I have a friend. She is pretty, kind, funny, sweet and a total nimwit. Y’see she’d been dating this guy called Rick The Dick for about six months when she discovered that he’d gone to a music festival, taken too many pills and decided to spread his love all over his ex-girlfriend.
(You want the long story? She was flicking through the pics on FB and saw one of his mates and in the background was Rick the Dick with his arm around his ex, his face just the width of a can of Red Bull away from hers. She confronted him about it. He denied it. But the ex messaged her and told her the truth. Sting.)
Cue tears, enraged phone calls and a FB status update to “No longer in a relationship”.
But her hard-ass, you-effed-me-over-and-now-you-burn-in-hell stance lasted just three weeks. Then she Instagrammed a picture of a fancy pasta dish with the caption #datenight #myboo to let us all know they were officially back together.
Now look, I know I’m being all judgy-judgy, and obviously, when she and I discussed it, I was every inch the supportive friend, being careful not to slam him (even though I wanted to) because I knew there was a chance they’d get back together. And whaddya know?!
But I feel like I can share my true feelings with you, so I’m going to vent.
Here’s what I really think: If someone cheats on you, you dump them and NEVER RETURN.
No matter how much he begs. Or how big that gap feels in your bed.
Why?Because while we think our relationships in our early twenties don’t matter (I’m just having fun!),they’re actually the blueprint for future relationships.
Right now we’re figuring out what we do/don’t want in a guy by way of making a million mistakes. This is a good thing because it helps us make that mental list of all the stuff (or values) we want in our The One relationship: like trust, honesty, communication, ability to watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians without grumbling, etc.
So take back a cheater now, and you’re effectively telling yourself that it’s ok for a guy to treat you like that. And trust and honestly will basically go to the bottom of the list of Important Things, below “somebody to send racy Snapchats to” and “somebody to take me to expensive dinners”.
The other reason why he should stay in the DUMPED basket? Because by taking him back, you’re normalising shoddy behaviour, making it easier to accept it in future boyfriends, when the stakes are higher. By giving him the flick, you’re making room for a guy who treats you real good, who makes you laugh, is honest with you and is proud to be with you.
Sure, even a relationship with a great guy might not last, but the confidence and self-love you build up by knowing you won’t accept being treated like horseshit, will.
The only exception to the “Should I get back with a cheater?” question (for me at least) is when you’ve decided you’re going to spend the rest of your lives together, or are married. If the two of you can talk about what happened and why, and make the commitment together to get past it, possibly with the help of a relationships counsellor, then I think that’s great.
But otherwise? Tell him to go eat a bag of dicks.
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Photography credit: Steven Chee/bauersyndication.com.au