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 leave a toxic relationship, and regain wholeness.
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, even when those actions are not sexual, 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 to spend time with another person
It’s easy to feel betrayed. 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 relationship?
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
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 dating or marriage 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 through mentors, live chat, and online prayer groups. Reach out today to start on the path to healing your heart.