Being cheated on can leave a lasting impact much tougher than simply breaking up with someone. You spend so much time getting to know someone in a relationship, you grow close and form a bond, then you find out that person has been with someone else. After going through a betrayal like that, what can you do to move past it?
Here are some tips you can apply to this tough time:
Decide if this is something you two can get past in the relationship.
It’s never an easy decision choosing to stay in or leave the relationship. Some believe in the saying, “once a cheater, always a cheater.” But if your heart tells you this relationship is worth saving, then there might be some value in giving this person another chance. Whatever you decide, make sure you take time for yourself and think about what you really want. Forgiving and continuing to be with someone too quickly after they’ve disrespected the relationship is not healthy.
Go ahead, and vent about it.
Venting is a great way to express your feelings. Speak to someone close to you about what went wrong and how you’re feeling. You also might find it helpful to go to a counselor to help you process what you’re going through.
There is a caveat when it comes to venting, however. Don’t let it go on too long. Use it as a way to give voice to feelings that you need to get out. Arrange to have a massive “pity party” with a good friend where you completely let go and don’t hold back anything. Laugh, cry, and get it out of your system.
Then start moving on with your life. Don’t give this cheater any more of your energy than you need to. This doesn’t mean that you can’t express any feelings about it all after this; but beware of falling into victim mode. So, for example, you could tell someone that you’re feeling sad about all the time that was spent on that relationship, but don’t use it as an excuse to launch into a tirade about how he or she has broken your heart for the fiftieth time. Talk about it and say how you feel, but don’t let it weigh down your mind or heart.
Avoid the blame game.
It doesn’t help the situation to put the blame on yourself or on the person who your partner cheated with. Neither situation changes the fact that you’re the one who feels betrayed.
The one who cheated was in the wrong.
There are healthy ways you can reflect on the relationship and take accountability. Here are some questions to consider: Were there any signs that you may have looked past? Do you know your partner as well as think you do? Would an in-person closure relax or make your mind wander more? Are there things you need to know and understand about the relationship?
Take time to do a deep dive into the relationship from another perspective. Avoid finding answers for questions such as: What did that person have that I didn’t have? How come my partner didn’t tell me how he or she felt about me? Why couldn’t I get my partner to be faithful to me? Why did that person come between our relationship?” These questions won’t help you heal, they’ll only be a reminder of the pain you’re going through.
Being cheated on is a horrible experience, but it doesn’t have to define you or even your relationship. Let yourself feel the pain of the moment you’re in, but don’t let it take over your life. No matter what you decide, you’ll move past this and onto greater things.