Discovering your boyfriend's infidelity can come as a shock; however, while it's understandable that you might have a difficult time dealing with it, it's still possible to get past it and move forward with the relationship. Keep in mind that when you first learn that he cheated, it's normal to experience a range of emotions including anger, sadness, confusion and hurt. You may wonder if you can ever trust him again -- and how you can rebuild your relationship after his betrayal. The starting point is 100 percent commitment from the both of you to heal the relationship and make it work.
Feel the Pain
It's normal to experience physical symptoms such as loss of appetite, weight or concentration when you first learn that your boyfriend cheated, notes GoodTherapy.org. Images of your boyfriend with the other woman might consume your thoughts. Don't try to ignore the hurt that you're feeling, but instead, try to release it. For example, you can go into your bedroom, lock the door and scream as loud as you can. Or, take your frustrations out on a punching bag at the gym. It's also OK to spend an evening sobbing your heart out. Give yourself permission to really feel your emotions. This is an important part of getting over the fact that your boyfriend cheated.
Ask for Help
Keep in mind that you need a strong support network around you. Confide in friends and family members whom you know you can trust to help you focus on the positive and not dwell on the negative. Some people may do little but badmouth your boyfriend and tell you that you deserve better. They may mean well, and their opinions may be valid, but if you are committed to rebuilding your relationship, you need to surround yourself with people who can help you work through your issues and create a happier future for yourself. Seek guidance from a suitably qualified professional if you are struggling to cope with the magnitude of your feelings.
For you to get over the fact that your boyfriend cheated, he needs to put in just as much -- if not more -- effort into healing the relationship as you do. He must take responsibility for his behavior and be prepared to do whatever it takes to earn your forgiveness and trust. For starters, he has to reassure you that he is no longer in touch with the woman with whom he cheated. There's a serious risk that history will simply repeat itself if your boyfriend is not committed to making your relationship work. Don't put your forgiveness on a timeline. Accept that it may take a long time to get over the hurt and feel as if you can truly move on. By listening to your boyfriend and concentrating on improving your union, you are moving one step closer to forgiveness each day, according to "Dr. Phil" McGraw in the article, "Moving Forward After Infidelity" on his website.
Identify the Reason
An act of betrayal always happens for a reason. Most people cheat because some of their needs aren't being fulfilled, notes psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne in the Psychology Today article,The Eight Reasons that People Cheat on their Partners." Perhaps your boyfriend has issues with commitment, or he wasn't satisfied with the amount of sex you and he were having. Maybe he felt that his emotional needs weren't being met. Boredom, jealousy and curiosity are other reasons people cheat on their partners. If you want to get over the fact that he cheated, you need to identify the reason for it. This may be a difficult process for both of you. He needs to be completely honest about his motives for cheating -- and you need to examine your own behavior and work out how you possibly contributed to the problems in your relationship. Don't confuse this with blaming yourself for his infidelity, which was his mistake.
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- Dr. Phil: Moving Forward After Infidelity
- Psychology Today: Is It Really Possible to Save a Marriage After an Affair?
- Professional Counselling: Overcoming Infidelity
- Psychology Today: Recovery From an Affair
- Psychology Today: The Eight Reasons that People Cheat on their Partners
- GoodTherapy.org: Infidelity/Affair Recovery
C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."
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