Are you looking for tips on how to stop overthinking after being cheated on? After all, you are not the only one going through this mess. Even Shakira has gone through this pain. Spiraling through loops of numbness and pain is common after this experience and so is feeling worthless after being cheated on by someone you love.
We spoke to emotional wellness and mindfulness coach Pooja Priyamvada (certified in Psychological and Mental Health First Aid from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Sydney). She specializes in counseling for extramarital affairs, breakups, separation, grief and loss, to name a few. We asked her how to stop obsessing over being cheated on; read ahead for her insights.
Is It Normal To Overthink After Being Cheated On?
Pooja answers, “Yes, people begin to doubt everyone. They can’t trust easily, hence, they overthink every word said or unsaid and the actions of every person around them. It is common in such a situation to overthink, most people in infidelity recovery go through this phase.”
So, if you’re feeling vulnerable and sorry for yourself, know that it’s okay that you are overthinking about your partner cheating on you. You have the right to feel this agony for a few days, weeks, or months. It is a very confusing stage to be in. These are normal feelings one goes through after being cheated on. You hate them and you love them. You want to forgive them but you are very angry too. How to stop worrying after being cheated on? The first step is to accept all your emotions and not judge them. Whatever it is that you are feeling, your feelings are valid.
What childhood trauma or issues get triggered when someone gets cheated upon? On how cheating affects the brain, Pooja answers, “Cheating affects the brain by leading to grief and mental health conditions like anxiety, chronic stress, and depression. Childhood trauma issues like fear of abandonment or parental neglect can get triggered too.” Infidelity is traumatizing and it can lead to a serious dent in self-esteem and trust issues for life.
This reminds me of the movie Marriage Story, which captures the various complexities of infidelity. There is a scene in which Nicole confronts Charlie on his infidelity and he says, “You shouldn’t be upset that I fucked her. You should be upset that I had a laugh with her!”
If someone cheated on you and justified it later by blaming you, it is obviously normal to overthink about it or to be engulfed in waves of self-doubt. But it is important to not internalize all those beliefs and here are some tips that might help you in doing so.
Related Reading: 10 Steps To Recover If You’re Being Fooled By Someone You Love
How To Stop Overthinking After Being Cheated On – Expert Tips
Why do people cheat? It could be narcissism or entitlement, lust or love, or it could be boredom or low self-esteem. People who cheat are driven by different reasons, depending on the personality types of cheaters. Some people cheat because they consider it a game and some cheat because they are given a guarantee of confidentiality and so they don’t fear getting caught.
Some cheat because they fear intimacy and others cheat due to unmet emotional or physical needs in their current relationship or marriage. Some do it just because lying gives them a kick. And then there are others who don’t wish to conform to the idea of monogamy, but instead of exploring ethical non-monogamy or polyamory, they cheat on their partner. So, there are various types of cheaters.
However, your focus should not be on the reasons your partner was disloyal to you. Right now, you need to know how to stop overthinking after being cheated on. Here is a list that might help you if you cannot stop overthinking about your partner cheating on you.
1. It has nothing to do with you
Why do they cheat? It could be a courage deficit or the fear of being abandoned. The moment things start getting deeper in a relationship, the fear of this type of cheaters takes over and they go into self-destruction mode. It could be that they have an insecure attachment style.
Pooja points out, “Feeling worthless after being cheated on is unfortunately a common experience. Being cheated on does hit one’s self-esteem badly. So how to stop overthinking after being cheated on? One must remind themselves that this isn’t about them, this is about their partner’s behavior. Self-blame is not right. Nobody can or must be held responsible about the behavior of any other adult.”
Halle Berry might have a tip for you on how to stop overthinking after being cheated on. She told Oprah Winfrey in an interview about being cheated on by ex-husband, Eric Benét, “I realized that it has nothing to do with me. We tried to give this relationship another shot for two years but the trust level went in this minus category. There is no way that I can ever trust in this relationship. I have tried and he has tried. Too much damage has been done.
“What I’ve learned is that when I see a flag in a relationship next time, I will recognise it as a flag. Don’t think that it’s just a shadow. I saw the flags of something ‘not right’ in the relationship, early, early on.”
How can you make sure that your next partner doesn’t cheat on you? How to find peace after being cheated on? Pooja says, “Have conversations with your partner, talk about your triggers and insecurities, and ultimately, accept that not all relationships are forever. So if at some stage they move on or you do, it’s alright, but it must be done with consent and not cheating. You cannot ensure their commitment to the relationship; you can only make your boundaries and commitment clear.”
Related Reading: 9 Psychological Facts About Cheating – Busting The Myths
2. Understand the psychology behind cheating
Why are some people more prone to cheating and lying while some manage to stay loyal and honest effortlessly? Pooja answers, “Humans by nature are not monogamous, monogamy is a social construct and not natural instinct.
“However, some people promise monogamy to their partners and stay committed to it with emotional effort while others give in to their polyamorous instincts. Nobody is being bad here. What is bad is the breaking of trust or the promises made to each other, not the actual behavior of feeling attracted to many people.”
How to stop overthinking after being cheated on? By understanding the psychology behind cheating for some folks. Having variety brings thrill and adrenaline rush to them. For some cheaters, their commitment issues are so deep-rooted and self-esteem so crumbled that they fill that ambiguity and incompleteness by doing something that is ‘forbidden’. To avoid feeling what they are feeling, they keep wanting what they can’t have. They almost get a kick out of being rebellious and breaking norms. This could be one of the reasons why a cheating person shows no remorse.
Once you understand this, you will understand that some cheaters just have unresolved issues. This does not mean that cheating is justified. But it will help you in not blaming yourself for whatever happened. It might have a lot to do with their self-destructive tendencies and low self-control.
3. Rebounds will hurt you more
My friend, Paul, keeps telling me, “I feel like fooling around, drowning myself in casual relationships, and taking a break from serious commitment. Is it okay to have rebounds to get over being cheated on? I need a tip on how to stop overthinking after being cheated on, or I’ll keep flinging myself into hookups.”
Pooja articulates, “There is no harm in casual relationships, every relationship need not be committed. What is wrong is this: you are seeking the lost partner in every partner you are with. They still remain the gold standard of love. Or, you are with others to make them jealous or settle a score with them. Rebounds can be very tempting but cannot last long. However, a deep and independent connection with someone genuine must be nourished.”
Related Reading: The 5 Stages Of A Rebound Relationship
4. Resist the temptation to seek revenge
Clients often ask Pooja, “Please tell me how to stop overthinking after being cheated on. I feel vengeful. I want him to feel the same hurt as me. I sometimes ask God to put him through the same misery. Am I an evil person? ”
Pooja points out, “Feeling vengeful is a natural reaction to such deep hurt. As long as one doesn’t actually get vicious or acts out on a plan of revenge that leads to real harm, these feelings are natural. You are not an evil person.”
If you feel like resorting to revenge cheating, think again. Remember, in trying to punish somebody, you will only end up punishing yourself. You don’t have to react to them or do something stupid, like them. Instead, focus on what you want from life, on how to find peace after being cheated on.
Here’s a tip on how to cope after being cheated on by your partner: Make constructive use of your grief by becoming professionally successful. Take all this anger and frustration, and channel it into your career. It will give you happiness, satisfaction, and a sense of empowerment. Excelling in what you do might give you a kick that’s even greater than romantic love. This brings us to the next point.
5. How to stop overthinking after being cheated on? Focus on yourself
Drowning yourself in alcohol, drugs, sex, or work might distract you for a temporary time period, but it won’t fix your pain. The pain will come rushing back, until you try and find ways to make peace with it. In such a case, cry it out and let yourself feel all the feelings. Moving on is not something that happens in a day. But start by eating healthy and working out. Self-care might be one of the best ways to eventually be happy after being cheated on. Find beautiful ways to date yourself.
We ask Pooja about how to cope after being cheated on by someone you still love. She answers, “The pain will take some time as each person processes grief and loss differently.” She shares some tips to get you through this period:
- Focus on the now, and not on the past or future, through meditation and mindfulness
- Focus on your healing process, and not the cheating incident
- Indulge in self-love and self-care
- Take care of your physical and mental health
- Find a new hobby or rekindle an old one
Looking for tips on how to stop overthinking after being cheated on? Look at it this way. You are disillusioned now. When your illusions are broken, life brings you closer to reality. Your partner denied you something and now you feel incomplete. But isn’t it an illusion that you need someone else to make you feel complete? It’s time to look deeper instead of reacting and trying to fix someone else. This incident has the power to open up a spiritual dimension for you. As Rumi said, “The wound is the place where the light enters you.”
6. Know that not everyone’s the same
Research points out that it is extremely difficult to rebuild trust with a partner who has cheated on you. The ones who go through infidelity show reactions like disappointment, anger, and even an urge to control their partner. Their forgiveness depends on a lot of factors like guilt on the part of the cheater, future of their children, love and affection between them, positive changes shown by the cheater, etc.
Related Reading: Expert Lists Out 9 Effects Of Cheating In A Relationship
Being cheated on leads to trust issues with not just a partner but with other people in general too. My friend, Brooke, can’t stop obsessing over being cheated on. She says, “I keep pushing people away. I am having major trust issues. I want to ask for help but I am not able to. How can I let people be there for me?”
So how to stop worrying after being cheated on? Pooja answers, “We must break the mental barrier about people. Everyone and every relationship shall not be like the previous one in which you experienced heartbreak or infidelity. Here’s a tip on how to stop overthinking after being cheated on – One will have to be slightly brave to be vulnerable again with someone. One must let others help and prove that they care and are trustworthy. Why punish them and yourself because of one bad relationship?”
7. Seek professional help
Finally, infidelity is traumatizing and it might lead to a serious dent in self-esteem and trust issues for life. That’s how cheating affects the brain deeply. Coping with something like that needs healing at a deeper level. How to eventually be happy after being cheated on? Working with a licensed therapist can help you heal in ways beyond your comprehension.
You might even be confused as to whether you should get back with your partner or let them go. You might be torn between whether you should fight for them or be strong enough to pull away. How to stop overthinking after being cheated on, even after you’ve tried everything else? Seeking professional help becomes the need of the hour in such cases. Our counselors from Bonobology’s panel, like Pooja Priyamvada, can help you with this.
Let’s end with the quote by Donald Driver, “Don’t get mad. Don’t get even. Do better. Much better. Rise above. Become so engulfed in your own success that you forget it ever happened.” So, if you are someone who was cheated on, just remember, that there was nothing wrong with you. Don’t waste your energies in seeking revenge. Trust me, it’s not worth it. Playing games won’t help you right now, only channeling your energies toward constructive directions can heal you. Just focus on yourself. Everything else can wait.