Getting over your ex is never easy and when there is cheating involved in your break-up, it only complicates matters. It’s normal to feel a torrent of emotions ranging from deep sadness to full-on rage and many people find that a cheating ex can adversely impact their self-confidence. But the effects don’t have to be long-lasting. In fact, since you’ve already broken up, you’ve taken the most important and difficult step toward moving on. Now all you have to do, is take care of yourself and look toward your sunny and sexy future!
Read on for tips and advice from women who say they’re totally over their cheating exes.
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Make it a clean break.
Thirty-three year-old Denise* insists that this is a non-negotiable and the experts tend to agree. If you’re going to get over a break-up, you need time to heal and continue to grow on your own. This doesn’t mean that you have to pretend that your ex has vanished off the face of the Earth, but you can’t be best buddies if you’re not over the split. After he cheats, you may be tempted hook-up casually to prove to yourself that you can still have him, but it’s usually not worth the hassle -- or the sexy panties.
Denise shares her story:
After we broke up, he kept calling to check in. He said he was worried about me and I bought into it for a while, because I liked the attention. Who wouldn’t? But then I became reliant on his phone calls and texts. Actually, I’d be waiting for them and then obsess if I didn’t hear from him. It was like we were dating again.
After a few months of wasting energy, tears and time on someone who had already betrayed my trust, I cut it off at my friends’ urging. I told him I needed time to myself and ignored his calls and emails. I was scared at first, but it’s exactly what I needed. I was able to move on and I can’t tell you how glad I am. I can’t imagine what things would be like (now 2 years later) if I’d kept hanging on -- and letting him do the same without any commitment. A clean break was the only way to go for me.
Boost your self-esteem.
The fact that your ex cheated is not your fault. You can’t affair-proof a relationship and though you aren’t perfect, you are not responsible for his cheating. The blame game does nothing but expend your valuable energy, so call it quits and focus on feeling great!
There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of ways to boost your self-esteem and they vary from person to person. One exercise I assign to clients involves making a list of their best qualities and adding to it weekly. It may sound self-absorbed, but most of us don’t spend enough time celebrating how great we are -- especially after a break-up. For those who lose their sexual confidence after cheating (or for any other reason), I modify the exercise to focus on identifying their sexual strengths.
Some of the other ways my clients enhance their self esteem include: taking a class, joining a sports team, journaling, painting, exercising, training for a race, doing yoga, learning a new language, engaging in positive self-talk, creating weekly challenges (nutritional, physical or practical), changing their posture, getting a makeover, masturbating, offering and graciously accepting compliments, hanging out with friends and laughing. The possibilities really are endless.
It may sound cheesy, but you have to have a solid relationship with yourself before you can build a great one with anyone else, so self-esteem is at the core of all successful relationships.
Follow in the footsteps of those you admire and respect.
Research indicates that our role models can have an impact on our beliefs and behaviours, so find someone who you admire and follow their lead. Instead of being critical or jealous of those who have the type of relationship you desire, be inspired just like Erin:*
My ex cheated and when we broke up, I was the only single one in my friend group. My girlfriends were unbelievably supportive, but I was horribly resentful of their romantic relationships and pushed them away. Two friends called me out on it and told me that they couldn’t support me if I was too busy “hating on them”.
She was right. And my therapist told me that their positive energy could actually be contagious. Hanging around people who feel good about relationships reminded me that there are happy marriages out there. Now that I’m dating again, my married friends live vicariously though me, so I’m thankful they didn’t put up with my sulking.
Whether it’s someone close to you or even a public figure who you admire, pay attention to the journeys of other strong women who have moved on from their cheating exes. There are plenty of us out there!
Don’t be a social-media misfit.
It’s tempting to want to follow your ex’s every move on Facebook and other social networking sites, but you don’t want a few curious check-ins to snowball into full-fledged cyber-stalking. Blocking and un-friending is an individual choice, but some change may be in order if you find that seeing his updates and photos spark your anger, sadness or jealousy to the point of distress.
Kristine* decided that blocking her ex was the best thing for her sanity post break-up:
We had a tough break-up and I think the fact that he cheated made me feel pretty insecure. So I would pull up his photos and activity online and be overly critical of everything -- especially the girls in his pics.
We have mutual friends, so I know it’s not as though I’ll never see him again, but somehow the online stuff was actually harder to handle. So I sent him a message saying that I was going to go offline to regroup for a while and blocked his profile. It worked because the temptation to check his page every hour was eliminated -- as was the urge to post attention and jealousy-seeking posts.
Accept the ups and downs.
The truth is that every break-up is a significant element of your life and even relationship mishaps from many years ago can make you emotional. This is perfectly normal. If the thought of your cheating ex still makes you want to cry -- you’re simply human.
It’s okay to feel hurt when you think of your ex and in the beginning, you need to mourn a little. That way you’ve got nowhere to go but up, up and away! Sure. You’ll experience minor (and sometimes significant) setbacks, but you’ll get over them, too. So take Jane’s* advice and don’t be too hard on yourself:
After we broke up, I was determined to get over him right away. I didn’t want to miss a beat or let a cheater have the upper hand. So I pretended to be happy all the time even though I was hurting. I tried to fool myself (and everyone else), but it didn’t work. And I beat myself up whenever I got a little down.
It has been 5 months and now I’m much more realistic. I still get a little angry and self-conscious when I think about what happened, but I know that the feelings will pass. I’m dating, but I don’t have anything to prove. As far as I see it, our separation is his loss.
*Names have been changed.
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