How To Move On After Being Cheated On: 20+ Tips
Being cheated on is a big betrayal of one’s trust. It’s not easy. It’s painful. Regardless of the duration or the type of affair, it is normal to feel betrayed, angry, sad and at a loss. Being cheated on can have you start questioning your personality, beliefs and views of the world. It can also bring up fears of being alone, and trigger anxious feelings of having to meet new people or to reestablish a healthy relationship with your partner again. Finding out that you have been cheated on while still in the relationship is testing. It leaves a big question behind: whether to stay with your partner or whether to go.
Why Do People Cheat? 8 Common Reasons
Being cheated on can take hold of our thoughts. We can be preoccupied about why our partner cheated. Understanding why someone would cheat can help to limit our overthinking and rumination about what leads a person to break this commitment.
Both overt and covert narcissists believe they are special and deserve to be treated as such. They are not afraid to take advantage of others, as long as it satisfies their personal needs. Being in a faithful relationship is not as important as being admired by others.
In addition, having a tendency for attention-seeking, they are not satisfied with only having one person to validate them. Instead, they look to others to get their needs met. They search endlessly, by jumping from one person to another, looking for people that can give them the reassurance they crave.
2. Low Self-Esteem
Those who are looking to increase their self-esteem or confidence can cheat on their partners. Someone with low self-esteem needs more validation from others because they have difficulty validating themselves. They seek constant approval from others.
People who do not feel loved, who do not feel they have emotional intimacy, in their relationship look outside to be satisfied emotionally. This can stem from neglect.
In addition, individuals who may have been cheated on themselves, may have a distrusting view of others and the world. They think along the lines of: “If I hurt them first, they can’t hurt me.”
4. Attachment Styles
People with insecure attachment styles, especially those with avoidant attachments, are more likely to cheat. This might be their way of preventing themselves from getting too close. At the same time, cheating lets them know they are wanted—something they did not feel growing up.
5. Low Commitment
Fear of commitment can be a major cause of cheating. This is self-sabotaging behaviour wherein a person is trying to look for a way out or is having trouble ending the relationship in a healthier way.
To gain a sense of power and control, a partner can cheat. It is a form of rebellion in which they try to show they have power and control. This could be their way of seeking comfort and security elsewhere, instead of creating a scene within the relationship.
Cheating can be a way of trying to get out. A partner who is frustrated in their relationship and thinks they cannot move forward with their partner will try to avoid conflict and use cheating as a way to avoid their issues with their partner.
8. Pleasure Seeking
Some people need variety in their relationships. The excitement, passion, and exhilarating feelings of the beginning of a relationship can be craved by some, thus leading them to look for these feelings, or be less likely to turn those opportunities away.
How To Heal and Deal with Infidelity
Healing after being cheated on is a process that takes time. It might be a journey full of ups and downs and can lead you to question your relationship, your behaviour, and your worth. Whether you want to continue in your relationship or leave your partner, these tips can help you overcome this infidelity and slowly rebuild your trust in your partner or relationships in general.
1. Take your time to process
It is completely normal to feel an onslaught of emotions after learning about being cheated on. Instead of lashing out though, take the time you need to process what you found out. While time will not heal the pain you are feeling, it will give you an opportunity to gain some perspective. Let yourself rest and get some distance. You will need this time to process your situation and heal the wounds you got from this situation. During this time, allow yourself to feel your emotions. Do not shove them away, even if they are uncomfortable, sit with them and allow yourself to process your feelings and grieve.
2. Seek some support
Being cheated on can leave you with an isolating feeling. Like you are alone, and as if you have been abandoned. During a time like this, you will need other people to lean on. Opening up and entrusting someone with what you are going through can help you heal. It will help lighten the load and provide you with an opportunity to get your thoughts and feelings off your chest.
3. Find out whether the relationship is worth it
After you have taken time to process the situation, and get some support from others, take some time to reflect on whether this relationship is worth putting in the effort to keep it going. It will take effort and time to build that trust again—make sure this is what you want and that you are willing to open up your heart again.
4. Be realistic
Moving on will not happen at the drop of a hat. Moving on will not always be an uphill climb. Expect ups and downs. Expect periods of doubt and insecurity. However, it is all a matter of how much you put in. The more effort you put into moving on, and the more open you are, the smoother the process will be.
Share, share, share. Share your thoughts, your feelings and your worries. Be open and honest. Express how the cheating made you feel, how it has impacted you, and what you need moving forward. If you are unsure of all of these, allow yourself to step back and reflect so you can communicate more effectively. It is a lot easier to just close off when you are hurt, but try to fight through that and communicate with your partner so you can both heal the trust.
6. Engage in activities you find enjoyable
Being cheated on can make you question how you feel about yourself. Perhaps you will be feeling like you are worthless, not good enough or unlovable—or maybe all three. What you need instead is to gain back who you are, what you like, and where your strengths lie. One way to do so is to pick up on one of those many hobbies you like. Build back that confidence and do things you like to build up your mood.
7. Don't blame yourself
Being cheated on makes us question various things: What did I do wrong? What if I was better at ___? What do they have that I don’t? If your partner cheated, remember that it is not your fault. Perhaps the tips below can help you stop blaming yourself and begin your journey towards healing.
How Can I Stop Blaming Myself?
A lot of people who have been cheated on internalise the situation and blame themselves: “It’s all my fault”, “what more could I have done?”, “what did I do wrong?”. No matter what happened though, it is not your fault. Whatever the reason is for someone cheating, it had nothing to do with you. We cannot control the behaviours of other people.
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Should you stay or should you go after an infidelity? This is a challenging question and it depends on your relationship, your feelings, and how much are you and your partner willing to communicate and change.
It is indeed possible to stay in the same relationship after being cheated on. This experience—while it has the power to break you—also has the power to mature the relationship and make it more intimate. It will require a lot of work and honest communication. So, make sure to be clear about what you do and do not want. Being clear about your wants and needs of feeling secure is most important. It is also crucial that your partner is willing to listen and is committed to actively repairing the relationship. All in all, both have to show authentic commitment to change and to growing as a couple.
In addition, it is important to recognise not only the act of cheating itself, but the emotional and psychological reasons that led up to the behaviour. While it is no excuse by any means, understanding that this behaviour is an unhealthy coping mechanism that led to the wrong behaviour can give you the perspective you need for forgiveness. Importantly, if your partner realizes the why behind their behavior, they can work on their dysfunctional patterns in order to foster a healthier and more honest relationship. Finally, seeking a couples counselor can help you both untangle the reasons that led to the infidelity and guide you towards rebuilding the relationship.
Staying After Infidelity
Being cheated on hurts. It is also a common reason to separate with someone because of the complete betrayal of trust and respect. However, for some, breaking up is not an option, or is simply not desirable. In such cases, it is important to begin to build that trust again and ensure that your worth is not dependent on the actions of your partner.
5 Steps To Take If You Decide To Stay
Rebuilding Trust After Infidelity
Has my partner REALLY changed? This is the age old question of whether we can trust a partner who has cheated. There are no simple answers and every relationship is different. However, these 5 suggestions can help you recognize whether trust can be rebuilt again and how to do it.
A relationship can still continue after a partner has cheated or has been cheated on. However, it takes time and effort on behalf of both parties to rebuild the relationship. Do not feel obliged to stay in your relationship if you have been cheated on. It is important to know that there are ways to work through a betrayal, though. It is an opportunity to iron out any wrinkles in the relationship and work towards building a strong and healthy relationship with your partner. It will be tough. It will require work. But if both you are willing and motivated, your relationship can grow. Take care and, remember, you are not alone.
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