I’m crushed that my boyfriend cheated on me while studying abroad. How do I start feeling better?

Probably less advice needed and more sympathy – sorry! My boyfriend and I had been together for nearly 6 years. He had been planning on doing a study-abroad program this year in Europe for lots of last year, and I was really happy when he committed. No trust issues, no doubts, no nothing, which is why it hit me like a ton of bricks when he got back last week and was just acting completely…off. Cold, distant, frosty. Eventually, he admitted that he hooked up with a girl he met on the program a bunch of times. I’m heartbroken as I never thought he was the type to cheat and I had been nothing but excited for him to get back. Obviously, I ended things and kicked him out of our shared living space. I don’t feel regret for my decision but I feel raw, hurt, and shocked to my core that I didn’t expect this, didn’t see it coming, and was totally unprepared. I also helped him pull together enough money for much of the trip so I’m aware that I probably will have to plan for asking him to pay me back (although my hopes for getting that money back are low!) Any words of support or really anything appreciated! – Anonymous, CO

Oh honey, my heart absolutely aches for you. Six years is a long time, and to have it end like this, so unexpectedly and with such a blatant betrayal, is devastating. It’s completely normal to feel raw, hurt, and shocked. You trusted him, supported him, and believed in your relationship – you had every reason to.

The fact that you didn’t see it coming is not a reflection on you or your judgment. Cheating is a choice the cheater makes, and they often go to great lengths to conceal it. You were blindsided because he chose to deceive you, not because you were naive or oblivious.

Right now, your feelings are valid. Let yourself grieve the loss of the relationship, the shattered trust, and the future you envisioned together. It’s okay to be angry, to cry, to scream into a pillow, or to do whatever you need to process this pain.

The fact that you helped him financially for the trip adds another layer of hurt, but don’t let that overshadow your own healing process. It’s absolutely reasonable to ask him to repay you, but focus on your emotional well-being first. You deserve to heal and move on without being consumed by financial worries.

You did the right thing by ending the relationship. You deserve someone who values you, respects you, and honors their commitments. This experience, as painful as it is, is a reminder of your strength and resilience. You will get through this, and you will come out stronger on the other side.

Lean on your friends and family for support during this time. Talk to them, cry with them, vent to them – whatever you need. Surround yourself with love and positivity, and remember that you are not alone in this.

Take this time to focus on yourself. Do things that bring you joy, nurture your passions, and rediscover your own worth. You are worthy of love, respect, and happiness.

This heartbreak won’t define you. It’s just a chapter in your story, and you have the power to write the next one. I’ve got my fingers crossed that it’s far more magical than the last!

Evie x

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Ask Evie

Evie is on a mission to revolutionize relationships and help you sort through your emotional woes. Her popular column helps readers break free from societal restraints and create empowering relationships - both with their inner selves and with those around them. With a wealth of experience in relationship counseling, backed by several professional certifications, she’s open-minded, big-hearted, and extremely compassionate… But she’ll also be completely honest in telling you the (sometimes) brutal truth, so you can get straight to the heart of the matter. Maybe you’re trying to save a marriage that currently feels like a sinking ship? Or worrying that your new friend isn’t quite as nice as they seem? Perhaps you’ve accidentally killed your partner’s goldfish and are weighing up the pros and cons of going to the pet store and finding a doppelganger, or fessing up? Whatever the dilemma, Evie’s at the ready to help sort through the emotional turmoil and guide you towards the next best step. To get in touch with Evie, click here.

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