5 Things I Did After Being Cheated On

written by Hazel Blossom

In April 2010, I discovered that my “monogamous” relationship had included more than the two of us for over a year, unbeknownst to me.

Like most people these days, I discovered the infidelity through electronic evidence. There were texts, emails, photos and details of past rendezvous. There was no denying the adultery. For me, this meant that I needed to figure out how to move forward. Here are five things I did that helped me do so:

1. I cried. A lot.

Most often in the depths of the night when I found myself wondering “where do I go from here?” Unlike worrying, crying is not a wasted reaction. Crying releases oxytocin and endorphins, which can help reduce pain and promote a sense of well-being (as much possible, anyway, in a time like this).

2. Called in my squad.

When something this potentially devastating goes down, you will find out who your real friends are. It was important to me that the cheating not be made public, but at the same time I needed my squad! I will never forget when one particularly good friend put his arm across my shoulders and sobbed along with me.

3. Changed my phone number.

I was bombarded with text messages from acquaintances who felt I owed them an explanation for ending the relationship. Changing my number gave me a well deserved break from the clamor of other people’s feelings.

4. Took a road trip. Alone.

I took myself to dinner, the movies and to local shows. I drove for hours, alone with my thoughts and feelings. I wanted to drown out the needs and burdens of everyone around me. I needed time to focus on myself. It was an exercise in self-love and self-acceptance—something we can all benefit from.

5. I dated myself.

I will always remember the first time I took myself out to dinner. I chose a chain diner, nothing fancy. I decided I would put my phone away and really be present with myself. I shed a few tears in the deafening silence between ordering the food and waiting to be served. Driving home that night, knowing I was enough by myself, was a freedom I had never felt before.

Unfortunately there is no guide for how to cope with being the victim of such a betrayal. In my situation, the discovery prompted an immediate end of my relationship. If you’ve been a victim of an affair, only you can and should decide the fate of your relationship. You can leave and that is valid. You can stay and that is also valid.

What you cannot do is give up on yourself. Another’s actions are not a reflection of your value. You are whole and complete, exactly as you are.