You Know They Are Cheating On You, but What Are You Going to Do?
If you have ever uncovered the painful truth that the person you feel you love is cheating on you, you probably asked yourself: What am I supposed to do now? What should my response be to this betrayal? There is no doubt a wide range of confusing emotions flooding through you. All these feelings make it very difficult to make any kind of wise decision on what to do next. So don't react too quickly.
Let's begin with looking at what cheating is and is NOT.
What Is Cheating?
It's important to understand that there are different kinds of behavior people call cheating, some of which is not cheating at all. For example, if someone asks you out just once, and then soon after asks someone else out, that's not cheating. That's simply dating. Believe me, there's nothing wrong with dating around.
On the other hand, if you have been dating that person for a while and you both commit to dating exclusively, and that person dates someone else behind your back, that's cheating. Obviously, if someone says, "Will you be my fiancé?" and you accept, and then they date behind your back, that's cheating. If the person you are dating for some time has sex, or inappropriate sexual behavior with another person, that's cheating.
Four Steps to Protect Yourself:
1. The first thing you need to do is wait. Don't do anything. Let your feelings calm down. Regardless of what you have discovered, there's no need to go around trashing the person who's cheated on you, or even the one he/she did it with. Stay above the betrayal. Don't let the lies and deceit of your bf/gf drag you down into the gutter with them. Keep your deep sense of personal dignity and healthy self-worth. You only make matters worse by acting out of anger and confusion. Don't tell the world you've been violated.
2. Surround yourself with good friends and wise counselors who can help you sort through your emotions and discover what has actually taken place. Get your friends and others you trust to quietly uncover what has been happening behind your back. Usually your friends are the first to know. These people are priceless to you because you can talk through your emotions with them. Left to yourself, you will only get caught in a circle of confusion, hurt, and resentment.
3. Confront your bf/gf in private. Confrontation is never easy, but you will never get to the bottom of what has happened or begin healing until you have talked with your cheating bf/gf. Sometimes you feel like causing a big scene to bring shame to the other person, and you end up just looking like a fool.
4. Remember your worth. Do not let yourself fall prey to all the lies that you may be tempted to believe such as, "There must be something wrong with me." "I'm not worthy of real love." "I'll never find a good partner." This is desperate thinking in the moment. While being cheated on hurts to the core...it does not define who YOU are. See yourself as God sees you. He sees you as....Chosen, Accepted, Loved, Beautiful and Significant. Write these messages down and surround yourself with them. Believe the truth.
Tips for Confronting the Cheater
1. It's very important to have a confrontation face-to-face if possible. Body language (facial expressions, etc.) will tell you a lot.
2. Make sure you have the facts before the confrontation. If you try to confront without evidence, you will most likely be lied to or stir up deep resentment in the person you are accusing. The person being confronted often blames you for the very thing he/she has done. This is the kind of experience Kristy had, "I just broke up with my boyfriend of two years. It was a break-up/make-up relationship. He would do something wrong, like cheat, and somehow blame it on me; make me feel like it was my fault that he cheated, that somehow, I drove him to it. Then he'd break up with me, and a few days later, we'd get back together."
3. While confronting, deal with the source of the problem, your bf/gf, and don't focus on the person they've cheated with. Sometimes you feel like bringing shame to the other person, and you end up just looking like a fool.
4. Try to discover if your cheating bf/gf is truly repentant for what he/she has done. Some people are just sorry because they got caught. It will take time for you to know whether or not your bf/gf is truly sorry for their betrayal of you.
5. Some people when confronted become defensive, belligerent, and angry. That is a good sign they have no intention of ever getting back with you again. See their reaction for what it is. Sometimes it's just better to walk away and stay away.
Should You Save the Relationship?
Deciding whether or not you are going to try and salvage the relationship could be one of the most important decisions you will ever make.
Consider a time-out from your relationship. A time-out will give you a chance to get wise counsel from other people and decide whether or not the relationship is worth saving.
Don't make the mistake of KT, "My ex-boyfriend was a jerk and treated me so badly. He'd call me names and he'd cheat on me and give me the guilt trip saying, I will never find anyone like him or even as good as him cause he is that unique. All my friends told me to leave him. They said a good guy will come along when he comes along, but I didn't listen to my friends, even though they have given me very good advice for two years now. I just didn't listen cause my ex-boyfriend sort of brainwashed me in a way. Now that I understand and accept it, I am doing so much better."
Know it will take time for the relationship to heal, if it ever does. Trust has been shattered and recovering trust takes a long time. If you decide the relationship is salvageable, your cheating bf/gf will have to be patient for you to trust them again. But eventually you will need to forgive them and learn to trust.
The Relationship Can't be Saved. Now What?
If you decide the relationship cannot be healed or mended, take some off from dating to find yourself and allow yourself to become stronger. Some relationships cannot be saved no matter what you do. So don't bring unnecessary drama and needless hurt into your life by not letting go.
Steven said something incredible when he commented, "Everybody has free will and [my girlfriend] had the will to cheat as she pleases, and I can't change that. But I also have free will. The free will to not give her power over me and to move on to lead a productive life. The people who loved me and the ones I loved were counting on me. I dropped my pride and cried out for help."
Know your own self-worth and cry out for the help you need. You are worth it!
If you've just been cheated on and need more help, Check out: He Cheated On You: 6 Things Not To Do.