I thought it would be great to write an article about what to expect after recovering from an infidelity after months or years have passed. I’ve received several comments on my article about tips on healing from an infidelity that made me realize that many people are fearful of what’s to come now that the relationship is over. You might be reading this because you have recently found out that you have been cheated on and are not sure how the future will look or are even afraid of the future. Some of you may have been cheated on some time ago but might still wonder about what is to come as you make your way through the recovery process. Below are some ways that you will find strength from this terrible experience.
1. You learn from your mistakes. Although you are not at fault for the poor decisions of your ex partner, you may have made mistakes in the relationship or after the break up which only caused you further pain. Maybe you didn’t value yourself enough and thought you deserved poor treatment from your partner. Perhaps you ignored the lying or other toxic behaviors. Or maybe you handled the break up poorly by trying to get revenge or trying to change yourself so that your ex could realize her mistake. With time you realize and accept those mistakes. The good thing is there is a high chance that you learn from those mistakes and don’t repeat them. Mistakes are a natural part of life so don’t be too upset if you make mistakes. Learning from them is far more important and you will definitely learn even if the process takes longer than you wish it would.
2. You value yourself more. Cheating can happen to anyone. It doesn’t matter how sexy, beautiful, kind, funny, rich or amazing a person is. A toxic person can cheat on anyone. After healing you will realize that you offered the best version of yourself and you stayed loyal. Sure like everyone in the world you have your share of flaws. But you are amazing. As painful as the betrayal is, you will learn to value yourself and accept that if someone treats you with disrespect, that is likely a reflection of their own character and not a reflection of you.
3. You learn who your true friends are. An infidelity is heartbreaking and many people will not be able to relate to your pain on a personal level. Fortunately an amazing friend doesn’t have to experience your pain to emphasize and support you. Sure you will lose friends but these people are not your true friends. Yes, losing friends or realizing people you thought cared about you didn’t value you as much will feel like another smaller betrayal. However, this process is really important so that you can spend your time and energy on the right people. Instead you will identify the friends who have been there for you through the tears and pain. You will value the friends who are there to be your support, build you up, help you smile and laugh and remind you that life goes on and you will always have loved ones by your side.
4. You can love again and it will be even better. If someone is able to lie, treat you with disrespect and cheat on you then it’s tough for me to believe that is true love. The good news is one day you will meet a person who feels incredibly lucky and blessed to be in your life. This person won’t lie to you and will treat you with respect. You will look back on your ex partner and be thankful you are not with them so you can be with a person who does love you the way you deserve. Your opportunity for true love wasn’t lost but instead you probably haven’t found true love yet. The good news is that one day you will experience real love and it will be obvious because it was everything your ex could not begin to offer you. Give it time. You may not meet this person tomorrow or even this year but once you are ready to put yourself out there and meet new romantic interests, that person will come along. Don’t rush this process. Give yourself time to recover, heal and move forward first.
5. The memories fade and eventually you don’t care about your ex so much. This is particularly true if you cut off all contact from your cheating ex. The pain, hatred and residual love slowly turns into indifference. The memories you valued so highly will lose importance then eventually fade as time goes on. The rose colored glasses come off and you see your ex as she is: a very flawed and toxic person who should never be in your life again. If you are still hurting give it more time. The pain will diminish then eventually disappear. Don’t place a timeline on this process. You will notice that as each month passes, you will feel better little by little.
6. You may have trust issues for some time but eventually this can become a strength. After an infidelity it will be tough to trust again. You might be afraid to trust anyone. This fear is normal but eventually you can trust again. Maybe instead of blindly trusting you will be cautious more. Perhaps you will listen to your gut more and avoid a situation or person that feels off to you. How you trust someone will be different but that is probably a good thing. You can allow someone to earn your trust more, rely on your gut instinct and better identify the red flags. It will be easier to walk away from someone when you sense impending drama. You will realize it’s better to not have something work out right now, than stay with someone till it escalates to lies and betrayals again.
7. Your view on relationships of all kinds tends to evolve and become more mature. You realize that everything is not black and white and situations cannot be summarized so easily. Although you may never really understand how someone can cheat on another person, you’ll be able to emphasize with people suffering from betrayals of all kinds. You may be able to understand how everyone is capable of making mistakes, even if that mistake is not valuing themselves more highly and leaving sooner.
8. Your views on what you want will change. When I was with the ex-boyfriend that cheated on me, my thoughts were far different than they are now. I wasn’t focused on taking care of myself physically or mentally. I had gotten accustomed to a toxic habit of always putting other people before myself. Even worse, I was willing to contemplate a future with this person knowing that I had these insecurities and misgivings about the person. Worse than that, I had become okay believing that I might not accomplish many of my dreams. After the end of that relationship, I took a significant amount of time to reassess what I wanted. I relocated to a country that I’ve wanted to live in for years, before I even met that ex-boyfriend. My mental and physical health became a huge priority in my life. I spent years voluntarily being single. That meant no dating whatsoever or getting into any committed relationships. Yes, it was lonely at times and sure there were times where I missed the comforts of a relationship but I needed to become reacquainted with myself and become a person I was happy with. I knew that if I ever met the right person for me, that I would want to offer the best version of myself and not someone who had trust issues, low self-worth and had a difficult time valuing herself. Right now you may want your ex, or a relationship or a reality that doesn’t involve being betrayed. That’s completely normal and okay. However, your views on what you want will change and that’s a good thing. What do you want now? You have the next few months and even years to truly understand what you truly want for your life.
9. You become stronger. When I was deeply hurting from this situation, the one thing I kept telling myself and a few trustworthy friends is that I did not want to be stronger. Is it worth becoming stronger if you have to go through so much pain in the process? I understand that right now you may be suffering and feeling pain to a degree you have never experienced before. At times it might feel easier to just wish it all never happened and that you never met this person in the first place and never had to experience such pain. Becoming stronger is not easy but it’s worth it. It’s worth it when at the end you truly value and appreciate yourself. It’s worth it when you recover and realize that someone even remotely like your ex partner is not someone you find attractive enough to be a partner or even a friend. It’s worth it when you realize the value of true friendship, family and true love. And it’s certainly worth it when you aren’t afraid anymore, so afraid that you would rather be ignorant or hide from what’s happening than face reality. Becoming stronger is anything but pleasant but when you become strong you will feel good and know you are better off.
10. You learn to let go. Truly getting over someone who has betrayed you involves you needing to cut that person completely out of your life. If you have children with this person, then contact will be limited but your interaction with this person will still be minimal. You realize that letting go, although painful, is ultimately good for your well-being. You cannot move forward and let go of the bitterness and pain in your heart until you truly understand how to let go and forgive.
11. You learn how to put yourself first and love yourself always. One of the first thoughts that comes to mind after an infidelity, is asking yourself how could this person do this to me? Their love for you almost feels more important than the love you have for yourself. You feel the only way you could feel better is if they gave you closure, told you reasons, apologized profusely, begged for you back and if you somehow had the last laugh. As time goes on, you realize that how a person who cheated on you feels about you doesn’t really matter. If you want to place value into the opinions of others, there are many people’s opinions who should have more worth than the one of someone who betrays and hurts you. You learn the importance of taking care of yourself, appreciating all the wonderful things about you and recognizing that you hold the key to your happiness.
Dealing with an infidelity is extremely painful and feels like the end of the world. The good news is that it’s not the end of the world for you. If anything, it’s the beginning of something better even if it doesn’t feel that way at all and even if you just simply cannot believe it right now. As hard as it is, stay positive and take each day as it comes. Be kind and loving to yourself. Keep your loved ones close by and stay away from anyone or anything that causes negativity within your life. I promise you that one day things will be better. This painful experience will become a memory that you learn from. You will become a stronger person and feel truly happy again.