When you get cheated on by the one that you love, you’ll see the world in an entirely different light. When you are in love, everything may seem nice and dandy, but when you’ve been betrayed, your surroundings suddenly turn gloomy. You start to question if what you had was truly real or if you’re the only one who thought of it that way. You also begin to ask yourself if you’re enough, worthy, or valuable. And to the people around you, you may seem perfectly fine, but on the inside, you’re shattered into a million pieces.
Cheating can have serious and long-lasting consequences for both partners and any children involved. The aftermath of infidelity can involve intense feelings of grief and lead to changes in brain function, behavior, and mental health, including anxiety, chronic stress, and depression. It is possible for some families to heal and move forward after infidelity with the help of therapy and time.
The truth is, it’s not easy to be cheated on. Some people who vowed to stay single for life were once madly in love with someone who betrayed them. Their heartbreak may have been so brutal that they refused to go down the same path again. However, no matter how much people know about the devastating effects of infidelity and betrayal, it never stopped them from breaking their promises to their lovers.
What Pushes People to Cheat?
According to psychologists and relationship experts, there are various reasons why people cheat. In most cases, they were in love and emotionally attached to their respective partners, but that wasn’t enough for them to step on the break in the face of temptation. Sadly, after all, that has been said and done, their partners often end up being the most hurt. Even if they’re the ones who committed a mistake, the party cheated on suffers.
Some people cheat because they are put in a situation that made cheating seem okay. For example, a man fought with his girlfriend. Since they couldn’t settle the matter by talking it out, he went on a drinking spree with his buddies and partied to his heart’s content. When he was already so drunk, he seemingly ‘forgot’ that another woman was flirting with him, and he, in return, gave in to the temptation. The morning after, he realized the gravity of what he did as he started feeling guilty about what happened. Though the situation made it convenient for him to cheat, he still had a choice to say no.
Other people also cheat because of a lack of intimacy and passion in the relationship. A woman who is in a romantic relationship with a man for seven years finally tied the knot. After the marriage, the husband worked doubly hard to support his family. Unfortunately, because he now spends more time in the office, he seemed to have wholly alienated his wife. When she asks for a cuddle, he turns her down because, as he would put, his job completely wore him out.
As days passed by, the woman grew more distant until it didn’t matter to her if he showed care or not. One day, she met a young, passionate guy who made her feel wanted again. They had an affair, and she justifies her acts by saying that her husband wasn’t emotionally available for her.
Aside from these two motivations to cheat, others betray their partners because they hate being rejected or looked down upon, or they’re only bound by an obligation to stay together than by love. Regardless of the reason, it all boils down to this fact — they are dissatisfied with the relationship.
It may be a hard pill to swallow, but that’s the truth. If they’re happy and content with what they have, why would they go somewhere else to fill the void? If they’re satisfied with their partner and the state of their relationship, there won’t be a void that needs filling in the first place.
Is Saying Sorry Enough?
Even those who cheat on their partners know that an apology, no matter how sincere, won’t be enough for everyone to forget and move on. Besides, you only say sorry when you didn’t mean to hurt the person. You only ask for an apology if you didn’t know the suffering people would go through if they knew the truth. If you cheat, it’s not like you’re in a daze or went crazy for a moment. You’re fully conscious of the repercussions, yet you simply threw caution in the wind as you go on full ‘you only live once (YOLO)’ mode.
Cheating will always be a choice, never a mistake, so saying sorry is meaningless. You’re not sad because you hurt the person; you seem sorry because you got caught.
Unless it’s rape or coercion, no one can force you to hop on the bed and have intercourse with someone other than your husband or wife. No one can also force you to send sweet nothings to someone other than your spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend. And most certainly, no one can force you to reply to text messages, chats, and invitations to hang out with someone other than the person you’re in an exclusive relationship with.
The point is, cheaters knowingly do these things, hoping that they won’t get caught to continue with the affair.
Though sorry isn’t enough, most people being cheated on are soft when it comes to their cheating partners. They may have been hurt and angry, but they’re still more than willing to work things out. And most of the time, they are even angrier towards the man or woman their partners during the affair discovery. In their disbelief that their partners are capable of cheating on them, they try to justify their actions by saying that if only the third party didn’t lure them, their partner wouldn’t have cheated.
When you recently found out that your husband, wife, girlfriend, or boyfriend cheated on you, remember that it’s not your fault. You may be predisposed to think otherwise, but you did nothing wrong. It was your partner and his or her lover’s choice to betray you. And it’s not because you’re unattractive, unworthy, or lacking. They made a conscious effort to act on their urges and emotions because of their utter disregard of the consequences of infidelity. They are cheaters by choice, period. You’re not the cause, so stop beating yourself out.
It’s Okay to Mourn
When you lose a lover due to infidelity, it’s normal to feel devastated about it. It’s also perfectly normal for you to think that everything seems surreal. And your family and friends may tell you that it’s okay, but there’s no comfort in their words. Sadly, you’ll have to go through these during or after a heartbreak. Some even experience an immense state of hopelessness and depression that they have a hard time functioning.
If you ever find yourself in these situations, know that you’re not alone. All your feelings are also valid. Don’t let anyone tell you what you ought to do or how you should cope up because it’s you who’s dealing with the problem. It’s also you who has been betrayed. So, if you’re mourning for a week, month, or year — so be it.
Take time to feel and process your emotions and anger so that you can move on without so much excess baggage. It will also help if you seek the help of therapists and counselors to help you address your thoughts and emotions.
Should you tell your kids about the affair?
The repercussions brought by infidelity multiply when kids are involved. When one of the parents cheated, they’re hurting not only their partner but also their kids. However, when the infidelity is exposed, the cheating parent feels ashamed to tell their kids about what they did.
Most parents, even the ones cheated on, often choose not to tell their children because they want to spare them from feelings of betrayal and hate. On the other hand, a few want to divulge their cheating partner’s wrongdoings to make them pay. While neither of these reactions is healthy, parents must know that children can sense when something at home is amiss.
Kids are naturally self-centric; that’s why they often assume that what happens is always their fault. Your children will most likely pick up the emotional pain and stress you’re feeling, and they’ll most likely know when something is not right. The sad news is unless you clarify with them that there’s something wrong, but it’s not their fault, they’ll continue feeling this way. These thoughts might even freely run in their minds:
- Mom and dad are always angry and fighting. If only I were a good boy/girl, this wouldn’t happen.
- Mom and dad no longer pay attention to me. I must have done something that made them mad.
- If I would only be nicer and if I won’t complain about my chores, they might like me back.
- If I stop making noise, mom and dad would be less mad at me.
Kids think this way and assume that they’re the reason for the family strife simply because they’re not doing anything. If parents fail to address this, the child will feel unworthy, wrong, and defective. As a result, their self-esteem and self-confidence will also plummet, thereby developing a negative and skewed self-image. It’s also possible that they’ll develop a sense of shame for who they are.
So, What Should You Say And Not Say to Your Kids About An Affair?
First and foremost, they don’t need to know the details of your sex life, most especially if it has gone awry. It’s safer to say that one of their parents crossed the relationship boundary that caused the other to be upset. They only need to confirm that indeed, there’s something wrong, but it isn’t their fault.
Remember that you can’t take back what you already said. So, make sure that you talk to your kids when you’re emotionally stable and calm. You might just say something that you’ll regret for the rest of your life.
If you have more than one child, speak to them together. And no matter how angry or hurt you are, put them first — at least when you explain to them the situation. Also, remember that pick the right words and make sure it’s age-appropriate.
How Can Counseling Help You Deal With The Aftermath Of An Affair?
If there’s one thing you should seriously consider doing after finding out that your partner cheated on you, that would be finding someone you trust that will listen. A trusted friend or a close family member could be that person. However, if you don’t have someone within your circle, it’s best to seek the help of a therapist or counselor that specializes in infidelity. The least you need to hear after infidelity is that you should have seen the red flags and that you should not have entered into a relationship with that partner in the aftermath of cheating.. It won’t also do good to hear people ‘I told you so.’
Aside from that, it won’t help if you get blamed for your choice of being with that person who betrayed your trust. It’s not the issue now, so that should be put on the shelf. There’s no point rubbing the hurt in and adding insult to injury. You need someone who won’t judge you and won’t make you even more messed up.
Counselors Will Listen Without Judgment
When you go through the aftermath of cheating or a betrayal, it’s normal to have so many things on your mind. You will question everything your partner did as you blame yourself for not noticing the signs of their infidelity. You may also think that they cheated because you’re lacking. If you dwell in these thoughts, they will surely consume you. You will only fall into a vicious cycle of self-pity and regret. However, if you let these thoughts out of your system, you can share your point of view with your listener, thereby easing the pain and torture you’re feeling.
And if your listener is a professional who is an expert in handling this kind of concern, they can process your thoughts and actions. Your counselor can help you reframe your mindset from being the pitiful victim to someone who can decide and take charge of the relationship. As Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke said, you ought to see with eyes unclouded by hate. With the help of a professional, you can achieve this emotional state.
Your counselor can explain to you the possible reasons why your lover cheated and also make you realize that it’s not your fault that they chose to be polygamous. Your counselor can also allow you to talk and talk until you dump all your negative and depressive thoughts, helping you find a new, fresh, and better perspective about yourself, your life, and your relationship.
Therapists Can Help You Process Your Own Issues
No matter how successful, attractive, or intelligent they are, some people always end up with a lover who doesn’t recognize their worth and continues to abuse them. They may have broken up with a past lover because that person cheated on them, and they thought that their new one wouldn’t do the same thing. However, later on, they found out that they are just entangled in the same toxic relationship cycle all over again.
By yourself, you may not be able to realize that you’re in the same kind of abusive relationship every single time because of your unresolved childhood issues and trauma. Or it could be because you grew up thinking that you don’t deserve to be loved perfectly and unconditionally. These thoughts may appear harmless, but they can mess your belief system and views. And you know what happens when these toxic beliefs stay in your system? You believe them as accurate. And you manifest them through your actions.
When you were young, your father or mother may have left you, and since then, you thought you’re not worthy of being loved. Because you were abandoned as a child, you believe that your lover will do the same thing. Even if you work hard to make yourself attractive, successful, and worthy to be loved, your belief system will sabotage you and lead you to dysfunctional and toxic relationships.
Your therapist can dig deeper into your subconscious to discover these unresolved issues. They can also lay these issues on the table to see how it hurts your present. After this, your therapist can also guide you on finally letting go of these thoughts and learning new, positive, and empowering beliefs. They will guide and coach you so the next time you enter a relationship, or when you start mending the old one, you won’t be carrying these damaging pieces of baggage anymore.
Cheating doesn’t only mean having sex with a person other than your girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, or husband. If you’re attempting to do something you’re compelled to hide from your lover, then that could be considered cheating. When someone sends you an over-friendly message, and you’re obligated to keep it from your other half, there’s a considerable possibility that could lead to something more dangerous.
Quit playing with fire. Before entering into a serious relationship, both parties must realize their obligations towards each other. They must also be cautious of the feelings of their beloved that they should evade cheating on them. If you can’t be monogamous, at least keep yourself from entering into a committed relationship. If you’re not happy with your current relationship, better break up than cheat. You see, you won’t only be hurting your partner now, but you will also leave them with issues that they could be carrying for the rest of their lives.
Meanwhile, if you’re going through deep emotional turmoil due to a recently-discovered cheating incident, know that you’re not alone. You always have your family, friends, and other loved ones backing you up. And if they’re not enough, you can always seek the help of professional counselors and therapists. There’s no shame in admitting that you’re breaking down and needing emotional support. Speak to a counselor now and lighten your burden.