You know you need to move on with your life.
That much is clear.
But how are you supposed to move on when you feel like sh*t?
How are you supposed to move on when the one person you love decided to cheat on you with someone else?
I know, it seems unthinkable at the moment.
But two years ago I went through the exact same thing and I managed to move my way out of it.
And in today’s article, I’m going to describe exactly what worked for me.
How to get over being cheated on: 8 steps
1) Accept how you’re feeling
It’s difficult to accept what you’re feeling right now.
Trust me, I know from experience. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably feeling upset, betrayed, and let down and you can’t help but question your own self-worth.
But you need to understand these feelings are perfectly normal.
And the more you try to deny these feelings, the longer they’re going to stick around.
I tried to put on a brave face and ignore my feelings, but it didn’t work.
I tried to live life normally and while people may have assumed I was okay, inside I was hurting.
It wasn’t until I accepted that I was hurt, upset and betrayed that I began the process of moving on.
Of course, learning to accept your feelings isn’t an easy process.
I’ve never been comfortable expressing my feelings, but a technique that helped me was writing down what I was feeling.
For me, writing has a way of slowing down the mind and structuring the information in my head. It allows you to understand your emotions.
Journaling helps you express your painful feelings in a safe environment as no one is going to read what you write.
You might be angry, sad, or betrayed. Whatever it is you’re feeling, let it out. Process those feelings.
In the Harvard Health Blog, Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH says that when people write about what’s in their hearts and minds, they better make sense of the world and themselves:
“Writing provides a rewarding means of exploring and expressing feelings. It allows you to make sense of yourself and the world you are experiencing. Having a deeper understanding of how you think and feel — that self-knowledge — provides you with a stronger connection to yourself.”
If you’re wondering how you can begin journaling, try asking these three questions:
How am I feeling?
What am I doing?
What am I trying to change about my life?
These questions will give you insight into your emotions and prompt you to think about the future.
2) Don’t blame yourself
It’s common for people to blame themselves when they’ve been cheated on. “Wasn’t I enough?” “Did I provide enough fun? Excitement? Emotional support?”
But you don’t need to ask yourself these questions. Questions like this made me feel like sh*t because I was never able to give myself an accurate answer.
What your partner chose to do has nothing to do with you. You shouldn’t feel responsible for your partner’s actions.
Obsessing over what could have been or what would have been is useless. There really is no point.
Very Well Mind offers some great advice:
“Blaming yourself, your partner, or the third party won’t change anything and it’s just wasted energy. Try not to play the victim, either, if you can help it, or wallow in self-pity. It will only make you feel more helpless and bad about yourself.”
Examining what went wrong isn’t healthy and it certainly isn’t productive.
As tough as it is right now, instead of living in the past, try to look forward to the future and what lies ahead of you.
3) Get over the jealously
This is a huge emotion that runs rampant for almost everyone that gets cheated on.
After all, the partner that was supposed to be loyal to you was with someone else, even if it was just briefly.
That’s what I couldn’t get out my head.
Who was this person? Were they more attractive than me? Better in bed?
But just like blaming yourself, these are questions that you don’t need to ask yourself.
If you’re going to get over being cheated on, you need to get over that jealousy.
Jealousy can lead to resentment, and as the old adage claims: “Resentment is like a poison you drink yourself, and then wait for the other person to die”.
Bustle explains why jealousy really is a useless emotion:
“Jealousy may be a powerful emotion but it’s not one that allows for logic. When you’re in a jealous fog, you don’t think clearly, you don’t express yourself well, and, to get real hippy-dippy with this noise, you aren’t in the moment relating with other people, and that sucks.”
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s important to speak to your partner and not put words in your partner’s mouth.
Ask questions about what happened and listen carefully.
There’s no need to throw your hands in the air and quit the relationship right away.
Yes, a break might be needed to work through your feelings, but this could be the wake-up call you and your partner needed.
4) What do you really want?
It’s a tough decision to decide whether to break up with your partner.
The fact is, it’s going to be different for everyone.
Do you have a young family? Kids? Or are you in a relationship that doesn’t really have any fixed ties together?
For me, I didn’t have any concrete ties with my partner, and this made it a lot easier to move on from the relationship.
But if you have a house and kids, it might make it more difficult.
Keep in mind that there’s no right or wrong answer for you.
Some couples successfully move on from infidelity and create a better, stronger relationship. Other couples don’t.
Relationship expert Amy Anderson offers some great advice if you’ve been cheated on:
“Always follow what your heart tells you…Do a weekend alone of soul-searching away from distractions and everyone’s opinions…Remember your core value system and try to get centered with a very clear head so you can derive the right answer you need for you…If you are happy staying with your partner who cheated, then that is what works for you… If you know you will always be suspicious or can’t move on from what really happened, you have your answer.”
Tell your partner to leave you alone for a while so you can gather your thoughts, and most importantly, figure out if you’ll ever be able to forgive your partner for cheating on you.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself if your partner has cheated on you:
1) Do they care that they’ve hurt you? Do they even understand they’ve hurt you? And do they truly regret what they did?
2) Do you know the full extent of their cheating? Have they actually been honest with you about it?
3) Will you be able to move on? Or will the fact they’ve cheated always be in the back of our mind? Will you be able to trust them again?
4) Is it worth saving the relationship? Or is it better to move on?
5) Don’t try to get even
When your partner cheats, it can be very tempting to react with anger, trash talk them and have an affair of your own.
I’ll be honest my first thought was to break it off with my partner and go on an absolute bender and try to pick up the hottest chick I could find.
But looking back, I’m glad I didn’t do that. It’s desperate, petty, full of toxic energy, and most importantly, it won’t do you any good.
Jane Greer, PhD, a New York-based relationship expert, explains why:
“Trying to get even keeps your anger alive, and keeps you in a state of negativity, which will prevent you from moving on and going forward in your life.”
“Getting even will give the vengeful partner a momentary sense of satisfaction,” says Irina Firstein, LCSW, a couples therapist.
“But ultimately it’s not going to move you toward any resolution and will only make things more complicated.”
6) Take care of yourself
We talked about the emotions that you’re undoubtedly feeling. Something as drastic as infidelity can take a toll on you emotionally and physically.
You might be feeling more stressed than usual. Perhaps you’re finding it difficult to concentrate without thinking about what happened.
As I said above, I was struggling more than usual: Not sleeping as well, and more stressed, even though I was telling myself and everyone I knew that I was fine.
This is normal, but you need to make sure you take care of yourself during this turbulent time.
So think of the people in your life that you love and respect.
How do you treat them? You are kind to them, respectful and forgive them if they make a mistake.
Now think of how you treat yourself. Do you give yourself the love and respect you deserve?
Now it’s more important than ever to treat yourself well.
You need to take care of your body, your mind, and your needs.
Here are all the ways that you could be showering your mind and body with self-love:
– Sleeping properly
– Eating healthy
– Giving yourself time and space to understand your spirituality
– Exercising regularly
– Thanking yourself and those around you
– Playing when you need it
– Avoiding vices and toxic influences
– Reflecting and meditating
How many of these activities do you allow yourself?
Remember, the best way to take care of yourself is through action.
7) Talk it out with someone who sees it from your perspective
It’s important to talk about your feelings and what happened, but you need to do it with the right person.
When your heart is broken and you’re already feeling crappy, the last thing you need is someone standing in front of you telling you all the reasons that the infidelity is your fault.
You need to speak with someone who won’t try to get you to make meaning of the experience or how you can learn from it.
I had a friend who reminded me of all the things that I did wrong in the relationship.
That wasn’t what I needed to hear. All it did was make me feel worse.
So make sure they’re emotionally intelligent, positive and on your side.
And if you have mutual friends with your partner, you might not want to speak to them about it, either. You can’t be sure which side they’ll take.
8) Talk with your partner
Now it isn’t always clear on how you should approach this. I’ll be honest, this is something I didn’t even bother doing. I had a brief chat with my ex-partner but because I already decided to end it, I was just wanted to move on.
However, if you don’t know want you to want to do, or you want to stick with them, then it’s a good idea to have a chat about it.
First, you’ll want to gather all the available information. Do you have proof that your partner cheated?
According to relationship therapist Sheri Meyers, “Without proof, you will look (or be treated) like a distrusting fool”.
Before you initiate confrontation, try to figure out what outcome you’d like.
Do you really want to stay together? Do you want to learn how truly remorseful they are?
Sometimes you may not know, according to family therapist Robert C. Jameson.
“You might say, “I have to talk to him/her in order to get clarity. I don’t know what I want…If this is the case then you what you want is to gather information so you can decide what to do”.
Next thing you need to is to plan an appropriate place and time to talk.
A safe space where you both feel at ease.
Then as hard as it is, you need to try and listen to what your partner has to say about why they cheated.
“Cheating doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and it’s crucial to be honest about your part in the relationship,” relationship expert April Masini told Bustle.
“It’s easy to play victim, but more often than not, the cheating happened because the cheater felt neglected or mistreated or not valued. That doesn’t excuse that person’s behavior, but it explains it, and it shows that cheating was a symptom, not the main problem.”
No matter what outcome you’re looking for, talking about your partner’s infidelity is necessary if you are to fix the relationship or if you want to end it with some closure.
“People cheat for different reasons. They may love their partners at the time. Sex addiction, personal insecurity, and payback are just some of the reasons both men and women have extramarital affairs. None of them are good, but understanding why can help,” psychotherapist Barton Goldsmith told Psychology Today.
It’s going to be tough to confront your partner but it’s something you need to talk about if you are to move on with your relationship.
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