I had. Money, time, my body, my heart, my future. Everything I had to give was invested into this man. My happily ever after that I had painted for the public had been tainted. I was embarrassed. I was devastated. I was broken.
And in my mind.. I wasn’t going to lose everything I had worked so hard to build. Another woman wasn’t going to profit off the man I had created.
She wasn’t going to win.
So in-between all of the I’m sorrys and I love yous, I “forgave” him and I stayed.
Probably the worst decision I could’ve ever made for myself.
When you stay, you don’t realize the insecurities that start to build up. The questions that come.
Why wasn’t I good enough to stay faithful to? Is he going to cheat again? Is he cheating now? What does she have that I don’t? Is she prettier than me? Funnier than me? Freakier than me? Is my hair not done enough? Am I not dressing well enough? Am I ugly? Am I not working hard enough in this relationship? Am I not doing enough? What’s so wrong with me? Why was I not enough? What do I have to do to make him stay? What do I have to do to make him love me the way I deserve?
I think staying made me realize one thing about me, more than anything else.
I didn’t love myself more than I “loved” him.
I didn’t love myself at all, actually.
Shoot, did I even know what love was?!
Somehow, I thought this was the best I could do. That no one else was going to love me. That the love he provided was enough and I wasn’t going to get better, even though I secretly longed for better. Somehow, I thought that I couldn’t leave. That I had to stay. That because I had given so much, I wasn’t going to have enough to give to someone else. That no one was going to want me again. That no one was going to find me attractive. I was scared what life would be like without him in it. I couldn’t see life beyond that relationship. I didn’t think I could have one.
Boy oh boy was I LYINGGGGG to me.
It’s crazy the type of thoughts that heartbreak brings on.
It’s crazy how heartbreak drives you to settle. To believe lies. To suffer over and over again.
Four years later, with nonstop cheating, a baby that wasn’t mine, lies, drama, make ups to break ups, and trapped in a deeply rooted depression, it was like I finally woke up.
It was like a bulb had went off in my head.
It was like I realized for the first time, that I could LEAVE.
I’m not married to this man. I have nothing to prove to anyone! I don’t HAVE to stay. I can get BETTER. I deserve BETTER. And this situation is NEVER GOING TO GET BETTER.
I didn’t care who he was going to end up with when it was over, even though I already knew who it would be. I didn’t care. He could be with the world, and it wasn’t going to make me any difference. I realized he wasn’t a prize and I wasn’t losing a thing. I was winning by walking away.
I wanted out. I wanted freedom. I wanted to live a life that didn’t have him in it.
I wanted peace.
And I wanted him to find what he was looking for in everyone that wasn’t me. I wanted him to have the freedom to do that without my involvement and without my heart on the line.
I stayed in a toxic situation longer than I ever should have, because I didn’t know who I was in Christ. I didn’t know the worth he already instilled in me.
God says that I’m more valuable than rubies (Proverbs 31:10), that I am beautiful (Songs of Solomon 4:7), that I am his masterpiece (Eph 2:10), the hairs on my head are numbered (Matthew 10:30) so he cares about every detail of my makeup, and HIS plans for me are perfect and everything works for MY good (Romans 8:28-30).
If God says all of these TRUTHS about me, how could I ever settle for someone who doesn’t know those same truths? God’s perfect plan for my life, could not include me being with someone who didn’t value me or love me the way that He does. God’s perfect plan would never leave me depressed. God’s perfect plan would never leave me to doubt who he made me to be.
Because of this, I couldn’t settle and I can never settle again.
If you’re a person who is currently in a situation like mine or can’t let go of a situation like mine, I want you to know this.
You’re beautiful. You’re precious. You deserve God’s best. You’re amazing. You’re talented. You’re one of a kind. No one compares to you because God only made one of you. You are loved by God! You’re loved by the creator of the universe! He took his time to make you so unique and so special! You’re more valuable than any diamond, any amount of money, any gift.
Don’t ever settle for less than God’s very best.
Don’t stay in a situation that God never intended for your life, for the sake of someone else.
Love yourself, more, and be with someone who strives to love you even more than that.