Recovering From Being With A Cheater: Quotes For Strength And Healing
Updated March 25, 2020
Reviewer Tanya Harell
Being cheated on means experiencing a deep, overwhelming betrayal. Even in a new relationship-even if the two of you have only been dating for a matter of days-betrayal can create deep and intense wounds, many of which can persist for years on end. Recovery from cheating, then, is not a simple process that can be undertaken over a matter of hours, with a concise and upbeat, "I'm over it," the inevitable conclusion of your pain. Instead, recovering from being with a cheater takes time, energy, and distance from the situation, and should not be rushed.
What Qualifies as Cheating?
Cheating has many different qualifications and technicalities, largely depending on the people in the relationship. For some, emotional infidelity is not terribly problematic, and is considered more of an expected aspect of being in friendships and relationships outside of your marriage, while for others, even going out to lunch with someone to whom you could be attracted is tantamount to betrayal. The exact definition of cheating is hazy, but the boundaries of cheating typically lie within these walls: cheating is any act or behavior that infringes on the boundaries of your relationship.
If, for instance, your relationship is a monogamous one, and the two of you have agreed to keep all sexual contact within your relationship, even a kiss could be considered cheating. If your relationship is an open one, provided that the two of you discuss and run everything by each other, and one of you has a relationship with someone without first having a discussion, this could also be cheating. The exact parameters of cheating may change, but the basic idea of what does and does not constitute cheating usually remains the same.
How is cheating experienced?
Cheating actually has many psychological effects, both on the mind of the cheater and the cheated. Recovery from cheating, though, is usually focused on the person who has been cheated on. First and foremost, cheating is a breach of trust. Two or more people in a relationship trust one another to be honest, forthright, and open with one another. When this trust is betrayed, it an not only shake the bedrock of the relationship itself, but can also call other facets of a person's life into question; after all, if your partner is lying and you didn't now about it, who else close to you might be hiding things? For this reason alone, cheating has large and far-reaching effects.
Cheating can also bring feelings of shame and inadequacy. Many men and women, upon learning that they have been cheated on, immediately turn inward. They may assume they are not interesting enough, intelligent enough, masculine or feminine enough, or a host of other fears. All of these fears, while an understandable tangent to get lost on, belie the truth about cheating: it is indicative of the cheater's mindset, not a flaw present in the person who has been cheated on. Regardless of your weight, financial situation, level of education, or the presence (or lack) of hobbies, you do not deserve to be cheated on. Instead, your partner should have terminated the relationship, broached their concerns with you, or suggested some form of mediation in order to work through issues the two of you are having. These feelings of inadequacy and lack can create a storm of insecurity and anxiety.
Cheating can also seem to spark further infidelity. Some call it revenge, while others call it justice, but whichever side your loyalties lie on, the situation is the same: someone learns that they have been cheated on, and they set out to even the score. Although most people who are not living in that situation can quickly and easily determine that cheating on the cheater is neither helpful nor the right thing to do, people who feel cheated often feel as though their own forays into cheating are not legitimately cheating, but are actually reinstating equitable, fair ground.
How Detrimental Is Cheating?
Cheating is detrimental both for a relationship and for an individual. Because cheating has been linked to a host of unhealthy behaviors, including the behaviors mentioned above, and the onset of coping behaviors, which can easily veer into past addictions and the onset of dangerous or unhealthy actions. In the face of losing a beloved partner and trusted companion, men and women alike experience intense psychological, emotional, and even physical symptoms of cheating and loss.
Quotes for Cheating Recovery
Quotes about cheaters can help you on your healing journey, as they can demonstrate that you are not alone in your experiences, and there is a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. When reading each quote, take some time to pause and reflect, and even step away if the thought or idea triggers too strong an emotional reaction. As painful as it is, many people have experienced cheating, and have come out the other side, having healed and experienced growth.
"People are always fascinated by infidelity because, in the end - whether we've had direct experience or not - there's part of you that knows there's absolutely no more piercing betrayal. People are undone by it." - Junot Diaz
Cheating is never simple, nor is it ever easy. Even a seemingly "small" bit of cheating has intense and lasting effects in the lives of the people it touches. Although many people are eager to read about and discuss cheating, this may come from the fear and uncertainty of it all-it is fascinating because it is unbearable to actually imagine.
In "Unapologetically You," Steve Maroboli says, "You didn't just cheat on me; you cheated on us. You didn't just break my heart; you broke our future."
As Maroboli's quote suggests, cheating is not a simple, one-time action, that hurts one person, and fades away. Cheating destroys a relationship that, in many cases, people fought and worked hard for. Recovery from cheating is similarly complex; you aren't merely trying to heal a single incident of infidelity. You are trying to heal the unraveling of your trust, future, and (for some) your identity.
"They didn't cheat because of who you are. They chose to cheat because of who they are not." - Charles J. Orlando
In perhaps one of the most important quotes here, Orlando says it perfectly: cheating is not about you. It is about the cheater. Finding the strength to overcome and find healing in the face of cheating has nothing to do with the person who has cheated on you; their journey is their own. Instead, finding strength comes from you, and finding how to love, trust, and respect yourself. You cannot control the actions or behaviors of anyone else, but you can control yours. A person who cheats does so because they are missing something, not because you are demonstrating some type of lack. Cling to and remember this each time you fear that you will never recover, or that you will never find or receive love again.
When to Seek Help
If you are having trouble sleeping, are having trouble getting out of bed in the morning, are experiencing thoughts of self harm, are frequently wishing you could just stop existing to stop the pain, or find yourself not feeling much at all, it may be time to seek the help of a mental health provider. Although some amount of heartbreak, pain, and fear are to be expected after discovering that someone you loved has cheated on you, many (if not most) people need help navigating all of the intense highs, lows, and in-betweens that come along with being cheated on, and having your trust violated.
To get help recovering your mental health, and developing strong self-care habits, there are several routes you can take. Meeting with a counselor provided by your school, church, or community organization can be one avenue to finding healing. You can also check with your insurance company or care provider to locate a psychiatrist or psychologist in your area. You may prefer to find a therapist online, through a site such as ReGain.Us, which allows you to seek therapy without having to leave your home. Whatever the case may be, there is neither shame nor harm in seeking help to recover from the throes of being cheated on, and needing help is usually an expected part of the process.
Recovering from Being with a Cheater
Although many victims of cheating believe that they are in some way at fault-not attentive enough, attractive enough, supportive enough, etc-the truth is that the fault of cheating lies on the shoulders of the person who cheated, not the person they are with. When relationships begin to break down, or someone within a relationship feels unheard, unloved, or disrespected, the communication is needed, not stepping outside of the marriage.
Recovery from cheating can be a long road. Some people take months to feel normal again, while others might go years before they feel prepared or safe enough to welcome the idea of love again. The exact timeline that you follow is not important; each healing journey is entirely unique, and no two journeys require the same things, or express themselves in exactly the same way.
When in recovery, it is wise to measure success according to your own wants and needs, rather than the opinions of others. If you want to find love again, you can gauge your healing based on when you feel ready to step out into romance again. If you want healing first and foremost, you can measure where you are by determining how you respond to setbacks and stress. Above all, though, take this time to focus on yourself-your needs, your wants, and your healing. Although cheating is never acceptable or reasonable, it can offer you the gift of a new start, however horrible the packaging.