Your partner's choice to be unfaithful was theirs alone, and that decision does not reflect how valuable you are.
Unfortunately, in some relationships, people have their hearts broken by learning that their partner is having a relationship with somebody else. When somebody that you trusted and loved ends up betraying you, it can leave you devastated, questioning everything you know. These feelings aren’t easily forgotten and are often carried into new relationships.
Initially, your mind may be overwhelmed by unfair assumptions and comparisons that tear you down. Are they better than me? Am I not good enough? What do they have that I don’t?
Along with the questions come feelings of sadness, anger, and blame. While it can be easy to say that your partner doesn’t deserve you and that this was their fault, being cheated on usually leads to feeling that you aren’t good enough, and wondering what is wrong with you. While they did the cheating and are responsible for the betrayal, we often internalize the experience, feeding into our self-doubts and lowering our self esteem. We often tell ourselves that if we understand what we did to cause the heartbreak, we can prevent it from happening again.
While it is hard to fight off the self-deprecating thoughts and feelings that come after betrayal, you have to try. Yes, we usually give ourselves a few days of feeling bad, mourning the loss of the relationship, and binge-eating ice cream. However, we cannot let this go on forever; that much ice cream can be expensive. We need to look at the situation objectively. Infidelity is complex, and there are many factors that lead to cheating.
Learning that your partner may have a better connection with someone else can hurt, but there is nothing that you can do to change this. However, if your partner wasn't happy, then the right thing to do would have been to communicate that to you instead of cheat.
Your partner's choice to be unfaithful was theirs alone, and that decision does not reflect how valuable you are. You deserve to be with somebody who wants to be with you and notices how fantastic you are.
Here are some things you can do to help you remember your value.
Make A List of All Your Strengths.
What positive qualities and traits do you have? What compliments have people given you? What do you like about your physical appearance? When you are feeling bad about yourself, look at this list and realize all that you have to offer the world.
Do What Makes You Happy
Instead of staying home and feeling bad about yourself, do things that you love to do! Painting, hiking, walking your dog, hanging out with your friends, whatever will help you feel like yourself again.
While this can feel silly at first, it actually works. Make a list of 3-5 positive mantras. Examples: "I am beautiful," "I am smart," "I am good enough," "I am worthy of love." Every morning, say these to yourself in the mirror. When you are thinking or feeling bad about yourself, say them!
Tip: Though you might be tempted, don't be like Carrie Underwood.
After being cheated on, you may learn warning signs or “red flags” of when somebody may be cheating. You can't control another person, you can only control yourself and focus on creating a healthy, loving relationship so that both you and your partner are satisfied. If it happens again, it likely has nothing to do with you (even if they blame you to justify their behaviour). People aren’t always right for each other for the long term, but there are far more respectful ways to end a relationship than through infidelity. Sometimes to try to prevent this heartache, you might become more controlling and anxious, checking their messages, listening to their phone calls, and dictating who they can talk to. This kind of abusive behaviour is more likely to destroy the quality of the relationship than to secure it. If you stay with someone who cheated on you, then you need to find a healthy way to repair this trust. If this is a new relationship, then your new partner should not be punished for the actions of your ex.
So, what can you do to fight off the fears of being cheated on again?
Know Your Greatness.
You are a great person, and anybody would be lucky to be with you. You deserve to be with somebody who treats you with respect and loyalty. Don’t settle for someone who treats you poorly.
While it is important to take time to experience the hurt and mourn the relationship, it is essential not to let one person affect how you feel about yourself and damage future relationships. Open yourself up to trusting and loving again. You deserve somebody who will treat you right, and that person is out there.
Don’t settle for less.
Written for you, by therapists.
NWO’s source for all things relationships, mental health, wellness, and lifestyle: Kelly Magazine is a mental health outreach initiative created by Kelly Mental Health and supported by Kelly Mental Health Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the community in the area of mental health.
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