‘The Cheating Game’ stars to victims of infidelity: Don’t blame yourself
Being in a romantic relationship is something Julie Anne San Jose holds “sacred.” That’s why infidelity, she said, is a nonnegotiable matter.
“We have our own personal definitions of what cheating is. But for me, cheating is nonnegotiable—once it’s done, it’s done,” she said in a recent online conference for the upcoming romantic drama film “The Cheating Game,” which opens in cinemas on Wednesday.
While she didn’t cite a specific personal experience, Julie Anne surmised that most people have probably been cheated on one way or another. How do we deal with such a situation?
“Cheating is a heavy matter for me… I think all of us have been in such a situation, not just in relationships, but life in general. We have our own coping mechanisms. You should surround yourself with people who support you. It’s important to have a system—your friends, family, loved ones. They’re the ones who will be there for you in your struggles.”
Rayver Cruz, Julie Anne’s leading man and real-life boyfriend, echoed her sentiments, adding that at times, experience can be the best teacher—a tough one at that.
“You can learn lessons from the experience, which can make you better equipped to handle these things in future relationships. We can get blinded by love. But in a way, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” he said.
Form of lies
But what’s considered cheating? For supporting stars Martin del Rosario and Winwyn Marquez, cheating isn’t necessarily limited to the presence of a third party. It can also come in the form of lies.
“Lying, hiding the truth or omitting details to make your case more convincing is cheating, too. It’s not just about having an affair. I have experienced that kind of cheating. Lying is also a sin. How can you have peace of mind in a relationship if the other person is hiding so many things from you?” Martin said.
Being lied to can be just as painful, Winwyn added. “I have experienced that—the lies, the stories with missing details. And if something keeps happening again and again, you may end up parting ways,” she said.
And in moments like that, she opts to let her emotions all out. “I want to feel the emotion so I will cry, let the sadness out. Once I empty myself of that, then I know I would be OK. And then I find other things to focus my energy on, like singing or dancing—anything that can help me improve myself,” she said.
All too often, those who were cheated on end up blaming themselves or forming deep-seated insecurities. Don’t fall into this trap.
Forgive one’s self
“Like Julie, I consider cheating nonnegotiable. I can forgive the person, pero wala ng balikan,” Martin said. “Don’t let it affect your self-esteem. I know many people who blame themselves or count their shortcomings just to make sense of what happened. Don’t do that. If that person had a problem with you, he or she could have told you about it instead of cheating.”
While forgiving the erring partner can be a crucial part of moving on, one must also learn to forgive one’s self, Julie Anne stressed.
“Take all the time and space you need. Let yourself heal and forgive the person who wronged you. But you must also learn how to forgive yourself. Eventually, you will be able to move on. And hopefully, it doesn’t happen again,” she said.
More importantly, don’t let such experiences make you wary of falling in love again, Winwyn said. “Don’t be scared of being in love or being loved. That’s when you start being afraid of relationships. Don’t be scared of trying again.”
Conceptualized by Shao Masula and directed by Rod Marmol, “The Cheating Game” is GMA Public Affairs’ first-ever big screen offering. Described as a “feverish, deep-dive into the psyche of two betrayed individuals,” the project likewise delves into the “game people play after getting cheated on,” and offers a “more mature and realistic” depiction of modern-day dating.
The story follows Hope (Julie Anne), an idealistic young professional hoping to change the world through the nongovernmental organization she built with her fiancé, Brian (Martin). Then, a sex video showing Brian with another woman surfaces online.
‘Breath of fresh air’
Heartbroken, Hope starts anew, pursuing a career as a content producer in a media company that, unknown to her, operates as a troll factory on the side. And as she vows that she will never be fooled by a man again, she creates a cheat sheet on cheaters, which she uses as a guide in navigating the dating world.
She meets Miguel (Rayver), a self-made businessman who seems to have the makings of an ideal partner. But as they grow closer, Hope begins to unearth long-kept secrets. How will careerwoman Vanessa (Winwyn) figure into their lives?
“We started shooting before the pandemic and resumed this year… I’m very excited and grateful,” said Julie Anne, who described working with Rayver in a movie as a “breath of fresh air.” “People usually see us on RV, in performances. This time, we work as actors.” INQ