I was very young when my father had chosen to engage in an extra-marital affair.
I don’t remember much of it, but I recall snippets of a strange woman with too friendly a smile.
Sometimes there was yelling, and sometimes there was crying. There was also a lot of traveling and clothes in suitcases, when my mother would haphazardly throw in still-damp-from-being-laundered-recently dupattas and my socks into a bag and then fling it into the back of a car and drive us somewhere else.
Mama’s face always seemed to glow when she wore her intricate outfits with mirrors and beads, she was a vision. She made everyone laugh with her jokes as she cooked the most delectable bihari kabab.
But it always scared me to see the color drain from her face after she would cry for hours and take a vow of silence because of that “friendly” other woman.
So many years later, my parents are happy and have worked through their differences but things have changed.
After a partner cheats on you, you cannot help but feel inferior.
Suddenly your confidence plummets and you find a flaw in every inch of yourself. You’ll never be funny or beautiful or smart enough, and that is why they chose to cheat on you. You might give up entirely and lose yourself in the process of coming to terms with it, or have a manic episode and try to change everything about yourself. Your confidence, or lack of, creates a person you might not have imagined yourself to be.
I didn’t think what happened to my mother would be something that happened to me too.
When I was 20, I had met someone who I imagined to be a prince of some sort. I was still naive and unaware of how a person could use you when they claimed to care for you.
We spent time together, unconditionally. We sat for hours, comfortable in each others’ silence but we were equally as comfortable in each others chaos.
He often told me of his life, and I promised myself that I would be his support, forever. And so I was.
I was even his support when he told me he had to go back to visit his parents, and even when his brother told me that he had gone to get engaged to someone he was “in love” with for the past seven years.
I had to stop being his support eventually, because I couldn’t support myself anymore. My strength was waning, and I decided to walk away before it ruined me any more.
Trust does not exist anymore.
It becomes increasingly difficult to create a relationship based on trust. To constantly question someone’s loyalty to you, and imagine situations in which they compromise your faith is exhausting.
You doubt who they spend time with when not with you, and even their attention when they are with you. Are they here or there?
It’s also unfair to anybody new in your life, who attempts to foster love within you but only receives emptiness in return.
Cheating isn’t exciting. It isn’t fun.
The culture of a side-chick or side-man might be funny in a meme, but in actuality it’s damaging.
If you’re unhappy in a situation, leave. But don’t drag another person down with you.
Cover image via: Pakistan Television Corporation