The blow of infidelity does to your relationship what an earthquake does to a building – shakes its very foundation. Apart from the much talked about after-effects of cheating – pain, anger, trust issues – another lasting impact can be a lingering sense of insecurity. To be able to get past this setback, it’s crucial to learn how to get over insecurities after being cheated on.
Of course, it’s paramount to deal with insecurities after being cheated on if you want to stay together. But even if you don’t wish to stay together, it’s vital to process these feelings to ensure that you don’t carry these insecurities to your future relationships.
It is natural to lose faith in people, especially romantic prospects, when someone cheats on you. To help you stop being paranoid after being cheated on, life coach and counselor Joie Bose, who specializes in counseling people dealing with abusive marriages, breakups and extramarital affairs, shares some actionable tips and insights.
Does Being Cheated On Make You Insecure?
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Insecurity is described as “a lack of confidence” – in one’s self, one’s partner, and relationships. Even if a person wasn’t insecure before, a single romantic betrayal can change that. At the very core of it are the trust issues stemming from being cheated on. “I’ve been feeling inadequate after being cheated on. I don’t know how I was not enough for my partner, I feel lost,” says Rita.
The constant paranoia about cheating comes from a total collapse of the foundation of a relationship, which effectively annihilates any semblance of trust you may have placed in your partner in the past. Often, insecurity after being cheated on also takes hold because people tend to resort to self-blame when a relationship goes awry.
If your partner has cheated, you may – despite yourself – look for reasons for this transgression within yourself. Am I not attractive? Am I not interesting enough? Did I not give them the love and attention they craved? Was I not devoted? There is a subconscious belief that your partner’s infidelity must be, somehow, your fault. It is because of these thoughts that being cheated on changes you at a fundamental level.
Feeling inadequate after being cheated on is normal, as long as it doesn’t persist for too long. Even if you have been confident in your skin all your life, discovering your partner’s cheating can undo that. You could go from being someone who never even considered cross-checking or verifying anything their SO said to someone who secretly checks their partner’s phone to confirm that they are not going down that road again.
In short, you become a living, breathing embodiment of a person riddled with trust issues and insecurities. It’s hardly surprising. Apart from insecurities fueled by self-doubt, a lack of confidence and faith in your partner may further augment these negative emotions. You begin to feel unsafe in your relationship.
“Who’s to say it won’t happen again?” “Was it a strong relationship if my partner cheated?” Thoughts like these can make it even harder to understand how to get over insecurities after being cheated on. Difficult as it may be, it is possible to get over the fear of being cheated on, called proditiophobia, and heal.
Related Reading: How Can I Overcome Feeling Insecure In Relationships?
When someone you love and trust cheats on you, your entire self-perception could shift for the worse. You may even feel unattractive after being cheated on. Vee, who discovered that her partner of 7 years had been cheating on her, confesses, “I have to say, I’ve started to feel unattractive after being cheated on. I used to tell my friends to not worry about their looks and would advocate self-love at every turn. All of that has changed now.”
It’s not just the self-perception that takes a toll, your mental health issues could surface, and you may even develop certain triggers after being cheated on. You may suddenly have a panic attack when you come across the scent of your partner at a local store or you may find yourself riddled with anxiety after a friend seemingly betrays you, even though it’s a misunderstanding.
You naturally become more sensitive to your inner and outer world, while dealing with pain and insecurity after infidelity. These triggers after being cheated on could vary according to the individual and their experiences with their partner.
How To Get Over Insecurities After Being Cheated On – 9 Expert Tips
Is it normal to feel insecure after being cheated on? Yes. Read on to understand why. Marsha and Ricky were in a stable, committed relationship. And truly happy with each other. Or at least, that’s what Marsha thought until she discovered that Ricky had been cheating on her with a coworker. What baffled her more than anything else was there were no tell-tale signs of a cheating partner.
There were no suspiciously frequent late nights at work or weekend trips. He wasn’t jumpy if she borrowed his phone. They spent quality time together. The sex life was consistent. Yet, he was somehow managing to pull off a full-blown affair without Marsha so much as catching a whiff of it. Imagine the amount of insecurity after infidelity like this.
Once the affair came to light, Ricky was on his knees, begging forgiveness, promising that it won’t ever happen again, and reassuring Marsha that she was the only one he loved. Even though she wanted to give him another chance, she didn’t know how to stop thinking about being cheated on and put this setback behind her. She developed trust issues after being cheated on.
That’s a dilemma shared by many. Whether you’re trying to get over being cheated on in the past or in your current relationship, it’s not easy to get over the insecurity. But it’s not impossible either. So, is it normal to feel insecure after being cheated on? Yes, but with the right support and guidance, you can make progress. To help you get started, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get over insecurities after being cheated on:
1. Dig deeper into the cause of cheating
To deal with the insecurity and anxiety after being cheated on, first and foremost, you need to dig deeper and find out why it happened. A lot of experts believe that it’s not your fault. You may gather trust issues after being cheated on and may even start doubting yourself but please remember that cheating was your partner’s decision, not yours.
Try to figure out why it happened in the first place, in order to regain confidence after being cheated on. Was there something about your relationship that made your partner feel unhappy, discontent or stifled? Strange as it may sound, accepting that something went wrong helps you to understand your partner’s actions. It will help you both to move forward as they take accountability for their actions and you heal from the pain of this betrayal.
2. Have an honest conversation
To stop being paranoid after being cheated on, the next order of business is to have an open and honest conversation with your partner. If there’s a problem that existed in the relationship, acknowledge it. This honest exchange will help you regain confidence after being cheated on.
Your ability to empathize will reassure your partner that you’re prepared to forgive them truly and be there for them no matter what. This can be the first crucial step in thawing the ice, paving the way for reinstating trust after cheating, and ultimately, strengthening your bond.
Of course, you don’t have to accept blame for your partner’s actions. If that’s where they’re at, you must reconsider whether it’s worth your while to give the relationship another chance. The goal should be to acknowledge that there were cracks in your bond that made space for a third person to come in.
Perhaps, you had been sweeping your problems under the carpet for far too long, pretending that all was well while you were both unhappy on the inside. This may have caused your partner to seek refuge in someone outside the relationship. By acknowledging that, you effectively deal with the constant paranoia around cheating. You also lay the groundwork for fixing the problems in your relationship, so that they don’t take a toll on your bond again.
3. Work on your issues
To understand what went wrong in the relationship, it’s important to ask your unfaithful partner the right questions. For instance, after a lot of discussions and candid conversations, Marsha and Ricky realized that a lack of interest and investment in each other’s professional journeys was driving them apart on some level.
That’s how the affair had started. Ricky had nailed an important presentation at work. But he knew Marsha, who didn’t relate to the whole corporate work culture, wouldn’t get why it was such a big deal. So, he shared this moment of elation with this friend from work. They ended up going out for a friendly lunch, which turned into dinner the next time and led to a lot more in the next few weeks.
Like Marsha and Ricky, once you and your partner too zero in on that one irritant or relationship issue that may have acted as a catalyst for your partner’s cheating, work as a team to resolve it. If you struggle to figure out how, consider going into couple’s therapy and working with a professional.
4. Ensure transparency
To deal with insecurities after being cheated on, you and your partner must work together to instill 100% transparency in your relationship. Yes, privacy and space in a relationship are important but at the moment, your focus must be on proving that there are no walls and no skeletons waiting to tumble out of the closet.
Transparency doesn’t just mean telling each other the truth about the goings-on of your day or your whereabouts but also being upfront about your emotions and feelings. If as a partner who has been cheated on, you’re finding it hard to believe something your partner has told you, tell them so without leveling accusations or placing blame. It may not be the easiest thing to do but it is far healthier than sneakily checking their phone or social media accounts.
Similarly, if your partner’s proximity to someone or their behavior in certain situations makes you insecure, let your partner know. When doing so, use ‘I’, not ‘you’, statements. “I felt insecure when you were flirting with that woman at the party today” will get the message across more appropriately than “Your tendency to flirt makes me insecure”.
5. Create happy memories together
To stop feeling insecure, you need to stop thinking about being cheated on. One way to do that is to do something enjoyable together and create new happy memories. Pick up a shared hobby and make time every day or week to pursue it. If you create precious happy memories consistently, these could become an effective counter to paranoia and overthinking after being cheated on. Besides, your partner wouldn’t want to ruin these moments of bliss you’re sharing.
The happiness you build together would override any other happy moments your partner could have had. We forget to stay connected to each other in a relationship through shared interests. Correct that mistake with your partner, to course-correct the relationship.
Related Reading: 8 Most Common Causes Of Insecurity
6. Embrace your insecurity
You have been cheated on. Your trust has been shattered. At this point, you may struggle to make sense of your world or to understand who or what to believe anymore. So, don’t go about pretending like it’s business as usual. Just because you have chosen to reconcile after infidelity does not mean that all the emotions that come in the wake of such a transgression will get resolved on their own. Being cheated on changes you. Accept that.
The answer to how to get over insecurities after being cheated on lies in accepting and normalizing these far-from-pleasant emotions. Talk to your partner about how you’re feeling. Confide in a friend. If you’re seeking counseling, talk to your therapist about it.
Your insecurities will go away over time. If nothing else, you will learn to manage them the right way. The broken trust can be mended too. But invalidating or bottling up your feelings and wishing them away is not the way to do it. Let the healing process take its course.
7. Don’t burden your partner with guilt
The constant paranoia about cheating can make the relationship an insufferable place for both you and your partner. If you’re obsessively worrying that your partner is sleeping around every time they step out of the house, you won’t be able to repair the damage being cheated on has caused you.
Likewise, using snarky remarks or low-blows to remind your partner of their transgression won’t do your relationship any good. If anything, it will keep you chained to that traumatic incident until the relationship eventually crumbles under its weight. Don’t make your and your partner’s life horrible by bringing up the incident, again and again. A positive approach can do wonders.
Related Reading: How To Forgive Your Cheating Partner And Should You?
8. Ensure that your partner cuts that other person out
When Marsha agreed to take Ricky back after his affair with a coworker, she had only one condition – he must cut the other woman out of his life for good. Ricky made good on his promise by not only ending the relationship but also seeking a transfer to a different office.
To stop being paranoid after being cheated on, you too must ensure that your partner is no longer in touch with the person they were involved with. They must be removed from the equation at all costs. Do not accept having them in your life, in any form or capacity, for your sake. Seeing them, talking to them, or knowing that your partner may be interacting with them will aggravate the insecurity in your head.
Not only your partner, you too must close all roads that could lead to them. Blocking them on social media is one step you can take to ensure that you don’t spend sleepless nights stalking them in your weak moments. Remind yourself, that resisting that painful chapter in your journey as a couple will bring you nothing but bitterness and insecurity.
9. Practice positive affirmation
Your partner’s infidelity may not have been your fault but your mind will play tricks on you to make you believe it was. Self-doubt, low self-esteem, and doubting your self-worth are all manifestations of insecurities stemming from broken trust. But these can be countered with copious amounts of self-love.
To get over being cheated on in the past or in your current relationship, practice positive affirmation. Tell yourself that you are wonderful, worthy of love, that your partner is lovely too and worthy of your dedication and that your relationship is priceless.
Now that you understand how to get over insecurities after being cheated on, take concrete steps to undo the damage this betrayal of trust has caused you. If you’re struggling to make progress, know that experts who can help you navigate this maze of emotions are only a click away.
Yes, it is absolutely normal to be paranoid after being cheated on. After all, your entire world has been shaken up, your trust betrayed, that too by the person closest to you.
Practicing positive affirmation is a time-tested way to rebuild self-esteem after being cheated on. Your partner’s decision to cheat was not your fault, remind yourself that. Tell yourself that you are wonderful and worthy of love.
You have to process the trauma and grief of being cheated on, irrespective of whether you choose to stay with your partner or end the relationship. This will help you heal from this setback and not let insecurities take hold in your mind.