I have been cheated on a couple of times in the past.
One of the worst things about going through it is how the healing is so abstract. You just want some sort of guide, or to do list. But anyone you go to that seems to understand (because they have been cheated on) still seems wounded by it.
It’s complete emotional chaos paired with then needing to make a logical decision of ‘should I stay or go’.
Unless of course, you have been dumped because of the cheating.
It’s rare to be able to get help in navigating the emotional turmoil that cheating leaves you with.
There is so much judgement surrounding the topic of cheating. Not just for the cheater, but for the person that has been cheated on. Literally, you get people barking orders at you. Telling you what to do with your grief, telling you how to handle your relationship.
Word of advice, stop talking to people who try to manage your emotion for you and act on your behalf.
A true friend will support you and your growth regardless of what decisions you make. They will look out for you, and they will tell you the truth. But ultimately they will understand that you are an individual, and every circumstance is different.
They will talk to you and discuss your feelings with you until you come to your own conclusions.
Anyone who is trying to tell you what to do (especially after you tell them that you could do without judgement) either has an agenda that isn’t in your best interest, is projecting their own hurt and wounds onto you, or just doesn’t want to give you their time and energy.
This doesn’t really make someone a good friend.
You aren’t expected to carry it all in a certain way, or know exactly what to do, or end things straight away.
I know what you’re feeling and what you’re going through. I’m sorry you’ve been through it.
I went through it and I’ve come out the other side wanting to share what I’ve found with you.
I am not telling you what to do. I am sharing perspective.
First of all.
If you have been dumped because you have been cheated on,
I am really sorry. That’s not fair. It sucks. It exposes all your deepest, most hidden and intimate wounds that could date all the way back to childhood.
It’s okay to feel these feelings of ‘why am I not enough’. It is normal to feel shame, even though you haven’t done anything wrong; and it is normal to feel embarrassed. It’s normal to feel anything that you’re feeling, and you don’t have to pretend to be a bad bitch, or unbothered, or fine just because you want to make someone suffer.
Making someone suffer doesn’t heal your heart. And to be honest with you, it looks fake to an outsider. People don’t take well to inauthenticity. It’s not healthy for you, and as a result, people will pick that apart.
The shock may be the hardest thing to go through. You need to call on people for help.
Not everyone needs an explanation or to be told what you’ve been through. Tell people the information necessary for them to help you, no more.
Only pick a very select few people (that you can trust to support you no matter what) to share the intimate details with.
Otherwise, your emotional trauma will be the talk of the town, and you’ll have a hard time leaving the house if I am being real with you.
It is fine for people to know that you’ve been cheated on if it’s over, but if you want to look dignified, don’t share everything with everyone.
I don’t know your specific situation, so I can only say what I learned from my experience of being dumped after being cheated on. Take it if it resonates.
I learned, after a while, that this was an incredibly freeing experience for me. I was devastated. Didn’t eat for a long time, developed a problem with substance abuse, buried myself in work. But then I took up a bunch of hobbies to become a new person. I wanted to become as far removed from the person I was in that relationship as possible, because after the cheating and concentrating on myself/ building my self-worth, I recognised how repulsive and weak and disrespectful that situation was. Why would I want to be with someone who does stuff like that? And probably will do it again to their next person?
I got to see where in my life I was absent enough to not recognise something was up. I got to know what it feels like to lose yourself, and what it feels to heal yourself. I gained wisdom. And in retrospect, I actually look back at that time of my life fondly. In a twisted way.
It was raw and messy and true, but it was like a complete rebirth. After that, I was able to be loved differently.
When something is fractured within a relationship, you can do all the independent healing you want, but when you are in a new relationship, those same wounds will be triggered. Because what is fractured in a connection can only be healed and repaired when you are connected.
For that reason, maybe you will want to read the next bit of this piece. Alternatively, I wrote this a while ago. It is part of a two-part piece, but it makes sense after the first few lines as a standalone article. Maybe it will help?
Okay, next scenario.
Let’s say, you have been cheated on, and not dumped.
It’s a lot. It is an awful lot, I know. There is so much anger, and hurt, and resentment. If I am honest with you, it is possible that this is harder.
In a scenario like this, you may feel pressured to make a decision and act immediately when presented with this info.
You may want to act on impulse, try to get revenge, or you may just freeze up in utter heart ache.
Well, you don’t have to act at all.
In moments like this, you cannot think clearly. Emotion is so heightened.
In the interest of self care, release all expectations you have of yourself to be and act a certain way.
Your main priority right now should be you. How to comfort you. How to get your needs met. How to take care of you.
A lot of people will ask you if it’s possible to have a relationship with someone you don’t trust as if you’re gonna know the answer straight away.
You may be disgusted and repulsed by the version of this partner that could cheat on you, while still being in love with them and recognising how this relationship is good for both of you.
No one tells you that.
You owe yourself the freedom to be able to explore that if you want to.
The worst thing you can get from staying in a relationship after somebody has cheated is genuine closure and loss of feelings.
I recommend that you only tell people what they absolutely need to know in order to help you, and no more. Only choose a select few people with the more intimate details. People who are open, and non-judgemental, and will support you no matter what you decide to do. Maybe someone who is polyamorous. People who just want to help you through discussion.
Ultimately, if you want to, then there is no one to stop you from telling twitter or facebook or tiktok about what you’ve been through. But it is advisable, and maybe in your best interest to keep it to yourself and have one or two people who help.
This is to protect you. It is to stop people from judging you, and hurting you, and telling you what to do. This is freeing you.
How a person acts after they have committed an act like this tells you more about them than them committing the act does.
Every single person on this planet has light as well as dark in them. Every single person is capable of cheating. You may have no desire to because all your needs are met, but if it wasn’t for fear, security, guilt, whatever; everyone is capable of cheating. Nobody is better than anyone else, we just live life by different formula’s and thought patterns.
If somebody has admitted to what they have done, is obviously genuinely haunted by it, shows genuine remorse and is actively changing right before your eyes… well… it may piss you off but you might be curious. You might want to stick around and see what happens.
If the alternative is to dump someone when you aren’t ready out of ego, break your own heart, and then see the new version of this partner treat their next person with a higher level of love and respect… wouldn’t you be pissed?
It is likely, that through choosing to stay, there will be a voice inside of you telling you to run and telling you that you are weak for staying.
Listen to that voice.
It’s may not always be right, but it is trying to protect you.
Perhaps you are not weak at all, and you need to converse with that inner judgement in order to change your view of what weak is.
Envision that voice as another person in front of you and speak with it.
You will be able to understand it and rationalise with it that way. You might even discover that it’s not your voice after all.
To be honest, it is only possible to get through this if yourself and your partner can handle the ugliest, most difficult and dark parts of each other.
If that other person is just not on your level, well, you know that now. And you haven’t wasted any time either, because you’re ready to get back out there.
Because after all, what is fractured in a connection can only be healed and repaired when you are connected.
It’s time to honour yourself and really weigh up the options. It is time to figure out what serves you.
Remember to set your boundaries, list your needs, and work out how they can be met. Both by you, and by your partner. Set your standards in a way that really serves you.
Cheating can be a mindless fuck. Don’t allow society, or social media, or friends who don’t know as much about life as they think they do to tell you how to live it.
Sex is an act of release, a transmutation of energy, and the way someone relates to sex tells you a LOT about them.
If the person who cheated on you gets through all of your darkness, genuinely changes as a person, and is able to keep up with your healing; this is between you and them.
The third party’s existence may piss you off because of the disrespect they showed you, and because their existence is a reminder of an ugly side of your partner; but if you understand the reasons why their existence pisses you off, they hold no power.
No power at all.
This is between you and your partner.
And I don’t judge you for experimenting with that.
It is an intimate and raw journey of self-discovery, and no matter how that ends, you will be in a place to receive a deep and meaningful type of love and connection having got through it.
Regardless of who that connection is with.