Some of you never, in your wildest dreams, imagined this could happen to you. But it did, and it could be your first time. Mistakes are common for the first timers, but the road to regret is a one-way street! If you prefer making smarter choices, here’s a list of what you should NOT do after finding out you’ve been cheated.
What You Should NOT Do After You Found Out You’ve Been Cheated
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Don’t get even.
You may want to trash-talk your partner on Facebook, fantasize about keying their car, or maybe have an affair of your own. But acting destructively to even the score will do you no good and may even have financial consequences. You don’t want to end up in court (or worse, in prison) after being emotionally devastated, do you?
“Trying to get even keeps your anger alive, and keeps you in a state of negativity, which will prevent you from moving on and going forward in your life,” says Jane Greer, PhD, a New York–based relationship expert and author of How Could You Do This to Me? Learning to Trust After Betrayal.
Never blame yourself.
Someone cheating on you is not your fault. You’re not responsible for it, you didn’t “deserve” it, and if your partner crossed lines instead of communicating their needs, that’s on them, not you. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to understand those needs and meet them if you want to salvage the relationship (and of course, they’ve got to do the same for you).
Don’t involve the kids.
If you have children, involving them is something you should not do after finding out their mother or father cheated. The situation should stay between you and partner. Otherwise, it puts kids in a bind where they may feel they have to choose between the two of you. Only give kids information on a need-to-know basis, ensuring that they know that you all will survive this situation. They can know you’re disappointed, but they really need to know that they’re not going to lose you, no matter how old they may be.
Don’t let someone else decide for you.
One of the toughest parts of the initial stages of something like this is that you may feel very alone. It’s natural to want to confide in somebody about your husband’s affair, or rally friends and family to your side. But be very cautious. The decision of what to say and what not to say is a personal one, so keep several things in mind. Don’t tell someone solely out of anger as this might come back to haunt you if you decide to make amends with your partner.
Telling your partner’s friends or family may not produce the results you want. They might not take you seriously, or they may lie, make excuses for your partner, take your partner’s side, or warn your partner to cover their tracks. If you and your partner decide to reconcile, they could make things difficult by harboring anger and hostility toward your partner for what they did to you. Or they may show resentment toward you for taking them back.
People will always have their own opinions, but the final decision on how to proceed is yours. Nobody else really understands the dynamics between you both. No one else can appreciate what is best for you and what is going to work for you going forward. You’re the only person who can decide whether you want to continue being in the relationship or not. Remember, this is your life.
Don’t sweep the infidelity under the rug.
Ignoring the affair will only make matters worse. As traumatic as it is to find out that your partner has been cheating, you need to face the reality of the situation. Your resentment will likely build and eventually rear its ugly head. Ignoring their infidelity gives them the go-ahead to continue the affair. Pretending it’s not happening will make them think they’re getting away with the cheating or give them the impression that they have your silent approval. Pushing the problem aside won’t change what happened, so confronting the problem with your partner head-on is the best way to go about it
Don’t rush the healing process.
Take your time to heal. Don’t just jump into a new relationship the minute you’re single. Moving on takes a long time. Drowning your sadness out by forcing yourself into a relationship might not be the best idea. Remember, just like mourning the death of a loved one, infidelity also involves 5 stages of grief, which normally all take long. Be patient with yourself as you process your feelings. Let your partner know that they need to be patient with you too. It’s very important for the cheater to understand that their partner is devastated and that it’s difficult to put things back together.
Don’t make rash decisions.
Just like how you shouldn’t disclose what you are going through solely out of anger, take caution in how you decide to move forward. Of course, in most situations, this is indeed a deal breaker and technically your relationship is over. That is completely valid. Other relationships that are longer-term and more complicated will be better served by a less black-and-white perspective, at least in the beginning. No big decisions need to be made immediately. Give yourself a considerable amount of time before making any big decisions.
Don’t ignore the need for therapy.
You may have benefited from the help of a mental health professional before the unfaithfulness happened. But counseling after cheating can help you gain insight and understanding into what went down. It can help you communicate better and process feelings of guilt, shame, and whatever else you might be feeling. Therapists have seen it all, so don’t hesitate or feel embarrassed. And if you worry about the financial and time commitment, you might as well consider the bigger picture.
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