- There’s nothing worse than discovering that your partner in love has been unfaithful to you.
- Although it’s one of the biggest struggles a person can face, it is possible to overcome and come out on the other side a stronger person.
- There are many ways to regain trust and a zest for love again.
If there’s one thing that can throw a curveball into an otherwise healthy and happy relationship, it’s the confession that one half of it is cheating. F inding out you’ve been cheated on , whether it’s from your respective partner, or worse, from someone else, can be a world-crashing experience.
“Discovering your partner has been unfaithful is a terrible blow — it changes your whole set of expectations and beliefs about your relationship,” Tina B. Tessina, PhD (aka “Dr. Romance”), psychotherapist, and author of ” The Commuter Marriage: Keep Your Relationship Close While You’re Far Apart” told Bustle . Although it may not seem like it, there are steps you can take to move on from it in a healthy way, whether that’s leaving your current relationship, or trying to make things work with the cheater.
Give yourself time to heal.
No matter if you want to stay together or pursue other partners, you need to give yourself time to work on yourself alone first.
“Use frustration and anger as motivation to get things done and improve yourself,” Dr. Timaree Schmit wrote in a post for Philly.com. “Hit the gym, go back to school, fix up the house. Generally, channel the energy into something productive.”
Explore the option of working on the relationship, with a counselor.
Believe it or not, not every relationship that endures infidelity has to come to an end. In a weirdly twisted way, the cheating may act as an opening for you, as a couple, to identify and work through the underlying relationship problems that led to the cheating in the first place. But it’s best to do so with a counselor.
“I don’t believe ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’ as a hard and fast rule,” clinical psychologist Lynn Saladino previously told INSIDER . “While patterns of behavior often predict future behavior, I have seen several cases of cheating being a one-time occurrence. Each circumstance is different and there are a lot of factors that go into whether someone becomes a serial cheater. These include family history, value system, and reasons the person cheated in the first place.”
These are things you can talk about and are often best talked about, with a professional.
If you end the relationship and want to move on, start slow.
It’s easy to long for love again after being hurt so badly by someone. However, you shouldn’t rush into another relationship right away. And if you do find yourself dating again, take things slow with that person, and make sure you know you can trust them. Are they responsive to texts and calls? Are they willing to make sacrifices for those they love? Look for red flags early on.
Know that you are worthy of being loved.
Finding out you’ve been cheated on can easily send you into a downward spiral of self-doubt and low self-esteem. But you can’t let those negative thoughts overtake your outlook on love, and you can’t blame yourself for what happened .
“Regardless of the reasons why, your partner made a conscious decision to put their desires above the relationship and above you,” said Helen Zielinski Landon , a psychologist based in Santa Monica, California, told HuffPost . “Separate yourself from your partner’s choice. Accountability lies squarely with your partner and their decision. There’s no need to own their issues.”
You can forgive, but both partners should be committed to making sure the relationship improves.
“If admission brings about the destruction of the relationship, that is the price you pay for cheating,” speaker and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport previously told INSIDER. “However, some partners can discuss this intelligently rather than emotionally and may come to some agreement as to what they will do going forward. Sometimes they can be forgiven and both partners will need to work toward mending the relationship and regaining trust.”
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