If you or someone you care about has been cheated on, you know the pain and confusion that goes along with the experience. Although I’ve never experienced it personally, I’ve worked with and helped many who have. Feel free to use the following ideas to help yourself or someone you care about heal and recover.
If you are married or in a serious relationship and your partner has cheated on you – you are probably experiencing a great deal of pain, anger, confusion, frustration, and other negative feelings.
Whether or not you choose to stay in your relationship, it’s going to take some time and effort to heal. Remember, there’s no reason to go through this alone. Don’t be afraid to reach out to family, friends, or a counselor.
To get started on the healing process, try out some of these ideas.
1. Get out of the House. The worst thing you can do right now is isolate yourself. Take this opportunity to try something new, go somewhere you enjoy, and connect with people you haven’t talked to or seen in a while.
2. Write it Out. Expressing yourself when you’re overwhelmed with so many different emotions can be difficult. Take the pressure off yourself and write it out. Don’t edit yourself and don’t hold back. Write everything you’re feeling and thinking. You can choose to share this, or you can keep it private. The act of expressing your feeling, even if you keep it private, will provide an emotional relief.
3. New Hobby. Channel your pain into a new hobby. Find joy in an activity you’ve been meaning to do. Don’t have anything in mind? Consider some of the following:
- Mail Postcards – go buy some fun postcards and mail them to your loved ones – let them know that you’re thinking of them
- Volunteer – go for the Humane Society if you like animals or sign up to be a Big Brother or Big Sister (most communities have dozens of non-profit agencies looking for helpful volunteers)
- Reading – especially if it’s been a while since you’ve picked up a book
- Blogging – share your interests with the world
- Music – create music (learn an instrument) or appreciate music (go to concerts, buy new music)
- Movies – catch up on all those flicks you’ve been missing out on
- Get Creative – there are hundreds of potential hobbies just waiting for you
4. Write a Song. Even if you don’t sing, write a song. It can be a happy song to cheer you up, or an angry song intended for your partner. Have fun with it, and don’t be afraid to belt it out (for most people, best if done when you’re home alone).
5. Stop blaming yourself. You may not admit to people, but there may be moments when you blame yourself for your partner cheating. If you need to, make a poster that says, It’s Not Your Fault! And put it up where you will see it every day.
6. Two Letters to the Cheater. This is similar to writing it out. These letters don’t necessarily need to be delivered, but it can helpful to write. Why 2 letters? One letter needs to be as angry and as horrible as you can make it. Get every angry thought out of your system. The other needs to be a loving, forgiving letter. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to write such different letters. Whether you give them to your partner (or ex-partner at this point) is up to you.
7. Avoid a vengeance affair. While getting even (cheating on your partner) may make you feel better in the moment, it is not the solution to permanent healing or relationship improvement. This is a huge choice and something you may regret for a long time so don’t go into it lightly. Take your time deciding on whether or not this is going to be a good option for you. Chances are it will do more harm than good.
8. Forgive. If you can start letting go of the pain and start forgiving, you will experience overall relief. Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness – it is a sign of strength. Holding onto bitterness and anger is much easier than letting it go. Forgiving doesn’t mean you have to forget. Forgiveness means accepting what happened, honoring the pain, and putting it away. Will you still feel pain? Yes. And just because you forgive the cheater doesn’t mean they get to come back into your life. Even if you never see the cheater again, it’s important to forgive. Let the pain go, and start welcoming more positive and loving energy back into your life.
9. Cry. Let it out. I mean, really, really let it out. A good cry (even for men!) can be physically exhausting, but letting it all out will relieve some of that tension and pressure that has been building up.
10. Exercise. After you cry it out, it’s time to work it out – physically. However you like to exercise (and even if you don’t) – get active. The physical activity will help to balance adrenaline, cortisol, and other hormones that your body is pumping out in this ultra-stressful time.
11. New Chapter. Despite the pain, this affair is opening a new chapter in your life. If you stay with your partner and work it out – it’s going to be an opportunity to improve your relationship. Yes, you are hurting and it may feel like the pain will never go away. But chances are that you were unhappy before this affair began. Recognize this as an opportunity to find your happiness as a couple. If you have decided to leave your partner, this is a very exciting new chapter in your life. Yes, you have financial worries and many other stressors. But guess what? You can do anything with your life now. You are not tied to your partner. If you have children, they get to have a new chapter too. A life where you are happy and you discover all your dreams you’ve been putting off.
12. Self care. What makes you feel better? The best thing you can do is identify what you need to do for self care. Some of the above ideas are exactly that – self-care. Some obvious ideas? Relaxing bath with candles (even for men!), meditation, listening to music, reading, cooking, walking, dancing. Like I always say – get creative!
13. Smile and Laugh. It’s hard to believe that anything could make you happy right now. Watch a funny movie, go to a comedy club, call up your best friend who always gives you the giggles, or play with children. Remind yourself that there is happiness in this word. And go get yourself some.
14. Limit Yourself
. Your first reaction to cope and deal with this stress may be to eat too much, drink too much or do drugs. This will never help you heal. If you need distraction at times, that’s fine. Choose a positive activity to distract yourself. This is your new chapter. Make it a good one.
If you have any other good ideas that have helped you or someone you know recover from being cheated on, please add a comment below to share them. Thank You!