healing after being cheated on eight times
What do you do when the person you trust most in the world betrays you? Being confronted with a moment like that is something you may never forget, and for accomplished entrepreneur and jewellery designer, Samantha Wills, it was a heartache she had to live through.
Speaking on Body+Soul’s daily podcast Healthy-ish, Samantha Wills opened up about the moment that she learned of her ex-partners multiple affairs, which is also explored in her new book Of Gold and Dust (Allen & Unwin, $32.99).
Sending our minds back to 2015, Samantha was living in New York, but travelling to Sydney every 6 weeks to manage the business. After noticing her partner of three years being shady about texts he was sending while at dinner, Wills found an old mobile he’d owned in a bottom drawer, turned it on and to her horror, there was proof he was having an affair.
“In my mind, I was like, ok, he’s cheating on me and having an affair but I had to show up in my public life and do contracts and be on set, really get my shit together professionally. But personally, I was just completely falling apart,” she tells host Felicity Harley on the Healthy-ish episode Samantha Wills on surviving her ex-boyfriend’s affairs.
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“One day I said to him ‘I need to know, how long has this affair been going on?’ and he turned and looked at me and he said, ‘which one’? I said ‘how many have there been’ and he said ‘at least eight’.”
Her response? “Please don’t leave me”. Wills said that was an eye-opening moment for her. Publicly, she was a pro-women, ‘you can do it’, empowerment figure, but behind closed doors, her personal self-worth was crumbling down.
How do you heal from relationship breakdown?
Button up ladies, it’s a bumpy ride getting over former paramours. Wills said, “It’s a long game. There’s an initial period where you’re just surviving hour to hour.” Great…
But the good news is, it gets better – slowly but surely. For Wills, the turning point was a trip she spontaneously booked to Costa Rica, a move quite out of character for the driven businesswoman.
“It’s something I would never, ever do,” she tells the podcast. “I met one of my best friends on that trip, and this serendipitous stuff really started to unfold for me when I stepped a little bit out of my comfort zone.”
Breaking free of anxiety
After going through such a traumatic break up, it can be so easy to stay in bed and just stop functioning, but letting anxiety win won’t help heal old wounds.
“I explained anxiety in the book, you know, like she kind of wraps around me in bed,” Wills explains. “It’s warm, you know, stay here in bed. It was about breaking that…stepping out and trying new things.”
That decision, to get up and face the day, is crucial to beginning the healing process.
Let your self-worth exist on its own
After living through that moment when, knowing everything about her partners affairs, she still asked him not to leave her, Wills realised her self-worth needed a serious overhaul.
When asked about how to self-guard your worth in relationships, Wills admits that it’s a life’s work. “It’s something you continually need to check in with,” she says.
“We can get ourselves off course, without even knowing it. I look a that relationship…and it was very much like, ‘right, I need a relationship to complete this checkbox that I’ve got’, and I kind of launched myself into that.”
“That’s a recipe for disaster,” she reflects. “So continually checking in with ourselves to make sure that our stableness and grounding is within ourselves, and not entirely reliant on others or things.”
The lesson Samantha Wills has taken away from all this? “Nothing lasts forever, the good or the bad”.
While we may believe that a good thing is meant to last, Wills says you need to enjoy life while it’s happening and live in the moment. “Definitely stopping to smell the roses a little bit more in the good times and knowing that in the darker times ‘this too shall pass’.