Parental Infidelity Changed My Life

Parental Infidelity Changed My Life

I internalized cheating at the age of four, love has been different for me ever since

I want to start off by saying that I love you, mom and dad. All that what I have seen has shaped me into who I am today and I am proud of myself. You two mean the world to me and I am lucky to have two, unconditionally loving parents by my side.

At 21 years old, I ache. I ache at the idea that someone could ever love me. I ache at the idea that anyone who might love me will not love me for who I really am. I ache when someone tries getting close to me because I have seen what getting close can do. I ache at the idea of being vulnerable and transparent with someone. I ache when someone touches me with compassion. When I think of love and all that it brings, I ache.

Not the kind of ache that is familiar to most, but the kind that leaves you crying yourself to sleep because someone wants to get to know you. What parts do they want to get to know? And when do you tell them that you are exhausted from carrying all your baggage, but you have come too far to let it go? Will they help you carry your baggage or will they watch you grow tiresome and call it love?

The kind of ache that leaves you wondering what parts someone likes about you because they haven’t seen the real you. The kind of ache you have the moment you feel a sense of untrustworthiness and you cannot tell them why. The ache that sneaks up on you in the middle of the day and leaves you forced to stay quiet.

I was about four years old when I realized what my parents were going through. At a time when my mom and dad were supposed to be my role models and foundation for love, I saw what love really was. Love was leaving my dad crying himself to sleep at night while my mom was with other men. Love was holding my crying sister while we watched my dad expressed how infidelity had hurt him. Love reminded me every day that you cannot trust anyone. Love was waking up to my mom with someone other than my dad. Love was watching my dad comfort himself in pills and isolation. Love led my brother to drugs and bad company at twelve years old. Love ruined my family.

Love has reminded me every day since that it will destroy you. If you put every ounce of your being into someone else's hands, they will drop it. Love is too much and somehow not enough. I saw what love did to my dad. That is a love that I fear I have become too familiar with. The love that leaves you screaming, crying, and fighting for more. I saw family and love crumble altogether too early in life.

I live in a generation where love is so important. Finding that special person and holding onto it is what we all crave for. But why do I feel lucky if I find someone who is kind to me? Why do I feel lucky if I find someone who does not run at the idea that I have problems? That I cannot trust? Why do I feel lucky when someone says “I understand” but I know they never will?

I saw what love really was. I saw what love really did. My siblings and I saw every move made by both of our parents. My parents not only went through infidelity and divorce, we did as well. I was too young to understand but now that I am older, I get that I internalized it all.

So now you know why I ache. Why every time someone tries to get close, I leave. If I do not leave, I attach so much self-doubt to the relationship it has no room to grow. My idea of what love is has been bedded into the soil of infidelity. I have grown to understand why I choose guys who are no good for me. Why I think every moment of every day that I am not good enough for anyone, not even myself. I know why I tremble at the thought of trusting someone. That if I am nice, compassionate, and honest, that someone will push me over. The love I have grown to know has shaped me into a punching bag for guys who will never know how to love me. The love I know keeps people away when I need them most. I guard myself every single day from facing the same love that my dad was getting. I know why and yet, love will always be my biggest enemy and the one thing I fear the most.

Cover Image Credit: Ian Espinosa

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A Letter To My Elementary School Best Friend

Thank you for your part in my journey.

To this day, some of my favorite memories are the ones we made swinging on the play-set or biking around the neighborhood. It seemed like we could always do whatever we set our little minds to. Not only did we get to grow up together, but we quickly became best friends. You taught me the true meaning of friendship at such a young age, and I am so thankful for that.

I'm so happy you were the one by my side for all of life's first adventures. So many big events happen in elementary school that are truly overlooked. My first crush. Your first crush. Our rock band that had a total audience of 4 (our parents). Many, many, many birthday parties. Intense games of four square on the playground. Riding around on our bicycles feeling like the coolest big kids in the world. Oh, and don't forget when we each entered "womanhood", but were too afraid to tell each other.

Thanks for always being a shoulder to cry on. Like that time I got my hair cut too short and was worried everyone would make fun of me. You were also my celebration partner when I got an A on those tricky mad minutes. I'll always remember our sleepovers where we stayed up all night talking about our little lives. Or the next morning when your mom would make us macaroni and cheese and we would watch t.v. all afternoon.

I remember always wanting to be like you. When you had posters of the Jonas brothers hung all over your room, I suddenly developed a crush on them too. Or when you told me you didn't like Hannah Montana's best friend Lilly, I decided I didn't like her either. We were like two peas in a pod. We rode the bus to school together, had most of the same teachers, and even dressed alike on halloween. I remember wanting to build a tunnel between our two houses, but our parents sadly said no. You can't get much more best friend-like than that.

But out of every adventure we've had, some of my favorite times with you were simply swinging back and forth on my swing-set. I don't know why, but when I think of our friendship, that is what comes to mind. Our deepest talks occurred on the swings, and there is something about having your best friend by your side on a breezy night that is irreplaceable. Those are the memories I love the most.

And even though we have now gone our separate ways, our bonds in childhood are cemented. I'll forever be thankful for the fun times and deep talks we've shared. Thank you for being the best friend a girl could ask for. I'll never forget you or the memories we made.

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What It Is Really Like Having Sisters Close To Your Age

While having siblings close to your age is pretty amazing, there can be a lot of issues that can come with it.


I come from a family of 5 people and 1 dog. I have 2 sisters, Grace and Caroline. We are all pretty close in age, Caroline being the youngest and 3 years younger than me.

My sisters and I share a bond like no one else, no one can replicate it. When you have siblings close to your age you have built-in best friends, and since they are around your age you have the same interest, or at least, enough so that you can do things that other siblings cannot. Examples of this would be seeing R-Rated movies and going to the mall without too much complaining, along with being able to shop in the same stores or even share clothes. Grace and I sometimes even split the cost of a shirt we both like.

We even overlap friend groups! Which is not much of a problem for us, Grace and I are both in music programs which overlap enough for us to have the same friends, which is great for when one of us has a sleepover, the other can join in on the fun. Caroline, however, even though she is seen as the sporty one of the 3 of us, she still has a lot of friends who have similar interests as Grace or I, giving us a lot of the same friends. It's nice not to be considered the "cool older sister", I am just like the rest of them.

While we do fight a lot, we make up really quickly, because most issues we have are stupid sibling fights: who gets the T.V., what to have for dinner, what movie to see. But it is always fun because there are 3 of us, which means majority rules, something we tend to go by most of the time depending on the situation.

Having 3 teenagers in the house can be a handful for our parents though, when you have three teenage girls going through puberty at relatively the same time, it can be grueling, especially when you are all on your period at the same time.. (yes, that has happened before) (and yes, it sucks). While I am on the topic, let's say a prayer and a thank you to my dad for dealing with 5 girls (including the dog, obviously) because he does a pretty damn good job at dealing with all of us.

When we were younger, we always had a play date even when one was canceled. We all made up songs and dances and would perform them for our parents. We even had a band called The Halsey Sisters (AKA the female version of The Jonas Brothers) where we had a hit song called "We Got The Heart and Soul". It was a hell of a time. Let's just say the music video for that song is, interesting to say the least.

At the end of the day, I wouldn't switch my sisters for anything in the world, they are my rocks, and I wouldn't want it any other way, Grace, Caroline, keep doing what you're doing, because you're pretty damn awesome.

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