Here’s the story of how Kevin escaped a cheating girlfriend, reignited his love life, and then learned how a breakup improved his life for the better.
After years of doubt and self sabotage, he discovered a new mindset that changed everything.
Sound good? Let's get started.
The first time Kevin realized something was wrong and needed to change was Christmas a few years ago. By that time, he had been in a relationship for about three years, however things were far from smooth sailing.
In those three years, Becky had admitted to him over twelve times that she had kissed or slept with another guy. Kevin had an almost certain feeling that those twelve were far from the real number.
The affairs ranged from a sneaky kiss on a night out to sleeping with someone multiple times in her apartment.
Each time she followed the same pattern; she’d cheat, deny it at first, eventually cave in and beg for forgiveness.
And each time, he also followed the same pattern of being angry, spending some time alone and then completely accepting her apology and asking her not to do it again - if in vain.
Kevin couldn’t bring myself to tell her the tenth, eleventh even twelfth time was the final straw.
He feared being alone, because he thought no one would ever date him again. He was afraid, so saying, “No” to her professions of love wasn’t an option.
Honestly, Kevin was afraid what he’d do if he was left alone to try and find love and happiness on his own terms.
Kevin and Becky had planned to split Christmas in two; he’d spend the first half with his family and she’d spend it with hers. They’d spend the second half together.
Becky was a huge Lord of the Rings fan. So, for her Christmas present Kevin managed to track down both Elijah Wood and Ian Mckellen and got a signed photo from each wishing Becky a merry Christmas.
Don’t ask him how he did it!
Kevin had just finished Christmas dinner with his family, and was itching to give Becky her present. He decided to leave early and surprise her a few hours before they were due to meet.
The first thing that felt off when pulling up to her apartment was the lack of cars since she told him her family was around. She had sent plenty of texts about how her family were being their loud, obnoxious selves, and it was driving her mad.
Kevin had a key to her place, and he let himself in.
As soon as he walked through the door and saw no one was downstairs, he knew exactly what was going on.
Kevin made his way to her bedroom and slowly opened the door.
There she was, spending Christmas blowing some random stranger.
Before Kevin met Becky, he was far from lucky in the dating department. In total he had two other girlfriends before her.
One might not count. They were both seven years old.
The other was on a summer trip with some friends when he was 21. That was a whirlwind relationship, so much so that Kevin forgot how they first met. She was Jamaican, gorgeous, and the person who took his virginity.
After that ended, it was the start of a very long dry spell, one that lasted for years.
Kevin became despondent with dating and relationships. He lost a lot of self-confidence, put on a few too many pounds and just accepted his new life as a single person.
When Becky came along and showed just a little interest in him, Kevin grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
He was finally not going to spend life alone, but he didn’t grow in self-confidence. If anything the constant affairs and belittling made his self-esteem lower.
But she was his salvation from being alone, so leaving never felt like an option - until that Christmas.
Honestly, it wasn’t Becky’s sleeping with another guy that made it the final straw.
After she saw Kevin, she jumped to her feet and switched to her ‘I’m-sorry-please-forgive-me’ face. The transition was quite a jump, given what she was doing just before then.
It was the guy.
He didn’t jump or act startled.
He simply got up, still completely nude, walked passed Kevin and said “Hey, dude.” in the calmest tone.
What had he become that someone could have sex with his girlfriend and not flinch at the sight of him.
Kevin posed so little a threat that no one cared if he was angry or upset.
Becky stared at him waiting for a breakdown, asking her why she did it and whether she loved him - the usual script for this situation.
But something clicked.
Kevin knew he didn’t deserve this. That he was missing something, and staying here meant he would never get it back.
Kevin’s next action surprised him. He looked up at Becky, smiled, and in a biting tone simply said “bye.” Then, he walked out.
The next few weeks weren’t easy. Becky relentlessly tried to contact him, turning up at his house, his work– everywhere.
He realized the thing he had been missing: confidence and self-worth. Kevin had let others walk over him and never stood up for what he wanted.
That’s where he decided to follow that new mindset: “I go after what I want, and don't let anyone try to stop me, even myself.”
The most important thing Kevin did after leaving Becky was to drastically cut back on the amount he cared about things.
After breaking up with his girlfriend, a huge part of him still cared about what she thought.
The biggest weight off his shoulders was realizing she could think of him as the worst person in the world and in reality it would have zero impact on his life.
Kevin focused on what gave him confidence and parked what gave him anxiety.
He knew he’d have to address those anxiety inducing fears at some point, but, for now, he was free to go after what made him a happier and stronger person.
Those anxiety-inducing fears, being alone, feeling worthless, undeserving of love.
They could be addressed later.
Kevin wanted to look good again and to be healthy. So, he joined a gym. It’s amazing what exercise and being fit can do your self-esteem.
It’s like a natural high that he’d missed.
Kevin also wanted his friends back, something Becky didn’t want him to have. So, he reached out to as many old acquaintances as he could. Many flaked, but a small group of them become close friends again.
After leaving Becky, the most important thing Kevin wanted back was a dating life. This was one of the anxiety-inducing fears that led him to stay with her.
Weirdly, this was the easiest of all.
Whenever self-doubt crept in, saying, “You can’t get fit,” or, “You shouldn’t go to a new experience,” He always fell back on his mindset.
Whenever fear spoke up, Kevin treated that voice like it was an idiot. It didn’t know what it was talking about.
This newfound confidence made dating a lot easier.
He wasn’t working on his dating life to fix himself. He was working on himself to fix his dating life.
Kevin got out more and went on random new adventures.
Being happier, healthier and more confident meant he naturally attracted the attention of girls he fancied.
Sure, he had to work up the courage to talk to them, but, since he wasn’t afraid of being alone, he didn’t care if they said no.
Whenever he’s single, Kevin has a number of unwritten rules. These are rules he forces himself to stick by.
Mostly, they’re excuses to get over those fears of talking to the opposite sex.
At least once a day, Kevin has to:
He doesn’t manage to get them every day, but it’s surprising how many doors open up when he does.
Before leaving Becky, Kevin only thought you could meet a girlfriend in one of three places, online, while drunk on a night out, or through mutual friends.
He found he was wrong after chatting with a girl while he was in line at the cinema. She was the inspiration for the start-a-conversation-with-a-random-woman rule.
They chatted for a while, exchanged numbers, went on a few dates, and had some fun together.
It wasn’t long term, but the idea you could meet someone in a random place and go on a date with them was mind-blowing.
Kevin takes a lot less bullshit in relationships, now that he’s seen the signs of a manipulation.
If he thinks he’s been put in an unfair position, his first thought is to leave the situation.
If, after some time apart, things look like they can be resolved, he decides whether he wants to come back or not. If there’s any suggestion that it will happen again, he’s now not afraid to walk away.
Is it weird that I’m super thankful to that random stranger who had sex with my girlfriend? I’m pissed at him but if it wasn’t for that guy, I wouldn’t be the man I am today.
Kevin had dabbled in dating sites before meeting Becky, but they just made him anxious.
The most important thing he learned was not to put so much pressure on finding someone online. He’d send a message or two a day. If he didn’t enjoy the conversation, he’d stop.
Things got a lot calmer and lot more fun when he used apps to enjoy himself, rather than seeing them as a chore, desperate to find someone to talk to.
Sometimes Kevin wonders, “Is it weird that I’m super thankful to that random stranger who had sex with my girlfriend? I’m pissed at him but if it wasn’t for that guy, I wouldn’t be the man I am today.”
It was only after Kevin shut away the biggest oppressor in his life, his own self-doubt, was he able to get what he wanted.
Written By Lucy Jones: Community Manager for dating site Toyboy Warehouse and resident dating expert at Toyboy Warehouse Blog.