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How Being Cheated on Changes You and Why It’s a Good Thing!


“…and here I thought he was the one I would spend the rest of my life with.”

I painted my whole life with this person— he was the only thought that conjured my mind. I was so much into him that everything else around me was out of focus. That’s when I learned that he had cheated on me— it felt like someone had shot me down with a ton of hard ice. 

girl being sad

It was hard to believe and digest that someone whom I admired and worshiped so much would hurt me so badly. I trusted my ex-boyfriend blindly, and he took the first opportunity to shatter my heart in ways that were hard to repair and heal. 

I know it is tough to move on from that phase; for some people, it is next to impossible. But trust me, you will heal; you will be able to love and trust again! I did, too. Being cheated by someone wounds our souls and leaves us with nothing but ruins, but it also lets us move to a better place. 

It’s hard to believe it right now, but trust me, you can do this! 

If you have been cheated on, I’m sorry! I know it hurts like hell! Stay strong, okay? I know how it feels when someone stabs straight into your heart and leaves without an apology— when you are left with a bare minimum potential to breathe and stay alive. 

I know there is a tornado of questions, blame, and the cry of hell going on inside your head. 

  • You start to doubt the foundation of love, trust, and its possibility to exist. 
  • You doubt yourself, and you suspect your self-esteem. 
  • You drown deeper into low self-esteem and self-worth.

You blame yourself, your ex-partner person, and God for hurting you so badly! 

My papa once said, “sometimes we become so blinded by our overpowering emotions that we can’t see the good behind these actions. God sees it all. What may seem like a misfortune is actually a blessing in disguise.” The universe removed the person who didn’t deserve you!. 

This breakup phase will break you and make you. How does being cheated on change you? Well, here’s a piece of your feelings. Sometimes, it’s good to feel the feels to finally move on!

Long-term psychological effects of infidelity 

In all its honesty, life after being cheated on changes you for the bad and for good. There’s not one single emotion connected to infidelity, cheating, and relationships— there are numerous emotions attached when you are in a relationship. 

In a relationship, there’s love, attachment, happiness, security, self-esteem, mental support, encouragement, and empowerment— we seek a lot from our relationships. After infidelity, you are ripped off these happy emotions and are left with the traumas from being cheated on. 

With infidelity, there’s abandonment, doubt, betrayal, accusations, blame, and lower self-esteem. 

So, all these emotions will inflict long-term effects of being cheated on—

  • It can be anger towards your ex-partner who cheated on you or the person with whom your partner cheated. 
  • It can lower your self-esteem because they make you feel like you are ‘not good enough’ by replacing you with someone else. 
  • It breaks your trust and betrays your feelings. So you doubt the existence of love and the importance of relationships which may disturb your future relationships. 

Every person can have different feelings after being cheated on by someone— they are all valid. Your emotions are valid because you are hurt. 

Initially, you’d be inconsolable. Gradually, things would change. 

Here’s how being cheated on changes you— for the bad and for good. Don’t hold yourself back and allow your feelings to surface; only then can you heal them. 

  1. You develop trust issues.

When I talked to some of my friends and asked about their new relationships after that unfortunate infidelity case, they all feared the same thing— trusting someone new. 

It’s difficult for you to form new relationships— you doubt everyone who comes close to you, and you live in constant fear of being cheated on, betrayed, or hurt. So, you either stray clear from long-term relationships or only participate in casual flings. 

If you do get into a relationship, you constantly doubt your partner for cheating and may become paranoid. You’d continuously ask them for their whereabouts or may even check their phones repeatedly. 

Your partner’s colleagues may seem like a threat to you, and you may ask them to lose their friendship for the same. Jealousy and envy are common for people who dealt with infidelity in their previous relationships. My best friend was always secure in her previous relationships. However, once she was cheated on, she became paranoid in her new relationships.  

You will have a more cynical view of relationships. After being defrauded by the person you blindly trust, nothing makes sense to you.

You’ll be more cautious about who you trust and won’t be as likely to take risks in relationships.

You’ll also be less likely to get into a relationship so quickly.

  1. You don’t trust your own instincts.

You thought the last person you dated was the right choice until they cheated on you. So, it becomes hard for you to believe in your instincts and choices anymore. You doubt every decision of yours and may find it hard to trust your own abilities, capabilities, and worth. 

  1. You start questioning your worth.
guy looking at himself in the mirror

You felt so confident, loved, happy, and proud when you were in that relationship— you thought you found love and your whole life. However, when they replace you with someone else, you start to doubt your worth. When our partner betrays us, we start undervaluing ourselves. 

  • “I’m not good enough; that’s why they replaced me. 
  • “I’m unlovable, and that’s probably why they left me.”
  • “I think they got into this relationship out of pity for me.”
  • “They didn’t have any other option but to cheat on me. I’m not worth their time.

When the thought of low self-worth conjures your mind, it’s not just the thought of being a lousy lover but being bad in almost everything. Your self-worth plummets to zero, and you don’t find yourself worthy of anything, let alone a relationship. 

  • You start to doubt your talent and your existence. 
  • You consider yourself to be ugly or heinous. 
  • You don’t participate in things that excite you or challenge you.
  • You give up before trying because you consider yourself a loser without even trying. 
  • You hide away from people and lack confidence in approaching new people.
  • You base your self-worth on others.

So much damage over someone who didn’t deserve you or your love, right? It’s unfair. 

This is one of the most damaging things many of my friends have done and later regretted. You should understand that the person who cheated on you is the one who wasn’t worthy; it’s not you! 

“It’s not you; it’s them.”

  1. You worry all the time, and your anxiety levels shoot up.

Worrying is a natural reaction to being hurt, but it’s hard to stop worrying once you start. It becomes a nervous habit that makes it difficult for you to live normally. It can be even more complicated when you get into a new relationship and constantly worry about your partner and if they are cheating on you. 

Your mind constantly races with thoughts of “what if” scenarios. Now that you’re more aware of the dangers, you’ll be less likely to take risks in relationships. 

Does your worry stress you so much that you find it difficult to breathe or process everyday situations? If your body’s showing symptoms of physical distress or anxiety— seek a doctor and a therapist asap. 

It’s alright to grieve; however, if that infidelity harms you physically and scars you mentally, please seek professional help. 

  1. You constantly are on the lookout for betrayal.

You not only doubt your partner(s), but you are also wary of everyone around you. You look at everyone with a lens of suspicion. It can be your friends, a stranger, or even your parents. 

It’s difficult for you to enjoy anything casually because you’re constantly thinking about others’ actions and the reason behind them. 

  • “They invited me over; what do they want from me?”
  • “They say they like me, but it’s possible they have other motives.”
  • “They want to use me for sex; they don’t like me.”
  • “They all don’t care about me; everyone simply pretends.”
  • You may even question the intentions of people who seem too good for you— “why would they want to date someone like you?” (It happened to me a lot).

When you’re cheated on, you will constantly be on the lookout for betrayal. This can make it difficult for you to maintain other relationships or build trust— others might not always try to prove themselves worthy of your friendship. 

If they find you overly toxic, they might say it to you directly, which may result in losing precious people in your life. 

Not everyone will be like your ex-partner, and not everyone will hurt or betray you. We just have to trust at the cost of keeping ourselves open to getting hurt. There’s no way around it. 

You might have lost one or two friends already post-breakup, which might be killing you inside out. Don’t let a stupid relationship destroy your friendships! Make amends and clear out things.

  1. You build a habit of comparing yourself to others.

Yes, unfortunately, we all make this mistake! I remember how my friend broke down in tears when she was cheated on. She was shivering and blaming herself.

She told me her partner cheated on her for a girl he met at the gym.

Although my friend was very beautiful, she still continued to compare herself with the new girl. She said, 

“It has to happen. Maybe I could have saved my relationship if I had that curvy figure. That girl is a great dancer and has a very appealing figure. I’m nothing compared to her; I’m awful.”

It’s sad! We are unique and beautiful in our own ways. The reason your partner cheated on you has nothing to do with how you look and everything to do with their own character. 

  1. You feel empty and hollow. 

They were your world, weren’t they? You shared every bit of your existence with them, and now you are left alone with half of you gone with them. 

You spent and sewed a life with them— a world full of dreams, togetherness, and shared happiness. They left you there alone, so it’s inevitable for you to feel empty and hollow. All the years, months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds you spent with them now simply remain painful memories. 

  • So, you chose to not go out or meet others. 
  • You stay silent, remembering all the years spent talking to them.
  • You stop hanging out or going out because nothing makes sense anymore. 

After the dead end of my relationship, my partner not only cheated on me but also let me experience ghosting. She took a part of me, and I have been trying to find it for the last two years. She took away my dreams, my happiness… literally everything. 

I feel like there’s a part of me missing, but I don’t know what that is exactly? That’s what infidelity does— it leaves you confused, heartbroken, and miserable with no will to dream for happiness; everything seems far-fetched. 

You no longer participate in being happy or enjoying yourself with your friends. You find it difficult to sense or feel emotions. You feel entirely off with almost everything! Right? Agh! I know. It’s alright, I understand. Infidelity scars you, but it will also be the reason why you would become someone happier and stronger. 

“This shall pass, too.”

  1. You may face severe mental health issues.

Breathing and not giving up on life becomes difficult when you have a giant boulder in your chest, crushing you down. 

Living your life’s lowest moments while carrying a smile on your face for your family/friends may make everything harder and insufferable. 

The initial pain may seem impossible to get rid of, and that might lead to depression and anxiety. Anxiety and depression after being cheated on are prevalent and dangerous. So, take better care of yourself and invest time in finding the beauty of existing and living. If life seems like a painful mess, please seek professional help. It will help you navigate your emotions.

  • Constantly open up about your feelings with your friends or close friends. 
  • Don’t quit life or yourself, and continue to do things for yourself. 
  • If you think your pain is unbearable, consult a professional. They would be sure to help you out. 
  1. You develop a habit of overthinking. 

We all want to defend ourselves from the hurt this world has to offer. So, we may develop a negative defense mechanism to protect ourselves— overthinking

guy overthinking

Overthinking every situation, decision, and dialogue to the point where everything loses meaning is a dangerous ride. 

Our mind would often overthink every outcome of a decision to ensure nothing terrible comes our way. However, life doesn’t work that way, does it? You’d still get hurt; it’s inevitable. We just eventually learn to embrace every part of our life. 

Don’t be the person who’d choose to make a mountain out of a molehill. Instead, be ready for a challenge. 

  1. You become vengeful

You want to hurt the person who hurt you just as severely, inflict that pain, and make them suffer— so you may walk on the path that you hate the most: infidelity. 

To take revenge, you may also cheat on your partner to reflect the audacity. However, this isn’t you; it’s not your personality to hurt the other person. It might impact you negatively. 

So, resist the urge to do wrong. Instead, focus your energy on improving yourself for a better life.

  1. You become bitter

We are in so much pain that we want to get it all out! This pain usually comes down in the form of anger. Since you cannot lash out at your ex-partner because they are gone, you inflict that pain on others— your friends, kids, parents, or the people around you. 

You become easily agitated and frustrated with the people around you. You may scream at others over small mistakes or completely break friendships because of your anger.

Lashing your anger at someone else is never the answer; it will make you lose precious people and their support. So, try to prevent this negative lash-out. 

  1. You solely focus on the bad.

It’s pretty standard for a person to fixate on negative emotions when they are sad. We are constantly ridden with anger, envy, jealousy, guilt, or embarrassment. Let it be a phase, not your whole personality. You are not that kind of person. 

However, make sure it doesn’t become a part of you. The negativity in your life (your ex-partner) is gone; it shouldn’t make you bitter. Not every aspect of your life is negative. You must acknowledge the positive aspects of your life; it can be your job, passion, friends, family, kids, etc. 

How getting cheated on changes you Positively.

People often ask me— how to stop overthinking after being cheated on? Refocus your thoughts on the positive aspect of your situation. 

There’s positivity in every aspect of your life, whether a downfall or not. While these life lessons often seem unfair, you’d later realize why they were necessary. 

Trust me, there will come a time when you will thank this breakup a hundred times. I have been there. I have cried, questioned, doubted, and blamed everyone. Now that I have grown out of that emotion, I see its importance and how beautifully it changed me! 

Sometimes, a certain amount of storm is necessary to see the sky in its full glory and, of course, the rainbow. 

Sounds Cliche, right? Such is life! 

Heard the phrase— “Every cloud has a silver lining.” So let’s focus on the blessings God gave to us.

  1. You will get the time to work on yourself.

How to stop reliving infidelity? Take time for things that make you happy. 

In a relationship, we skip or quit many of our hobbies/passions to take time out for our partner. Now that you have time at hand, it’s a good idea to use it for yourself. 

person looking bright

So tell me, what did you like doing the most but didn’t find the time to do because you were occupied by the relationship? 

Well, don’t feel regretful, and get yourself up and start doing it. You are your best investment.

Pen down the things you sacrificed or missed about yourself or the things you would love to finally try. It can be anything— trying a new dance class, or wanting to go on a solo trip, etc. . Let’s do it. Use this time to reinvent! 

  1. You are now familiar with some DOs and DON’Ts.

Struggling with the aftermath of being cheated on is dreadful. However, that doesn’t mean you should waste all the lemons life gave you. 

No, darling! Make lemonade out of those and relish the moment you have now. As we move on from the relationship, we get a moment of clarity for the dos and don’ts. 

You can use this relationship to understand the algorithm of your figure relationships— how you can be a better partner and maintain boundaries simultaneously. 

Pre-decide the boundaries that you want to keep for your next relationship. 

  1. There isn’t a thing called “the one” ( this is a good thing)

How to trust again after being cheated on? Well, you have to agree not everyone’s the same, and that’s why the world’s beautiful. 

It’s not impossible to trust again, but it does take time and effort. The way I see it, trust is something that can’t be built overnight. You have to work on it, and you will eventually get there.

It also takes time for your brain to process what has happened—and this may seem like an obvious statement, but: Your brain isn’t a mind reader! 

Well, I say, seven billion people in the world and 7 billion chances at love. You have yet to explore the world to settle down for a person who wasn’t worth the effort. Well, you get 7 billion chances to try again. 

We have been brainwashed by all those Disney movies that there’s only ‘one’ made for you. Well, that one is you, of course. However, in the case of a lover? Nuh-uh, there’s a reason why we have so many people on earth. So, you don’t slump over a single nutjob. Don’t believe in that shit! I’m glad of all ‘the ones’ who left my life for good. They emptied the space for someone better. 

  1. You introduce yourself to self-love. 

How to be happy after being cheated? You need to make space for yourself! That person was the reason for your happiness, but they weren’t the only reason for your happiness. Be the reason for your joy!

I always say, “one breakup or a case of infidelity is important to get introduced to self-love, self-worth, and self-value.”

girl doing self care

Initially, we become hardened by being so hurt. So, we start to care for ourselves out of fear of being hurt. Gradually, we understand that loving ourselves should be our priority before we expect love from others. My sister finally broke up; now she shines and is growing into a beautiful, independent, intelligent human being. 

In real life, it’s you who can complete yourself. Instead, we wait and expect(exceptionally) that someday someone will come and complete us.

No, use this breakup to become the best version of you who is healthy, loving, kind, and happy. 

  1. Life is too short to weep on pointless things.

Yes, they were an essential part of life. However, they chose to ruin it. We do feel like our life is over after being cheated on, but ask yourself— is it truly over? I mean, your life isn’t just about your ex-partner. Your life is about you, and you shouldn’t just be about your ex-partner— you should be so much more! 

Worrying about pointless things and people who intend to hurt you isn’t worth a penny. They just waste your time, and you don’t want to waste your time over nut cases like them.

  1. Friends and family are a blessing.

“They are for life, man!” 

They would hold, heal, comfort, make fun of you at times, and make life all the more meaningful. Once you finally overcome the breakup, you’d understand how much of a blessing they are to your life. 

They were there to support you and trash-talk the stupid person who hurt you. They were there to make you happy. 

They were there in every up and down of your life. We understand their value when our vision clears out. I still remember how my friends supported me when I called him after being cheated on. He called me over, and we sat and drank; he listened to me all night long and comforted me. 

That’s enough! They are enough! 

  1. It’s okay to feel sad and never to ignore the RED-FLAGS.

We often hide our pain and let them bottle up to create unresolved feelings in our hearts. Those unresolved emotions continue to pile up until they cannot anymore, and you let it all out together. 

There are lots of things that bother us, but we end up ignoring them or simply wearing the mask of “yeah! I’m good.”

While they stay hidden for a while, they will come around to bite you. So, when you feel sad, sorrowful, or in pain, let that smoothly flow away. Once it’s all out, you don’t have to carry the burden of it all your life. 

Luckily, we cannot hide the pain of breakups or infidelity, even if we try. So, we let it all out. Once we let it all out, we understand why it’s necessary to just “feel the feels.” 

Additionally, being cheated on teaches you that you should never overlook those red flags while wearing rose-colored glasses in your relationship.

Learning the issues and discussing them will help stop massive conflicts.

How to move on after being cheated on?

While there’s no way to completely forget the person or the broken relationship, there are things you can do to help yourself move forward. Here are some tips:

friends having conversation
  1. Open up with your close ones and trust your friends/family 

Talk about your issues with someone close to you, such as a friend or family member. The support of others can provide comfort during this difficult time. 

You may also find that sharing your story with your squads or family helps you overcome anxiety and guilt.

  1. Ask for help from a professional.

Consider getting professional counseling if needed. A licensed therapist can help you deal with your emotions and develop new coping skills for future relationships.

  1. Accept that things are going to suck for some time.

Hard times are a part of your life, but they are not everything. They come, and they go! That’s part of life. 

Infidelity and breakups suck, and they will indeed suck for some time. 

Instead of pushing and fighting with it, Learn to accept this feeling, and you will notice it will gradually leave you.

  1. Find a new hobby or activity that gives you pleasure.

Find a hobby or activity that you left far behind for your relationship. Relive yourself and enjoy being YOU.

  1. Don’t blame yourself.

How to get over insecurities after being cheated on? Stop taking the blame! You are a wonderful person full of love, warmth, and kindness; never forget this!  

It’s not your fault. They chose to cheat while you gave them all the love they didn’t deserve. Don’t be hard on yourself over others’ mistakes. 

Conclusion 

“How does being cheated on affect you?” I was asked this many times when I got cheated on. Well, honestly, it is a feeling which is hard to swallow.

I was never the same after being cheated on but for all the good things. Changes are good! I have found peace with the fact!  

But, I believe “heartbroken after being cheated on” later looked like a blessing because you come back stronger, happier, healthier, and more mature. 

It is not easy to cope with this feeling, but it is not impossible. Remember, you are stronger than whatever hurdle life throws at you.

In the end, it comes down to your perception of yourself. It’s up to you to take it like a blessing— and watch the universe bring it to life. Trust yourself and trust the universe!

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by Genesis Gutierrez

Genesis is the founder of Harness Magazine, a digital media company that celebrates and elevates the voices of women around the world. A first-generation college graduate, Genesis holds a degree in from UCLA with hopes of going back for a Masters in Social Work.

Through her work as an editor-in-chief of Harness, Genesis has dedicated herself to amplifying the stories of women specifically marginalized communities. She is committed to creating space for those who are often left out of mainstream conversations, and believes that storytelling is one of the most powerful tools we have for building community and sparking social change.


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