It’s not easy being cheated on. It’s an absolutely soul-destroying experience that leaves some of us little less than empty husks, and pushes others into white hot fury.
No matter how you may react, it will eventually leave you asking “what now?”
In this article, I will offer you 12 tips that can help you deal with being cheated on by someone you truly love.
1) Don’t blame yourself
You might be tempted to blame yourself, to think that if only you were more attractive, or more attentive, or if you didn’t get mad at your partner so easily, then maybe they wouldn’t have cheated.
Stop that right now. You might not be perfect, but their cheating is 100% on them.
And that doesn’t change even if they were to point a finger at you and tell you that you are the reason they cheated. They might tell you that they cheated on you because you’re too busy with work that you’ve forgotten to take care of them, for example. Even then, it’s not your fault.
If there truly were problems in the relationship that would tempt them to cheat, they have the option of trying to talk to you about it, cheating on you, or leaving you.
It’s their decision to cheat on you instead of trying to fix whatever problems you might have by talking to you. Don’t ever blame yourself for “pushing” them to cheat. There is no such thing.
2) Avoid jumping to conclusions
It is incredibly important that you try to avoid jumping to conclusions. That’s right. Even if you already know they’re cheating!
It might be tempting to assume that the sweet messages you see on their phone are once again from their lover, but it could also be from their sister or niece.
I know you’re now very observant but it also means that you’re more paranoid than usual.
Jumping to conclusions will just make your relationship worse. Plus, it will give you more emotional stress which you clearly do not need right now.
If you are so sure that they’re going out to meet their lover again, always remember that there’s always a chance that it’s something else.
It might be hard to avoid jumping to conclusions, especially if you caught your partner cheating but if you want to work things out with them, give them the benefit of the doubt.
3) Don’t listen to rumors
Even if you trust the source, don’t trust second-hand information. Think of them as clues at best.
What you should do instead is to try to verify any rumors that reach your ear, to figure out the whole truth first and foremost.
Perhaps the person they’ve been meeting wasn’t their secret lover, but a classmate from high school who is trying to organize a high school reunion.
We get more passionate than usual when we hear rumors about our partner because it’s embarrassing for us that everyone knows our partner is cheating but don’t forget: rumors are just rumors. Just because many people talk about it, doesn’t mean it’s true.
4) Keep your emotions in check
Don’t act rashly.
You might be tempted to do something—anything—soon after you realize that you have been cheated on. You might be tempted to run up to the person your partner is cheating on you with and beat them up. You might even be tempted to kick your partner off a bridge!
Neither of these are what we would call a “good idea”, but they will certainly seem like it in the heat of the moment.
Let’s say you decide to beat the person you think your partner is cheating on you with and then trash your partner’s car to make it harder for them to cheat on you.
But then you remember that it is also your car, and now you can’t use it either—and to make things worse, it turns out that the person you beat up is your partner’s cousin and you just ruined your relationship with their side of the family.
Emotional reactions, especially those fueled by extreme anger or sadness, don’t often lead to our wisest decisions. So it’s important that you take a moment to cool off before you actually take action and do something that you might regret.
5) Don’t forget to take care of yourself
Getting cheated on is going to leave you very emotionally drained. For that reason, it’s incredibly important that you take time to love yourself, as hard as it may be.
Take small steps to make sure you’re not neglecting yourself. As tempting as it may be to just lie down in bed all day and cry, you still need to make sure your body and your mind aren’t withering away. So you should at least try to make sure you’re eating three meals a day.
And most important of all, pamper yourself like you’re a baby.
What are the simple things that can make you feel good physically?
Warm bath with incense and good music? Go for it!
Netflix and a big tub of ice cream? Go for it!
Treat yourself like you deserve all the love in the world because that’s the best way to heal.
6) Don’t try to get even
There are few things more tempting than trying to get even with a cheating partner. You might think that cheating on your partner would be a good idea because, well, they’re already cheating on you, right? You might as well let them know what it feels like!
Not quite, especially if you truly love them. Two wrongs don’t make a right. They only make the whole thing even more wrong.
Sure your partner might have cheated on you, but that’s no excuse for you to do the exact same thing. That brings you down to their level. And you know what I said earlier about not taking the blame for your partner’s cheating? That applies here too.
You can’t just cheat and then tell your partner “I cheated because you cheated on me”—their cheating might have crushed your heart, but the decision to cheat on them is yours and yours alone.
And in the end, you both end up as people who have been cheated on by their partners, and everything on this list will suit them as much as they do you. And if you ever decide that you want to fix your relationship, you’ll have to do at least twice the work, if not more.
It’s also a waste of time when you can put your energies into more productive things, like trying to figure out how to get over your partner or how to fix your relationship.
7) Shut your ears to your surroundings
When you’re being cheated on, your friends are going to rally around you. In some more complicated circumstances, you might have some of your friends taking your side, and others taking their side.
You’re going to hear them badmouth your partner without giving even a second of thought about what it might do to your relationship. They might take situations that were –and are– totally offensive and try to paint them in a bad light. Their little quirks are now suddenly very annoying. And you’re going to hear a lot of strongly worded advice, such as “break up with them!” or even “set their car on fire!”
See, studies have shown that at least 46% of people cheated at least once in their lives, and it’s very possible that the actual number is higher. Some of your friends will have either cheated before or have been cheated on, and are projecting their pain or guilt onto your situation.
And there’s also the fact that some of your friends say and do all of that just to make you feel better or because they’re outraged on your behalf.
The problem with this is that your relationships should be between you and your partner alone. So shut out all that noise and focus yourself.
Sure, listening to all that will make you feel good in the short term, but it’ll also make it hard for you to think with a clear head. And when you’re dealing with something as big as cheating, you will want your head to be as clear as possible.
8) It’s not the end of the world (or your relationship)
Your relationship can still recover after infidelity.
It might feel like your world had fallen apart and that there’s no way you’ll ever get it back together or find it in you to trust your partner ever again.
The statistics are quite low, with a study saying that only 16 percent of couples stay together after someone cheated. But it is actually perfectly possible for relationships to recover from cheating, and even end up stronger than ever before.
That’s why you should not listen to your friends when they tell you to ‘break up’ with your partner or hurt them and instead try to calm down and think things through.
Humans are naturally flawed and prone to making mistakes, and it’s very possible that your partner didn’t even think they were about to cheat on you until it happened. They might be regretting having cheated on you, and wish they could take it back and turn back time.
Listen to them, try to understand what they feel and what story they might have to tell.
Fixing your relationship is going to be a lot of hard work. You’ll have to build trust between the two of you all over again, and it will be an uphill battle trying to keep your emotions in check. But it is possible, and if you truly love one another and are committed to setting things straight, then you can succeed.
9) Ask yourself what you really want
Sometimes, cheating happens because someone had a moment of weakness, and sometimes cheating is a sign that the relationship’s dysfunctional and simply just won’t work out no matter how hard you try.
It’s just a fact that not all relationships can recover from infidelity so you’ll have to figure out what it is you really want—to stay and heal together or to leave and heal alone?
Do you still love your partner? Do they still love you? Do you still want to be with each other? How happy have you been with the relationship just before the cheating came to light?
If you really just can’t see the two of you working out, and especially if one or both of you are unwilling to work things through, then you might be better off breaking up and starting over with someone new. Maybe reflect on your current relationship to learn about what you should try avoiding.
But if the two of you still very clearly love one another, then you should at least give your relationship a second chance.
10) Ask a professional for help
When it comes to the complicated and fragile world of interpersonal relationships, it often helps a lot to have someone help us process our emotions and give us some perspective. And the best person for the job would be a professional therapist.
A friend might be able to give comfort, but they are likely to be biased one way or another… especially if they had their own experience with cheating that they just can’t untangle themselves from. A therapist, on the other hand, would at least try their best to be as objective as possible in their attempts to help you.
Whether you’re trying to fix your relationship or are trying to move on from it, go to a professional.
After all, when you want to fix broken plumbing, you call for a plumber. When you want to fix broken hearts, you call for a therapist.
You don’t want any bad wounds to linger in your psyche where they may rot and poison your relationships you may have, present and future.
11) Communicate to your partner
Communication is always important in relationships and it is going to be especially important now, whether you prefer to stay in the relationship or leave.
You don’t want to stay quiet about their cheating or break up with them without telling them why or giving them a chance to speak.
But before you come to your partner talking about infidelity, you’ll have to first make sure that you actually do have firm evidence that they are actually cheating. If all you have is hearsay or a gut feeling, you’ll make yourself look like someone who’s just paranoid and distrusting.
When you do decide to talk to your partner, you should also remember to stay as calm as you can. Don’t come at them screaming and shouting, because that won’t help either of you at all.
Remember to let them speak too, and to listen to whatever they have to say. Ask them why they cheated, and how they feel about it. Most of all, plan what you should do next.
12) Set new “rules” or set boundaries
If you had a discussion with your partner and you both decided to work things out, then you have to come up with a new set-up that would make you trust them more.
To win your trust back, maybe you can both agree that you can check each other’s phones from time to time.
To rekindle your love, maybe you should set date nights.
Although you’re still with the same person, you have a different kind of relationship because of infidelity. It’s better to acknowledge it and find a good way to heal than pretend things are just the same.
However, if you realize that you really can’t be with them anymore after they cheated, then set clear boundaries. Break up and tell them not to contact you, especially if they’re dying to win back your love.
Infidelity is a problem that has been haunting relationships since the dawn of time, and more people engage in infidelity than you might think. Nevertheless, it’s always painful when it happens.
Sometimes the causes might be things that could have been easily handled if only they were noticed in time. Sometimes, it’s just something that’s out of your hands.
Whatever your decision may be, whether it’s to end the relationship or to forgive them and give them a second chance, keep in mind that it won’t be easy to recover from infidelity and that you should never forget yourself when you walk the path of healing.