One of the most painful experiences in the world to go through is finding out that someone you love cheated on you. Even once you get over the initial shock, figuring out how to get over someone cheating on you can be just as painful. Once you've come to the conclusion that this has happened, no doubt there are tons of things running through your mind. Who was it? Why did they do it? Do they still love me? Do I still love them? Where do we go from here? Of course, every person and relationship is different, but if you’d rather know how to get over a cheater than how to forgive a cheater, then experts are here to help.
Plenty of people find the prospect of taking back a cheater too tough a pill to swallow, and if this is the case, the only other option is to let them go. Once you've made the decision to part ways, the next step is moving on. I'm not gonna lie to you: Getting over someone who cheated on you may not be easy, but it is necessary. At some points in the process, you may even be tempted to take your ex back, just to avoid the pain of confronting the end of the relationship. But with the right attitude and a lot of patience, you will come out of this difficult situation much stronger than you were before. Here’s how to get over cheating, one step at a time.
Don't Blame Yourself
Few things have the power to undermine someone's confidence like infidelity does. Some people who have been cheated on end up feeling like their partner's infidelity was because of their own inadequacy. But listen closely — you are not to blame. According to marriage and family therapist Nicole Richardson, cheating is oftentimes a reflection of poor communication on the part of the partner who cheated. "They may not know how to tell their partner that they don’t feel valued, needed or seen," Richardson previously told Elite Daily.
It’s totally fair to feel dissatisfied with a relationship, but in the end, it’s up to the person who’s unhappy to communicate those feelings to their SO. Nobody’s a mind reader. If they did communicate and matters didn't improve from their perspective, then they could have ended the relationship cleanly instead of cheating. To put it plainly, there are no good excuses for stepping out on a partner.
Get The Closure You Need
Closure looks different for everyone, but no matter what, it’s important to realize that getting closure might have to come from within. “Trying to hunt down the truth is how we try to gain back control, reassurance, sanity and even closure,” Chelsea Leigh Trescott — breakup coach and podcast host of Thank You Heartbreak — previously told Elite Daily. “A crucial part of gaining this perspective is also a part that often gets neglected, and that is demanding honesty not only from your partner but especially from yourself.”
While getting answers to all those tough questions for your ex might sound like a good idea in theory, you can’t guarantee that they will be honest with you. So instead of investing all your fury into the person who has cheated, try to seek clarity within yourself. Trescott recommends asking yourself if you were both showing up for each other before the cheating happened, whether you remember feeling neglected or acting neglectfully, and whether you held back from voicing concerns or asking questions when your dynamic felt “off.” You may just be surprised by the answers.
Cut The Cord
Once you've gotten the closure you need, it may be a good idea to go without contact for a while, according to couples therapist Dr. Gary Brown. "Make a clear intention to not see your ex for a minimum of 90 days," Dr. Brown previously told Elite Daily. "Doing this will send them the message that this really is over and will give you some time to grieve and lick your wounds.” Unfollowing them on social media may also help keep a safe amount of distance between the two of you for as long as feels necessary.
The same goes for deleting pictures of them from your phone and social media. If you are constantly going back to old photos, reminiscing about the “good times,” then you might not be able to actually heal and move forward. Having a constant reminder of the past can be just has hurtful to you as speaking to your ex.
Allow Yourself Time To Grieve
Cutting someone out of your life is difficult. You just can't erase some things, like the park where you had your first kiss or the way their eyes gleamed in the sunlight. This is why you owe yourself some time to mourn the loss of the person you thought you knew — but don’t expect to work through the pain overnight. “Forgiveness and grief are similar, as there are stages, and you may move from denial to depression as new information or hurts arise,” Richardson previously warned.
No matter how long it takes, know that your feelings are valid and that the only way to move forward is by treating yourself with patience and kindness. As Dr. Brown previously pointed out, “Cheating is a major breach of trust, and it’s going to have an impact going forward in your life.” That impact doesn’t have to last forever, but it’s OK (and even important) to let yourself grieve that breach of trust for some time.
Let Go When It's Time To Let Go
The mourning period can vary drastically depending on the person, the length of the relationship, and the details of the infidelity. Ideally, over time, the pain will subside and you will be able to forgive your ex — maybe not completely, but enough for you to look back at it with some semblance of peace over how things played out. As Richardson pointed out, “Forgiveness does not necessarily mean staying together.” It simply means finding a way to move on from the pain, whether with or without that cheater in your life.
In order to achieve real forgiveness — the kind of forgiveness that involves putting the cheating incident behind you and letting go of resentment — you need time. “If you are intent on punishing your partner, you will both suffer,” Richardson added. “If your partner is in a hurry for you to ‘get over it,’ the resentment will likely stick around.” Remember, too, that you do not owe anyone your forgiveness. If moving on means letting go without that, then that is your choice to make.
Don't Look Back
Once you start to notice you're feeling better, you may feel tempted to check in on your ex, but try to resist the urge. Remember, things happened the way they happened and no amount of shoulda, coulda, woulda can change that. “It’s easy to want to sympathize with someone who has cheated should they start saying that they felt deprived of love or depressed and hid it because they felt ashamed, disgusted with themselves, and were too afraid of losing the best thing they have in their life — you,” Trescott previously explained. “This all may be true, but someone with this much self-awareness should never go out of their way to compromise the person they love’s self-awareness."
Although I can't promise that you will ultimately be able to completely forget what they did, no matter how upset you feel in this moment, you can experience love again. Don't let the decisions of one person stand in the way of you opening your heart to someone else in the future.
Nicole Richardson, marriage and family therapist
Chelsea Leigh Trescott, breakup coach and podcast host of Thank You Heartbreak
Dr. Gary Brown, couples therapist
Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.
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