It’s no secret – infidelity sucks. And though it may feel like you’ll never get over this heartbreak, you’ve got options on how to make the adjustment period easier. Vv Magazine’s relationship expert, Jen Kirsch, guides us on what to do after a partner cheats.
Cheating in monogamous relationships is nothing new. Some of the best pieces of art – songs, films, etc. – are based on affairs and the madness that ensues when the deceived partner finds out. With all our gadgets these days, it’s easier than ever to catch a sneaky partner. So what do you do when you find out you’ve been cheated on?
Like Alicia Florick in The Good Wife, and Hilary Clinton, you can stand by your man and be seen as an even stronger team than ever before, or like Brandi Glanville and TKTK, you can leave the bastard and dwell on it, throwing him and the mistress under the bus. Or you can end things and move on, realising if it wasn’t this, it would have been something else and you’re both better for it.
Here’s a more detailed look at your options and how to decide what route is best for you:
Don’t act out of anger
You just found out. You’re enraged. Not only do you feel betrayed by the person you love most, but also you feel unworthy. You might be feeling like you’re not good enough/attractive enough/insert your insecure-thought-of-choice here, but this has to deal more with your partner than you. So do not, under any circumstances, act out on your irrational thoughts and initial anger. Take time to yourself to let the thoughts pass. Perhaps hit the yoga studio and do something that can put you in a frame of mind to assess the situation in an unbiased way.
Okay, that asshole’s actions has torn your heart into tiny little pieces. You’re going through so much pain, more so knowing that you suspected something and your partner told you, you were crazy every time you brought it up. You immediately know that you can’t be with someone who can do this to you, and yet…in time, your thoughts will change. I promise you. The anger, rage, heartbreak and every negative emotion you feel will pass – so don’t buy into them. Don’t air your dirty laundry on social media and blast your partner because you think they deserve it. Look at how Brandi Glanville looked when her then-husband Eddie Cibrian was caught cheating with LeAnne Rimes (who he’s now married to). Yes, your feelings are real, but they’re irrational when under the influence of jealousy and anger, and even if you delete a post after-the-fact, everything lives on forever on the internet.
The details don’t matter
When we find out we’ve been cheated on, we often want to know all the details. When did it happen/who did it happen with/how often did it happen/who initiated, etc. The details don’t matter. They don’t change what has happened. Sure, some people (if asked to choose) would prefer that their partner had an emotional affair and others prefer a sexual one, but the details don’t matter and shouldn’t impact whether you stay with them. What matters is figuring out what caused them to cheat? Were they pushed away from you? Are they known for having a wandering eye? Deciding whether to stay is about acknowledging the root cause and deciding whether it is something you both are committed to working on to ensure it won’t happen again.
If you decide to forgive your partner for their indiscretion, don’t make them pay for it later. Your relationship will never work if every time your partner does something wrong, you bring up the cheating scandal. You need to fully accept that it happened and trust that they won’t do it again. If you continue to bring it up or throw it in their face, you’ll both be walking on eggshells at all times, which creates an unhealthy and unbalanced relationship. Let go of the past and start fresh. It’s doable so long as you can truly let it go.
If you know that the hurt will eat you alive and though you love your partner, you’ll always be taunted by this, then walk away. Try to be as cordial as you can. See this as a blessing in disguise. When shit things happen to us, it seems like the end of the world but it’s these traumas that help us learn, grow and develop into strong individuals. There’s a takeaway from all this pain. It just might take you a year or two to see what it is.
P.S. As tempted as you might be, never reach out to the one your partner cheated on you with. Take the high road and thank me later.
For more tips, follow our relationship columnist online at @jen_kirsch.
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