Does Infidelity pain ever go away?

— Philomena Clarke

You know you need to move on but how are you supposed to when you still feel so hurt?

  1. Accept your feelings – the betrayal, the lies, the feeling of being let down, the tears you have cried, these can all make us question our own self-worth. Your feelings are completely normal. You may have tried to ignore these feelings and move forward. Its assumed that after a certain period or an apology that things need to go back to normal. It’s okay to be still hurting inside. Do I still love them? Do they still love me? Where do we go from here? It can be difficult to find the words and express your feelings. Try writing these down, it can be a useful way to acknowledge yourself in a safe space. Let your mind flaw and give yourself time to process. Talk out your feelings with someone you trust.
  2. Decide what you want to do – the relationship is going to be different for everyone now. Deciding whether to stay with your partner or leave can cause internal turmoil. Do you have a young family? Have you a house together? At times not having concrete ties with your partner can make the separation easier. Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong answer for you. Some couples come out of infidelity stronger than before and successfully move on. Follow your heart! Take time out from distractions and other opinions and try to centre yourself and your needs.
  3. Do not blame yourself – Why wasn’t I enough? Could I have done something? Did I not provide enough fun/excitement/love? You will never be able to answer these questions and they may only reinforce the negative thoughts in your mind. What your partner chose to do and actions that followed is not your responsibility. It is wasted energy. Examining the things that were wrong in the relationship is not productive. It is perfectly okay to feel dissatisfied in a relationship, but this needs to be communicated to the other party, in this way the relationship may have ended without cheating. You may not get the closure from your partner and so it is imperative to gain clarity within yourself. Gain back your sense of worth.
  4. Jealousy vs Getting even – Who was this person? Are they better than me? Just like the blame these are questions that you do not need to ask yourself. Jealousy is a powerful emotion but only allows for jealousy and prevents you from viewing the situation clearly. Ask the questions you need answered and listen carefully. Do not put words in your partners mouth. When a partner cheats the automatic response can be to get revenge. Getting “even” fuels toxic energy and leaves you both in a cycle of negative energy. If you have decided to part, then keeping a distance is crucial in making the transition a much smoother one. There are parts where you may not be able to cut the person completely out of your life, however you need space to mourn the loss of the relationship, future plans and the person you shared your life with. You may move from denial to forgiveness to anger and back again. No matter how long this process takes, treating yourself with compassion and kindness is key.

More often than not infidelity arises from the person feeling mistreated, used or not valued. Whilst this does not excuse the behaviour it can help explain it. Cheating is the symptom, not the problem. People cheat for many reasons, they may love their partner but for personal insecurity, payback or addiction reasons. Once you start feeling like yourself again, remember that you CAN experience love again. Don’t let the decisions of one person stand in the way of you opening your heart to someone in the future.