Finding out that your partner is cheating on you is one of the worst feelings in the world.
If you’ve been through this, you probably felt completely devastated, heartbroken, and alone. It’s the worst kind of pain. Whether you discover the information on your own or your partner willingly shares the details of their affair with you, it doesn’t make the news hurt any less.
I know all too well what that pain feels like — I experienced it myself just two years ago. I remember the exact moment my now ex-husband told me that he was talking to women on multiple dating apps, and it absolutely broke my heart.
In the months that followed, I convinced myself that his infidelity and desire to walk out on our marriage was entirely my fault. I believed that he strayed because I wasn’t good enough and was somehow unworthy of love. As my ex moved on, I wondered if I’d ever find love again. Part of me assumed I didn’t deserve love and affection.
However, after months of therapy and time on my own, I realized something important:
Every woman deserves love — even a woman who was cheated on.
Your partner’s poor decisions aren’t a reflection on you or your ability to love. In fact, it’s more a reflection on their own shortcomings and inability to maintain the vows they made to you as a romantic partner and a co-parent.
Instead of enjoying what’s right in front of them, your partner is the one who made the choice to stray. That’s not your fault, and don’t let yourself believe that it is even for a moment.
You provided your partner with love, stability, and care. You held your commitment to love them in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer. And you may have even brought their children into the world and provided them with all the love a mother can give.
But no matter how much love you give someone, sometimes it’s not enough for people who are unwilling or unable to accept that love and give love back in return.
While it may not seem like it at the moment, you will move on from this.
It will take time, but you’ll eventually process the grief, anger, and sadness you feel. You’ll let go of the contempt you hold towards your partner and you’ll stop carrying around the weight of the self-hatred you feel towards yourself. Eventually you’ll discover just how incredible you really are, and you’ll show yourself the love and kindness you absolutely deserve.
Speaking from experience, sometimes this earth-shattering kind of news is exactly what we need to dig deep and rediscover the parts of ourselves that often get buried under the stress and pressures of life.
I personally lost sight of all my favorite parts of myself and became a lifeless shell of the woman I truly am the longer my marriage went on. I poured so much of my heart and soul into trying to keep my ex-husband happy that it took away from my own joy and self-love.
As much as my husband cheating on me absolutely broke my heart, continuing to give pieces of myself to a relationship that wasn’t working would have broken me even more.
Now, nearly two years after my husband first confessed that he was searching for someone new, I am genuinely happier than I ever was inside of my former marriage.
I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I’ve reconnected with that woman I used to love. I’ve picked up hobbies that I lost touch with, and I’ve discovered new interests.
If you give yourself the time and space, you can fall in love with yourself all over again and rediscover what makes you amazing too.
Whether with the partner who cheated or (more likely) someone new, you will find someone who loves you exactly the way you deserve. It will be without terms and conditions and without any thought of breaking your heart.
Previously published on Moms.com.