If you’re wondering how to heal after being cheated on, you’ve come to the right place. Being cheated on has happened to many of us, but not everyone knows how to heal after being cheated on. Whether it was inappropriate online flirting or real-life cheating, cheating is cheating, and it always hurts. It always feels devastating. If you were cheated on by someone who you thought loved you too much to risk what you had for a cheap thrill, what happened when the truth came to light? Most people sink into the darkness.
You see, being cheated on can descend a person into a very dark place. Giving up your other options wasn’t easy for you, either, but your partner was worth it to you. Realizing that for them, you weren’t worth the sacrifice, feels like a knife in your heart. The pain and heartache can feel unbearable and oftentimes excruciating. Many of you trying to figure out how to heal after being cheated on are currently in that dark place, wondering how you let this person dim your light in the first place – let alone extinguish it. Perhaps there were red flags that you chose to ignore, or online behavior that you knew shouldn’t be tolerated. Now, you’ve become aware of the details of a betrayal, and you’re trying to figure out how to heal after being cheated on.
You know that asking for monogamy was never asking for too much. You’re aware of the fact that it’s easy to be faithful when you love someone, and when two people love each other, they typically both want the other to be loyal to them, and only them. It’s therefore heartbreaking when you’re the only person who was loyal in the relationship.
It’s crucial to figure out how to heal after being cheated on, because if the wounds your cheating partner left on you remain unhealed, the damage could be irreparable. The damage to your self-worth could be long-lasting and life-altering. And, the impact on your mental health could be very severe.
How to Heal After Being Cheated On by Someone You’re in Love With
If you’re here reading this article because you’ve ended the relationship after discovering unfaithful behavior, your strength is admirable. That’s the exact kind of strength you need in order to heal. It’s mature, strong, and wise of you to end the relationship. Typically, a cheater who secures your forgiveness will cheat again. And, any relationship where cheating is involved of any kind (even online cheating or emotional affairs) for any reason, is a toxic relationship that will crumble under the deceit it has been tip-toeing on.
Andrew G. Marshall, therapist and author of Why Did I Cheat? was recently interviewed by Datingroo on the topic of infidelity. Marshall explains that cheaters often behave that way due to underlying issues within themselves. He says, “If none of the underlying issues have been solved, then it is likely it will happen again.”
Knowing that staying will probably lead to more pain makes it a bit easier to walk away, but it’s still very difficult and gut-wrenching. It requires a lot of strength to walk away from someone who took your love for granted and cheated on you. Why? Because just because they cheated – just because they hurt you – doesn’t mean you’ve stopped loving them. Love doesn’t come with an on/off switch, and it’s possible to still be in love with the person who cheated on you.
That’s why it’s so heartbreaking to walk away. It requires tremendous strength to walk away from someone you still love, and still want to be with. Many people are tempted to sacrifice their standards, dignity or self-worth in order to stay with someone who was disloyal, simply because they’re afraid of letting go. As many of you likely already know, however, it’s practically a guarantee that you’ll get hurt again if you stay, and you’ll lose a lot of respect for yourself along the way.
Below you’ll find some insight on how to heal after being cheated on, and how to get over your cheating ex.
Let Yourself Feel The Pain and Don’t Seek Out Distractions
It’s important to let yourself sit in the hurt and feel the pain, in order to heal. I’m talking about avoiding any distractions from the pain. No Tinder, no Bumble, no Instagram, no old flames and no casual sex. Instead, just allow yourself to feel that heartache. Let yourself cry, write in a journal, and think about why you’re hurting so much.
You might be hurting because now you’re questioning your worth. Perhaps you thought you were a great catch, and you thought you were worth too much for your partner to risk losing you. When your partner cheats in any way, they are gambling your love story’s chance of survival for a shot at something else with someone else.
In other words, they risked losing everything they had with you, for what might be only a meaningless one night stand, if that. That can make you feel like whoever they cheated with, flirted with online, or had an emotional affair with was worth more to them than keeping you was worth. And that hurts.
Kevin Crenshaw, love coach and founder of The Heart Gang, told The Babe Report, “Being cheated on is painful because it pokes the open wound of our unhealed insecurities of not being good enough.”
Crenshaw also explained that letting yourself feel the painful emotions is healthy because it’s honest. He says, “The best thing you can do right now is be honest with yourself and how you feel. That’s the beginning of actually loving yourself, because to love you, you can’t lie to you.”
Profoundly, Crenshaw also added, “The only way to heal is to feel.”
It’s okay to not be okay, and there is no rush to feel fine after a breakup, especially after something as hurtful as infidelity.
Would you respect someone who claimed to be in love, but somehow moved on incredibly fast after a breakup, instead of properly grieving the end of the relationship? No? Then how can you respect yourself if you don’t take the time to grieve before moving on?
I believe that you must move through the pain by feeling it, instead of trying to mask the pain, escape it, or bury it. Feeling those feelings is what makes you human. Those feelings give you depth of character, clarity and understanding. If you’re wondering how to heal after being cheated on, know that the real way to heal is almost always the hard way, not the easy way. It might be difficult to sit in that pain and really feel it. However, this is how you heal and release the pain, so that you’re less likely to carry that heavy burden with you into your next relationship.
Joan E. Childs, a renowned psychotherapist, inspirational speaker and author, says, “It is necessary to go through the emotional gauntlet to get through to the other side. It engenders healing, creates liberation, and instills empowerment. You can do it, and it will only make you stronger.”
Remember that you need to give yourself the time to heal these wounds, because the worst thing you can do is go into a new relationship with unhealed wounds.
Remember What Happens When You Accept Less Than What You Deserve
When you accept mistreatment, or tolerate less than what you deserve, it eats away at you until you feel empty inside. You did the right thing by ending your relationship with a cheater. Even if it was the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do, you did the right thing by walking away.
You might still love this person, but if you don’t stand up and choose to love yourself more, their mistreatment will keep dimming your light and you’ll lose yourself to the darkness. You must choose to love yourself more, and walking away is how you make that choice.
Remember to be strong. It’s okay if it’s not easy to close the book when you thought there were many more chapters remaining for the two of you. It might be hard on your heart to close the book on your relationship, but it’s even harder on your heart to stay with someone who isn’t loyal.
Accept That Perhaps it Wasn’t Love
One of the most painful things about being cheated on is when mere minutes, hours, or days before the cheating took place, your partner was telling you how much he or she loves you. It’s confusing when someone says they love you, but then they act in a way that illustrates the opposite of love.
It can make you go a little crazy if your partner’s actions didn’t line up with their words. You might start to wonder if they really loved you, and it can be painful to accept that perhaps it wasn’t love.
If at any point, they blamed you for their cheating or ever tried to turn it around on you when you caught them, that’s a sign that they didn’t love you. There is never an excuse to cheat, no matter what the circumstances were. And, if at any point, they positioned monogamy or faithfulness as a reward, and told you they wouldn’t cheat if you did X, Y or Z, that’s another sign it wasn’t love. Why? Because fidelity is the baseline of respect for a loved one. You won’t ever have to ‘work’ or ‘perform’ for fidelity if someone loves you, and faithfulness is not a reward. If it was ever positioned as a reward, that’s emotional abuse, and an extremely toxic form of manipulation. This manipulative abuse demonstrates a toxic and unhealthy view of relationships, where in your partner’s mind, relationships are transactional or quid pro quo. Any type of behavior where cheating is used as a punishment, and monogamy is positioned as a reward, is a sign that you were dating someone with extremely toxic traits. Real love cannot be achieved in a toxic relationship, so you must accept that it wasn’t real love.
Psychologist and couples counselor Dr. Wyatt Fisher told The Babe Report, “If someone is demanding changes or else they won’t stop flirting with other people, they’re demonstrating they are not a respectful person with integrity, and not someone worth being in a relationship with.”
Renowned Relationship Coach and Psychologist Dr. Cheryl Muir explains, “When loyalty is offered only upon certain conditions being met, this is incredibly controlling and manipulative behavior. It’s a huge red flag. We should not have to bargain with our partner to be treated with basic respect and decency. Ultimately, if your need is for your partner to be faithful, and your partner is not willing to unless you meet certain requirements, that is abuse and you need to end the relationship for good.”
Another thing that is helpful to realize is that your partner wasn’t cut out for a monogamous relationship. Some people simply aren’t cut out for a monogamous relationship. Even worse, some people expect to receive love and fidelity, without giving love and fidelity. Just be grateful that you got out of that toxic cycle.
How to Heal After Being Cheated On by Building Yourself Back Up
If you’re currently wondering how to heal after being cheated on when you know you’re going to feel very depressed and lonely, try to shift your perspective. Instead of viewing alone time as looming loneliness, think of using this time to rebuild your strength, and spend time learning to love yourself again.
Alone time is best used when you commit to self-care, self-improvement and personal growth. Use this time to build yourself back up. If your partner’s infidelity made you feel insecure, not good enough, unworthy of commitment or undeserving of love, it’s clear you need to rebuild your self-confidence.
Just because your partner took you for granted or didn’t recognize your value enough to protect your relationship, doesn’t mean you’re worthless.
The behavior of cheating is less about you and your worth, and more about them and their toxic traits. Whoever cheated on you has probably always displayed a pattern of cheating in their life. They’ve probably cheated on previous partners, and even if they lost a previous love due to cheating, it doesn’t mean they were mature enough to learn from it.
Speaking of immature qualities, cheating is immature because it often demonstrates that your partner is incapable of conflict resolution. Many immature, selfish people will cheat because they don’t know how to resolve conflict with words. This means that instead of communicating when they’re angry, hurt, annoyed or upset, they act out by cheating. You shouldn’t have to put up with pathetic behavior like that.
Know that you deserve much better than this, and don’t determine your worth based on their disrespect or disregard for your feelings. If your partner failed to recognize how valuable your love was or how worth it you were, that’s their loss, and their mistake.
It’s time to start going for long walks in nature, or plan a big trip. Start running again and get that revenge body. Take that online course to upgrade your business skills, build your business, work on a passion project and start glowing again.
Build yourself back up, and remember how great of a catch you are. Don’t let anyone convince you that you’re not worthy of love, commitment, honesty, respect and loyalty.
If you want help healing after being cheated on, or help healing after a breakup, tell one of our dating experts about your problem here.