Some breakups are worse than others; affair breakups are the worst betrayal of all. These tips for moving on will help you heal after a breakup because of an affair.
Forgiveness is part of moving on after an affair betrays. Read How Can I Forgive You?: The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To by Janis A. Spring for help forgiving your partner.
“I was with my ex for five years,” says Tracy on Is My Marriage Over? 7 Signs Your Spouse is Ending the Relationship. “He begged me to give him a child, and when she was two he cheated on me and left me for another women. He said he didn’t love me anymore…I didn’t think I could live without him! I cried for two months straight, lying on my couch, unable to function. But with the help of my girlfriends, I don’t even think about him now. It’s been seven months.”
If you’re still in the “I can’t live without him” mode — or the “I’ll never trust anyone again!” mode — read Letting Go of Someone You Love. In it, I share 75 tips from psychologists, life coaches, and counselors.
And here are…
How to Move on After an Affair Breakup
You’d think getting over a cheating ex would be a piece of cake — especially if he was lying about cheating for a long time! But it’s not. An affair breakup often brings confusion, low self-esteem, betrayal, and anger. Those emotions don’t exactly help the healing process! They complicate things, but that doesn’t mean you have to be stuck in the past.
Ask yourself what you’re really mourning
You may be mourning your fantasy of a happy, fulfilling, loving relationship – not the reality of a man who doesn’t love you, doesn’t respect you, and doesn’t care how his actions affect you.
“During a relationship you automatically envision future events and experiences with that person,” says personal strategist Charly Emery, author of Thank Goodness You Dumped His A$$: Use Those Mr. Wrongs to Lead You Straight to Mr. Right. “That’s part of the loss. Mourn your hopes, dreams, and plans for the future. For many, that’s the bigger loss – not the loss of the person. Coming up with new desires, goals and potential experiences is a powerful way to move on after an affair breakup — and attract even better developments in your life.” You’re mourning the end of the relationship that you once cherished and were so excited about.
If your spouse betrayed you, read How to Forgive Your Husband After an Affair
Be honest about the truth of your relationship
Family therapist Sharon Rivkin, M.A., author of Breaking the Argument Cycle: How to Stop Fighting Without Therapy, encourages women to let go of partners who cheated and who will keep cheating with an honesty exercise. “Fill in the blanks of this statement as many times as you can: The truth about my relationship with ____________ is __________. This will keep you in reality rather than letting your fantasies and rationalizations take over. Staying focused on the truth makes it harder to kid yourself about the relationship (or him) changing.”
Rivkin suggests posting your truths on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror, somewhere very visible, to remind yourself several times a day why you are better off without him.
Make a clean break from your ex after the breakup – especially an affair
Go cold turkey, my friend! “A clean break (especially sexually) will be painful, but will in the end help you build momentum that will propel you into a life of self-respect and self-love,” says life and relationship coach Tracey R. Cobb, owner of Living Authentically YOU! Don’t talk to him on the phone. Don’t meet for coffee, email, or text each other. If you’re thinking of getting back together, take at least a three month break from the relationship.
If you have to be in contact because of kids and visitation times, ask family or friends to be there for drop offs or pick ups (until you’re strong enough to see your ex without extreme pain or yearning for what was).
Forgive yourself…and you will forgive your ex for the affair
“When we refuse to forgive someone, we’re really not forgiving ourselves. When you feel angry or bitter towards someone, it’s not the other person who is carrying the anger and bitterness. It’s you. The other person isn’t aware of how you feel. You are the only one carrying that baggage around. On a deeper level, I believe you are angry or bitter at yourself for allowing yourself to be hurt. Carrying all these heavyweight emotions can be very tiring, especially if you don’t have relationship closure.
To forgive your ex and overcome an affair breakup, you must first forgive yourself. Think about how you are denying yourself much happiness by holding on to your grievances. Think about how you are preventing yourself from experiencing new love because you are still hanging on to the baggage. When you hold on to something, you prevent yourself from receiving new things in life. Forgive yourself for everything that has happened. As you forgive yourself, forgiveness of the other person will happen naturally.” ~ adapted from 10 Useful Steps To Move On From A Relationship by Celestine Chua.
Find a mantra that makes you feel powerful and strong
“Hanging on to a person who cheated damages our self-image and self-esteem,” says Cobb. “One of my favorite quotes is from a Keyshia Cole song called ‘Let It Go’: If he ain’t gonna love you the way he should then let it go, If he ain’t gonna treat you the way he should then let it go! It ain’t where he’s at; it’s where he wanna be.”
When those sad, depressed, lonely thoughts creep into your head, lay a mantra or “sacred words” over them. A mantra is like an affirmation. Mine is “freedom and forgiveness.” I want freedom from self-criticism and judgment, and forgiveness for my mistakes. When I feel sad about my sister, I focus on freedom and forgiveness. A mantra can instill healing, power, self-respect, and self-love – and it can rescue you from obsessing about the past. A mantra can remind you of how healthy it is to let go. You don’t have to make up your own mantra; it can be lyrics from a song or words from a poem…and it can help set you free!
For more tips for moving on after the betrayal of an affair breakup, read The Secret to Gaining Confidence After a Breakup.
What do you think of these tips for moving on after the betrayal of an affair breakup? Comments welcome below. I can’t offer advice on how to move on after an affair breakup, but writing about your experience may help.