Infidelity can be a rough road to travel, and betrayal by a partner may leave you wondering how to get over being cheated on.
Because, at this point, you’re tired of feeling emotionally drained.
You’re ready to stop ruminating, catastrophizing, and wallowing in your own insecurity. It’s time to heal!
So today, we’re breaking down what cheating does to a woman’s self-esteem, and then we’ll review 19 tips for overcoming infidelity.
Why Am I So Insecure After Being Cheated On?
Does cheating make you insecure? Yep, it certainly does.
But here’s the other part that some people may find surprising: according to a study published by the National Library of Medicine, insecurity is also more likely to cause infidelity.
Cheating usually sprouts from a quagmire of emotions, entitlement, and trauma.
Nevertheless, we tend to beat ourselves up and shred our self-esteem when someone cheats on us. In a way, it’s backward, but it’s also perfectly normal.
So why do we feel so insecure after an infidelity incident?
- Broken Trust: You trusted your partner, and they let you down. That can be an ego blow that prompts you to start questioning your judgment. Or, you may mistakenly internalize the notion that you are somehow lacking and caused your partner’s infidelity. Whichever the case, it can eat away at your confidence.
- Attraction Assumptions: Right or wrong, the first thing many people stress about when they learn of their partner’s infidelity is attractiveness. Thoughts like, “Am I attractive enough?” or “Am I too big?” or “Am I cool enough?” may plague your mind — and it’s kryptonite for mental health.
- Rejection: Rejection can torment the soul. It hurts. It feels embarrassing and cruel. When your partner has an affair, it feels like rejection, which leads to insecurity.
- Judgment: When something terrible happens, you may wonder if the Universe is punishing you. Not fun. Plus, it can spark an anxiety attack, leading to self-esteem insecurities.
- Worry About the End: Infidelity immediately raises questions about your relationship’s health. It’s understandable if you start stressing about the end of a partnership you once believed in.
How to Get Over Insecurities After Being Cheated On
Getting over being cheated on takes courage and emotional work. You must be willing to acknowledge complicated feelings — no matter how ugly, hypocritical, or inappropriate.
But most importantly, you need to master the ancient art of moving on from the past.
If you can hold onto your self-esteem in the wake of a cheating storm, dealing with an unfaithful spouse or partner is much easier.
1. Be Conceited
Typically, being conceited isn’t an admirable quality. But sometimes, strapping on armor made of self-righteous confidence can help you battle through tough times.
Instead of letting the affair erode you, pat yourself on the back for being you. Remind yourself, regularly, that you’re amazing and have nothing of which to be ashamed.
You’re beautiful, smart, and kind — and his misstep is not a valid commentary on your worthiness. And if he tries to convince you it rightfully is, run, don’t walk, away from the relationship.
2. Indulge in Self-Care
Pampering feels good. So if your man steps out on you, relieve the stress and frustration by spending time and money on yourself.
Go to a spa or a week away with your girlfriends. If your budget is limited, plan a staycation streaming festival; make sure it involves at least one bubble bath and good cheese. Whatever makes you feel good, indulge. You deserve it.
3. Resist Paranoia
If you choose to stay in the relationship, you’ll need to figure out a way to stem paranoia. For a while, you’ll be suspicious every time he’s around other women. But if you don’t get your anxiety under check, the doubt will eat you alive.
4. Don’t Focus on the Details
At first, you’ll want to know everything about what happened.
Was it just once? Were they drunk? Was the sex good? Where did it happen? Are feelings involved?
The list of questions is endless. But if you don’t want to lose yourself, resist the urge to laser focus on the details.
In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter if they enjoyed it or where it happened (unless it was at your house). Don’t drive yourself crazy over details you won’t remember in five years.
The bottom-line question is whether you want to stay with your partner or not. Can you move on knowing they cheated? Focus on those issues.
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5. Read Books About Self-Esteem and Confidence
Reading is fundamental — and it can also help when you’re navigating a rough patch.
Courage and encouragement are regularly found in words. Plus, a lot of smart people with a lot of great advice publish books.
At the very least, reading up on self-esteem, confidence, and other self-help subjects can refocus your attention in a positive direction, which is step one when attempting to crawl out of a rut.
6. Make Your Lists
There’s no better time to reevaluate your life’s trajectory than in the wake of an upheaval. Is this relationship serving you? Are you happy with the path you’re on?
Figure out where you’re at, then start making lists.
What do you want to get done within the next 30 days? What about in a year? Decade?
Start plotting, planning, and setting goals. Doing so releases your body’s feel-good chemicals, and it will nudge you out of an arrested development stupor.
7. Work on Forgiveness
Saving a relationship after an affair takes a lot of strength, forgiveness, and Beyonce (the patron saint of patching things up with a philandering man).
If you want to move on in the relationship, you’ll need to genuinely forgive your partner. You can’t just say you forgive someone and cling to resentment like Elizabeth Taylor on jewels.
It’s not easy, but if you get the hang of it, your life will be a lot less stressful and drama-prone.
8. Indulge in Your Hobbies
We enjoy ourselves when we do things we like. So dive into your hobbies. Right now, you need all the feel-good chemicals your body can muster.
Also, having something else to concentrate on can help you over some high hurdles.
9. Commiserate With Others Online
Have you ever participated in an online chat board? Don’t knock it till you try it. Sometimes, it’s great to commiserate with strangers facing similar problems.
Doing so can release a lot of pent-up frustration. Plus, it’s nice to be in a community with folks going through the same thing. It’s healing and comforting.
10. Take Control of Your Happiness
Whichever road you choose, you’ll need to firmly grab ahold of your happiness and guide it where you want. As the saying goes: You are the master of your fate and the captain of your soul.
Don’t let anyone else’s opinion of you dictate how you feel about yourself. They don’t know the whole story!
Be good to yourself and create your own positivity.
11. Avoid the Cling
If you opt to stay, you may feel the urge to cling to your partner after a cheating scandal.
Once again, we urge you to resist this inclination. It’s a no-good, very bad tactic that could break you up in the long run.
Because here’s the bottom line: people quickly grow annoyed and irritated with clingy people. It may hurt, it may be unfair, but it’s true.
Yes, they’re the one who did wrong. And yes, of course, you instinctively want to prevent something like that from happening again; but being a limpet isn’t the way.
12. Captain the Things You Can
Take control of the things you can handle, and remember that no matter how much you want it to happen, you cannot change another person. So work on yourself instead.
Consider if there’s a terrible reason why you want to either stay or leave? Do your best to evaluate your feelings about the relationship from the most objective place possible.
13. Be Honest With Yourself, Then Act
Being honest with yourself is an excellent tonic. Sometimes, it’s hard. It can hurt. But once you leap your maturity level skyrockets, and you feel more comfortable in your own skin.
So face up to some things about your life. Maybe they relate to the relationship. Be honest with yourself, then act to improve your situation.
Who knows. One day you may look back at this moment and realize that your partner’s infidelity helped make you into the awesome person you have grown to become.
14. Lean on People
People want a reason to help others — because it feels good to support your friends and family.
So lean on your support system during this difficult time. And yes, this is one of those times that your buddies should understand why you’re hogging the conch. Working through betrayal requires a lot of venting.
15. Cheat, Too (Maybe)
Look, it’s not the most mature advice. It’s probably not even GOOD advice. But hey, it works for some people.
They realize they don’t catch feelings for someone else by sleeping with them and can get over their partner’s affair faster.
This is not a solution for everyone — for most people — but it does work for a select few.
16. Enlist a Therapist
These days, therapy is mainstream, and seeing someone can be a huge help. Don’t assume you can’t afford it. First, check your health insurance.
Many now include a yearly allotment of 12 to 24 sessions with a psychologist or psychiatrist.
If you don’t have insurance, check out community programs. Many have affordable counseling available. Or check out one of the online therapy websites. They’re often less expensive than the traditional model.
17. Break Up
No rule says you must stay with a cheating partner. If you feel like you need to stay together, think long and hard about why? Do you have kids? Do you believe it was just a slip-up that won’t happen again?
If you’re only staying because you’re trying to cheat loneliness, reconsider. Fear is not a healthy basis for any relationship.
How to Stop Overthinking After Being Cheated On
How can you stop ruminating about an affair? We won’t lie: It’s not easy, but it is possible. Millions of people do it daily. So what are the tricks?
- Accept Mistakes: We all make mistakes, and sometimes it’s easier to forgive other people’s missteps when we’re honest with ourselves about our own.
- Learn Not To Care: Is cheating a big deal? For some, it is. For others, it’s not. If you think of sex as a physical hobby, as long as your partner is safe, who cares? (For some, this train of thought works.)
- Try Mindfulness Practice: People who establish a regular mindfulness practice tend to handle the bumps in life’s road more easily.
- Try Tapping: It may be a bunch of nonsense, but it works like a charm for some folks. Try it. The worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work for you.
- Prioritize Yourself: Throw yourself into your own life. Set and plot goals. Get lost in your work. You may find it’s easier to forget about the affair than you thought.
- Get Lost in a Story: A great story can be palliative. Find an engrossing film or series to watch. Dive into an engaging podcast. Or pick up a fantastic book. If you’re looking for something light but literary, try “French Exit” by Patrick DeWitt.
We’re sorry you had to deal with cheating. It’s the opposite of fun. But it may help to know that it’s a lot more common than anyone likes to admit.
You’re not alone. Yes, it’s bad. No, it doesn’t have to be the end for everyone. Do what feels right for you.