Being cheated on is an awful and painful feeling. It makes you feel like you will never be able to trust again. “Discovering your partner has been unfaithful is a terrible blow – it changes your whole set of expectations and beliefs about your relationship,” says Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D.
When it all feels hopeless, there are ways to heal and be able to trust someone again. Here are 5 ways in which you can heal and trust after being cheated on.
Work on Yourself
After someone cheats on you, you may think that they are the only ones that need help, but you do as well. The cheating probably scarred you, and it wouldn’t be the best to start a new relationship without facing that trauma. You will have trust issues and might not trust a new person even if they’re not doing anything wrong. Danie Manette, author of Ultimate Betrayal: Recognizing, Uncovering, and Dealing With Infidelity, suggests that it is best to take time to become emotionally healthy and fully healed prior to entering a new relationship.
Take a Break from Dating
Consider taking a break from dating after you end your toxic relationship. Instead of moving on to the next person, it would be best to spend some time alone, do things that make you happy, and find your sense of self again. You can try new hobbies, as well as healthy current ones you have. Taking a break can give you clarity as to what patterns were a cue of your cheating partner, so now recognize what to look out for in your next relationship.
Forgive but You Don’t Have to Forget
Working on yourself and learning that what happened should not be taken personally, you can eventually forgive the person for cheating, but you don’t have to forget. If you are stuck in blaming each other and defending yourself, you won’t be able to move forward. Dr. Tessina says, “Forgiving each other doesn’t mean condoning what happened, or that it would be OK if it happened again. What it does mean, is that you’re willing to close that chapter and move one.”
Practice Patience and Start Slow
If you feel like you are emotionally and mentally ready to start a new relationship, start slow. Trust with anyone builds over time, so you can learn to trust your new partner. You can pay attention to see if they do what they say they will and take steps in letting them gain your trust. There are plenty of people looking for a healthy relationship like you, so take your time and stay positive that you will find the right person for you.
Don’t Punish the Next Person for What the Other Did
Remember, that you will never get the love you want unless you are able to open yourself back up again. Working on yourself, reflecting on what may have led your partner to cheat and letting yourself trust again will be difficult but it is possible. When you do think it is time to look for a new relationship, don’t punish the next person for what the cheater did to you. Learn to trust your own judgment again. It is a good idea to open up about your pain with your new partner, so they can also understand what you have been through. The vulnerability can be intimidating after being cheated on, but it will let you build a new relationship where you can trust again.