You never thought it would happen to you, but it has. Your partner, possibly even the love of your life, cheated on you.
It hurts. It is devastating. You will find yourself questioning everything you ever thought you believed in. You may even start questioning your own self worth. You are not worthless just because of someone else’s poor decisions. Here is how you can build up your self esteem after being betrayed.
Allow yourself all the time you need to grieve
You might be numb. You might be so angry you can’t even see straight. However you might be feeling, regardless of how long it has been since you found out your partner was unfaithful to you, let yourself feel it. Do not push it away or ignore it. The best thing you can do is let those feelings in.
Grieve like it’s your job. Let yourself go through all the stages. Being cheated on is an awful experience, and it would be wrong to allow yourself to believe feeling sad or angry or hurt is not allowed. Someone you loved betrayed you. You are going to feel a lot of things you do not want to feel, but that is normal. That is acceptable. You need to process those feelings in order to heal and come back to yourself again.
In a way, grieving is a way of reminding ourselves we are still human. We still have emotions. We are still existing in the world, even if it feels like everything is falling apart. Let that build you up, not tear you down.
Find professional support
It can be difficult to talk with friends and family about what has happened to you. Either you do not want to drag them into the mess or they avoid it on purpose because they are not sure if it is okay to bring it up. You might just not be ready to talk about it for fear of being judged. Finding professional support could be your answer to this problem.
Make an appointment with a psychiatrist or find a local support group. You can even find infidelity support groups online if you do not necessarily want to interact with anyone face to face. It will not hurt to at least try. Even if you are hesitant about it, do not miss out on the opportunity to start building yourself back up again after being knocked down so unfairly.
You do not have to make any long term commitments. Sometimes, just talking through how you are feeling with someone who is trained and paid to listen to you, or listening to other people share their stories and feelings, can help you at least begin the process of moving forward and leaving the past behind you.
Focus on yourself
At first, it is common to dwell on what your partner did and did not do, how awful they are, how they used to make you feel compared to how you feel about them now. It is okay to process those thoughts, but as you begin to move forward, do your best to shift your focus away from them and put the spotlight on yourself, in a positive way.
Focus on strengthening who you are, not on processing who he/she has become or your newfound negative perception of them. You are still a good person. You are going to get through this and you are going to be a better person for having gone through it. You will survive.
This might be the absolute last thing you want to hear, but as time goes on this one will really be important. As you are moving through the grieving process, and all the confusion that comes with not always being sure who you are supposed to blame for what has happened, you will have a lot of negative thoughts. It is important that you do what you can to push them away.
Challenge your thoughts and beliefs about yourself. The second you begin to think, “This happened because I wasn’t a better partner,” flip that thought around and think, “My partner was not good to me. I did the best I could; they did not.” This is not about them anymore. It is all about you.
Don’t ask yourself what you could have done differently. It’s likely that this would have happened regardless of what you did or did not do. Try not to dwell on that. The past is in the past and there is literally nothing you can do to change that. For now, focus on moving forward and keeping your chin up. Do not let your partner win by letting your life fall apart just because they were horrible to you.
If you have been cheated on, it is not your fault, and that means you deserve to be taken care of … even if, in the moment, you do not believe this to be true. If no one else is there to take care of you, or if you do not feel comfortable around your family or friends right now, take on that responsibility for yourself.
It can be as simple as going out and doing something you enjoy for a few hours, a mini vacation or just sitting at home on a Friday night watching movies and eating as much pizza as you want to. There is no right or wrong way to treat yourself after a betrayal. Just take care of yourself. Do something special.
How does this help build back self esteem? It reminds you that you are still worth something. Being cheated on can make a person feel like they are not worth anything because they were treated badly. It is what has been done to you that is wrong, not you. You deserve to be taken care of, even if your partner does not feel the same way.
This is not an easy thing to get through, for anyone. But you are strong. You are worthy. You are going to make it.