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Cheating is a choice

By BṺM TENORIO JR., The Philippine STAR Published Feb 13, 2022 12:26 pm Updated Feb 17, 2022 10:12 am

Each week, PhilSTAR L!fe addresses a reader's concern about relationships, career, and anything they want to talk about through its advice column: Asking for a Friend.

Dear L!fe friend,

I cheated on the person I love.

Months ago, I found myself on an online dating site out of sheer boredom. What started out as a casual pastime turned into something way beyond that. The one I had "harmless chats" with became my friend with benefits.



It was all fun and games until the person I was with for almost eight years—the one I almost popped the question to—found out. We had a messy conversation that ended with an equally messy breakup.

It's been over a year but I haven't moved on. I realized that I really love my ex. How do I get over the breakup I caused?  

— Unfaithful 

Dear Unfaithful,

Were you in a homosexual or heterosexual relationship? That’s something unclear in your letter. The third-person pronouns, which are important determiners of physical profiling, were not mentioned.

But the heck! I will just take it from the vantage point of a hetero affair.

In any fight, the heart is always the last one to leave. But leave you must to save yourself, too. Even if you yourself caused the breakup. Over one year is enough suffering—though I must say you deserve it. Or maybe over one year is not enough. But a cheater needs to move on, too. 

How? By accepting that she’s no longer in your present. Much more in your future. She’s not going to be with you today and tomorrow because, to begin with, you were not satisfied with the love she afforded you. You got bored and you solved boredom with the trespasses of your willy. 

Cheating is incomprehensible. Cheating is a choice. A bad choice. Eight years. You wasted eight years. You did not consider the length of time. You only considered your libido.  Not even “boredom” is an excuse to cheat. There are ways to put fire under one’s seat, so to speak. Unless, you’re living under a rock. 

You did not love her enough. Because if you did, the picture should have been different now: the two of you together still.

You did not love her enough. Because if you did, there would be no "harmless chats"—there would be no “friends with benefits.” Hello, friends with benefits are not really friends! Let’s not equate the purity of friendship with horny pursuits. That’s travesty. That’s crap and scrap. If you say it’s 2022 now and friends with benefits should be tolerated, my lola will turn in her grave and appear before you to give you a slap. 

Cheating is incomprehensible. Cheating is a choice. A bad choice.

It’s not enough that you already learned your lessons from your misdeeds. Or have you? You also need to suffer the consequences. The consequences themselves will help you move on. The consequences are the conscience of your malefaction. If you have a conscience, you will let her be, you will allow her to cocoon in her silence, her armory, her safe place, her happy place.

You can only love your ex. But it seems she’s not the type to believe in second chances, if at all you tried to woo her back. 

I can only hope that you asked forgiveness from her. A priest once told me that people who do not know how to say sorry undermine the offended party’s capacity to forgive. If she has yet to forgive you, you can’t force her to reward it to you. You can only wait for it. Or not. She may or may not give it. Sometimes, though, there’s forgiveness in silence. Move on.

Cheaters who had a change of heart also deserve to be happy.

You have to forgive yourself, too. Come to terms with yourself that she will not come back, if, again, you endeavored to win her anew. Chances are, with the pain you caused her, she’s over you and has found someone else who will treat her better. It’s been a year of suffering for you. She’s perhaps well ensconced in the new love of her life. She deserves to be happy. 

You also deserve to be happy, even in your solitude. Cheaters who had a change of heart also deserve to be happy. 

P.S. If you’re gay, write me again. I will have another rainbow perspective on your dilemma.

Your L!fe friend,

Büm

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