Knowing that someone is being cheated on can be devastating and heart-wrenching.
When your friend or someone you know calls you, sobbing and telling you that their partner is cheating, figuring out how to help her get through this difficult time is challenging.
You’re going to have to think carefully about what you’ll say and do.
Fortunately, by managing your emotions you make sure your words of support are well-received.
Let’s go over how you can help and cheer up someone who has been cheated on.
How to comfort someone who got cheated on? 10 ways
Your family member or friend is in a vulnerable place, so make sure that you’ll be someone who can support them through the recovery process.
They need someone who’ll listen, empathize, and help them to think things through.
Here are ways you can give them the inner strength to heal and feel happy again.
1) Offer to meet your friend at home
Your friend is angry and hurt – and is probably in shock to find out that their partner, who they trusted, has betrayed them. And she shouldn’t be the one driving to your place.
Having someone by her side to listen as she vents out her feelings can make a difference.
Even if you think her partner is a total loser, try not to criticize.
Just let your friend know that she can be furious and what her partner did wasn’t okay.
2) Listen and allow your friend to vent
It’s important to be fully present and hear your friend out.
Here are ways to let your friend know that you have her full attention:
- Turn towards her and give her eye contact
- Focus on what’s she’s saying and her emotions
- Be aware of her nonverbal cues and body language
- Use reassuring gestures and body language
- Never interrupt but instead, let her finish what she needs to say
- Resist thinking about what you’ll say to your friend
- Try your best to understand what your friend feels
If your friend is furious, allow her to vent. For when she ignores or denies her feelings, she won’t get to grieve the loss of trust in her relationship.
It’s only when your friend has spilled all her emotions that she’ll get to face the situation. This way she can stick to any decisions she’ll make about her relationship.
3) Show your empathy and compassion
Make sure that you empathize with what she feels – not about her situation.
If you have no idea the feeling of being cheated on by someone you truly love, then don’t try to tell your friend that you do.
Be honest and tell her you can’t imagine how devastated she truly feels.
And if you’ve experienced being cheated before, never minimize her experience or compare it with yours or someone else.
Practice wise compassion. This means being there and supporting your friend without hating their partners.
I know, doing this isn’t easy. But try to stay present to their pain instead of deciding or adding injury to their situation.
4) Validate her feelings
After your friend has expressed most of her difficult emotions, let her know that it’s normal. This will help her feel understood.
Your friend may fear the future, grieve over their relationship, or feel unlovable and desirable.
While it may feel overwhelming to address the negative emotions that your friend feels, never judge or ignore what she feels.
Instead, say validating statements such as,
- “I can see that you feel that way…”
- “I know how hard everything is for you…”
- “That’s frustrating and devastating…”
5) Keep your advice limited
While you’ll also feel angry toward your friend’s partner or hurt for your friend, it’s not a good time to express your feelings.
Don’t dwell on the reasons why her boyfriend might have cheated on her.
Even if you think her boyfriend is a jerk, try not to say it out loud. Don’t tell your friend what she should do to get even.
Also, telling your friend that she’s better off without them may mean well, but is ultimately unhelpful.
According to Jason B. Whiting, Ph.D., licensed marriage and family therapist, “Focus on being understanding and showing support rather than pushing advice or making judgmental statements that might make someone’s pain even worse.”
Just let your friend know that you’re there to support and listen to her.
You can probably encourage your friend to seek therapy to help her heal from the trauma that the infidelity has caused.
6) Avoid commenting at all cost
Don’t comment about the affair or call her boyfriend names.
It’s not a good time to say that “I can already sense that he won’t be faithful to you” or “He’s only after sex!”
Even if cheating is wrong in every aspect, assigning blame doesn’t acknowledge the complexity of the situation that led to cheating.
Sure there are words that your friend wants to hear. But try not to point out those bad points as there’s a chance that your friend still loves her partner.
Instead, direct your friend towards being rational so she can work through the initial shock of the breakup.
7) Talk about what your friend wants to do
Your friend or loved one invested her heart, time, and emotions into the relationship. And she’ll have to decide if the relationship is worth rebuilding.
While you know that her cheating partner is a true creep, give your friend time to realize it on her own.
The best you can do is provide support as she heals from the infidelity.
If she needs time to herself, offer to tidy up the house. Or if she wants to go on an out-of-town trip, offer to drive her if she wants.
8) Plan a much-needed time to unwind
You can help get your friend’s mind off the situation by planning something that she wants to do.
This can be something that you know she’ll enjoy and look forward to.
Getting busy brings a sense of comfort and helps one to recover.
Here are some things you can suggest doing:
- Have coffee in your favorite spot
- Book an afternoon at the space to pamper yourselves
- Go on a girls’ night out and have fun
- Go shopping as it could cheer her for a while
- Book a getaway so she can rest and relax
9) Be with her for the long haul
Instead of telling your friend or family member to leave their partner, encourage them to take time to process their feelings.
The best you can do is to be there throughout the healing process.
Help her get through the trauma of infidelity so she can find hope once again.
The feelings of shock, grief, confusion, and grief caused by being cheated on will go on for a while. It won’t end in the space of a few days.
Your friend or family member will get emotional as they experience ebbs and flows as she caused by remembering the good and bad times.
You can be their emotional sounding board as they move past the situation they’ve been into.
10) Avoid telling the person what to do
Your friend or family member needs someone to listen to their heartaches.
When you give them the time to talk their feelings out, they will slowly begin to hear themselves. That way, they will come to their senses and realize what’s the right thing to do.
While you think you know what you would do if you were in their shoes, know that they can make their own decisions.
The most important way to support them after infidelity is to let them know, “I’m sorry you’re going through this, but no matter what – I’m here for you.”
By being empathetic and supportive by listening, you’re doing them and yourself a favor.
How not to respond to someone who’s been cheated on?
Here are the things you should never say to your friend or family member.
“Once a cheater always a cheater!”
This isn’t always true. Some people in happy and healthy relationships also fall victim to affairs.
Even cheating partners feel remorseful – and some are willing to repair the damage done to the relationship.
“Your partner is being a slut (a pig, or something like that!!)”
Tagging someone’s partner as such won’t be helpful at all. Telling that their partner can’t be trusted or has no integrity may comfort them at the moment.
But then, if they happen to reconcile and fix the relationship, you may end up losing a friend.
“Your partner should just have broken up with you first!”
It might be easy for you to say but think about this. Will their life be any better if they ended the relationship? Yes, being cheated on feels devastating, but how is being dumped going to feel any better?
“You’ll be with someone better!”
Having a “revenge” affair isn’t the best way to handle this situation. Being with someone to get even isn’t the right thing to do. For when this happens, they would have to get over two affairs – their own and their partner’s.
Your friend or family member who got cheated on might not be ready for someone else too soon. Never take them to meet someone else or arrange them on a date.
“Leave your partner right now!”
When someone you know cries and shares with you that they’ve been cheated on, they are at their most vulnerable state. They feel defeated at.
The last thing you should be doing is making decisions for them. It would be better if you say, “Wait until you’re not angry before making a decision.”
Best ways to respond to someone who’s been cheated on
Cheating is such an awful experience, and your friend or family member can use all the support and love you can give them.
You can choose from these comforting and encouraging words to cheer them up.
“What do you need or want right now?”
The first thing to do is to ask. This will allow the person to set the tone. Some would want to have a night out, a road trip, or a movie marathon.
But, in most instances, they may not know what they want or need at the moment. That’s the time when you can suggest things to do.
Perhaps they need a quiet space where they can cry their hearts out or somewhere they could distract themselves from the pain.
“Let’s go out somewhere!”
Sometimes, people don’t want to talk but prefer someone to accompany them.
Invite your friend or family member for a walk outside as this can improve her mental health. Also, have some movie nights with the girls and watch a feel-good movie.
This will help take their mind off the infidelity and remind them that the world around them isn’t empty after all.
“Here, I brought you pizza and ice cream”
Or perhaps, a bottle of wine.
Bring them some of their comfort foods. Sometimes, the pain of cheating can be healed by one’s favorite treat.
When days seem hard to get through, a comforting friend and comfort can work wonders in ways we didn’t know were possible.
“Can I do anything for you?”
Your friend or family member will likely feel empty, irritated, or furious after being cheated on. It’s like the world is crumbling beneath them.
Some would even throw their anger and blame the third party for ruining their relationship.
The reassurance that you can provide will mean so much. And it doesn’t mean getting revenge over the cheating partner or the third party.
This simply means being there throughout the crying session and offering your shoulder for comfort.
“I understand what you’re feeling right now.”
When people come to terms with infidelity, their emotions get out of whack.
Even having conflicting feelings and being disoriented are all normal. So give them time and space to process those emotions.
The best you can do is encourage them not to rush thinking logically or make sense of everything. Help them focus on their well-being and taking care of themselves.
“What happened isn’t about you.”
Cheating can wreak havoc on one’s self-esteem. When people get cheated on, most would start to blame themselves.
That’s why it’s important to let your friend know that what happened doesn’t reflect their personality, character, or attractiveness.
“Take time to heal and think things out”
Cheating is such a complicated issue. They may be struggling to make big choices already – as to whether to leave or stay in the relationship.
Yes, those are life-changing decisions, but they can wait for a while. And you have to hold off giving your two cents.
They are likely to benefit more from the support you’re giving them rather than forcing them to make a decision.
Just be supportive and let them decide at their own pace.
“You’re gonna be OK.”
While the situation is heartbreaking, and your friend might not believe it right now – it’s still true.
Remind your friend or family member that even if they don’t have the strength to feel fine, you believe that they can bounce back.
So, encourage them and hope as that’s what they desperately need during this difficult time.
“You are worth more.”
Let your friend or family member know that there’s nothing that they could have done to change the choice of their partners.
Regardless if they acted in less than ideal ways, their partners have the conscious choice to cheat or remain faithful.
As their heart has been shattered into pieces, try to help them heal and boost their self-esteem.
Remind them of the qualities and characteristics that make them wonderful people, such as their kindness, sense of humor, and bravery.
“I’m here for you.”
When you speak from a place of wise compassion, you’ll get to be more understanding and empathic.
See how much they are hurting and feel sorry that they are going through all these. Remind your friend or family member that, “I’m here for you no matter what.”
Your presence matters
Relationships will always be complicated.
And for a relationship to continue after one partner cheated is unusual and difficult too. All the grief, the erosion of trust, the struggles, and the heartbreak that comes with it are unbearable.
But sometimes, choosing to heal, stay, and work on the relationship will be one of the strongest and bravest decisions one can make. Yes, it will always be a risk.
If both are willing to use the horrible infidelity thing as a lesson and give themselves a chance, the relationship can be better than it was before.
While you can’t instantly remove the pain of someone who got cheated on, you can help her weather the storm and take care of herself.
When you’re on the receiving end of an affair, being a confidant will help someone fuel her soul during those most difficult times.
Your compassion, affirming support, and encouragement can bring comfort and healing.
Be a person who can help someone find their way to move forward instead of sinking in the repercussions of the affair.
Remain a trusted friend without judging anyone.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.
If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.
In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.
I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.