“Can we talk?” I found myself saying in a timid voice as I looked at him with downcast eyes.
He seemed taken aback by my words. I seemed quite direct, as he struggled to make a response. Those three words are perhaps some of the most frighteningly short sentences that you could say in a relationship. I tried to read his expression, as I was always told that I had the uncanny ability to read people’s minds.
I looked into the very familiar eyes of the one I held very dear to my heart. At the time, my words failed me, and I found myself unable to read his expression. But my heart seemed to tell me the bitter truth. He gave a silent nod, and I hesitated, unsure if I wanted to learn if my deepest fears had come true or not.
Tell me your sweetest lies
We had started dating when we were kids in college. The great thing about our relationship was that it was founded on friendship. Of course, the best thing about dating your best friend was that everything seemed to fall into place. I would laugh at his corny jokes, and he would find my little quirks to be quite irresistible. Naturally, we were both nuts about each other.
Eventually, we grew out of the honeymoon stage. We were more goal-oriented and set our sights for the future. As we both struggled to find our individuality as adults in our 20s, we would learn more about each other. Sure, there were rough patches here and there, but we would weather through them quite well. [Read: 10 clear signs the honeymoon stage of your relationship is over]
I never knew about the lies, or so I thought. I have mentioned before that I was gifted *or cursed* with powerful intuition. My ability to read people’s thoughts and feelings was almost frightening, and it has manifested itself many times. Unfortunately for me, I would often ignore the truth and push it to the back of my head.
“Is it true then?” I found myself asking.
After a long and dreaded silence, he said the words I had most feared. “Yes, I have cheated on you,” he said. [Read: Why men actually cheat? – 3 big reasons and 27 silly excuses]
The words he said came like a hard slap to my face. He made me face my deepest fears. I was horrified because all this time, I was living in a fantasy world where everything was just smoke and mirrors – a mere product of my own delusions and denial.
“How long?” I managed to ask despite myself.
For a moment, he was silent, and he turned to look at me. I will never forget the look on his face – it was a mixture of sadness, anger, and perhaps the slightest shred of regret. “Five years,” he answered.
I couldn’t remember what happened next because everything became a blur. How would you react when what you always believed to be true turned out to be a lie? The pain came as harsh as the cold wind comes in December, and at that moment, I felt my heart grow cold. [Read: Should you ever forgive a lying partner?]
What I learned from being lied to by my partner for years
The thing about finally knowing that your partner betrayed you is that it paves the way for lessons to be learned. Harsh lessons, but lessons nonetheless.
#1 We can only deny ourselves the truth for so long. The truth is always a bitter pill to swallow, that’s why we would always choose to sweeten it with a bit of denial. But the truth never really stays hidden for long. Even if you try your best to believe that everything is great in your relationship, your intuition can jolt you back to the harsh reality. [Read: 18 discreet and ingenious ways to catch a cheating partner in the act]
#2 Denying someone the truth does not save them. Not telling someone the truth because you fear that it will destroy them can lead to drastic consequences. You might feel that you are protecting them, but telling a lie is only a delaying tactic. The truth can be painful, but it is always better to tell someone the truth before they hear it from someone else.
#3 Being told the painful truth is better than staying in an unfulfilling relationship. You can deny all the signs that your partner is lying to you, but in the end, you’ll eventually learn that you’re just deluding yourself. When *not if!* the truth comes out, you’ll be glad to finally face the harsh reality that your relationship is not worth staying in.
#4 When you are lied to, you start to feel lost. It has been said before that the truth is what anchors us to reality. It is a steadying force. The anchor, heavy as it may be, is essential in any relationship. When you find that your relationship is nothing more than a sham, you find that it is not rooted to anything. You have no idea where you stand and where you are headed, and this uncertainty can be enough to make you want to jump ship. [Confession: What I learned from the man who did not love me]
#5 Liars are ultimately in love with themselves. They will cover up their ulterior motives. They want to keep people happy without losing face. Liars are mostly short sighted, and their immediate goal would ultimately focus on getting out of situations that would not benefit them. They would find it hard to find a fulfilling relationship built on mutual trust because they are already in a committed relationship with themselves.
#6 Pain is only temporary. There’s no easy way of getting over a relationship that has been a lie for 5 years. You may feel like you can never trust again, but this feeling will only stay with you if you let it. And while the ordeal of breaking up and trying to move on may leave you with emotional scars, it will also allow you to become a stronger person. The strength you found in moving past this ordeal will stay with you forever, while the pain it took to gain that strength will someday be a distant memory.
Like any breakup story, I went through many episodes of emotional turmoil when looking back at 5 years of lies. Thankfully, what comes after much emotional turmoil is the desire for peace. With peace comes forgiveness. While I am still on the road towards finding peace, I realized that regrets and hatred are far too heavy burdens to carry.