Thank you again to everyone who opened up and shared their stories! Stay tuned for more posts about how to deal with exes.
“We dated for about half of a semester. We were neighbors in the dorm, so we were around each other a lot. I actually walked in on the cheating, after he had told me he was at a concert. I had left my charger in my room, so I had come back to go get it. She was the one person who actually ended up dumping him once they were in a relationship.
I was pissed. The girl he had cheated on me with was a scumbag whore, who had skin like a leather handbag and stunk of smoke. Once, we all went to a park together. While there, she told me that I should change the way I laugh, because she thought it was weird.
The experience has really only made me less tolerable of taking shit from people. I had cooked meals for this guy, cleaned his room, and more. He had complained that I didn’t spend enough money on him for Valentine’s Day. He even lied about how much he spent on me, in order to make me feel bad. I don’t do that sort of stuff for people any more. Honestly, I don’t have trust issues. I had felt like it was going on since before Valentine’s Day (since this all happened shortly after Valentine’s Day).”
– Dawn S.*, 21
“We dated for almost 4 years, and we were always together. We were both very jealous and controlling. He cheated on me with a few different people at different points during our relationship.
It affected me greatly. I have trust issues, memory issues, and sensitivity to certain situations. But it also made me a stronger and more confident person in the long run. I definitely learned a lot from the experience, and I try not to make the same mistakes again. I learned there is more to a relationship than love, and that love is not everything. Love is not all you need. I am now very careful with my feelings and actions around guys.”
– Morgan D., 19
“We were together for 2 years. He said the he only had eyes for me. However, I received anonymous calls, asking if I knew where he was and who he was with. He kept receiving love letters and phone calls from an old girlfriend, whom he claimed was ‘just a friend’.
The experience severely affected my ability to trust other guys. It also caused me to question my own judgment, regarding the guys that I dated.”
– Sally D.*, 32
“My ex and I had been close friends for a year before we actually started dating. We weren’t able to be together a whole lot, due to our schedules and where we each lived. I learned about the cheating 8 months into our relationship. He cheated on me with two different girls (who were both pregnant with his child).
This experience scarred me, honestly. He was my first boyfriend and was someone whom I really, truly loved. My heart was beyond broken. It made me less trusting of guys, especially when it comes to girls that I didn’t know about in the first place. I do have big trust issues now. When there is a girl that seems to be really close to the guy, I shut down and distance myself from him.”
– Jessica S., 19
“We dated for two months. We were not always together. At the time, I was 15, and she was 16. We saw each other during our free time and lunch at school, but that’s it. I learned several months later that she cheated on me with multiple people, including her own cousin.
Honestly, I didn’t like her that much to begin with. I thought it was funny.”
– Colleen D., 18
“My ex and I dated on and off for about a year. It started out with us spending a lot of time together. But then it became very hard to get him to spend time with me. When we did, it was on his schedule and was largely spent on sexual activity, instead of growing as a couple. I learned about the cheating about 8 months into our relationship, after he blatantly told me he was cheating on me. (Maybe that explains why it was so hard to get him to spend time with me – a guilty conscience, perhaps?) He cheated with multiple people. Some he slept with, and others he didn’t. Regardless, I was an idiot and said that we could try to work through it. But it didn’t last much longer after that.
I would say the experience had a relatively strong effect on me. It has definitely had an impact on how I act and feel when I’m dating or in a committed relationship. I constantly feel inadequate, and try to compensate by being extremely affectionate. I’m always compromising or sacrificing what I want, just to make sure that my significant other is happy and won’t stray like my ex did. It also doesn’t help that my ex was the person whom I lost my virginity to. I think I have trust issues to an extent, which manifested when I started dating again after my ex. I was always worried that I had done something wrong if the guy I was dating became seemingly distant.”
– Haley H., 21
“We were together for about six months. We lived about twenty miles away from each other, but we still saw each other at least once or twice a week. I know that he cheated on me with one person in particular, but there were rumors about several other girls.
This experience caused me to have some trust issues. I was distant from others, and I had a hard time letting people into my life. Over time, I have gotten past many of these issues.”
– Courtney S., 19
“We dated for almost four months, but we were very close friends for about a year and a half. After he broke up with me, he confessed to cheating on me three weeks prior with a new friend of his.
For a month or so afterwards, I couldn’t eat or sleep very well. He was my first boyfriend; I had never dated anyone prior to him. I suppose that it hasn’t really affect my dating life. I don’t believe that I have trust issues now.”
– Jeannie P.*, 21
“We dated for 11 months. We were always together up until I moved to Gainesville [for college]. I learned about the cheating after we broke up. He cheated with one person – his ex.
The experience has greatly affected me. I am very cautious when entering new relationships now, especially since that ex was my longest relationship. I trust people a lot less. I am always on my guard when it comes to exes and am scared that they will try to come in between my boyfriend and I. It makes me want to tell my boyfriend to not have female friends. My ex had always claimed that his ex was just a ‘friend’. I knew better than that, but I also knew that it would be controlling/abusive behavior to limit their interactions. I just really don’t trust anyone anymore. This was especially amplified when, after we had broken up, he took her side in an argument (not mine). You would think that I was still his ‘friend’ after having dated him for almost a year. But apparently, his ‘friend’/hook-up buddy/other ex was more important. The whole experience has also made me feel as if people don’t truly care about me. All compliments or positive comments have become empty, meaningless words to me. I no longer believe guys when they say that I’m ‘perfect’ or ‘everything they ever wanted’. If I had truly been everything my ex had ever wanted, he wouldn’t have sought out his ex again.”
– Nanette M.*, 19
“I dated my ex for three years. We were almost always together. He became possessive and abusive about a year into the relationship. I had vowed to save myself for marriage, and he pretended to support me for the first six months. After that, he begged for sex constantly. Eventually, he started hitting me when I said no. It escalated until he raped me. I stayed with him, because he had convinced me that I deserved [the rape] for being a ‘prude’ who didn’t ‘satisfy his needs’. During this time, he cheated on me with four different girls. I caught him with the fourth girl and dumped him. He admitted to all four instances of cheating, again blaming me for having not slept with him.
This experience very strongly affected me. I haven’t dated since. Every time I get emotionally close to a guy, I panic. We broke up three years ago. He used to call and threaten to kill me every time he was drinking. Then my aunt called the cops on him, and they told him that he would go to jail if he threatened me any more. I’m still afraid that he will attack me again.”
– Robin B.*, 21
“We dated for about a year before he cheated on me. He actually began cheating on me during the week leading up to our one year anniversary. We were together a large amount of the time, but he lived about an hour away from me. So seeing him after school, after already going home, wasn’t too often an occurrence. I learned about the cheating the week following our one year anniversary. The girl he had tried to sleep with came up to me and told me that he had tried to get her to sleep with him, along with meeting up with her at work and kissing her. She said that she told me because she found out I was trying to get back together with him and didn’t want me to get hurt or lied to by him. As far as I know, it was only the one other person that he cheated with.
The experience made me trust guys less than I had before. He told me he cheated on me because I wouldn’t sleep with him. That actually made me feel better, since it wasn’t necessarily how I was acting or something I had done. However, I re-evaluated my entire approach to dating to see what I could change to be a better girlfriend in future relationships. I have always had a hard time trusting people, but it’s somewhat harder now. This manifests when I haven’t heard from my boyfriend for a while, just because that’s what happened back when my ex cheated on me. It’s taken time, but I’ve realized that I have to trust the person I’m with. I’m with them for a reason, and I’ll only push them away if I don’t trust them, especially if they trust me.”
– Liliana P.*, 19
“We were together for a year and 2 months. I learned about the cheating after he broke up with me. He broke up with me because ‘there’s someone else.’ The girl he cheated on me with and the girl he left me for were not the same person. As far as I know, his affair with the girl he cheated with continued while he dated the other girl.
The breakup was horrible and left me completely devastated. I wanted him back so much. I became desperate. A trusted person came forward and told me of the cheating. It was like something broke inside me. All the love I had for him became rage. It definitely helped me get over him. It hasn’t really changed my dating life. I still trust people. I would prefer to think of that one guy as a terrible person, than to think it might happen again.”
– Ali H.*, 18
“It takes a lot for me to like a guy, because I’m extremely independent and have a busy life. So, when my friend introduced me to this one guy, I felt really drawn to him and excited for what was to come. I had been dating him for a month when he uninvited me to a party that we were supposed to go to. He said that it was going to be a guys’ night. I got a call that Sunday from my best friend (who introduced us), telling me that she and the guy I was dating had hooked up. I found out later from another friend that she was the one who gave the girl an ultimatum to tell me, or she would. If she had not done that, I still wouldn’t know to this day.
This situation had taken hold of me for a while afterwards. During the following week, I would almost break down at school. Having to face the girl he cheated wih was awful. I’ve moved past it now. I realized that neither of them were worth my time if they did that to me. But I’ve definitely become more reserved when it comes to guys.”
– Noelle F.*, 18
“We dated for about a year, on and off. During one of the ‘off’ periods, she apparently met a guy. She kept seeing him, even when we were back ‘on’. I caught them screwing in a Chick-Fil-A parking lot.
The experience made it really hard to trust people. It made (and still somewhat makes) me feel pretty awful about myself, in terms of being desirable.”
– Dave G.*, 20
“We were together for 9 months. We were the campus ‘power couple.’ He cheated on me with 3 girls – 1 girl from my sorority, and 2 from another sorority.
The experience definitely affected me at the time, and I don’t let people toy with my emotions now. I wouldn’t say that I have trust issues, but I am a bit wary.”
– Annabelle J.*, 23
“We dated for four months, and I didn’t find out until after we broke up. He cheated on me with one person, but flirted with more.
It’s harder for me to trust a guy now, but I know that not all guys are the same. It takes me longer to trust someone. It’s really only affected how I trust others.”
– Kacey G.*, 19