Being cheated on is brutal. It happened to me last year and I still haven’t recovered.
It’s changed me as a guy in many ways. I shrugged it off at first, but looking back at the past year I have to be truthful and say I’ve become a much different person than I would have if my girlfriend hadn’t cheated.
Here’s the truth about cheating and how it changes you as a man.
How being cheated on changes you as a man: Everything you need to know
Being cheated on took a lot out of me. A year ago I discovered my girlfriend of three years had been cheating on me with two different men and various points starting a year into our relationship.
It was like all the air went out of me. I was furious and walked away from the relationship.
But I’ve never been quite the same again…
1) It makes you doubt your own worth
Being cheated on changes you as a man by making you doubt your own masculinity and value.
I always found words like self-esteem and self-value to be sort of silly, but now I have a lot more respect for them.
My self-image is in the gutter and I’m still working at repairing it.
The girl I’d given my heart to was using me like a plaything and emotionally abusing my trust for years under my nose.
It not only makes me worry that I wasn’t good enough for her. It also makes me wonder why I wasn’t smart and discerning enough to notice I was being cheated on.
Which brings me to the next point.
2) It makes you feel like an idiot
I felt like an idiot from getting cheated on. Not only did I feel emasculated and less “manly,” I also felt like the stupidest person in the world.
How had I been sucked in by a woman who seemed like an angel but was actually closer to the devil?
While the things I talk about in this article will help you deal with being cheated on and understanding the aftermath, it can be helpful to speak to a relationship coach about your situation.
With a professional relationship coach, you can get advice tailored to the specific issues you’re facing in your love life.
Relationship Hero is a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people navigate complex and difficult love situations, like how being cheated on hits you right in your core sense of your own masculinity and self-worth.
They’re popular because they genuinely help people solve problems.
Why do I recommend them?
They genuinely helped me, giving me practical advice on how to overcome the issues I was facing after discovering the cheating that had been going on.
I was blown away by how genuine, understanding and professional they were.
In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice specific to your situation.
3) It makes you play the blame game
When you get cheated on it makes you play the blame game…with yourself.
To this day I can’t stop blaming myself for what happened.
I was enraged at my ex as well, but through it all I couldn’t shake this idea that I’d somehow brought this on myself.
I went through the checklist.
Did I ignore her? No.
Did I stop being physically intimate? No.
Did I disrespect her? No.
But when I got more in depth I realized that it related a bit to me after all.
Did I tell her I loved her after our first year together? No.
Did I take her on any special trips? No.
Did I have date nights or introduce her to close friends to hang out? No.
I still don’t believe I brought this on myself, of course, but I do see how I had my part to play.
I’m of the belief that real love shouldn’t be conditional, however, but I also note purely objectively that I have a long way to go in becoming a thoughtful and considerate partner to the extent I want to be.
4) It gets you comparing yourself to the other guy
The first guy my girlfriend slept with was for a few months as I later found out. He was her personal trainer at the gym. Cliche much?
From all my impressions this was not a serious affair, but I still found myself comparing everything about me to this man.
His physique made me look like a tiny stick figure and browsing through his ultra-confident videos on social media made me feel sick to my stomach.
The second guy she had an affair with was more serious. They started spending so much time together that it was the main reason I began to finally get suspicious and ask where the hell she was all the time.
He was an engineer who worked downtown near my girlfriend’s job. They met at a nearby cafe.
Boy meets girl. Girl has boyfriend, f*cks new guy anyway for over a year and is now with him.
It’s a love story for the ages, that’s for sure.
She also told me she loves engineer bro (she admitted that to me after we broke up. Thanks, great to know. My self-confidence is doing cartwheels that’s for sure).
Just thinking of the salary engineer man rakes in gives me the sensation of being a total loser, although I also see a silver lining in that I honestly think there’s a chance my ex is using him for his bank account.
5) It fills you with incoherent anger
I don’t think I’ve ever been as angry at the world, at my ex and at myself as in the months following her cheating on me.
I drank a lot, I swore about my ex to friends and I let myself go, missing workouts, eating unhealthily and even once punching and bodychecking the wall in anger.
Drywall isn’t nearly as hard as I thought.
The good news is I avoided any serious criminal consequences for having out-of-control anger issues.
This is especially true when I spoke to her in a call three days after breaking up that sounded a lot like Mel Gibson’s infamous calls with his ex-wife Oksana Grigorieva video below (minus his random racism).
I shouted so much I barely had a voice the next day.
I’m really not proud of it, and can’t say that it was even justified. My ex had indeed cheated on me in an awful way, but my anger has only made my comeback harder.
Because in a way it’s just been a way for me to try to refuse to accept what happened.
6) It can make you feel very sorry for yourself
The victim mentality. It’s a place we’ve all been stuck at times.
Getting cheated on will send you directly to Self Pity Land with no apparent return ticket.
Hard as I tried, I couldn’t shake this childish idea that life is picking on me and singling me out for humiliation and disappointment.
This created quite an entitled mindset in me which caused me to disrespect and hurt the feelings of others (which I’ll discuss below).
It also made me waste so much time drinking, lying around, complaining to others and feeling like life was hopeless.
Why did this happen to me?
I’d invested years of my life in someone when I would have been better off just going to a strip club or swiping around on some app?
The bitterness was almost palpable day in and day out for months afterwards.
Even writing about it now I can feel those familiar toxic emotions bubbling under the surface.
I have managed to mostly overcome that crippling victim mindset and throw out the cheap wine of tragedy.
But I know that the disgusting taste of it still lingers…
7) It made me doubt our whole past relationship
After being cheated on I became paranoid about my whole relationship with my ex.
It was like I took a microscope back over everything and suddenly saw creepy shadows lurking where I’d previously seen bright sunny days and an ideal love story.
Now I saw two very flawed people with one so lost in her own ambitions and flaws that she cheated on me for most of our relationship.
I didn’t cheat. I was in love with her.
But looking at our whole time together through the lens of her betrayals made me doubt whether she ever cared about me at all.
I still wonder if she loved me at all, and many of my worst days are when I get wrapped up in my lowest instinctual self-doubt wondering about whether everything she ever said to me was a lie.
8) It made me not want to date anymore
Being cheated on made me very resistant to dating again. I swiped a couple apps and hooked up with girls, but I wasn’t into it.
It all felt hollow.
The one time I did meet someone where there was a real spark, I started doubting it after two weeks of talking and sabotaged it by not showing up to a few dates.
Part of the self-pity cycle I talked about above is that I felt that me being cheated on and disrespected so badly somehow gave me a “right” to do whatever I wanted.
I realize this is a totally irrational thought, but I’m just being honest here.
I felt the world “owed me one” and I treated every woman who showed any interest as being fake or not worthy in some way.
I do hope I can learn to love again someday, because I know that the prison I’ve built is only holding me at this point.
9) It changed my view of women as a whole
I’m not proud to say that being cheated on made me much more cynical about women as a whole.
I’d love to say that I didn’t turn this into a stupid men vs. women type situation, but I did.
I went back to being quite tribal, spending a lot more time with masculine guy friends and taking quite a dismissive view of the motives of most women.
I know that women often do this when men cheat on them too (“all men are the same,” and so on…)
Like I said, I’m not proud of it.
I started believing many women were self-interested…
I started dismissing nice women who talked to me as liars who were just playing off guys against each other…
I started saying very hurtful and rude things to women on dating apps.
(Yes, I have been banned from Tinder. Twice).
Like I said, not a series of proud moments.
10) It made me look for love in all the wrong places
How being cheated on changes you as a man?
It made me feel entitled to go wild and it also made me become reckless about finding love and affection.
I met up with women I knew I didn’t like just for sex. I did other things I’m not proud of based on my own moral code.
I also trusted people I went out with on a casual basis far too much, looking for love in all the wrong places.
Instead what I got were a couple of loans that I never got back from women who claimed to care about me a lot. They definitely cared about what was in my hip pocket, anyway.
If you’re dealing with the aftermath of cheating, have you considered getting to the root of the issue?
I know: the root issue is her cheating.
That’s true, in a way.
But I know that in my case the true roots of this problem go beyond the betrayal I experienced.
You see, most of our shortcomings in love stem from our own complicated inner relationship with ourselves – how can you fix the external without seeing to the internal first?
I learned this from the world-renowned Brazilian shaman Rudá Iandê, in his incredible free video on Love and Intimacy.
He opened my eyes to ways I’d been self-sabotaging and letting myself down in love without even realizing it.
So, if you want to improve the relationships you have with others and learn to trust and love again after being cheated on, start with yourself.
You’ll find practical solutions and much more in Rudá’s powerful video, solutions that’ll stay with you for life.
11) It gave me higher standards
Being cheated on had some positives. For one thing, it gave me higher standards.
Looking back at my ex’s behavior I saw how a lot of what I perceived as sweetness was just her flattering me to get her way.
I also saw how she’d clearly barely respect me from the very beginning and was only using me.
The downside is this made me overly distrusting of other women who weren’t necessarily bad at all.
The upside is that my overall standards got much higher.
I started paying a lot more attention to integrity, values, authenticity and subtle attributes in women, over and above their outer beauty.
I’m not saying I no longer notice a beautiful girl walking by, but I now have a big grain of salt that goes along with my admiration.
If I do get back on the dating scene in any serious way in the future I know for sure that I’ll be much harder to seduce just based on looks alone.
My last girlfriend was a stunner but I can see now that her physical beauty made me believe there was more to her under the surface.
12) It made me harder to hurt
I’ll be honest with you:
Part of what happens when you get cheated on is you become a bit more jaded in life. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, and it can even potentially block out new love opportunities.
But it is what it is.
I simply became a lot harder to hurt.
It may sound melodramatic, but I feel that I experienced such high highs and low lows with my ex-girlfriend that what comes at me in the future won’t emotionally gut me quite as badly.
Then again, I don’t want to tempt fate.
But the point is that the damage that my ex and her cheating did to me was so significant that I now have huge battle scars where I used to have a vulnerable beating heart.
Much worse could happen in love, I know.
But at this point part of me has a bit of the attitude of a guy on his fourth drink at the bar, making a sarcastic and cynical joke about life and love.
Is it possible to move on?
I believe it is possible to move on.
I am endeavoring to do everything I can to do just that, and have begun reconnecting with close friends, getting back into my passions and working on myself.
The trust issues aren’t going to go away. Even my belief that I can now filter potential partners more effectively into those who will or won’t cheat doesn’t bring me full security.
Love is a risk. We all know that. But I can and will keep moving forward in my life, while still keeping that small corner of my mind open to the possibility of meeting a partner one day who I can truly love and trust.