Being cheated on can feel like a nuclear bomb exploded right outside your front door. It can come out of nowhere and leave you feeling befuddled. Kudos to you! Choosing to love you and putting yourself first is a beautiful thing. You have made the decision that you deserve the entire pie instead of settling for a slice. Learning how to let go of your cheating boyfriend, sometimes referred to as excess baggage, can help you finally get the love you truly desire and deserve.
Assess the situation. Understandably, you have every right to want to sing the infamous Cee Lo Green song "Forget You" to your boyfriend, but keep in mind that there may not be a harmonious reaction. Susan Krauss-Whitbourne, Ph.D., writing for "Psychology Today" about reasons partners cheat, reports that two-thirds of relationships end amicably; if this is not the case, know that you cannot control others and their reactions. A relationship can be categorized as either healthy or unhealthy. You can decide what is healthy and unhealthy for you, but it is a fact that if someone cheats on you, then the relationship is divided and the two of you are no longer cohesively working together. Through processing emotions and the continuation of inner growth, you will begin to gain perspective on the cheating. while evaluating the role you both played. Remember to assess, do not dwell. He is moving to the past for a reason -- learn the lesson and move forward.
Write your partner a letter. There is a catch: write it knowing you will not send him the letter, because you may withhold certain emotions in writing it. It is a chance for you to let off some steam and vent your anger in a healthy manner. Write "Dear John, you hurt me when you cheated on me with..." -- you get the point.
Decide how you will conduct the breakup. It is easy to get carried away with our feelings and want to end the relationship over the phone or Internet, but it is necessary to keep your integrity, too. Remember the golden rule to treat others as you would like to be treated. Deciding where to meet your boyfriend and when would be a good time to meet are essentials. Would you like to meet in a public or a relatively private place? Some places to meet with your partner are a coffee shop, restaurant or park. Decide if you need a few days or a week in order to compose yourself, your thoughts and execute your plan.
Talk with a trusted friend who will be honest with you. Read your letter aloud and be open to feedback. Role play with your friend about how you would like your meeting to go with your boyfriend. Then trade roles with your friend. While you are role-playing, watch for signs and excuses you have heard during breakups or confrontations, such as “you are overreacting,” “we are just friends,” or “since when did you become so insecure?”
Adios, cheating boyfriend! Stay calm and know that you are in control of yourself. Be honest, respectful, non-judgmental and speak your truth with conviction. Predicting how your boyfriend will react is like trying to calculate where the lightning in a thunderstorm will strike. Some faced with rejection will remain calm and civil, but others may become defensive, aggressive or completely withdrawn. Dealing with unpredictable reactions can be troublesome, but know that his reaction is a reflection on him, not you. Have a support system, such as family and friends, available. Know that you are strong and that there are plenty other fish in the sea.
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- Getting the Love you Want: A Guide for Couples; Harville Hendrix, Ph.D.
Ashley Rose completed her B.S. in Human Services and M. S. in Cummunity Counseling from Mercer University. While attending the counseling program, she did most of her research on spirituality and women’s issues. For the past eight years, she has been a social worker and counselor.