Breakups are painful; infidelity and affairs are worse. Being cheated on is an emotional, physical, and psychological betrayal that doesn’t just heal overnight. How do you get over someone who cheated on you and lied about it – especially if you loved a man or lived with your husband for years?
“We were married for almost 20 years and I recently found out he was cheating on me for the last five,” says Sandra on How to Forgive Your Husband for Cheating While He Was Alive. “I had no idea my husband was constantly lying to me and sneaking around to be with other women. He has private pictures and he wrote messages to other women. I loved him and supported his goals over the years. My husband is gone, but how do I get over someone who cheated on me and lied about it? He was all I had. Now I have nothing, not even good memories.”
I wish I had quick tips or easy advice for healing the pain of being cheated on, but the truth is that there are no easy “one size fits all” solutions. The truth is that you were betrayed, you are in shock, and it will take time for your heart and soul to heal. Here’s another truth: if you can stop thinking that your husband is all you have, your heart will heal faster.
Your husband – or boyfriend – is one part of your life. If you put him at the center of your life, then your very existence revolves around him. This gives him all the power and control. It also means that if your boyfriend or husband cheats on you, then your whole life and identity is shattered. This is bad! Our relationships should be part of who we are; they should never define or control us.
One of the first steps to getting over someone who cheated and lied to you is to change the role you give him in your life. Change how you see him and his affair. Change the story you’re telling yourself about him, your relationship, and yourself. This will help you move forward.
It can help to understand why it’s so hard to get over someone who cheated and lied:
- Being cheated on feels like a direct attack on your self-worth
- It’s offensive and gross to think someone you love could be intimate and romantic with someone else
- Your identity is connected with who you are as a girlfriend, wife, and lover. So, being cheated on changes how you see yourself
- You trusted and loved this man, and you never thought he’d cheat on you. You might not even be able to believe it, even when you know in your heart that it’s true
- Being cheated on and lied to makes you feel foolish, like you were duped – especially if your boyfriend or husband asked friends, family, coworkers, or others to lie for him
Take a moment to think about the pain you feel. It hurts your heart, spirit and soul, doesn’t it? But if you can allow yourself to feel that pain and go through it instead of avoiding it, it will hurt less and less. You will start to feel lighter, happier, and healthier. It’ll take time, but you will get over it. You will love and trust again.
Getting Over Someone Who Lied and Cheated on You
Take time to understand why it’s so difficult to accept this type of betrayal in a relationship. You might also be interested in learning why people cheat in relationships.
1. Understand how cheating affects your self-image
Your identity is changed when you have a boyfriend or get married. You’re no longer just “you” – you’re part of a “we.” The life and love you share as a couple becomes part of who you are. Love changes everything! So when someone cheats on you, you can’t just get over it. When someone lies to you – especially someone you love and trust – you can’t just move on to the next guy.
Another reason it’s so hard to get over someone who cheated and lied is the trust that was broken. When you love someone, you trust them. You need to be loved; we’re all wired to be in relationships with each other. God created us to be connected in relationships, to love and be loved in return. He wired us to lean into each other, to trust and support and nurture. We are so interconnected and built for love that even thinking about someone you love activates the same parts of the brain associated with pleasure, motivation, and reward.
2. Treat yourself gently, like you’re healing from a car crash
Understanding why it’s so hard to get over the pain of being cheated on and lied to can help you move forward. Think of this affair and betrayal like it’s a massive, shocking car accident. Your body, mind, and soul has been crushed, bruised, beaten and broken. How long will it take to get over such pain and trauma?
When you’re cheated on, you experience a sharp rejection that pierces your heart and soul. This rejection prompts a neurochemical withdrawal in your brain. Love is wonderful when all goes well, but you are literally going through withdrawal symptoms after a betrayal or breakup.
Know that you will come through this. It hurts right now, but you can get over someone who cheated and lied to you. You will trust and love someone new…and even if it doesn’t happen overnight, you will get over him and be happy again.
3. Give yourself time to grieve your loss
Everyone gets over the pain of being cheated on differently, but we all have to grieve the loss of the love we knew. Even if you choose to stay with your boyfriend or husband, your relationship as you knew it is over. Your perception of him is different now. Nothing can bring you back to the day you met, fell in love, and gave him your heart.
Grieve your loss, even if you stay with him. Work through the feelings of betrayal, pain, loss, anger, and disappointment. Take time to accept what he did and how you feel about it. You might to try different ways to get over someone who cheated and lied, such as journaling about your pain, talking to a counselor, reading books on healthy breakups, and changing how you see yourself.
4. Renew your self-identity
Who are you? A key tip on how to get over someone who cheated and lied to you is to renew who you are. What is your life all about, why are you here, where do you want to be and go? Take time to rebuild your identity and self-image. Renew your sense of self-worth. Restore your self-esteem. If you believe your boyfriend or husband is all you have, then you will never get over the pain of being cheated on.
The more you get your self-worth and identity from your role as a girlfriend or wife, the harder it is to get over the pain of being cheated on. If your self-worth is tied up in your relationship, then his actions are a direct reflection of you.
On the other hand, if you believe your relationship is one part of who you are and that you are also defined by your strengths, interests, abilities, experiences, memories, hopes and dreams then you will find yourself moving on! You’ll learn that your husband, boyfriend or relationship is not who you are. Getting over someone who lied and cheated becomes separate from your identity as a woman, as a child of God. This makes healing lighter and easier…almost natural.
5. Let go of the past
In 75 How to Let Go of Someone You Love: 3 Powerful Secrets (and 75 Tips!) for Healing Your Heart, you’ll find a wide variety of practical and personal tips for getting over a man and starting your life over again. Best of all, you’ll find hope and healing.
Letting go of someone you love isn’t about forgetting the cheating or not being wise to possible lies in future relationship. Rather, letting go means allowing the past to teach you and make you stronger, without making you bitter or suspicious.
Letting go of someone with love and kindness – even if he cheated and lied to you – will set you free to love again.