There are few things more devastating than a bad breakup, especially when it happens because one partner broke the other’s trust. As
you’re getting over someone who cheated, you might struggle with feelings of anger, betrayal, heartache, confusion, and sadness, just to name a few — and that's completely normal. You are absolutely not alone. Lean on friends and family for support, seek professional help if you're able to, and trust that you will ultimately heal.
While you recalibrate your routine and begin to move on, it can be useful to have a few mantras on hand. Write them on your bathroom mirror, recite them as you’re heading to work or class, or set reminders on your phone to stop and breathe. While this may feel silly at first, there’s evidence that mantras really do help shift your mindset. According to a 2015 study in the
Brain and Behavior journal, silent, positive repetitive speech can actually produce a calming effect on the brain. By reminding yourself over and over that you’re loved and worthy, you can train your mind to fully believe it.
As awful as you might feel right now, things
will get better — and sometimes you just need a little positive self-talk to help you remember that.
You shouldn’t expect yourself to bounce back on any set timeline, especially not in a matter of just a few weeks or months. "After a breakup,
people should expect withdrawal symptoms for roughly six months and increase their self-care and social support during this season," licensed psychologist Dr. Wyatt Fisher previously told Elite Daily. Let yourself process the breakup on your own timeline. 02
Every day is a new day.
Grief happens in stages, and the way you feel day-to-day may change a lot. “
Forgiveness and grief are similar as there are stages, and you may move from denial to depression as new information or hurts arise,” therapist Nicole Richardson previously told Elite Daily. And forgiveness can happen even if you and your partner are no longer together. “Forgiveness does not necessarily mean staying together,” Richardson explained. You can let go of your anger without choosing to be in your ex’s life.
Being cheated on can really rattle you and make you wonder if there’s something you did wrong. But Richardson explained that your ex-partner’s poor communication skills are probably more to blame. "They may not [have known] how to tell [you] that they [didn’t] feel valued, needed, or seen," she noted.
I’m taking space for myself.
Even if you hope to re-establish communication with your ex eventually, you don’t have to do this right now. "Make a clear intention to
not see your ex for a minimum of 90 days," Dr. Gary 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.”
“You may have lost love, but
you're still loved and lovable, and a breakup is a time to be reminded of this,” breakup expert Elle Huerta previously told Elite Daily. This breakup doesn’t define you, and it doesn’t mean future partners will betray your trust in the same way.
Occasionally, distracting yourself from the breakup can be a refreshing mental reset. "Sometimes you need to take a break from thinking about the breakup," suggested Huerta. "It's helpful to force yourself to go to the movies or attend an event that will take up a lot of your attention." Being social will remind you of how many wonderful things you have going for you.
Your sadness is more than just understandable — it’s scientifically substantiated. "When a
couple goes through a breakup, the brain experiences massive withdrawal symptoms," Fisher explained. No wonder this is painful! Give yourself grace.
Your brain’s chemicals can get out of whack when you first disconnect from someone close to you. “When we go through a breakup, the reason that we feel sad, have crying spells, have changes in sleeping patterns and appetite, and experience a decrease in energy and motivation is because of the
decrease in serotonin stimulation and production," Dr. Danielle Forshee previously said. She explained that this leads to what’s known as “situational depression,” but it is short-term. 09
I have people who care for me.
There’s no better time to hang out with your squad. Friends can pull you out of a slump and remind you of how much you’re really loved. "The more you attempt to increase serotonin, the better you will feel,” Forshee said. And your friends can “help you get out of a negative mindset and into a positive mindset.” Your brain chemistry’s got nothing on your ability to thrive.
No matter how difficult this is now, time does heal wounds. "Through brain MRIs, we know that
neural connections can be rewritten. That is one of the reasons why, for most of us, the feelings of crazy love ... do pass,” Dr. Edison de Mello previously told Elite Daily. In the coming months, your acute feelings of grief and pain will lessen significantly. 11
Ending things was the right choice.
The fact that you chose to end this relationship was a decision only you could make. While every couple handles infidelity differently, in many cases, it's an act of self-love to move on. “For those who saw no signs, and even in retrospect can’t see where they could have done anything differently,
staying in a relationship with someone who has cheated will be like handing your heart over blindly to someone you know can’t handle you with care," breakup coach Chelsea Trescott previously explained. "As a result, it's unlikely that the person who was cheated on will ever feel safe, compassionate, or confident moving forward if they were blindsided by the experience.” 12
I deserve an honest partnership.
The fact that your partner hid their cheating from you is evidence that they weren't treating you as well as they should have been. “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 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." You deserve better. 13
I love and care about myself.
It might be hard to believe that anything positive could come from a difficult breakup. But life coach
Molly Lyda explained that it can actually be a time to learn and grow. "Breakups are an opportunity to love and advocate for yourself in ways you may have never done before,” she said. “That alone has a powerful effect on your sense of self.” 14
I’m stronger than I think.
Remind yourself that you’ve got this, even if you don’t totally believe it at first. "So you've had the air knocked out of you, and your heart is on the mend, so you're unsure of what comes next. Let me tell you.
You're going to overcome," clinical psychotherapist and counselor Kevon Owen affirmed.
Not only are you going to bounce back, but you’ll recover with a more resilient and confident perspective. "Remember who you are, remember that you're worthy of love and there is more extraordinary love to experience when you're ready to,” Owen said. Who knows what the future holds for you?
A broken heart takes time to heal from, but you can truly move on from this with dignity. Remind yourself of how far you have come and all the exciting unknowns that lie ahead. You can do this!