It happened. Your partner cheated on you. Maybe you saw it coming, or perhaps it totally blindsided you. Either way, it hurts. Really badly. Though it’s not something you may ever completely get over, there are ways to get up, dust yourself off, and get past it as much as possible. You can’t change what has already happened, but here are 7 ways to get over your former cheating partner.
1. Get away
When you first learn of the affair it may come as quite a shock. Dealing with everyday life while you are trying to sort things out will be difficult. How can you focus on your work and household responsibilities when your mind is going a million miles an hour? Right now, you really can’t focus on anything else. So get away. If you can only do a weekend, then do a weekend. Go somewhere by yourself, preferably somewhere that you can be safe and can be as peaceful as possible, possibly surrounded by nature. Don’t bring any electronics, except for maybe your phone, but don’t talk to anyone. Check in with a trusted friend or family member at least twice a day so nobody worries.
2. Talk to your (soon to be former) significant other
You can try to tell yourself it didn’t happen, or you can obsess over every possible detail of it actually happening. Either way, you are going to drive yourself crazy. So it’s important to hear it from the source. Tell your partner that you need to talk to clear the air. Meet at a neutral place and have some questions ready. Mostly, try to stay calm and just be there to gather information for your own mental and emotional health. Ask questions such as, “How long has this been going on? Why did it start? Did I do anything wrong? Where do we go from here?” Try to stay general, as too many details will just make you feel worse. But actually knowing the truth will help keep you from going to all sorts of places in your mind. This probably won’t be the last time you two talk about this, so don’t feel like you need to have all the answers now. Just get enough to put your mind at rest.
3. Allow yourself to get mad
This hurts—of course it hurts. So let the emotions fly. Just make sure you’re not where anyone else can get hurt. Good ways to get the anger out are exercise in all forms, like running, or boxing. Also yelling out in the middle of nowhere would be cathartic. Talk to a trusted friend and get all the emotions out. You could always write down all of your feelings until you get them all out; if you aren’t up for writing then record your voice. Say everything you are feeling. Once it’s all out then throw it away. Better yet, burn it (be careful, ok?). It will feel good.
4. Get in to see a therapist
Do this sooner rather than later. It’s really important for you to talk through this situation. It may take some time to get over, so just start now. And talking to a third party—someone who doesn’t know you or your partner—will help. Getting validation from an outside source is so helpful and will allow you to move forward. If your partner will go to couple’s therapy with you, then great. Just make sure to measure your expectations and continue to see your therapist separately as well.
5. Figure out what you want
Once you are in a better place emotionally, it’s time to think about what you want. Be honest with yourself. What do you want out of life right now? What is most important to you? How will you spend your time that you used to spend with your partner? Try not to make too many life choices right now, but do make decisions that will help your life be a little easier.
6. Rally support
During trials like these, your true friends will stand by you. Try to let go of the ones who are unsupportive or have seemed to have disappeared; chances are it’s not personal. Just focus on the friends who can give you support and talk to them candidly. Perhaps schedule times you can talk or go out, even if you don’t want to talk about things. Just having their friendship and being there for you can be enough. Be open and honest but also talk about how much you appreciate their listening ear.
7. Turn a negative into a positive
A cheating partner is one of the most negative things that can happen in your life. Once it happens, you can’t change it. The only thing you have control over is how you react. Anger, resentment, sadness, and even depression are a natural result. Hopefully once those have passed, you can better focus on turning this big negative thing into something positive. Take this opportunity to be thankful for what you do have, the friends and family who still surround you, and for the realization that you don’t have to live with the hurt anymore. Figure out how you can let it go and make your future brighter than you ever thought possible.