You’ve had your suspicions for months. You just knew something wasn’t right. The excuses seemed reasonable at first. They had to work late, or their phone battery died. Other things were harder to justify. Maybe you caught a flutter of perfume on their shirt or blouse. For a moment it felt like the earth swallowed you whole. But later you talked yourself out of your suspicion.
When you finally get the proof that they’ve been cheating, it feels someone has dumped a bucket of ice water over your head. It’s a double betrayal. You were lied to by your partner, and you lied to yourself.
If you suspect the worst, but are waiting for concrete evidence, what can you expect to feel when you finally catch a cheater?
Stage One: Anger
Seeing red takes on a whole other level when you find out you’ve been played for a fool. When you first find out, it feels like smoke is going to start coming out of your ears. You think about how you’ve made excuses for them. You supported them through thick and thin. For a partner to repay your love and loyalty with a kick in the teeth, is enough to make anyone go through the roof.
[Tweet “Or do you move on alone? #Cheating”]
Stage Two: Devastation
Here comes the flood…You probably knew this day was coming, but love made you ignore all the signs. You replay memories of the good times, and realize that your relationship will never be the same again. Those happy memories you made together are tarnished forever. Now your past is filled with wormholes, and so is your future. Losing your past, and future, in one blow is devastating.
Stage Three: Bargaining
In general, we’re not a big fan of change. The possibility of losing an intimate relationship can be terrifying, especially if you’ve invested a lot into it. At this point, you might start questioning whether or not you want to be involved with your significant other anymore.
On one hand, you may feel like infidelity has hammered the final nail in the coffin, and there’s no coming back. But the guilty party may fight to stay in your life, and you’ll have a decision to make. It won’t be an easy one, either way.
Do you forgive someone who destroyed your trust in them? Or do you move on alone?
Stage Four: Acceptance
Like the stages of death, acceptance is the last stage of the cycle. At this point you’ve either made a decision to stay, or leave.
Either way, healing the scars of betrayal take a long time. How do you get over a cheater in the long run? Once your heart has been broken, you’ll be twice as cautious in the future. From now on, you’ll probably take a ‘trust by verify’ approach.
You’ll trust again, but you’ll also make sure that what they’re saying is true before believing it. There’s nothing wrong with this. You have a right to protect yourself emotionally.
Although it feels like you’ve been through an emotional rollercoaster, there is an upside. If you get cheated on again, you’ll probably spot the signs way sooner. Nobody will play you for a fool twice.
The sooner you find out if someone is cheating on you, the sooner you can move on with your life. How have you coped with cheating? Share your stories in the comments.