First, I have to say that getting over any man you love obviously won’t be easy. And unfortunately, I don’t have a magic recovery pill. I wish I did! But learning how to deal with anything is all in your perception of it.
If you think of the man as your soulmate, someone you can’t live without, etc., you won’t ever be able to let him go, not to mention get over him. Think reality.
I have some suggestions that are sure to help, once you’ve made the decision to end the relationship. I know this because these things have helped me! (Remember that these are my opinions. All decisions must be made by you.)
1. Face the facts!
Girls, if you think he’s cheating, he probably is. (See 16 Signs that He’s Cheating.) And if you’re the other woman, he’s cheating on you every time he goes home! That man does not deserve to have you and another woman. I don’t care if he’s a good father, a millionaire, or the best looking guy you’ve ever seen. You’re not doing yourself or your children any favors by staying with someone who doesn’t love and respect you. And if he truly loved and respected you, he wouldn’t be with another woman!
2. Stop communicating with him.
You have a lot of thinking to do and a lot of decisions to make. You can’t see what’s best for you while he’s trying to get you to focus on what’s best for him, which is his first priority. In his mind, it’s all about him. Don’t let it be all about him in your mind. Make it all about you!
3. Put your feelings for him aside.
You can’t possibly make objective decisions if you stay in that foggy state we think of as love, but I call “crazy mode.” It’s not really love. If you’re involved with a man who is emotionally and/or sexually involved with another woman, there are very unhealthy dynamics at play, and though there might be some love in the mix, obsession is much more likely.
Regardless of whether there is love on your part or not, remember–if he truly loved you, he wouldn’t be with her. Feelings are just too difficult to define or measure, and they can change, and usually do. They are unreliable, so do your very best to not consider them when trying to make decisions in a case involving infidelity.
4. Look at what the relationship is doing to you.
Ask yourself how your life has changed since he has been a part of it. How has your mood, personality, energy level, outlook on life, etc., changed since you found that he is cheating or since you found that he is married?
It is practically impossible to be involved with a cheater and not experience some level of depression. Some women (like me) have even considered suicide, and some have actually taken their lives because of the intense pain they felt while loving a cheating man. Girls, he’s not worth it. You have a life to live, and he’s obviously not supposed to be a part of it if this is how he makes you feel. Don’t fool yourselves. It’s easier to realize it and accept it if you write it down. Start keeping a journal.
5. Make a cons list.
Okay, notice that I didn’t say, “a pros and cons” list. That’s because you need to put any positive things about the man out of your mind! No one is 100% bad or 100% good. Even the most evil people have some positive qualities, but that doesn’t mean they’re good for you!
List every negative personality trait, every unattractive physical trait, every time he’s ever done or said anything that hurt you, and anything at all that you don’t like about him or your situation. I know it hurts, but this is a really important step.
6. Study what you’ve written about him.
Be brutally honest with yourself about him. This is no time to be politically correct. If you think his head is too big for his body, add that to your cons list. If he said you need to watch your weight, add that to the list, and think about how that made you feel.
Think about the way you feel every time he walks out your door, when you either think or know that he’s going to see “her.” Do you really think you deserve to be treated that way? How dare he treat you that way? Who does he think he is?
7. Get angry!
Don’t stay angry, but anger is good for a time. It spurs us to do what needs to be done! Think about the arrogance it takes to keep one woman at home to cook, clean, wash his clothes, take care of his children, and care for his home, and to have another woman on the side for his romantic, sexual pleasure. He doesn’t have the right to lie to and cheat on his wife, but he also doesn’t have the right to lie to and use another woman.
No woman deserves to be treated disrespectfully. Whether you’re his wife or his other woman, you deserve to have a man who loves, adores, and respects you enough to resist the temptations of other women. It’s time for you to see him for the disrespectful, arrogant man that he is!
You don’t love HIM! You love the man you thought he was! If you’re his wife of many years, maybe you love the man he used to be, but more likely, just as the other woman, you also love the man you imagined he was!
It’s time to start loving and respecting yourself, and when you do that, you won’t want to hold onto a man who doesn’t treat you with the utmost love and respect! If he can’t treat you the way you deserve to be treated, HE DOESN’T DESERVE YOU!
8. Get rid of him!
Make up your mind that you are ready to stop being a doormat, and start being the strong, beautiful (inside and out) woman that you were created to be, and send him packing!
(Ladies who are married to cheaters will have to file for divorce to force him out of the house. There are legal issues to consider, so speak with an attorney before you take this step.)
If he calls you, don’t answer! If he leaves a voice mail, DELETE IT WITHOUT LISTENING TO IT! If you listen to it, you will only be confused, so don’t do that to yourself. Same goes for texts–don’t read them. Delete them! If he leaves a note on your car, rip it up. If he shows up at your house, tell him through the closed door to leave, or you will have him arrested. If he doesn’t leave, have him arrested! If he cries, just remember all the times you’ve cried over him. It’s about time he learns how it feels to lose someone he loves.
9. Consider him dead.
That sounds harsh, but what I mean is that you should consider him that far out of your life. Dead men can’t talk, text, or type, so as above, ignore them all. But in this step, you need to let yourself grieve. If you have to pull out pictures of him and stick pins in them or burn them, go for it. If you have to cry until your eyes are swollen shut, that’s okay. If you have to get rid of everything that reminds you of him, get busy. Grieve the death of the relationship, bury it, and move on.
10. Don’t look back.
Okay, for me, the key to this step was to realize that the man I thought I loved so much didn’t even exist! I loved a man who, in my mind, was kind, generous, loving, devoted to me, “faithful” to me, honest…. After years of suffering, I realized that he was none of the above! He had his moments, but overall, he was a completely different person than the guy I thought he was. I focused on those moments, rather than looking at the days, months, and years of his being a jerk.
When you have a weak moment (or night), pull out that cons list and journal, and read everything you wrote about him. Remember every time he was with her. Remember every time he made you feel like you weren’t good enough. Remember every condescending word he ever said to you. Remember every lie. Surely, you don’t want to contact him!
Then remember that the sweet, loving, faithful man you love so much is nothing more than a figment of your imagination. No matter how weak you feel, you can’t contact someone who doesn’t exist, so don’t let yourself go there, even in your mind.
But if you do go there in your mind… remind yourself of how horrible he made you feel. Remember the betrayal, the lies, and the humiliation. It won’t take you long to realize that you’re not longing for HIM. You’re longing for SOMEONE. And that someone is who you thought he was.
11. Move on.
The first step toward moving on is to forgive both the cheater and the other woman (or women) he is/has been with. This might take a while, but if you don’t do it, you’re only hurting yourself, and you won’t ever be free of that pain. (See Queen of Unforgiveness.)
Once you’ve done all the other steps, it’s time to experience life without him. It’s okay if you feel uncomfortable. You’ve seen yourself as ‘his’ for a long time, and it will take a little while to adjust, but you can do it. I know you feel needy right now, but no matter what–do not let it show! Do not let your anger show! Do not let your pain show! Save all that for your therapist, your girlfriends, or your support group!
It’s not easy to start over, so just take baby steps. You’re not ready for another relationship! You need to nurture yourself and find that strong, confident woman you used to be. Or if you were never that strong, confident woman, now is the time to work on becoming that woman.
12. Read Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood.
(Maybe I should’ve put this as step #1!) In order to keep from repeating the same relationship mistakes you’ve made before, you need to understand why you do the things you do, and how to change those things. This book is an excellent resource for that purpose. It even gives you the steps to take to make the positive changes in your life that will help you avoid getting into a relationship with another cheater. After all… why leave this cheater if you’re just going to hook up with another one? Don’t let yourself do that! Find out how to avoid it.
The link above will take you to Amazon.com, where you can buy the book. I am not an Amazon affiliate, so I do not profit from your purchase. I just believe in the book so strongly that I want to make it easy for you to find it. If you choose to buy it at a local bookstore, call first to make sure they have it because though the book is not new, I’ve found that it is frequently sold out. Your local bookstore can order it for you if they don’t have it. You might also find it in the library.
13. See a therapist.
Actually, this could’ve also been listed as #1. It’s important, regardless of where you are in the process.
Having a man cheat on you, whether you’re the wife or the other woman, is devastating. It shatters your self-esteem, it makes you doubt yourself and your own judgment, and it destroys your sense of security. I think that everyone can benefit from some counseling, but when you’ve been involved with a cheater, you definitely need some help in getting back on your feet. Having an unbiased opinion from a licensed therapist can be extremely helpful in getting yourself back on track. Give it a try, and you’ll see what I mean.
I receive so many messages from women who are practically begging me for advice on how to deal with cheaters. It breaks my heart to read about their pain and struggles, because I’ve been through so many of the same or similar experiences myself. Ladies, if you follow the steps I listed above, they will help. Trust me. But as always, what you do is up to you.