I've Been Cheated On, Now What?

You’ve been cheated on, now what’s next? My own experience found that the following five steps, plus a bonus step we all need to remember, helped me remain in a sound place.  
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feeling cheated
Photo by Deon Black on Unsplash

When I met him, I knew that he had been a Playboy photographer, well-known and well-versed with the women around him. For years our friendship never went further than that of casual, and then one day it did. As quick as it was, I had no reason other than to find it all sincere.

I noticed relationships were ending during the pandemic. I wondered or plotted how my own could also become on the list of others that had not made it. Though we lived separately, the pandemic did find us sharing a roof over several months during his son's visit. During this time, my gut was beginning to become harder to ignore until I didn’t anymore. 

During a morning, I knew he would be away with our daughter and noticed his briefcase full of his precious hard drives remained open. Open and available, available for me to view. I listened to my gut as I had in my past when I uncovered the truths surrounding my adoption and former cheating partners. So I wondered what I would discover now.

Here is what you are supposed to do when you find out that you have been cheated on:

1. Stay calm when gathering the information

One of the single most important steps is which emotions, reactions, and actions we choose after we find out that we have been cheated on. There are many tools made available to us that invoke the practice of calmness in high-intensity situations. Practicing deep breathing alerts the body into relaxing and stopping stress hormones from releasing into the body. When we don’t remain calm, it keeps us feeling alone and lost and unable to control our lives, as if we are being carried away by an unknown force or storm. 

stay calm after you find out that you have been cheated on
Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

The explicit data that I uncovered covered the span of not just my relationship with him, but my friendship with him when I knew him to be with other women. Messages expressing his love and adoration I uncovered that simultaneously were written as similar had been expressed to me. These late-night photoshoots and explicit video sessions had been taking place only a few floors down from where my daughter and I innocently slept.

2. Surround yourself with a supportive company

Friendships and other close relationships with people, like our family and friends, neighbors, and coworkers, all help us by providing support. When we decide even briefly to remove ourselves from a situation, even a volatile one can leave us feeling alone and insecure. It’s the friendships with others in our life that help to provide the companionship we need.

call your friends and share your grief after being cheated on
Photo by Dustin Belt on Unsplash

After I uncovered the information on the hard drives, I immediately focused on the hike planned for that day. Ironically, the hike was one I agreed to accompany him on while he photographed another individual. I remained silent and steady and forced myself not to hint toward any of the heavy emotions inside me and focused on my hike. I thought about the steps I needed to take, metaphorically and figuratively, while placing one foot in front of the other.

3. Allow your emotions to flow

It is important not to suppress our emotions as that could be detrimental to our future selves and acknowledge and write down all that we are feeling. Writing down our thoughts and feelings is a practice that we began as young teenagers in our first diary and remains a process taught and encouraged today. 

When you notice a negative emotion, take a moment and a deep breath, acknowledge it, reframe the emotion through the lesson to be learned and then release it. Releasing through writing or verbal notes can allow us to come back and reassess and see what we have learned over time, primarily as it refers to a specific situation.

do not hide your emotions
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Logic sometimes isn’t as evident to one as it is to another, and I realized that I found myself on a merry-go-round that wouldn’t stop to let me off. I was becoming to feel trapped, and my gut was becoming increasingly unnerved.

4. Consider therapy or an emergency therapy session

Therapy and emotional and mental health are becoming increasingly common among our societies and our conversations. The pandemic allowed for many options to be made available to remove the financial burden; it will enable seeking help and support much easier for us all to access. 

take therapy after a breakup
Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

"Being deep in the pandemic, I had already become familiar with sites allowing me to seek help and support for my meditations and therapy without any incurred costs. After shifting the focus to my relationship, trust, and security issues, I knew I had set myself up for the right kind of help I needed."

5. Don’t blame yourself

My experience has taught me to eliminate blame altogether. “The Blame Game” has never been a choice for me. While understood by many how to take responsibility and not place blame, I say don’t even go down the path of blame. Things occur in life, whether through our choices or another, but either has a lasting effect on our lives. 

do not blame yourself for your exes fault
Photo by Matthew Brodeur on Unsplash

Had I allowed this based on lenience earlier in the relationship? Had he always been like this and myself blinded by lust? Had I withdrew, or had my depression or our child cause him to need to react in this way, act in this way to feel fulfilled?

6. Plan for the future that supports YOU

Motivation comes from goal setting, which comes from planning for the future you desire for your life. Over time our future looks different, and our goals become different, whether changing or restructuring to incorporate life’s surprises or choices. Keeping yourself centered in thought and actions allows for you to pursue forward clearly toward your destination.

Whether we decide to stay or to go, our future has changed based on our information. Being cheated on and finding inconsistencies within a relationship does have its reproductions on our lives and goals, but in that we can heal and move on stronger than before because we have overcome something that was meant to debilitate us, only it didn’t. 

There was no coming back from this, from what I uncovered, but I knew there could still be a future in spite of this.

difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations
Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash
Being a Mom is who I am, writing and painting is what I do! I am an Entrepreneur working in Communications, and a forever student.

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