Breakups are hard enough. Experiencing heartbreak because your boyfriend cheated on you is even harder. Read on to handle infidelity like a pro.
It’s one of the most emotionally scarring things that you will ever go through in a relationship. But it’s not the end of the world for you just yet. Getting cheated on by your boyfriend is not easy—it never is.
In fact, there’s no pain like the pain of having your man cheat on you. There’s the sting of betrayal, the pain of heartbreak, the shattered hopes for the relationship, and the bite of jealousy over the other girl. Suddenly, the man you thought was best for you is living a double life, and everything you knew about him and your relationship is actually a lie.
Hurdling over heartbreak
While you can wrack your brains, searching for reasons why this happened to you or how your boyfriend could do what he did, the fact remains: he cheated. Now the ball is in your court, and it’s up to you to decide how to proceed.
Here, we give you tips on what you can do to and how you can move on after finding out that your man cheated on you.
#1 You are not an exception. First of all, you have to know that the guys who are most likely to cheat are those who have done it before. If your boyfriend has cheated in the past, don’t think that the possibility of him cheating on you is remote. While there are instances in which a guy can turn things around and be faithful for good, it rarely happens. So don’t think that you are different, or that you can tame a cheater, because there is always the shadow of infidelity lurking behind you.
#2 You are not the reason. Since your boyfriend has already cheated on you, don’t ever think that it’s your fault. While you may have shortcomings, your boyfriend is responsible for his own actions and decisions. You can only be responsible for yours. You can be the best girlfriend ever, but still be cheated on, so don’t think it’s all because of you—it really isn’t. [Check out: Why do men cheat? 3 big reasons and 27 more!]
#3 Make a decision. Once you have found out that your boyfriend cheated on you, it’s time to make a decision: leave or stay? Your boyfriend may say sorry, but you have to see if he is really remorseful about it, or if he’s just sorry for getting caught. In times like this, it’s always best to listen to your gut and put yourself first. Remember: you deserve to be in a healthy relationship where you feel special and loved.
#4 Embrace acceptance. Accept the fact that, sometimes, you just have to let go. You also have to accept that you deserve so much more than your boyfriend. You deserve to be loved by someone who will stay true to you, and that someone is out there, somewhere, waiting for the right time to come into your life.
#5 Forgive but do not forget. While this sounds impossible, considering the state of affairs *and your heart* right now, you have to forgive him. This is not for his sake, but yours. Forgiveness allows you to free yourself from anger, pain, and resentment. It’s actually a favor you do yourself. [Try: Should you ever forgive a cheating partner?]
#6 Get closure. Now that you have learned to forgive, you have to get closure, too. No matter how much he has hurt you, you have to talk to him, as this conversation may help you move on. If you have questions, write them down, and ask him for answers. While you don’t need to know all the dirty details, he at least owes you an explanation as to why he did what he did. From there, you can say your official and final goodbye.
#7 Mourn. It’s alright to cry. It’s perfectly natural and understandable to bawl your eyes out. Allow yourself time to mourn and let the emotions wash over you. Sometimes, the only way to get out of the rut is to go through all the emotions that go with it. So give yourself time to mourn.
#8 …But don’t dwell on it. While it’s alright to be sad and angry, and to cry out due to loss, betrayal, and heartbreak, you don’t have to feel this way forever. Give yourself time to cry, but don’t dwell on the past. You have to move on. This is why forgiveness does wonders for your broken heart. [Confession: What do you wish you could say to the one who cheated on you?]
#9 Contain the news. It’s natural for women to share good and bad news—especially terrible tidings. However, choose carefully who you confide in. You don’t have to tell everyone the gory details, as this may backfire in many ways. For one, they will judge your boyfriend *now your ex*, and if you decide to eventually get back together, the damage to his rep has already been done and you will have to defend him to your friends and family—constantly.
#10 Find healthy distractions. Go out with your friends, go to the gym, pick up that hobby you once put off, or find a new thing or interest to spend your time and energy on. The secret here is to occupy yourself, so your mind won’t go wandering off to thoughts about how hurt or confused you are. [Check out: Low self worth – 5 steps to see yourself in better light]
#11 Don’t seek revenge. Trying to get even by doing the same thing to your boyfriend, whether or not you decide to get back together, is a big waste of time and energy. You may spread rumors about your ex or the girl he was seeing behind your back—and this might feel good for a while—but at the end of the day, you’re still on the losing end. Dating his friend or someone else just to get back at him will not work either.
#12 Don’t do rebounds. So, you want a distraction and you set off to go date the first guy you meet? No, no, no! Even if you’re having a hard time moving on, jumping into another relationship is not the answer. Finding a new boyfriend, even as a rebound, may make you feel attractive again or give you a boost of confidence for a while, but that’s not really what you need. Whatever void you want to fill with a new guy will never get filled unless you give yourself time to be on your own.
#13 Don’t play the blame game. Even if he blames you for his decision to cheat or the downfall of your relationship, don’t give in to it. You don’t have to carry the burden of other people’s poor decisions—and cheating is a decision that he chose on his own. Don’t blame yourself for what happened, either. It is not your responsibility, and his cheating is not your fault.
#14 Don’t look in the wrong places. Now that you’ve been burned, don’t go looking for a relationship cut out of the same mold. Don’t go looking for serious relationships in bars, and don’t go into the same pattern in your new relationships. Once you see the red flags of a cheater, or at least someone who isn’t willing to commit to you, turn around and head for the exit—ASAP!
#15 Focus on yourself. Being single after breaking up with your cheating boyfriend is actually a great opportunity to reconnect with yourself. Enjoy your single life and focus on improving yourself, whether by climbing up the career ladder, making yourself healthy, improving on your lifestyle, traveling more, or investing in more worthwhile experiences. Use this time to do what you want and just enjoy life.
Discovering that your boyfriend cheated on you can be utterly devastating. However, if he really loves you, his remorse will show and you won’t doubt his sincerity. He will also immediately break it off with the other girl and try everything he can possibly do to win back your trust—and your love.
[Read next: How to love again after being hurt]
At the end of the day, it’s still all up to you whether you’ll leave or give it another chance. The healthiest thing to do is to love yourself in the process and move on from what happened, with or without the bastar—um… boyfriend.