It’s Not Easy Getting Over Being Cheated On: 6 Steps To Start Your Recovery
If your mate has cheated on you, you are probably experiencing a plethora of emotions and questions. For example: In the back of your mind, you may be wondering what happened, or what you did to “deserve” this type of treatment. You may be feeling like your world is crashing down around you, or like everything you know to be true has changed. If you are, you aren’t alone. These are among the most common emotions and thoughts that occur following acts of infidelity, for many.
It is possible to recover from betrayal or find healing from infidelity. Below, we’re exploring how you can acknowledge the feelings that may surface as a result of affair, steps you can take to begin your healing process, and the role therapy can play in your recovery.
Feelings That Surface Following Infidelity
The feelings that occur after infidelity can feel overwhelming. However, acknowledgement is generally the first step you can take to moving through the feelings and finding success in rebuilding your confidence and safety.
Here are a few feelings you might encounter as you process the news of the affair:
Anger: Usually, one of the first emotions to surface after you've been cheated on is anger. Feelings of rage or extreme disgust can feel consuming, and you may want to act out or argue with your mate. You may also feel that you want answers, but you don't want to discuss the matter either. It's common to have conflicting feelings because there's so much to take in. We do want to note that these feelings of anger can cause an outbreak of violence when you've been cheated on, and it's important not to allow yourself to become violent or rash with your mate or anyone else.
Sadness: If you've been cheated on, you will likely feel a certain degree of sadness. Relationships tend to be accompanied by feelings of love or extreme care for the other person. Once they are unfaithful to you, it can feel heartbreaking. Sadness, when left unaddressed, can lead to feelings of confusion or low self-esteem.
Confusion: How could this happen to me? This is likely one of the first questions you might ask yourself after being cheated on. You might feel as if you’re somehow the cause, or as if the situation surrounding the affair doesn’t “make sense.” If this is the case, you might consider vocalizing this to your partner and asking for clarification.
Overwhelm: Cheating is an act that can cause major uncertainty in a relationship. The person who was cheated on may have difficulty understanding why, which can make them feel overwhelmed when deciding what to do next. Some people consider infidelity to be the ultimate act of betrayal and refuse to consider moving forward with the relationship. Others aren't so sure about whether or not they can remain and start new relationship after cheating with their partner again. They can become overwhelmed with the decisions they feel compelled to make about the relationship.
Steps To Healing And Recovery After Betrayal
If you're faced with the aftermath of being cheated on, the following steps may help you cope and resume life with a partner you can trust.
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings
After finding out that your mate was unfaithful, the emotions may seem to overtake you. You may begin to feel sad, angry or deceived. It can be helpful to acknowledge all of these feelings as they occur. Consider reminding yourself that these are all common and completely natural feelings to experience. You might also attempt to work through the pain and address your feelings openly and honestly. Doing this can be an important first step that allows the process of healing to begin.
2. Don't Accept The Blame
Many people may blame themselves for their mate being unfaithful. It can be a natural response as you begin to question what you could have done differently or better. Generally speaking, though, you aren't responsible for your mate's decisions or actions. Misplaced blame often occurs when cheating becomes known, and can make it difficult to move forward positively and experience healing.
3. Stop Overthinking
There will likely be many thoughts that roam through your mind. For example: You may begin to wonder about the signs that you missed and possibly question what you may have done or said to cause the infidelity. In most cases, it doesn't help dwell on what you missed or what may have happened to cause a breakdown in the relationship. This isn't healthy or conducive to the healing process for most, and can prolong the pain. Instead of overthinking, consider looking towards your future and dwell on the positives that await you. Think of all the positive attributes that you have to offer individually and as a partner.
4. Consider Your Wants
What you want matters and should be carefully considered. We do want to acknowledge that you may not know what you want to happen in your relationship right after the affair. It may take time for you to decide. To help you expedite the process, you might consider the factors that impact either decision you make.
For example: Do you want to leave or remain with your mate? Is it your desire to try and work through the issues in the relationship and rekindle the romance? There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, and whatever decision you make, it's okay. It’s important to consider doing what works best for you and not allowing your decisions to be influenced by others. The decision regarding next steps is ultimately yours, and should be one that you feel good about after making it.
5. Remember That Self-Care Is Important
Taking care of yourself can be a helpful priority to maintain, especially after you've been cheated on. It's common for people to start indulging in unhealthy practices after infidelity. You may begin to eat foods that aren't healthy. You might choose not to exercise or keep up on your personal health needs. You may choose not to get up and get outside the house. Usually, however, the sooner things get back to normal, the more likely you are to feel ready to return to normal.
6. Seek Professional Help
You don't have to cope or deal with infidelity alone. Relationship therapy can be a healthy go-to for professional counsel and advice whether you've cheated or been cheated on. Your therapist can remain objective and may provide you with an unbiased third-party opinion that actively support your comprehensive healing journeys.
How Can Online Therapy Help Those Recovering From Affairs?
Beyond the benefits listed above, online therapy can help connect people in need with the support a licensed therapist can offer. Traditional in-person therapy can feel completely overwhelming when you feel as if you’re in too much emotional pain to leave your home. Rather than neglect this area of healing, this method of delivery can empower you to have a healthier experience without causing additional stress and strain.
Is Online Therapy Effective For Those Who Have Been Cheated On?
You may be wondering; How effective is online therapy? Forbes has found this method of recovery to be especially helpful for both the person who has been cheated on and the person who chose to cheat—offering both parties the opportunity to work on personal and joint development from the comfort of their own home.
Knowing when to walk away after infidelity is important. Getting over being cheated on won't come easy to most, but it can be made possible with hard work and dedication. Consider taking the time to incorporate the necessary steps, and don't feel pressured to rush the process or the progress. Online therapy may be a helpful resource to you as you walk through the steps of healing, allowing your voice to be heard and validated.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Long Does It Take To Get Over Being Cheated On?
While the healing journey can vary from person to person, many agree that it takes a minimum of at least two years to heal from an ongoing affair, whereas in other couples where the infidelity may have occurred only once or twice might heal in less time. It is important to take the time to heal from the negative emotions surrounding being cheated on so that you can move into your new relationship, whether that’s with the partner who cheated on you or someone else.
It is common to enlist the help of a mental health professional to work towards entering into a new relationship without the concern that the new relationship will lead to the same hurt and negative emotions that your prior relationship left you with. By working with a therapist, you may be able also to determine whether your prior relationship is worth saving or whether the relationship is worth moving on from because of the harm that was caused.
Regardless of whether you enter into a new relationship or work through the issues with your partner who cheated, you must take time to heal from the harm and the hurt that was caused by your partner’s actions.
Do You Really Love Someone If You Cheat On Them?
Cheating doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t love the person that you cheated on. Some people may love their partner, but they struggle with their differing sex drives, which can lead one of the partners to cheat. For others, one of the partners might constantly be absent, and cheating might be a distraction from their feelings of missing them. While none of these are excuses for cheating, these are examples of when a partner cheats but still loves the person they cheated on.
How Do You Get Over Trust Issues After Being Cheated On?
Cheating is not something to take lightly. Given the long-term effect of cheating on a person, individuals should consider taking time to heal after being cheated on. This will not be without its challenges; however, it is crucial to move into new relationships successfully.
The first thing that a person should consider doing as they begin their healing journey is to acknowledge their past. Consider taking a moment to acknowledge how you feel about the cheating and why your response is the way it is. If you have a history of abandonment or trust issues, for example, cheating may have a bigger impact on you than someone who does not have those issues.As you do this, you might consider taking time to get to know yourself and what your relationship patterns are. If you are constantly seeking out relationships where you’re feeling insecure, you may choose to look into that a bit more and question why that’s the case.
As you continue to heal, it’s important to begin practicing trust in every relationship that you have. Whether it’s in your familial relationships or friendships, consider beginning to build a solid foundation of trust with the people you surround yourself with.
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