Sometimes, it’s really hard to realise the situation that you’re in

A few weeks ago, I received an email from someone who recently read my post about the nine-and-a-half year breakup that left me stranded in China. They were glad to see how my life had moved on, how I am better off now, but were curious to know, “Why didn’t you leave your ex-boyfriend earlier instead of sticking around?”

I thought about it for a while, and this was my answer.

When you’re in a relationship, you tend to be more forgiving of each other’s mistakes

When you’re in a relationship, especially a long-term one of nearly 10 years, you tend to be more forgiving of each other’s mistakes and more tolerant, because it’s a relationship into which you’ve already invested so much time and effort, that you’d much rather see past the negatives and focus on the positives. Even when there’s an argument, you try to work things out without ever resorting to breaking up, because it’s not worth it when you weigh the many good moments you’ve had against the few bad ones.

I remember there was a time when my ex came back home after a one-week business meeting in Hong Kong. He looked dejected, teary-eyed. The moment I saw him, I knew something had happened. I knew something was wrong.

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Me: “What is it? What’s wrong hun?”

Him: “…I’m sorry… I’m so sorry.”

Me: “Just tell me what it is. You’re scaring me.”

He told me what I could never have believed – how one night, while drunk, he cheated on me. How he wasn’t thinking at the time and had mistakenly thought a girl from a massage parlour was me. He was so drunk at the time that he didn’t realise what he had done until the next day.

At first, I was horrified, shocked. Then I was angry, angry that he had betrayed my trust, angry that he had waited days before deciding to tell me. I wanted to lash out at him, yell at him, scream at him but in the end, I couldn’t. He had looked so sad, so desperate for my forgiveness that instead of being angry, I sympathised with him. I felt bad about the way he was feeling more than about him breaking my trust, because deep down I wanted to believe that this was an accident, something situational and not intended.

Sometimes, when you’ve been with a person forever, you can’t help but let your emotions get the best of you

You forget about the issue, you forget about the facts. Reason and logic are tossed out the window and you forget to about yourself and your own well-being. For the sake of the one you love, you’d rather sacrifice your own emotions and hide them deep within you instead of seeing the person you care about, hurt.

Sometimes, it’s really hard to grasp the situation that you’re in. You read about it happening to other people, but never for a moment do you realise that it’s actually happening to you.

Eventually, as my ex repeated the same ‘mistakes’ and used the same excuses over and over again, it became harder to believe him, but still I tolerated it. Perhaps I was blinded by my emotions and couldn’t bring myself to believe that this person who I’d loved and cared for and had been with for the greater part of a decade could change so much. I couldn’t bring myself to look at him differently.

But looking back, I don’t regret anything that happened. It has been the worst moment in my life, but it also has been the reason why I’m able to live the life I have right now – where I’m able to travel freely and live the life I want. It’s the reason why I’m now more grateful to my friends and family than I’d ever been in all the years of my relationship.

And it’s the reason why I’m writing this story, because it has helped me discover my passion for writing when I needed a way to express my feelings after the break-up. In many ways, I’m thankful for what has happened because in the end, I am finally living life on my own terms.

Tiffany Sun is fighting to rebuild her life by doing the things she never dreamed of doing. Now she’s in Southeast Asia, writing her journey. Check out her website, and follow her on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

This article was originally published at Miss Tiffany Sun. Reprinted with permission from the author.