1. Everything they say about the pain being excruciating? It’s all true.
When you get cheated on, you will feel as if you’re about to lose your mind with all the negative feelings that beat down on you, among them hurt, shame, anger, disbelief, and insecurity. In fact, it’s common among victims of infidelity to experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder such as depression, anxiety, withdrawal, and sleep problems—that’s how bad it is.
2. Love is not enough.
You and your partner can still love each other despite the act, but love alone will not sustain your relationship. A true understanding of the importance of loyalty, respect, security, and accountability in a relationship will dawn on you once you know what it’s like to be betrayed.
3. No one is irreplaceable.
You will realize that, for all the love you’ve given him, you are as dispensable as the next girl, and a relationship you’ve strived to maintain for years can be over in a single careless moment.
4. The flashbacks will haunt you.
Various triggers will set off remembrances of the infidelity and usher in a wave of hurt, such as encountering people who share the first name as the other woman to watching movies where cheating takes place. Which is why…
5. It’s better not to know all the details.
It’s natural to want to know everything that went down between your partner and the other woman, but learning more will just feed your desire to learn even more, building torturously clear cheating visions in your head that will make you wish you had never learned about them in the first place.
6. Infidelity is a symptom that something’s wrong in the relationship.
It’s unlikely that a man who is completely satisfied relationship-wise will go so far to jeopardize a bond that he holds so dear. Something off in the relationship led him to stray; the two of you might not have been connecting lately, or he could have deep-seated issues that predispose him to cheat. However, keep in mind that...
7. It’s not your fault.
It’s still the cheater’s decision to act on his impulses. He could’ve just broken it off with you if he was unhappy rather than two-time you while he was still committed. That said...
8. His cheating is not a reflection of your self-worth.
It doesn’t mean you are less desirable than the other woman; it doesn’t mean you are not enough. The cheating says more about your man and his failure to stay faithful than it does about you.
9. The person who deserves your anger more is your partner.
It’s tempting to lash out at the other woman for supposedly stealing your man, but keep in mind that she is the least informed, least invested, and least accountable party in this love triangle. Don’t make her a scapegoat for your partner’s faults.
10. It is possible for a relationship to survive cheating.
Cheating doesn’t have to spell the end of a relationship, and some couples have been able to bounce back from such a setback stronger than ever. But both of you have to want to fix it.
11. The cheater has to express full remorse for reconciliation to take place.
If a man says he wants to stay together yet he doesn’t put up with your anger, comfort you through your anguish, or reassure you through your insecurities, ditch him.
12. There will always be someone who understands you.
When you get cheated on, you will feel like no one else could possibly know the depths of your pain. Wrong. People have been getting played since time immemorial, so open up to people who’ve been through the same thing and know that, like them, you can recover eventually.
13. But don’t tell everyone about your partner’s misdeeds until you figure out whether you want to leave him or not.
Well-meaning friends and family will no doubt disapprove of you taking your guy back once they factor in the cheating, and they will never view him the same way again. Share your sorrows with caution.
14. It’s better to be alone than to stay in a crap relationship just to be with someone.
You will feel like a fraud if you choose to stay even though deep down you’re no longer happy. You owe it to yourself to leave when a relationship no longer brings you joy. Know that it won’t be easy because you’ll be willfully leaving a world you’ve grown so accustomed to, but still, give yourself credit for surviving each day. After all...
15. You move on because there is no other choice.
No matter how bottomless your pain feels, you’re still alive, aren’t you? The cheating hasn’t completely destroyed you. There is no way to go but up.
16. You will learn to look at the experience positively and see what it’s teaching you.
You may learn to toughen up, or you may realize that some of your partner’s traits should’ve been deal-breakers from the start. The infidelity can turn into a learning experience that will make you smarter about relationships.
17. Seek to forgive, whether or not the relationship ends.
If you never forgive, your resentments will continue to poison you. Do yourself a favor and forgive him, even if you no longer see each other and it’s just something you know in your heart.
18. Never lose faith in love.
It’s easy to fall prey to cynicism once you’ve been betrayed, but love does work—you only need to look at all the blissful couples around you to know that it does.
19. You have to believe that you’ll get over it eventually.
True healing doesn’t happen overnight. You will spend many more days picking yourself up, remembering the hurt, relapsing into despair, and picking yourself up again. But whether it takes you three months or three years to heal, believe that someday, you will.
20. It could be the best thing that ever happened to you.
Say you still love your guy; the infidelity might be just the thing to make you both see how you’ve let your love fall by the wayside and motivate you to take the necessary steps to fix it. Or say you’ve only been settling in your relationship; if your partner hadn’t gone behind your back, you might not have had the strength to ever leave him at all! So wipe your tears and keep your head up; sooner or later, you will realize that you are exactly where you need to be.