My phone buzzed. It was a text message from one of my best friends. “I don’t deserve you as a friend,” he wrote. I instantly knew what was wrong: he and his girlfriend had broken up and he was now regretting pushing me (and others) away for the relationship.
My phone buzzed again. It was a question this time: “How can you even think about being in another relationship after you were cheated on? I don’t think I will ever be able to trust again.” He didn’t mean this in a backhanded or slighting way, he was just genuinely curious how I could consider being in a relationship after what had happened.
This was a question I hadn’t thought about before. How could I want another relationship? Would I truly be able to trust again? What makes this one different? Was being cheated on my fault? Is it going to happen again?
Being cheated is one of the most excruciating things that can happen to you, especially if you’re blindsided by the actions of your partner. And it really messes with your psyche. I mean, why was I even asking myself if I were to blame? Of course it wasn’t my fault.
It’s been a year since I was cheated on. That breakup has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to overcome in my life thus far, but somehow I’ve made it through. And now I’m helping a friend make it through, which means I’ve compiled a list of ways to heal your heart after you’ve been cheated on.
1. Know it isn’t your fault.
After being cheated on, you’re going to have some misplaced self-loathing. You’re going to think that it was your fault. If you only dressed different, if only you listened to a different type of music, if only you worked a different job, if only you were better, etc. After all, this never would have happened to someone else, right? Wrong.
It may take some time, but you will eventually realize none of those things are true and realize it wasn’t your fault.
2. Work on yourself.
Being cheated on will scar you. Be kind and work on yourself. Yes, you may think that they are the ones that need to work on themselves, but you’ve just been broken, and no one will put the pieces back together better than you. Find healthy ways of putting yourself back together. For example, instead of going to the bar, go to the gym or write about your feelings or cry it out.
Nathan Zedd said, “Growth begins with accepting yourself as enough.” This quote got me through a lot of my healing process. Accept yourself as enough, because you are enough.
3. Take a break from dating.
This goes along with “work on yourself.” You’re most likely not in a good state of mind, so being alone and being introspective is probably best. Take yourself on dates and do things that make you happy so you can get your sense of self back. You have to be confident in yourself before you enter into a new relationship or else it wont work.
4. When you do date, remind yourself these new people aren’t the person who cheated on you.
You can’t punish the next person you date for the pain that the last one caused. You have to find a way to trust in a new relationship.
I don’t believe that it’s that you don’t trust the person that you’re now with, it’s that you don’t trust your own judgement. Work on that. Look at the red flags you ignored last time, get to the root of the problem of your last relationship, and figure out what you would do differently going forward. Put the faith back in yourself.
Be honest with the new person. Let them know what you’re feeling and what you’ve been through so that you guys can work on building trust together.
5. Don’t social media-stalk the person who your partner cheated with.
“Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt
Don’t spend time rehashing it and comparing yourself to the person he cheated on you with. This isn’t productive and can set back your healing process.
6. Surround yourself with good people.
Don’t try to deal with this alone, your friends are there to help. Some of them may have gone through similar situations and can shed some light on how to deal with your pain; others may be there as the distractors. Either way, let them help. This isn’t a small thing that has happened to you, and you’re going to need all the help you can get to get through it.
7. Find a therapist.
This one is self-explanatory. A good therapist will help you sort through all of your thoughts and feelings and help you come up with healthy coping mechanisms to get you through this.