Whether you've been cheated on before, or have had that empty feeling that made you suspect your partner may have been, it's a debilitating experience that can break up a relationship and, worse, prevent the person cheated on from trusting their next partner.
Cheating sucks, and it's something that can be tough to overcome no matter how strong a person is.
Fortunately, there are some steps to do when you do actually find out—and, no, they don't involve any sort of payback. For those who need some help getting their mind right if/when they catch a cheating partner, here are some tips.
Avoid Freaking Out
It's going to feel like a ton of bricks just hit you as hard as possible, so you're going to have a million different emotions and thoughts going on in your head. One thing you can't do, though, is just yell or, worse, become physical. You need to remember that there are two options: breaking up or staying together. Be hurt, cry and take the time you need to figure that out.
Don't Ask Too Many Details, Just How Much You Need To Know
People categorize cheating in different ways. Some believe that going to a strip club and getting a lap dance as cheating, while others believe that texting inappropriate, flirtatious things to another person constitutes breaking up. However you define cheating, make sure you ask what you need to make a decision about what's to come, but nothing more that will only make you more hurt in the end.
Don't Presume Anything
Much like the above, now that you've gotten the facts and have enough info to know your partner cheated, don't start wondering when or how they did it. Fact is, it happened, and you investigating or believing that it came while at the wedding when she/he were guarded or when they said they were sick last week isn't healthy.
Forget About Who It Was
Do you really care if it was your buddy, an ex of hers or someone else that you have no clue about? The answer should be no, because, while knowing may help with some closure at first, if you do stay together, you'll subconsciously wonder about who else she may be attracted in your friend group. If you break up, those same issues may arise at some point down the road in your next relationship, with you already putting pressure on her/him that's unwarranted and making you paranoid.
Do Ask On How Many Times It Happened
While we told you above not to ask too many questions and worry about details, when trying to determine next steps, it is important to know how often it happened. If it was a one-time deal, maybe you're more forgiving. But, if it was a full-on relationship or something that happened a lot, you'll probably want to move on.
Do Decide Next Steps
OK, the reality is there—you've been cheated on. It's tough to accept, but now comes the tough part when you need to figure out what your next steps are. Do you want to try and salvage things or simply move on? Either way, stand by your decision without flip-flopping and take control of yourself, weighing on what's important to you most moving forward.
Do Take Time For Yourself, No Matter What
This may mean splitting town to stay with friends or family for a few days, a weekend or week, or simply just crying it out, going for a long run or some other form of positive, healthy meditation, allowing you to gather your thoughts and emotions before seeing the cheating partner. The last thing you want is to act out of emotion and say or do something that only hurts both of you—even if you want to do that.
Do Get Couples Therapy (If You Stay Together)
OK, so you've forgiven your partner and decided that trying to recover from their decision is the way to go. That's your prerogative, so stand by the decision and don't blame them, but work with them by going to get professional help together to try and move beyond the act.
Don't Let It Control You
Of course, the shock value that comes with finding out someone just betrayed your trust by cheating on you is heavy and will consume your mind—but you'll have to limit those thoughts as much as you can. As we said above, take time for yourself and maybe even look into a therapist so you have someone to talk with and help you recover.
Do Pull The Band-Aid Off And Move On
If you've made the decision to cut your losses after getting your heart broken, stand by it and make a clean break without giving in when they try to reconcile with you. Undoubtedly, they will feel bad about the decision once caught and try to plead for forgiveness, but it's best to focus on rebuilding yourself without them now.