to the boyfriend that cheated on me, no not ex

Subject: to the boyfriend that cheated on me, no not ex
From: silly me
Date: 19 Mar 2020

the years we spent together, i spent them thinking you were different. knowing you were damaged from years of childhood abuse, from a toxic mother with a drug problem, from your physically abusive stepdad, from the paranoid schizophrenic biological father you didn't meet until your preteen years. i recognized that you had baggage, that you had more than a lot of people usually do. i viewed it immaturely for a long time. i viewed you as someone broken, but beautiful, someone i wanted to fix. i guess that's the psychology major in me. i should have known that i couldn't have taken it upon myself to "fix you". that i can't fix you. no one can, but you.

none of that is your fault, you didn't ask to be born into the situation you were born into. you didn't ask for years of trauma, verbal and physical abuse, to have a genetic predisposition to mental illness. you're still a good person, someone worthy of love and kindness and patience. i like to believe i've given that to you, and i know that for most of our relationship thus far i have given that to you. you've told me more than once that you feel like i am the only person in your life that actually cares what happens to you, that worries about you, that asks if you're okay.

don't get me wrong, none of this is an excuse to cheat on me. even if it was just once, even if you were drunk, even if our relationship was more rocky than ever, even if we were kind of sort of maybe in a way on a break, even if you never actually slept with her. you know that, you've taken full responsibility for that. and i know that. that that's a decision you made, and that you hurt me, and i didn't ask for or deserve any of this. yes i know all of it.

but i've loved you for years now, through some of the best and most formative years of our lives. in a way we've grown up together, learned together, made mistakes together, had fun together, done new things together. we've become adults together. we did all of this together. this isn't just a silly little relationship anymore. we have a life together. a life that i love.

and i can't just let that go, i don't want to, i know you don't want to either. you're my best friend, i am yours. you've handled this all very well, i mean as well as one can handle it. you say and do all the right things, apologized countless times, showered me with gifts and affection for months now. you're doing everything you know how to make things better.

thank you for understanding that i can't just forget, can't just forgive and move on. thank you for holding me after the nightmares, for answering my questions, for being excited for me when i make progress, for helping me do the parts of recovery that scare me. thank you for knowing when to ask what's wrong and when to just distract me. i know it's silly to thank someone for simply trying to fix what THEY broke, but i can't help be grateful that you're doing more than what most do in this situation. i know you want to make it better. you say it was the biggest regret of your life, and you knew that right away, and i believe you.

people can call me silly. people can read this thinking "wow, what an idiot, once a cheater always a cheater". but i like to think that ross and rachel lived happily together and learned how to finally have a healthy relationship. people are human. humans make mistakes. it's okay to want to forgive. i'm not saying that everyone has to forgive, this certainly isn't an easy decision to make. it's a decision i've had to make every day for the past 3 months. so i totally understand and respect people who walk away from a cheater. i absolutely encourage you doing what you think is best for you. i just wish i was awarded the same respect.

not so long ago, there was a huge stigma around divorce, people who got divorced, especially women, were looked down upon. now it seems that staying with someone who was unfaithful is much more shameful, and it shouldn't be. it's a personal decision, but i shouldn't be judged for it. i wish society was more encouraging of people like me.

this is what happens when you date a human being. human beings mess up. that doesn't make what they did okay. but why must everything be demonized? why do i have to feel ashamed of my decisions? to stay in a relationship where i'm happy, loved, listened to, and cared for?

i hope you recognize how hard this has been for me. i hope you're grateful every day that i choose to take a chance on you, on our relationship. because it's just too important to me to throw away, without at least fighting for it first. i have to know that i did all that i could. the months before you told me what happened were some of the happiest of my life, and that's because of you. no matter what i do, i can't forget all of that. so i choose to stay. and i choose to work through this until i feel like i truly can't get past it. but i have to at least try.

i love you, no matter what happens, now and forever.

please don't hurt me again.