Being betrayed is one of the most devastating things to happen in a marriage or long-term relationship. When your trust is broken, it is difficult for a relationship to survive. You may never learn how to get over cheating but an episode of infidelity need not define the rest of your life nor should it put you off relationships and love for good.
Of course, to move on after being cheated on is easier said than done. Your partner’s betrayal will always rankle but if you keep an open mind and are willing to make a new beginning, then it is possible to get over the pain of infidelity. To get over someone who cheated and lied to you might seem like a long road. But with these 15 steps, it is indeed possible.
To help you understand how, we bring you insights from counseling psychologist Kavita Panyam (Masters in Psychology and international affiliate with the American Psychological Association), who has been helping couples work through their relationship issues for over two decades.
How To Get Over Cheating – 15 Sensible Ways To Close The Chapter
When your partner has been unfaithful to you, it is but natural to have questions swimming in your head. Why did it happen? How did it happen? How to get over cheating? How to stop thinking about being cheated on? How to put one’s life back in order and so on.
“Moving on completely from a relationship where you were betrayed is the only way to go. Infidelity is clearly a form of abuse and staying put would only create more chaos,” says Kavita Panyam, “Moving out and moving on is a bold decision to make when you are figuring out how to get over cheating. You need a good support system and work toward your infidelity recovery in a healthy manner.”
Here are some sensible, practical ways to close the chapter, deal with all those messy feelings after being cheated on and lead a new life.
Related Reading: Grief Is Normal And It’s Hard To Move On
1. Get to know the details
Surviving betrayal is one of life’s biggest challenges, but the first step when you realize you have been cheated upon is to get your facts straight. You need to know everything – the affair, what led to it, how often it happened etc before taking any decision. Be sure that you have all the information and you are not just relying on hearsay or acting on mere suspicion.
Realizing that perhaps you may have overreacted or not given your partner a chance to explain himself or herself would be worse for your mind. Moreover, if left unanswered, these questions will linger on and creep up on you later in life. So it is better to rip the band-aid off, get all the details, and be done with it.
2. Give yourself time to grieve over the connection
You might be struggling hard to bounce back after being cheated on. It’s not something that you can forget about in a day. Getting over your dead marriage or relationship won’t be easy because it’s a permanent connection that you have walked out of. “Grieving is important, give time to get over your feelings or come to terms with your situation,” says Kavita.
The rollercoaster emotional ride will continue for a while and it won’t be easy to forgive even as you wonder how to get over cheating. The pain is unlikely to go away soon, so it’s imperative that you accept that the feelings of shock, agitation, fear, depression and confusion will remain for a while.
3. Get into therapy
How to stop thinking about being cheated on? Get the help that you need. Kavita suggests, “You need to process all that has happened. Once you get therapy, even if you have the flashback of the abuse or the end of the relationship, you will know how to deal with it.”
Therapy helps you speed up the process of recovery so that you are looking to make new beginnings instead of brooding or getting gloomy. The emotional baggage you may have left behind is huge and unlike friends who may egg you to forget the past, therapy helps you come to terms with it – an important step while navigating how to get over cheating.
4. Avoid getting into rebound relationships
Now that you are alone and have no partner, you may experience a desire to want someone romantically and that’s when the danger of random connections strikes. You might just be thinking that a new distraction might help you feel happy after being cheated on.
But it doesn’t always unfold like that. Make sure loneliness does not lead you into rebound relationships or even emotional affairs as these will leave you more hollow or devastated.
“The worst time to invite someone into your life is when you are at your vulnerable worst. You don’t know the person coming into your life, s/he can be a calm lake or a tornado that can affect you even more,” says Kavita. “Do not allow anyone to come close to you when you are fragile and susceptible.”
5. Stay away from one-night stands
Agreed, it’s a huge temptation. To not deal with your feelings after being cheated on, you might think it is simplest to jump into bed with someone. You might even think it’s okay to have casual sex since you have been cheated by your partner anyway. “Also, if you were in a relationship where your partner cheated, then your sex life might not have been active anyway,” says Kavita.
“It’s natural for your desires to awaken and you may seek gratification. But if it’s with the wrong person, these no-strings-attached bonds will only create more complications,” she adds. Jumping into casual sex or one-night stands to forget the pain won’t teach you how to get over cheating.
6. Pay attention to your finances
While your first focus should be to heal after being cheated on, the second should be to secure your finances. If you are in the period between walking out and seeking a divorce, this is all the more important. Don’t let your sadness make you crumble to the point where everything starts to fall apart.
Emotionally, you may be impacted greatly because of the betrayal. But you would certainly not want to be ripped off financially as well. Take charge of your finances, seek the help of a consultant or friend if need be. And slowly other pieces of life will come into place.
Related Reading: Our Finances Have Long Been Troubling Us
7. Choose your audience well
An important tip in the ‘how to get over cheating’ manual is wisely choosing the friends you confide in and seek support from. “Do not divulge your private problems to all and sundry,” advises Kavita. “Have only a select group of friends as your go-to people.
“You might get tempted to cling onto the shoulders people offer for support but that can only land you in further trouble and chaos as that’s when you get exploited for sex or money. Your feelings after being cheated on are not for everyone to know. Take care to find the right people to emotionally invest in and share your story.”
8. Try to not be judgmental
How to stop thinking about being cheated on? Well, you may have had a bad experience but try not to view all relationships through that prism alone. It is possible to have successful relationships after cheating, all you need is a positive attitude and a willingness to give life another chance.
Don’t go with the ‘all men are cheats’ or ‘all women are insincere’ thought process. It will only keep you away from forming meaningful relationships in the future. Know that you have every right and every chance to find happiness again and you most certainly will.
9. Take care of yourself
This is the time when you need self-care the most. To get over being cheated on as a man or a woman, you must be invested in taking care of your mental and physical health. Therapy will help you come to terms with the episode and process it in a healthy way.
You must also invest in yoga, mindfulness training, and meditation to improve mental health. Exercise well and take care of your diet too. Understand that you are still going to have myriad emotions like anger, remorse, worry and these might just help you cope better. Your stress won’t go away, it might just be a little reduced if you focus completely on yourself and improving yourself.
Related Reading: How To Love Yourself: 21 Tips
10. Don’t try and get even
Infidelity breaks your trust in relationships and it is difficult to win it back. At such a time, revenge might be the first thought in your head to get over someone who cheated and lied to you. As you ponder over how to get over cheating, the desire to pay your partner back in the same coin will be too tempting.
Put a halt to those thoughts. You are not going to get anything by behaving in the same way as your partner did, except more heartbreak and a weird sense of vindication. Do not get even, get help and try your best to move on from the mess.
11. Make no attempt to reconnect
To really become happy after being cheated on, you need to follow the no-contact rule. If you really want to learn how to get over cheating, you need to first learn how to cut the cords that bound you to him or her. When you decide to break up and move on from the relationship, cut the cords immediately.
At least for the first 90 days, do not keep any contact. This will give them the message that the infidelity episode has affected you seriously. Next, unfollow them on social media. This might be difficult to do but seeing their posts and pictures might only trigger bitter memories that you can do without.
12. Look at moving ahead
Once the shock has worn off and you have made your decision, do not look back. The more you stop thinking about being cheated on, the easier it will be for you to move ahead with dignity. Look at your life as if a chapter has ended and new opportunities await you.
There might be several temptations to give it one more chance or think of reconciling with your partner but that would be a mistake. You may even worry about being single for a while. But staying on in a relationship where your trust has been betrayed will make you feel stuck forever.
13. Set new goals for yourself
One of the best ways to get over being cheated on as a man or a woman is to set new goals – personally and professionally – and begin working toward them. Often in long-term committed relationships, couples forget their individuality as they work toward common goals.
Now is your chance to break free and look at doing things for yourself. From health targets to reaching new heights in your career, focus on things that have nothing to do with your past relationship. This will give new meaning to your life.
14. Go out with old friends
Bottling up your emotions will not do you any good. This is your chance to reconnect with old friends, perhaps those people who drifted away from your life after you entered the relationship or marriage.
Go out with them, share your stories with them. Unburden yourself but of course, as we said before in point 6, choose who you talk to. Having heart-to-heart conversations with your bestie will drive up your oxytocin or happy hormones.
Related Reading: How To Accept Your Marriage Is Over
15. Be open to love again
The worst thing that can happen is to close yourself off relationships or love. The idea of getting back to dating can appear daunting but you need to shake off the negativity and be willing to give love another try.
However, this time change your approach. It is natural to be wary after a bad experience but having more relaxed expectations and resolving not to indulge in comparisons with your ex, can help. Be mature and do not paint everyone and everything with the same brush.
Being cheated upon can leave you with a range of mixed emotions and it can impact your self-confidence and self-esteem. However, should you choose to walk out of the marriage, do so with awareness and determination to turn it into a positive new turn in your life.
A relationship can go back to normal after cheating provided both partners make an equal effort. The person who cheated should take the onus of making his or her partner feel secure. While the one who was betrayed should learn to put the episode behind him or her and make new beginnings.
To forget about cheating, you have to give yourself time to grieve over a relationship. Take therapy, meet old friends, take conscious efforts to move away from the past and make new beginnings.
The pain caused by infidelity can rarely go away. It takes a lot of time to forget and move on and start afresh. You need to give it enough time to heal the wounds caused by a betrayal.
Yes. The reasons for cheating can never be generalized. A lot of people cheat on partners they love deeply depending on circumstances and emotions. What matters is that if someone truly loves you, he or she won’t repeat cheating.