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Closure From A Cheating Ex Was The Catalyst To Healing I Needed

Here are the hard truths about healing.

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I'll never forget the moment I found out my ex cheated. Knowing another woman lingered in our home while I was committed to our relationship was the most violated I have ever felt. All I could think about was "her". How her lips touched our wine glasses. Her body slept in the bed we shared. Her moans echoed in the home where we once said, "I love you." I could almost smell her perfume. It was the perfect formula to make any woman see red. My anger took over our once happy home.

You can imagine my dismay when my ex reached out years later. Turns out, HE needed closure. Yeah, you read that correctly. Every part of me wanted to "boy-bye!" his ass up out of my phone, but I didn't. I had so many unanswered questions that lingered in my mind for years. I knew it was time to put my pain to rest. I texted him back and we had one of the hardest conversations of my life.

Healing is not always sunshine and rainbows. It's also not as colorful as the wellness pages on social media. We all process pain differently, therefore we all heal differently.

Sometimes the process of healing looks like emotional breakdowns in your car or regular dates with your therapist. Overall, healing is difficult for everyone and we will all face hardships along the way. Here are some hard truths I've run into during my healing process.

It Happened, Period.

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I found the moment I accepted things for what they were, the easier it was to move forward. He cheated, it happened, and there was no changing it. I could yell all I wanted, but the fact is the deed was already done. I had to accept that there was a woman who was important enough to sacrifice our relationship for, period. Me staying angry forever or justifying his actions to give him a second chance won't change the past. This is no shade to those who have gone back after cheating. I'm just speaking from my own experience.

Whatever hurt you, happened. I know this may sound a little forward to most people, but we keep it real at xoNecole. In my experience, it was easy to get wrapped up in the whole, "Is this happening to me? Nah, this can't be happening to me."

I learned denying that it happened or justifying the action to make it less painful, doesn't mean it just goes away. Denial or justifying is just an excuse to suppress your emotions or not face the reality of the situation. This can only lead to prolonging your healing process.

To start our healing journey, we must accept what happened and that we are hurt. We live in a society where we are encouraged to "look at the positive" or ask yourself, "what did we learn from this?" three days after it happened. You are allowed to admit a situation sucks and feel those emotions for what they are. It is OK to validate our pain if it means moving forward.

Sometimes You Have To Call Yourself Out On Your Toxic Traits

If you think you don't have any toxic traits, you're lying. Yes, sis, you have a toxic trait and so do I. We all have a toxic trait or two. Although my relationship ended due to cheating, that doesn't mean I was exactly perfect either. I had a few toxic traits that didn't help my relationship thrive. I had the classic "daddy issues" which made me extremely codependent. I also suffered from a strong case of "hood mentality" due to my upbringing. I didn't know how to talk about my problems. I just knew how to fight about them. This was a huge issue in our relationship.

It's hard to admit that we have toxic traits because no one likes to feel "wrong". Confessing our toxic traits also means "showcasing" our weaknesses. Letting others in on our weaknesses is an extremely vulnerable place to be in. Admitting we have a toxic trait may take time, but it can make us aware of it. Becoming more self-aware with our whole being will only make us better in the toughest of situations. We will be able to detect our toxic traits when they arise and have more self-control.

You Owe It To Yourself To Heal 

Unfortunately, it's not the job of the person who "hurt us" to heal us. In fact, I have a confession to make. There was a period in time where I felt my cheating ex should've made up for what he did. Crazy, right? As if a Michael Kors bag (don't judge, they were popping back then!) was the answer to all of our underlying issues. What I was subconsciously doing was placing MY healing in HIS hands.

My healing is my responsibility, just like it is yours. You owe it to yourself to heal. If you rely on those who hurt you to heal you, you might be hurting for a while. Taking charge of our healing is taking back our power.

Closure & Forgiveness Are For You. Read That Again.

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When I agreed to meet up with my ex after some time, it was because I needed closure too. As selfish as it may sound, I decided to embrace closure and forgiveness for me, not for him. I spent years being angry and labeling all men as "ain't shit" because of what another man did. All I accomplished by choosing to "stay mad" was block other relationships that could have been great for me. I was tired of being a "bitter woman". I was ready to forgive and release all of the pain I found comfort in.

Closure and forgiveness don't always require a meet up at Starbucks. It can consist of your journaling or organically coming to terms with how things ended. If you do choose the Starbucks route though, make sure to prep before going. Write down a list of key points you would like to mention and do your best to be in a good headspace. Remember, holding on to situations that no longer serve us is holding us back from our higher purpose.

Toxic Relationships Shouldn’t Be Turned Into Friendships

This may be an unpopular opinion, but trust me sis, I'm trying to save you. If your situation was toxic, give him back to Jesus, and move forward with grace. Turning any toxic relationship into a friendship is still holding onto the toxicity; it means we're not ready to let go. The point is to let toxicity go so we can thrive into who we're meant to be.

My ex and I tried to have a friendship after we broke up and it got messy. The issues we had in our relationship began to roll into our friendship. Arguments about people we were dating, mixed signals, and old wounds from the past began to come up again.

The friendship felt more stressful than the actual relationship itself. I realized If I wanted to move forward with my life, I had to let him go completely. I gracefully gave him back to Jesus.

Letting go of my ex and the grudge I had against him has helped me find peace. I truly feel happier, free, and more aligned with myself than I ever have before. I've learned to fall in love with the woman I am today and embrace all of me. I love my independence, peace of mind, and the beauty marks I have gained along the way. I wish my ex well and I truly hope he has also healed from this experience.

I hope these hard truths are a benefit to your healing journey. These truths have helped me find acceptance in many ways. The hurt you are going through now is molding you into a strong phenomenal human for the future. I promise it does get better. If you need someone to talk to during this time, please reach out to me on Instagram. Happy healing.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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