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Perhaps it was a coincidence, or perhaps it’s true that emotional pain -- suspicion even -- can be transformed as a physical ailment, a sort of alarm system. Either way, it was my body, in the form of a ruptured ovarian cyst, that alerted me to the fact that my boyfriend had cheated.
It was my senior year of college and I was dating someone older who had already graduated and moved to another city. I spent most weekends with him. On the day of our anniversary, I woke up with a dull ache in my lower abdomen. I assumed it meant I was about to get my period. As the day progressed and we walked around sight-seeing, it worsened until I could no longer walk. It felt as if someone was jabbing a knife into my uterus.
I’ve had pretty bad UTIs before, so I assumed that was what was happening. That coupled with the intensity of the pain led me to ask my boyfriend, who was getting more nervous by the second, to take me to an emergency clinic.
When we arrived, they tested me for an UTI (negative) and then did a full gynecological exam. I remember the doctor saying it looked like my cervix had been “punched.” She then asked about my sexual history and possible exposure to any STDs, which hadn’t yet crossed my mind. I explained that I was in a monogamous relationship and we had both been tested so that was impossible.
She proceeded to test me for everything anyway, and gave me a prescription for some antibiotics while we waited for the results to come in since I was in so much pain. She explained that the most likely cause was a ruptured ovarian cyst.
We left the clinic and did our best to enjoy the rest of the day together. It was after all, our anniversary. Sex was out of the question, and my boyfriend was acting distant. It wasn’t until the next morning, when it was time for me to drive back, that he admitted that several weeks before he'd had a one night stand, and that there was in fact a STD risk. He said he had used a condom, but it had broken. I’m not sure I believe him. It was an emotional and upsetting parting of ways, to say the least.
Thankfully, all my test results came back negative. I was told the symptoms I experienced were in fact likely a ruptured ovarian cyst. The fact that it happened while visiting him on our anniversary blows my mind. He swore he would have eventually told me about the infidelity, but certainly not on that day, which prompted our split.
Things were not perfect between us -- the relationship was strained due to the distance and being young and in transformative times in our lives. Of course all of this does not mean his actions were acceptable, but they do not mean he is an evil person. Years later, we maintain a casual friendship.
However, I did not feel so forgiving and serene when all of this took place. I was in extreme emotional and physical pain and felt humiliated and furious with him for betraying my trust and putting my body at risk.
The ruptured ovarian cyst was the siren that alerted us to all the denial of our relationship problems. What I learned is how important it is to pay attention to the signals our body sends us.