Finding out that your partner has cheated can do a number on your self-esteem. It's hard not to get into a negative headspace when you're trying to figure out why it happened to you. But don't let yourself fall into that trap. According to experts, there are simple and empowering ways you can recover after your partner cheats.
As author and therapist, Connie Omari, LPC, tells Bustle, it's so easy to feel down on yourself after being cheated on because we often internalize feelings of rejection. "As women, we have been normalized to feel responsible for the behaviors of others," she says. "Therefore, when we are betrayed, we often internalize this as some error on our part."
There are so many different ways to cope after being cheated on. According to Omari, some people may try to change themselves by working on their physical appearance or shifting their way of thinking and tolerating bad behavior. But these are some things you should never do after you find out your partner cheated.
"These behaviors reduce your value and condone the bad behavior of a partner who does not deserve you," Omari says. "Instead, firmly hold the position that you are not responsible for somebody else’s shortcomings and do what it takes for you to feel better."
Feeling better may not come easily. But if you give it a try, it can happen. So here are some empowering ways you can recover after your partner cheats, according to experts.
Place The Blame Back On The Cheated
Being cheated on is never your fault. As therapist Dr. Nicki Nance, tells Bustle, many people who've been cheated on tend to blame themselves. "Something that seems to help is when I tell them, ‘They were a cheater. They probably would have cheated on any partner they had,'" she says. Remember that anyone has the ability to cheat, even a partner who's pretty loyal to you. By shifting the blame from yourself to the person who did wrong, it can help to prevent you from being more down on yourself than you should be.
Focus On The Future
Trying to figure out why your partner cheated or where things went wrong is going to lead you down a black hole of negativity. So as Rachel Perlstein, LCSW, relationship coach and co-founder of A Good First Date, tells Bustle, "The best way to move on is to focus on the future without this person." As hard as it is, the more you try to get answers and place attention on them, the harder it will be to heal and truly get past this.
Change Up Your Social Media
Removing all traces of your partner from your social media page or blocking them is something you can do. But as Omari says, take it a step further by sprucing up your social media profiles. "Sometimes, it's just best to show people who hurt us that we are resilient," she says. "By creating a more elaborate image of yourself, not only will it boost your own sense of self-worth by showing you areas of your life that you can be proud of, but it will also provide your cheating partner with an opportunity to see how well you are doing irrespective of their cheating."
Try Something You've Never Done Before
"While it’s healthy and important to [take time to be upset], it’s also a great time to develop some new coping strategies," Perlstein says. Adopting a new hobby is something that can really take your mind off the negative feelings you have. If you find that you're really good at that new hobby or you manage to make new friends, it can help you regain some of that self-confidence that you've probably lost.
Spend Time With People Who Have Your Back
Being cheated on can trigger all kinds of insecurity issues. But as Perlstein says, surrounding yourself with loved ones can remind you that you are loved and cared for. "Being with those who see your strengths and help ground you in who you are can really help you feel more like yourself," she says.
Meet New People And Make New Friends
Even with the support of friends and family, being cheated on can still make you feel alone. Although, "getting out there" may seem like the last thing you want to do, Omari says it can really help with the healing process. "By socially meeting other people, especially if you can do so without emotionally getting involved, you are opening up an opportunity to meet others and heal from the betrayal," she says. Remember, just because one person betrays you, it doesn't mean that everybody else will. By giving yourself an opportunity to meet other people, you can break down the walls you put up after an emotional betrayal like cheating, and live the life you truly deserve.
Whether you choose to stay with your partner or not is totally up to you. But just remember, being cheated on doesn't have to be the end of the world. If you can do things that remind you of how amazing you are, you can find the best way to move forward.