I have discovered that recovering from romantic betrayal is more than getting over your lover. What is does to your confidence can take much longer to heal than the wounds you had to lick when you were left shattered in two. This isn’t something that I was expecting, but it’s something that I’m still struggling with. I was lucky in that I managed to pick up the pieces of my heart and walk away with some dignity in tact, but what no one told me is that even after getting over my ex lover, that the biggest hurdle to overcome would be my confidence.
You would think that by letting go of someone who betrayed your trust in love, you are regaining an element of self-worth back and “that’s that”, you will have your life back. In reality, you found your inner strength, but the next hurdle is using that strength to squash the underlying root of the problem you are now faced with — your lack in confidence.
I thought I was 100% washed of the past. It’s almost two months later, and on the outside I appear great. I have my appetite back, I workout regularly, I’m drinking my 2 litres of water a day, I catch myself smiling and I’m back to dating. I get butterflies in my stomach and feel emotions stir again.
Here’s the haunting truth: I am scared to death of opening up my heart to someone again and getting it ripped out. The walls are up, and I don’t know how to break them down.
I want to be able to feel that unspoken bond with someone and live in the moment, but when I catch myself growing closer, I distance myself. That need to feel safe for as long as it takes overwhelms me. My heart needs the ability to regenerate. I am pushing potential partners away.
Of course sex is enjoyable, but no one told me that afterwards I would be left wondering if he would stay. I’m not referring to the night, I’m referring to in my LIFE. That was taken away from me with the betrayal from my past lover. I can’t even have sex without worrying about the possibility that I was just a momentary play toy.
If I don’t talk to a man for a couple of hours, I’ll think that he met someone else. Before the betrayal, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. Now I contemplate moving on to the next man, because it’s easier on my heart to walk away than to stay and face the possibility of rejection.
I know what I need to do is let go of expectations. No potential partner will ever be Prince Charming. After living through a bad relationship, I now have the “knight in shining armour” syndrome. I fantasize for the best, because I was dealt with a bad hand. And only the best will do. The first sign of a screw up, and it’s an excuse to leave for me. This is what betrayal has done to me.
Most of all, I need to let go of being tough. Patty Duke once said “It’s toughest to forgive ourselves. So it’s probably best to start with other people. It’s almost like peeling an onion. Layer by layer, forgiving others, you really do get to the point where you can forgive yourself.” The stronger that I am, the more closed I am to others. When I’m closed off to others, I can’t be hurt again. Deep down I know that by doing this, and by keeping my heart and feelings at bay, I am avoiding the pain. But guess what? I’m now stagnant in life, because I’m also missing out on potential happiness and joy. I need to forgive myself, and open myself up to someone. This is what betrayal has done to me.
How can I feel so much relief and freedom from my past relationship, and yet lose a huge part of myself along the way? I found myself back on the track, but now I’m missing my caboose.
I want to love again, but I will never emotionally be ready until I learn to value myself. This is what romantic betrayal feels like after you think you’re in the clear just because you “got over” your ex lover. You are not only forced to rediscover your confidence in love, but more importantly, in yourself.
But here you see folks, lies the gift that I was given. I know that I am being set up for something great. I will get over this hump, and when I do the man that stands before me will be the one that will rock my world and make me question why I wrote this article in the first place. A bad relationship isn’t a death sentence, it is God’s way of showing you what you won’t put up with in the future.
“Watching you walk out of my life does not make me bitter or cynical about love. But rather makes me realize that if I wanted so much to be with the wrong person, how beautiful it will be when the right one comes along.”
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