Being cheated on is not an easy thing to handle. Learning how to deal with a cheater can help you regain control of your life and help you decide how you want to proceed in your future. While keying the cheater’s car may seem like a cathartic reaction, this is not going to help you move nor will it make you feel any better.
The negative emotional and mental side effects from being cheated on can stay with you for a lifetime. Being cheated on stirs up insecurities, low self-esteem, distrust, inability to open up, and give you feelings of worthlessness, and make you question your qualities and physical appearance. Being cheated on is emotionally devastating and can change your personality for years to come.
Are you questioning how to move on after infidelity in your relationship? Here’s how to deal with a cheater.
Take time for yourself
Even if you have decided to stay with your cheating partner and work on your relationship, it is still important to take time for yourself. Not only will this allow you to decompress, it also gives you the opportunity to collect your thoughts and grieve the situation. If you have chosen to stay together, taking time alone may help you to reconsider whether you are staying in the relationship because you can become better, stronger partners with one another or if you are simply staying out of sadness or because the relationship had been comfortable.
Gather your evidence
Is your partner cheating but you haven’t confronted them yet? If so, now is your time to collect any evidence you may need during your confrontation. This means taking screen captures of text messages, photos, conversations, and social media interactions you may have stumbled across between the guilty parties. This will allow you to immediately put a stop to your partner’s lies, should they choose to deny any involvement with their secret lover.
If your partner has lied to you about being with one partner, who’s to say they haven’t been with dozens without your knowledge? Getting tested for sexually transmitted infections is essential after you’ve been cheated on. Go to your doctor and ask to be tested. Free clinics and sexual health centers offer tests for STDs, HIV, and Hepatitis. It is essential that you protect yourself, even if your partner claims they were ‘safe’ during their infidelity. Their definition of safe sex may differ highly from yours.
If you have chosen to stay with the partner who has cheated ask them to get tested as well so that you can resume your sexual relationship without worry.
Confront your partner
Confront your partner about their infidelity. This will allow them the opportunity to plead their case with you and for you to be perfectly clear about your feelings. Your feelings of betrayal, anger, humiliation, and hurt should be clear. This is also an opportunity to let them know if you plan on ending the relationship. It goes without saying that if you decide to work on your relationship together your partner must end the affair.
Don’t blame yourself
The reason a partner cheats may have very little, if nothing, to do with you. Cheating is a selfish act in which a person is thinking solely of themselves. However, many still find understanding the ‘why’ to be an important part of the grieving process. Try your best not to blame yourself for the act. Whether you feel you weren’t as sexual, loving, or attentive as you could have been, nothing you did makes you deserving of being cheated on. If your partner was truly unhappy they should have told you upfront and ended the relationship before sleeping with someone new.
Don’t put a time limit on pain
Pain is pain, and a time limit will not diminish the hurt or betrayal you felt after being cheated on. Grieving is an individual process that takes time. New relationships and other distractions will not make it go by any faster.
Decide what you want from your relationship
Give yourself some time to truly think about the benefits and detriments of staying in the relationship. No matter which direction you are swaying, you need to be completely honest with yourself about your wants and needs in a relationship from this point on. When considering whether to stay in a relationship with someone who has cheated on you, ask yourself these questions:
- Can I truly forgive my cheating partner? If you choose to stay in your relationship, can you truly forgive your partner? Your relationship will never be successful if you cannot forgive the act itself. After your grieving process, continually bringing up the indiscretion will only serve to damage and hurt both parties.
- Can I ever trust my partner again? Once trust is lost it is seemingly impossible to get it back. Your partner will need to work 24/7 to win your trust back and be fully transparent with their whereabouts and interactions until you feel comfortable and secure in your relationship once more.
- Will we seek counseling if we stay together? Forgiveness is a difficult road, but it can be done. This road is made easier for couples by attending couples counseling together and opening up about what each party loves and lacks in their current relationship.
- How will my family/children be affected by your decision to stay together/break up? Bringing children into a relationship creates a whole new plethora of considerations. How will a break up affect them? How will you strive to maintain parental stability for your children during this difficult time?
When it comes to how to deal with a cheater there are many questions to ask yourself when considering staying or leaving. There are unpleasant emotional ramifications for both options. Some choose to stay and try to strengthen their relationships, while others choose to leave and pursue romantic relations with someone who will respect their trust and loyalty.
No matter what avenue you take on how to deal with a cheater, just make sure your result is what is best for you and your happiness.