Being cheated on. It’s one of the biggest hot-topics for debate in the world of dating, relationships and love. Do you break up instantly with the cheater? Do you get over it? If it happened months or years ago, can you forgive? Has the whole relationship been a lie?
Essentially, being cheated on leads not only to a heart-melt overload of pain, but also to a multitude of brain-bamboozling questions, which quickly spirals into an incredibly overwhelming head-fuck.
You get ma drift.
Anyway, if you’ve landed on this article, it may be because of one of three reasons:
– You’ve just been cheated on (I am SO sorry).
– You’re just curious.
– You’re reading for future reference.
So providing this is the situation which you’ve unfortunately found yourself in, here is how to handle it (in a I’m-a-strong-person, mature-like-Jennifer-Aniston kind of way):
Have all the answers to the plethora of questions
This probably means a long, painful and drawn out conversation over the events which occurred. If it didn’t come from the horses mouth, did it really happen in the way you were told?
What were the circumstances and how did it happen? How many times has it happened? Was it accidental or planned? Does your partner want to stay with you or leave you?
Although still hurtful, there’s a huge difference between an flirty text and a full-blown on-going sexual encounter. Just make sure you have all the facts straight.
Warning though: don’t ask for all the intimate details, as much as the little devil on your shoulder wants to know, it really will not help by imagining exactly what went on.
Take a break from everything
It is natural when cheated on to go to one extreme or another. You either feel drawn to your partner and urged to be close to them and fix things, or leave them altogether.
It can be very difficult to make a rational decision when you’re in this mindset, so try to resist this and take a step back from it all. Ask your partner to have some time apart, giving them a time frame (providing they wish to stay with you), and don’t contact them until you’re ready.
Have a spa day, relax as much as you can, surround yourself with people you love and remind yourself that you are an amazing person.
Remember this is their mistake, not yours
More often than not, we turn to ourselves for the mistakes and reasons why this happened. Whatever you do, do not blame yourself for this.
It doesn’t matter if you were nagging, or angry that time, or you had an argument. This didn’t happen because you’re ‘flawed’, it happened because the person fundamentally has issues which don’t stem from you.
You’re not unlovable, or ugly, or not funny enough. You’re not stupid for not knowing this happened behind your back. This, genuinely, has nothing to do with you, so as much as it may happen – please don’t resort to self-loathing.
Allow yourself to be devastated (privately)
Being cheated on is arguably worse than being dumped. It’s the violation of trust with someone whom you love and were loyal to. But please for the love of chocolate-covered-marshmallows, REFRAIN from writing a nasty post / tweet / letter / graffiti-on-house. You’ll thank me later.
Be angry, be upset, drunk cry in the bath with mascara running down your cheeks, let it all out. Just do it in the privacy or your, or a friend/family member’s home.
Being the bigger person (publicly)
You’re going to be angry once the pain subsides, like psychopath, burning-clothes, keying-cars level angry. Take a moment to breathe. Fake it ’til you make it and act as calm and collected as you possibly can.
Acting out will just make you look stupid, or immature and ultimately won’t do you any favours. Be Jennifer Aniston: when she found out Brad had cheated, she didn’t appear in public snivelling with cry-eyes, she gracefully retreated to friends’ houses, went on holiday and eventually started making unfazed public appearances. Channel Jenn. Be Jenn.
You’ll be admired for your strength.
Make a decision
It will never seem like the right time to make a decision, but unfortunately the time will come where you must decide whether you can forgive, or have to forget and move on.
Some factors to consider are: How severe was the betrayal? Is this a reoccurring act? How early on in the relationship was it? Is this a sign the relationship is over? Does your partner truly understand the implications of their actions, are they sorry? Can you ever forgive this?
If you choose to move on:
It’s more than understandable if you choose to part ways when you’ve found out your partner has been unfaithful, after all, can a cheater ever change it’s spots?
This is your life, and if you know you can’t accept this has happened, and continue to grow in the relationship, then fair enough. It’s really sad it’s had to end this way, but at least you can move on. The best thing in this case is not to try and be spiteful or get revenge, leave things on a mature note and just get on with your life.
Go out in the world and find someone who will never even think of cheating as an option.
If you choose to stay:
Expect that things won’t be the same as before, and it may require a lot of work. You are going to be affected for a while and expect to get emotional at the most random of things.
Moving on will require a lot of support from your partner, and if they’re unsympathetic to the consequences of their actions, then you may have to have a reevaluation of the relationship and if it’s really working.
Unfortunately obsessing over it, or punishing our partners by snooping constantly won’t help either. To build that trust again you may need to start from scratch, but violating their privacy is not the way to do it.
Let it go: You can’t bring out the ‘cheating’ trump card in an argument, this one has to be let go, or you’ll never be able to go start afresh. Cheating will take time to get over, but with trust-building, patience, and time, it is possible to bring it back from the brink, if both of you are willing to make it work.
All in all, just remember to be true to yourself. If you truly feel you can make this relationship work again, then give it a go, but don’t waste your time with someone who clearly doesn’t respect you and who’s made that evidently so.
Love yourself, put yourself first and do what’s right for you.