What I Wish I Had Known Before I Was Cheated On

I'd say being cheated on was definitely one of the most difficult things I've ever been through in my life, and I've seen a worrying amount of friends go through the same thing. It can leave you feeling embarrassed, infuriated, and really foolish. But I didn't help myself at all — I was too angry with myself and I didn't take time to process what happened or let myself heal. Basically, I was unprepared for the situation and it wasn't just because I was young, it was because I was just unrealistic.

Nothing is going to make recovering after infidelity easy. I had a knot in my stomach, that feeling as your brain starts to swim, and panic. Oh, the panic. But if I could do it over, I'd definitely be a little more careful with myself. I would have give myself some TLC and not blame myself for what happened. I would have handled the whole thing so differently.

So here are seven things I wish I'd known before I was cheated on, because your friends are there for a reason:

1. You Won't Know How You're Going To React

I always thought I knew my response to being cheated on — I'll dump them, end of story. I was 100 percent sure... and 100 percent wrong. I wish I hadn't been so absolute beforehand, because when you really go through it it's something completely different. And having your preconceptions thrown into the mix just makes things all the more confusing. And made me feel like a hypocrite for taking him back... twice.

2. Forgiveness Doesn't Mean You're Weak

Along with that, I was really upset myself for not immediately dumping him. That makes no sense, right? But I thought that self-respect had to mean dumping them as soon as you found out, and anything less was weakness. But I now realize that wasn't the case. My relationship couldn't bounce back from it, but some can. People cheat for loads of different reasons. And I certainly didn't need to be beating myself up over being "weak" when there was a whole lot more emotional angst to deal with.

3. You Can Talk To Someone

For some weird reason, I kept the fact that I had been cheated on quiet for about six months. I didn't tell anyone, which is really out of character, because I'm normally open to a fault. When I finally let my friends know, they were, understandably, a bit like WTF?! It would have been so much better if I had just talked it out in the first place. Not only could I have gotten it off my chest, I would have gotten some (much needed) advice.

4. It's Not A Reflection On You

Part of the reason I was quiet was that I was humiliated. I felt incredibly foolish and also completely to blame. Although there may be some relationship problems that can stem from both of you when someone cheats, it's not all your fault. Being cheated on doesn't automatically mean you're not good enough or you did something wrong. If I had known that, the whole process would have been so much easier.

5. You Can Process It In Your Own Time

Some people get over infidelity right away, and some people never will. Don't try to follow some timeline of getting over it ASAP or brush it all under the carpet — it's just not worth it. You need you time to heal and rebuild trust if you do decide to make it work.

6. Try Not To Stalk And Obsess Over The Other Person

You may want to know everything about the person your partner was cheating with and you may even want to compare yourself to them. From every. Single. Angle. Don't do it. You're already going to feel like crap and all it will do is make you feel crappier. Put Instagram down.

7. You Need To Get To The Root Cause If You Want The Relationship To Work

It's so easy to get caught up in who it was with, how it happened, where, and when, but the why is by far the most important. Once you get over the shock, if your relationship is going to have any chance of survival, you need to stop torturing yourself with details and figure out why it happened and if you can move forward — or even want to. If your relationship needs fixing, don't be scared to look at it.

Images: Author's own; Giphy (3)