Being cheated on sucks. It breaks self-esteem, boosts insecurities and makes it so much harder to trust again. For me, the pain was multiplied because I’d been cheated on by my first love, the first man I’d had a serious relationship with who I really trusted. Here’s how I dealt with it and learned to trust again.
I let it all out. I really gave myself time to grieve. I screamed, I cried, I journaled. And I (sadly) became a bitch. I met a guy shortly after the experience who was interested in me and I shot him down, talking negatively about how relationships were always going to be crap and guys were up to stuff. I was becoming bitter and suspicious of all guys. It was stupid and I had to let that crap go because I didn’t want to be jaded and negative because of what my ex had done to me. I had let out all my feelings, but I had to leave my emotional baggage behind if I wanted to move forward.
I had to realize not all men were jerks. It was easy to believe that all men are liars and cheats when I got cheated on. What made it worse was that I’d heard many stories of friends being betrayed and I’d read lots of cheating studies, like how up to 60 percent of men will cheat on their partners. Ugh. But I couldn’t fall into the trap of thinking all men were going to hurt me. After all, when men moaned to me about how all women were gold diggers or high-maintenance, I’d remind them that there were plenty who weren’t — including me. So how could I expect that all men were going to be jerks just because one had been? It was illogical and unfair.
I used the experience to wisen up. Instead of becoming bitter, I focused on what I could learn from the experience, like how to spot signs that someone is cheating. I realized I could arm myself with those lessons to make me stronger and wiser. This guarded me against possible future hurt and allowed me to trust again without feeling like I was a target of an attack because I was on my guard.
I wanted to be a lover, not a hater. I didn’t want to be someone who changed in a negative way after bad experiences. I wanted to believe in the goodness of people and the greatness of love. This was so much more liberating than being stuck on my trust issues.
I chose happiness. I had to let go of my trust issues if I was going to be happy again because I was allowing them to cause problems in my new relationships. I was always expecting to get hurt, which sucked because it just made me miserable. I was cheating myself out of possibilities of happiness and I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to be happy and my ex wouldn’t take that away from me.
I focused on my relationship goals. I had relationship goals I wanted to achieve, such as finding a great love with someone loyal and honest. But I had to give people the chance to prove that they were trustworthy if I wanted to achieve that. That was the risk I was willing to take to get what I wanted because the prize — a happy, satisfying relationship — was worth it.
I wouldn’t trust easily, just smarter. When my heart got smashed by my ex, I thought trusting other people would be stupid because it would somehow make me vulnerable. But then I realized it was all about how I trusted. I wouldn’t be handing out my trust. Only a few people deserved it and I would be more selective of who they were.
I knew it would be better to try. I knew that trusting people would be difficult and scary, but the alternative was never to trust anyone, and that was stupid. I wanted to have the experiences that helped me grow and I wanted a shot at happiness. I couldn’t control what people did to me, but I would rather be hurt than keep my heart locked up behind glass. That would be so much worse.
I raised my standards. Getting cheating on made me see that the type of guy my ex was was not what I wanted. It was a tough lesson but it helped me raise my standards so I could focus on choosing someone who was more my type. Someone who would be honest and upfront, someone who was loyal. This put me in a more empowered position and decreased my chances of being hurt again.
I started trusting myself. The cheater broke my trust, but he wouldn’t break me. I learned the importance of trusting myself, more than any other person. I had to trust my inner voice that had been shouting at me for months to notice the signs that I was getting played. If I could trust myself and that I would GTFO if a relationship wasn’t right for me, then no one would be able to hurt me. I would be able to deal with anything guys threw at me because I’d be looking out for me whole-heartedly. Nothing could break me if I loved and valued myself. Hell yeah.