Relationships are strange things. For some reason, I always seem to be the go-to guy for advice regarding them. Which, considering my track record, is really quite funny. I've had my heart broken many times, and broken a few myself. Luckily, the pain doesn't have to be in vain. These are the lessons I have gained, along with my scars. Picture relationships as a fresh sheet of ice over a frozen pond, fragile yet beautiful.
In the beginning, the surface of the ice is perfect, with no scratches or cracks marring the surface. This is when everything is exciting and new, as you are just getting to know each other. You might get them gifts, give compliments readily, and always try to let them see you when you are at your best. This becomes problematic, because they don't get to know you completely, as you truly are. This brings us to phase two.
The surface is no longer shiny, with nicks and scuffs littering the surface. This occurs as you really get to know each other, which causes confrontation. You start noticing little things you don't like, how they squeeze the toothpaste, for instance. Things like this may seem innocuous, but can add up to tension or resentment. During this time you may have arguments more often, big or small. This can be good for you, as long as they are handled maturely. Arguments are when you learn the most about each other, and can make you stronger as a result. The key to this happening is to keep it from getting personal. Stick to the issue at hand, without attacking the other person or bringing up past transgressions.
Over time the romance will die out,the magic will fade, and the sex may become boring, all of this being replaced with routine and familiarity. You have put down your guard, let them in, and have gotten to know each other completely. You are now comfortable. Content. Ask yourself this question. Why do we date? Seriously? It is to find someone with whom we can be comfortable and content. Unfortunately, human beings don't handle either very well. Once we obtain these goal, we must sabotage them as quickly as possible. We never appreciate the great things in our possesion.
You might then meet someone, and it'll start out innocently enough. Smiles, compliments, and flirting. IT makes you feel good and attractive, because you forgot what it's like to be pursued. Now you start to question things about your relationship. This is healthy, because questioning things is the only way to determine how you feel about your partner. But once you decide to try out this new person, you can never go back. What's ironic, is that the reason you like this other person so much is because it's exciting and new. That's exactly how it started with the relationship you're cheating on. How do you think things with this new person will end up? The same: comfortable and content. This is why cheating is stupid.
So, now the deed has been done, your partner knows, and everything is screwed up. A massive crack has formed in the ice. (thought I forgot about the metaphor didn't you) The crack splinters into a fork. You can forgive and work it out, or you can walk away. Forgiveness is crucial in a relationship. Not only to forgive the other person, but yourself as well. You can get past cheating, but it's going to take a lot of work. But, once you forgive the other person for it, you relinquish the right to ever bring it up again. Especially in anger. IF you can't do that, walk away.
While it's important to fight for the relationship, it's just as much so to know when to call it quits. (I'm still not sure which one is harder) If you don't get out in time, the ice will shatter, thrusting you into the frigid waters below. It's so incredibly easy to wallow in this pain until you drown in it. This WILL kill you if you let it. Grieving the end is fine, because you did lose something. Just do it in a healthy time and fashion. Also, I spoke earlier about the importance of forgiveness, but sometimes an act is so aggregious that it is unforgivable. Sometimes, not often but sometimes, someone does something so heinous that they can only be met with pure, unadulturated hatred. Only two people in my life have earned that right, and I don't think that's going to change.
That's what I've learned about how things can go. Now, here's some gems, while trying to stay away from cliches, on how to avoid this from happening. Always keep the romance going. This is not impossible, it's not even hard. You just have to stop being lazy and assume it's not needed. Be considerate of the other person. Take your emotions out of arguments. Remember all the reasons you fell for each other in the first place, not the things you don't like. Don't take each other for granted, because losing them is ALWAYS a possibility. And, most importantly, if you find someone that loves you, is caring, and treats you well...don't fuck it up. Class dismissed.