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The Painless 5-Step Process To Moving On From A Cheater

It doesn't have to be complicated if you don't want it to be.

By Ellen "Jelly" McRaePublished 9 months ago 8 min read
Heartbroken | Image created on Canva

Everyone involved in the cheating experience is screwed. Let’s all rejoice in that.

You don’t win, as the cheat-ee. The person who cheated doesn’t win either, even though it may seem like that. There are no winners.

But for you, the one experiencing the lies and deception, you rightly feel lied to (which you have been), hurt and destroyed. And what’s worse than the discovery of cheating is the realisation you need to move on.

Assuming you’ve broken up, and you want nothing to do with the other person, now begins the hard, emotional garbage that comes with moving on:

  • Learning to trust again.
  • Learning how to enjoy relationships again.
  • And regaining your ability to be happy in love without thinking someone is going to screw you over.

It’s hard. I’ve been there. I wasn’t sure I could become whole again when it happened to me.

‘Would I ever stop looking over my shoulder?’ I would ask.

Are all men (for me, it’s men, by the way) going to hurt me?

Will everyone I ever date cheat on me?

Yeah, it sucked. But at some stage, I found a way to stop asking those questions. I accepted it and moved on.

The process wasn’t complicated, in the end. I realised it’s only complicated if that’s how you want it to be.

All you need is a little logic and the ability to stick to it. Here’s that logic.

Step One: Cut that cheating ex from your life

Bye-bye, bad smell.

You’ve broken up, and that means goodbye. But you really have to say goodbye in every sense of the word. Here are my brutal yet, in my experienced opinion, necessary suggestions of where to cut them out:

  • Delete their number from your phone — Removes your temptation to call/text/communicate with them.
  • Block their number and email from your phone — Removes their temptation to contact you.
  • Block them from social media — Deleting isn’t enough, by the way. It only stops your connection with them, but doesn’t block the ability to connect with them. Don’t forget about all your socials; make a list and work your way through.
  • Set your profiles to private — This can be a short-term measure to ensure you’ve covered your bases and your ex doesn’t follow you using other fake accounts.
  • Ask your friends to block them too — Make it difficult for them to reach you or see what you’re up to. Again, this can be short-term. You can always unblock them later.

Why go so far as to block?

This list can sound like extreme measures. Surely you don’t have to go this far?

And whilst you don’t have to, you do set yourself up to let your ex mess with your life. Take my experience, with my cheating ex.

He was a master manipulator. He did everything possible to twist my emotions, so I would forgive him. For some irrational reason I couldn’t understand, he needed my forgiveness. This wasn’t helping me move on at all.

Selfish to the end, as it turns out.

The more he insisted on staying in my life, the harder it was to be alone and move on. Being around kept me trapped on day one of our break-up.

I would relive the moment I found out, again and again, every time his name appeared on my phone screen, in my inbox. It was like I was stuck on the cheating equivalent of Groundhog day, unable to move on to the next day.

One of my girlfriends suggested I delete him from my phone, considering I was incapable of not replying to him. I thought blocking him seemed unnecessarily dramatic. I’m an adult. I don’t need intervention. I have willpower.

But it turns out I lacked the willpower during this emotionally turbocharged time.

Sometimes, we need a little help. It’s ok to go extreme if your desire to move on is equally extreme.

Step 2: Realise it’s not all about you

People suck. And when they cheat, they suck the most. But here is the kicker. Even though their cheating feels like a personal attack, it’s not always about you. Weird, right? Especially as they are in a relationship with you, how could it not be about you?

In case you’re wondering, here is a smattering of reasons why someone has cheated on you that isn’t directly about you:

  • Boredom — In the relationship, with life, at the very moment
  • Habit — They’ve cheated before so they are at it again
  • A perceived lack of sexual activity in your relationship — You two aren’t doing it enough so they need more from elsewhere. You might have sex every day and they still rely on this excuse.
  • Settling — They got into a relationship they regret, so they hunt for something else.
  • Rebellion — They are trying to revolt against settling down / anti-settling.
  • Opportunity — Because they could get away with it.
  • Hunting for what could be better — Because they believe something better came along.
  • Tension — You had one fight or many fights, and this is their way of dealing with it.
  • Pressure — Because that’s what they think they should do. Peer pressure is an example.
  • Intrigue — Boredom, but on a different level. It’s more about fulfilling an inquisitive mind about other sexual and relationship experiences.

From the list (and I stress there are more reasons) you might see a pattern. You don’t have to do anything, say anything, be anyone but yourself, and people will cheat on you.

Moving on continues with the realisation you’re not the reason, nor do you deserve the blame for their cheating.

Take my ex. He loved blaming me for straying. He told me I wasn’t there when he needed me. Because I was at home and not at the bar with him, and I wasn’t available to him for physical attention, he cheated.

If I had been there with him, he reasoned, there would be no need for him to cheat.

Yeah, he really blamed my logistics.

Step 3: Learn not everyone will do this to you

If you live with the thought everyone is going to cheat on you, every future relationship becomes doomed.

Not everyone is your ex. There are people who believe in and practise monogamous relationships.

What has happened to you isn’t a prediction of future relationships.

Now, say it again. Keep saying this until you know it by heart. You need to believe this.

In coming to this realisation, I would suggest staying away from:

  • People with cheating horror stories, as they only validate that cheaters are plentiful.
  • Facebook relationship groups and Reddit threads where people happily share similar stories. These stories add up and you can lose your faith quickly by totalling real-life cheating stories.
  • Romance movies and books that explore cheating, because they make money from your sorrow and validate this idea for their stories.
  • Googling anything about cheating stories, because the internet loves to compile stories and make you think everyone cheats.

Step 4: Don’t Take their Cheating Lying Down

There is taking the high road, and then there is being trampled on. In this stage of moving on, you have to find the balance.

But if you want to eventually date again, you can’t let your ex set a tone for future relationships. Show the universe that:

  • You don’t condone cheating
  • You don’t deserve to be cheated on
  • You don’t deserve to have your trust and respect abused
  • Cheating is a deal-breaker for you
  • You won’t tolerate someone else doing the same thing to you in the future

How do you do this?

In practicality, there might not be anything specific you can do until the right moment occurs. You can say all the things on this list to the people in your life, but there aren’t always moments to live by this.

But I had my moment to show the world I wasn’t taking cheating lying down. I was literally and metaphorically telling the universe what I accept in my relationships.

It was not long after my ex and I broke up.

It was when our friends wanted to know what happened. Only natural. I told them what happened, not leaving out any details or sugar-coating what happened. It wasn’t about being angry or spiteful.

I wanted to be truthful.

But I felt angry when he told people we ‘grew apart’. I didn’t feel so bad telling the truth then. I felt better for having told the world you can’t cheat on me and expect me to cover for you, or condone it. Or let it happen again.

Step 5: Cleanse Yourself Of People Who Don’t Support You

Speaking of saying bye-bye, here is the opportunity to rid your life of anyone who supports your cheating ex. Or who thinks you in some weird universe deserved what happened to you.

They are toxic to you moving on.

In saying that, mutual friends often become victims in the cheating aftermath.

When my ex cheated on me, our mutual friends sided with him.

I couldn’t believe they stood by someone who did something so awful, by someone who unapologetically inflict heartache. I didn’t understand their moral values in this situation.

What made less sense was that I was the one grieving and hurting, and they supported the person who tormented me.

I don’t regret moving away from these people. They didn’t deserve my friendship if that was how they were going to treat me.

But it did teach me that cheating divides loyalty between friends and family.

The people around you will act in uncertain and weird ways. There will be the people who will offer blind support. And there will be those who will turn your back on you.

This is your chance to surround yourself with people who think and feel the way you do.

Don’t underestimate this opportunity to see people for who they really are.


About the Creator

Ellen "Jelly" McRae

Writes about romanceships (romance + relationships) | Loves to talk about behind the scenes of being a solopreneur on The Frolics | Writes 1 Lovelock Drive | Discover everything I do and share here:

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