I wasn't enough.
That was the first thought that entered my mind after I found out my partner cheated on me. I replayed the scenario in my head hundreds of times, recounted every detail of our time together. I couldn't find any clues or indications that he was unhappy, or that one night, he'd throw everything we had away for a few hours of fun.
I've learned that what happened had nothing to do with me - and everything to do with him. He had an issue - whether that be an issue with our relationship, with himself, or both. Instead of dealing with that issue, he chose a temporary release. He broke the commitment he made to our relationship and himself, and frantically lied after the fact in attempt to erase his mistake. He is 99% to blame for what happened. But, there is also the other 1% - the other woman.
With infidelity, the responsibility is always on the person who is in the committed relationship. But the other person is by no means just an innocent bystander of the situation. It takes one person to decide that cheating is worth the thrill of the moment and the other person to decide to get involved with a taken man/woman. Both parties involved make active decisions before the act of infidelity even occurs. Cheating does not happen by accident. Cheating is a choice.
Were we born monogamous creatures? No. However, we (many in society) have chosen to commit to monogamy. And the gift of being a human being is that we have the ability to make choices to give in to our animal instincts or not. Those who don't want to be in a monogamous relationship can either not enter one, or break up if they feel they want to have multiple partners.
In my particular case, the girl was a previous coworker of mine. When I found out, I felt anger towards her. But, with time, that rage has turned into empathy. I'm pretty sure that healthy women who have a strong sense of self worth typically don't share their body with men who don't respect them. I don't know her story or what happened to her in her past for her choose to do that. But I can't imagine her actions came from a place of love and confidence.
Here is the letter I wrote to her after I found out what happened...
I have now heard the entire story of what happened that evening with you and X, and I'm not only beyond hurt, but disappointed. No, not because we have a close friendship, but because I believe there is a moral code between all women, one that we were born with. As much as we may try to silence it, make excuses to ignore it or take substances to numb it -- it's still there.
My relationship has now come to an end. My family hurts. X has hit rock bottom. His family hurts. There have been so many tears and pain from not only us, but the people in our lives that love us. I want you to know that your actions have had ripple effects and have caused a lot of pain to good people.
I'm not blaming you -- what happened would have occurred sooner or later in some form or another. But you do have a responsibility as a dignified human being. I am writing this to you not because I hate you, but because I hope that in the future, if the moment presents itself where there is a taken man, no matter how happy or unhappy he is, how sober or intoxicated he is, you remember the power you have to be a part of destroying someone's life, or not.
I know you are a good person and never had intentions of causing harm. But your decisions define you. I hope, for the sake of other women and their families, that you make a better one next time.