So, you’ve been with your partner or spouse for years. You’re great together. You feel that he/she is your soulmate. And then, something unthinkable happens out of the blue. Your so-called “soulmate” was unfaithful.
Whether you found out about the cheating yourself or a concerned friend told you about it, being cheated on is gut-wrenching.
What do you do? Should you seek revenge, or offer forgiveness? Should you walk away, or give your love another chance? How do you know if this is a single incident or something that’s been going on behind your back for months?
Listed below are some useful tips that will hopefully help you come to an informed decision about how to move forward after being cheated on.
Stop Blaming Yourself
Being cheated on by the person you trusted the most can be detrimental to your self-esteem. Thoughts of “what does she/he have that I don’t?” often run circles around your mind. While this is normal, you should recognize that it is not your fault that your partner cheated on you.
If things had been rocky for a while and you somehow felt it coming, understand that effective communication and compromise both play a vital role in making a relationship work. If these components are lacking, then the relationship may have been doomed to start with, but it’s still not something you should blame yourself for.
Putting Duration into Consideration
Are you married, in a long-term relationship, or still in the early phases of a relationship? If you’ve only started dating someone and they have already cheated on you, then the most logical course of action is to let him/her go and never look back.
If you’ve been together for some time or you’re married, and this is the first unfaithful act your partner has committed, you should consider forgiving your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse, assuming they show sincere regret and have promised never ot make the same mistake again.
One act of infidelity is often just a mistake that your partner will regret — a mistake that won’t be repeated. On the other hand, if your partner has cheated more than once, it’s time to question whether or not this person will ever be faithful.
Serial cheaters should be shown the door.
Once Bitten, Twice Shy
Shared assets, values, and especially children, will be affected. Although it’s mainly your partner’s “fault,” it is your responsibility to decide on how to go forward. Decide on how much your children need to know about the problems in your relationship, and make sure they do not get involved in any anger or jealousy.
Chances are you will most likely be overly paranoid until your partner has earned your trust back, which takes months or even years … but you need to control the jealousy and try to re-build your ability to trust your partner.
Forgiveness vs. Letting Go
Forgiveness is a choice that must be made by you. This does not discount the fact that cheating is not okay, but if you think that there is still enough in the relationship to survive and start afresh, then do it. On the flip side, if you think that there is no way you can move past the resentment regardless of whether there is still enough to go on or not, then it’s time to let go.
It’s one of the hardest decisions you’ll have to make, but make sure you are honest with yourself. If you are undecided, it’s time to take some time apart and cut off communication first.
More often than not, being alone in your thoughts can help you really focus on what you feel and what you think is best moving forward.
The Aftermath: Your Commitment Level
Moving past the awful incident takes a lot of courage, determination, and compassion on your part. Try to assess whether you can stand being vulnerable to your partner again. If this is something you can’t do, even if you have forgiven him/her, if you can’t learn to be vulnerable again, it may be best to just leave the past in the past and move forward with your dignity and peace of mind intact.
However things turn out in the end, it’s important to take as much time as you can before making a decision.
An understanding partner knows what it takes to get back in your good graces and eventually get your relationship back on track, but it is still up to you to decide how it plays out.