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She Cheated: How To Recover From Being Cheated On For Men

Despite the trauma, you can still recover from being cheated on, and even grow yourself into a stronger, more resilient person than you were before.

#1 Focus on yourself first

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The fact that your ex cheated is not your fault. You can’t affair-proof a relationship and though you aren’t perfect, you are not responsible for their cheating. However, it’s important to consider the role you played in the overall relationship and its dissolution.

Consider what YOU could have done differently in the relationship. We tend to focus on what our partner (or ex) did wrong — it’s a matter of emotional and personal self-preservation — but those who are willing to acknowledge their role in the relationship dissolution are less likely to make the same mistakes moving forward.

What did you do well in the relationship and did your partner reciprocate? If not, how can you more clearly communicate to future partners what you need in order to feel loved and fulfilled? What do you want moving forward? Do you want a relationship or are you focused on another area of your life at this time? Opting to be single is a perfectly legitimate choice, so consider your options before jumping into another relationship.

Contributors: Jess O’Reilly from Astroglide

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#2 Make it a clean break

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This doesn’t mean that you have to pretend that your ex has vanished off the face of the Earth, but you can’t be best buddies if you’re not over the split. After they cheat, you may be tempted hook-up casually to prove to yourself that you can still have them, but it’s usually not worth the hassle -- or the clean underwear.

With regard to texts and other digital communication, there is no sense in holding on to “evidence” once you’ve cut ties. Re-reading hurtful texts may help you to move on in the early phase after the breakup, as research suggests that admitting to and focusing on your negative emotions after a breakup can help you to get over the split; however, you’ll likely want to set a time limit for the wallowing in sadness. Pick a dump date by which you promise to delete all the evidence and recruit a friend to keep you on track — and celebrate should the mood strike you.

Contributors: Jess O’Reilly from Astroglide

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#3 Do NOT check their social media daily

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You’ll likely be tempted to do so, but enlist a friend to help you to set limits. If you can’t quit on demand, start by allowing yourself to check once every other day until you can wean yourself off. Do NOT post about your breakup on social media or publicly bash your ex. Vague bookings and random references to “people” are not vague at all. We know who you’re referencing, so find some other place to vent (e.g. talk to a trusted friend, family member or professional).

Contributors: Jess O’Reilly from Astroglide

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#4 Do something to feel great about yourself

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There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of ways to boost your self-esteem and they vary from person to person. One exercise I assign to clients involves making a list of their best qualities and adding to it weekly. It may sound self-absorbed, but most of us don’t spend enough time celebrating how great we are -- especially after a break-up. For those who lose their sexual confidence after cheating (or for any other reason), I modify the exercise to focus on identifying their sexual strengths. 

Contributors: Jess O’Reilly from Astroglide

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#5 If you plan to stay with your partner

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If you’ve been cheated on and you plan to stay with your partner and work on the relationship, give yourself permission to really express what you feel — whether its anger, grief, anguish, fear or abandonment, you get to speak up and be heard without reaction or excuses from your partner.

Tell them to step back and just listen until you decide what you need to move forward. Make a plan and include a loose timeline; there will need to be a time when you stop referring back to the incident as a weapon in upcoming fights and arguments, but you should also have permission to talk about how it makes you feel moving forward (e.g. ask for reassurance as often and for as long as you need to).

You may not need months of counselling (each person is different), but set up at least one session with a professional who can help to set you on the right track. If you don’t prioritize this then you’re really not prioritizing the relationship.

Contributors: Jess O’Reilly from Astroglide

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#6 Take A Step Back Then Discuss

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Take a deep breath. You are no doubt confused, hurt, betrayed and angry.This process of getting over the affair will take time. Try to remain as calm as possible. Find a calm way to discuss what happened with your spouse eventually. The healing will start once the affair is stopped. It’s hard to rebuild trust after the affair if the affair is still going on.

If she is still busy with someone elsewhere, she will not be as invested in staying in the relationship. After the affair is stopped and that exit is sealed, you both need to talk about what happened. Ask whatever information you need to ask- about what happened- so that all doubts can be removed and you can start getting over the affair. Share your feelings of hurt and pain and have the opportunity to be validated. (This will most likely need to happen more than once. Repeat as necessary)

Once this is done, she should makes amends, showing real remorse, asking for forgiveness, and resolving (sometimes silently) to do something that will help you feel loved, some type of consistent new behavior. This reassurance by her is going to have to be consistent and heartfelt, something which will need to happen over time- more than once most likely- and will require effort. After that, time is needed to work on the relationship, exploring the rupture that led to this place-this need to look elsewhere- as well as ways to bring life and energy back into the marriage through love infusions. It may take time to repair and heal after the affair and infidelity but if you both are committed you can heal.

Contributors: Shlomo Slatkin from The Marriage Restoration Project

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