Updated: Feb 22
So, he cheated, and you stayed.
No one’s judging you (okay maybe your close girlfriends are, but who are they to judge… right?). Things happen, and guys make “mistakes” that some of us are more willing to forgive than others. If you find yourself in the position of staying with a guy that’s cheated on you, you’re not the first and won’t be the last, but there ARE some ground rules about staying after he cheats. Here are 7 rules that you can apply to your relationship to make staying worth your heartache and time.
DON’T KEEP THROWING IT IN HIS FACE
Look, I get it. He needs to understand the gravity of how much he hurt and maybe even embarrassed you. Constantly bludgeoning him with this truth isn’t going to help either of you recover from his infidelity. No one expects you to get over it immediately or never bring it up, but constantly throwing it in his face will damage any progress either of you will make. It would annoy anybody if they were constantly thrown on the chopping block for the same mistake. Consider this when you get the urge to unload on him (although you’ll probably want to every time you think about it). Remember that it doesn’t help anything, and you stayed with him because you want it to work.
MAKE YOUR INTENTIONS CLEAR TO HIM
Let him know your contingency plan/tolerance level for any other infidelity he may introduce into the relationship. (Just don’t threaten his life or nads because I have NO bail money for you!) Clearly explain what you will do if you find yourself having to deal with his infidelity again. If your plan includes exiting the relationship, come up with the exit strategy. You can either share this part with him or not (but stick to it). Now, if he screws up again, he clearly knew what was at stake.
DON’T BLAME YOURSELF
It’s not your fault. Too often women jump directly to what they weren’t doing or where they fell short in the relationship. Consider that there was just an opportunity placed in front of him and he didn’t turn it down. It’s more about him and his mentality than it is about what you were lacking. If anything, do a pulse check on his mentality so you’ll know what to expect of him in the future.
DON’T OBSESS OVER THE PERSON HE CHEATED WITH
Do you need to know who she is and how the situation came about? Of course, but only to be vigilant. You don’t need to stalk her social media and constantly compare yourself to her or worse… show your friends what she looks like. This will drive you mad and ADD to the normal amount of paranoia you’ll have to overcome already. Showing your friends will indirectly put you under the same scrutiny that you guys are bound to put her under. Let her go and focus on how awesome you are.
GET BUSY WITH A HOBBY
It’s really important that you keep your mind busy with something productive. Too much time to think is bound to lead you down a rabbit hole of crazy thoughts (especially when the situation is still fresh). Starting a business or doing something that keeps you focused on yourself is good AND it may even make you a few coins! (That’s always a plus.) The less time you have to obsess about what happened or what could be happening, the better.
SPEND TIME WITH OTHERS
Here’s something that shouldn’t be interpreted the wrong way (as in cozy up with another guy… no). Build a support circle of people NOT connected to him. This will allow you to have a life and hang out with people other than him. This is healthy. This group of people will keep you grounded and from creating “hostage situations” for your guy. If he’s a cheater by nature, constantly being around you won’t guarantee that he won’t find himself entertaining someone else. Allow yourself to let it go and enjoy life in the company of others.
LIVE A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE
Nothing makes you feel better about yourself than improving your health! This doesn’t mean you have to start a rigorous workout plan but getting more active and finding ways to improve your health are great ways to improve your personal outlook. It’s easy to get depressed and either under-eat or over-eat. Either extreme could lead to health issues. Instead, actively monitor and increase your daily physical activity. Explore new and healthy foods. Make new/healthier meal plans for yourself. Even the smallest positive changes in your body will drastically increase your self-esteem.
You may be saying, “that’s all easier said than done”. You’re absolutely right. Nothing about restoring a relationship after infidelity is easy! It takes work and a certain mentality. This list is a good guide to getting yourself to the mentality necessary to maintain a functional relationship beyond infidelity. Good luck!