How to Cope when You’ve Been Cheated on

Dr. Susan Edelman
5 min readJan 14, 2023

Infidelity in a close relationship can be devastating because it’s a betrayal. Your partner doesn’t make your feelings a priority. His secret behavior appears to be more important than you. Everything you thought about your love story seems to fall apart.

Your feelings can be similar whether he cheated on you physically or if he carries on an emotional affair with another woman where there is no physical relationship. In fact, some researchers have found that women are more distressed by their partner’s emotional infidelity than men, and men are more distressed by sexual infidelity than women. If he’s cheating on you emotionally by flirting in a romantic way with another woman, it might be hard to tell if it’s an innocent relationship. But it can still feel like a betrayal and a loss of the special bond you had.

How Do We Cope with Being Cheated On?

Human beings feel great discomfort when the things they relied on suddenly change. We instinctively want to simplify the reasons for the things we don’t understand. As one who has been cheated on, you are probably familiar with the cascade of questions and doubts that follow. “He must not have been happy with me. He wasn’t getting sex. He was getting back at me. He wanted a fling. He’s a jerk, right?” Cheating is one area where simple reasons don’t work very well because the reasons for infidelity are very complicated.

Although all of the above reasons can contribute to problems in a relationship that might lead to cheating, the most important factors are deeper. Unfortunately, often we don’t realize the problems our relationship has been having until it’s too late.

Why Do People Cheat in Relationships?

Couples can work through most issues in their relationship by discussing them, rather than cheating. Communication is crucial but remains a struggle for many couples, which is why many consult couples therapists to help their communication,

Why be unfaithful and add even more stress to your current problems? The truth is, many partners who cheat feel intense feelings of shame and guilt afterward, and feel like they weren’t acting like themselves. Others do it consciously and feel entitled to find escape in another person’s arms.

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Dr. Susan Edelman

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