Cheating

Cheating is one of the most devastating things that can happen in a romantic relationship. 

If your boyfriend or girlfriend has been unfaithful, it can feel like the world is crashing down on you. You undoubtedly feel betrayed, and the waves of pain and anger that hit after you find out about infidelity can seem unbearable. But you can find help. 

You can recover from being cheated on, and regain your self-worth.
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Have You Been Cheated On?

While cheating most often refers to one person in the relationship having sex with someone outside the marriage or partnership, it’s possible to feel cheated on even if you and your boyfriend or girlfriend have never had sex. Violations of trust and boundaries, is what makes people feel cheated and hurt.

In addition to sexual infidelity, if the person you’re dating has:

• Kissed another person
• Touched someone else intimately
• Sent flirtatious or sexually suggestive pictures or messages via text, email or social media
• Become addicted to pornography or masturbation (and does those things instead of sharing time or affection with you)
• Lied in order to spend time with another person

Cheating is a betrayal. After all, you promised each other your faithfulness, and that promise was broken in a deceitful and hurtful way. But what do you do? How do you pick up the pieces after cheating has broken your heart and hurt or destroyed relationship?

Physical

The feeling of betrayal, if you’ve been cheated on, can add such pain and confusion that you can experience a high level of anxiety which can manifest into feeling physically sick. You may experience fatigue, body aches, headaches, lack of appetite, digestive issues, and sleep interruptions.

Emotional

The emotional wounds that occur when a partner cheats can be devastating. It can cause you to develop deep trust issues, not only with your partner but extending into other relationships, including potential future romantic relationships. If you’ve been cheated on, it can also impact your self-worth as you feel you weren't valued or respected in the relationship.

Spiritual

If you’ve been cheated on, it is common to internalize feelings of rejection, making you feel unworthy and wounding your spirit. Resentment and bitterness are also common creating a barrier between you and others leaving you lonely and disconnected. Your soul is designed for connection, so work to maintain a sense of wholeness in mind, body, and spirit by nurturing connections in your life.

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After Cheating: What to Do Next?

Being cheated on has many negative effects on your health and well-being—physical, emotional, and spiritual. So the best thing you can do in the immediate aftermath of cheating is to remove yourself from the toxicity that is causing you pain while you find healing.

What’s best for each person and each relationship may differ, but this kind of distance is necessary for victims of cheating to gain clarity and pursue self-care, apart from the person who’s hurt them.

• Spend time with family and friends you can trust
• Find encouragement from your Church or faith community
• Talk to a mentor, therapist, or counselor about the cheating and how it makes you feel
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SPIRITUAL PRACTICE

After finding out that your partner has been unfaithful, resentment and anger are natural reactions. However, if you nurture these feelings too long it can be difficult to heal and move forward to abundant life. Forgiveness is the path to moving beyond the control the bitterness has on your life and finding freedom again. The act of forgiving your partner for cheating is not because you owe it to them or because they deserve it, but instead because you owe it to yourself to be released from the chains of resentment. Forgiving also doesn’t mean you have to let them back into your life.

This process of forgiveness will be challenging and at times you will feel you don't have the emotional strength to forgive. But instead of relying on your own strength, lean into God's strength and let Him help you through the process. Use this verse to help encourage you in God's strength Philippians 4:13 (NLT) For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Resuming Relationships After Cheating

It’s very important that your sources of support are healthy. The person who cheated on you may apologize after your breakup and try to take you back right away, perhaps with grand romantic gestures. But without changing their behavior or getting help themselves, your relationship could enter a cycle of more cheating, manipulation, lies, and emotional abuse. Follow the advice of your therapist or mentor when it comes to how, when, and if to re-engage with a boyfriend or girlfriend who has been unfaithful.

If you were the person who violated the trust of your boyfriend or girlfriend by cheating or other unfaithful and dishonest behavior, you may feel guilty or ashamed. That’s understandable, but don’t let it drive you to despair. Give your partner the space they need and do whatever you can to address the issues in your life that led you to these harmful behaviors. While you may not be able to resume your former relationship, getting help and making life changes can mean a healthier new relationship is possible in the future.

Whether you were hurt by someone cheating, or your infidelity has broken your relationship, the only person whose life you can truly transform after a broken relationship is your own. TheHopeLine is here to provide confidential help after cheating. Reach out today to start on the path to healing your heart.

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