For the past week, I've been doing a lot of thinking about monogamous relationships. Those of you who know me know that I am Miss Optimistic. I will be the first person to tell you I believe in all of those "antiquated" notions about love; the soulmate, THE ONE, etc.
Except lately, all you seem to hear about is cheating. Whether it's emotional (letting down your guard with a co-worker or close friend) or physical (the drunken bachelor party/one night stand), the outcome is always the same. Someone is left with a broken heart, wondering where they went wrong and how to pick up the pieces.
In what I consider to be my first adult relationship, he cheated on me. There were several different factors at play: it was long-distance, we were growing apart, I was getting restless, etc. Still, that didn't change how devastated I felt when I walked into his apartment and saw signs of the other woman.
For those of you who are wondering, I didn't go Angela Bassett. I just got my stuff, walked back downstairs, got in my car and left.
Okay, I did peel out of the parking lot, but a girl has to give a little drama.
Has it changed me? Somewhat. I went through the grieving process--plenty of Toni Braxton, Fantasia and chocolate cheesecake. I DID NOT date while I was healing, because I feel that is a huge problem in the world right now: subjecting the next person to the last person's baggage.
I revised my rules, a little scrap of paper I keep in the front of my journal, chronicling the lessons I've learned about dating in the past ten years.
Lots of scribbles and bold print.
When I reentered the dating world, I will admit that I was still very cautious--kind of like the first time a kid is allowed to swim in the "big pool." Even though I logged many hours of introspection and prayer, I couldn't help but ask myself:
Am I good enough?
Is he going to cheat on me too?
Is all of this just an exercise in futility?
And then I smacked myself for being melodramatic.
In the seventh grade, I got food poisoning. I'm talking crying out to God, choosing which end goes on the toilet kind of food poisoning. It lasted for about three days. On the fourth day, I managed to keep down a bowl of chicken broth. By the end of the week, I was back to eating solids. Within two weeks, you never would have known I even had food poisoning.
My point (and I do have one): how silly would it be for me to stop eating just because I got sick one time?
That's the way I chose to deal with the aftermath of cheating. I wasn't going to dive into a buffet, but I could stomach an appetizer. One date--one evening at a restaurant, getting to know someone. Then, another one. And even though those dates didn't turn into a relationship, I realized I was ready to move on.
So, what's my official stance on cheating? I never want to go through it again. BUT, if I must, I know how to cope. And I will keep going through ups and downs of dating, until I meet the man who completely captures my heart.
He's out there.
If y'all see him, tell him to send me a BBM.