A failed relationship destroyed by a cheating spouse or significant other can leave you feeling angry. You probably feel certain that you’ll never be able to love again. More than 50 percent of men and women admit to having been unfaithful in a relationship. The good news is that moving on to a new love after heartbreak is not impossible.
1. Time to Heal
It may sound like a cliche, but time heals all wounds. Give yourself time to grieve the loss of the relationship and go through the five steps of grieving, as proposed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. The first stage is denial, when you don’t want to believe that you have been betrayed or that the relationship is over. The second stage is anger. The third stage is one of bargaining. Perhaps you try to redeem the relationship by making promises or telling the person that if you both start over you will forget that the infidelity occurred. The fourth stage is guilt or depression, when you might blame yourself for your partner's infidelity, and you might say things like, “If I would have spent more time with him then maybe he or she would not have cheated.” This may be coupled with feelings of low self-esteem, intense sadness, reminiscing, and withdrawal from other relationships. The final stage is acceptance. At this stage, you are ready to move on, you have hope, and you have come to terms with the infidelity and the ending of the relationship. It is important to make sure you are at the final stage or cycle prior to getting involved in a new relationship. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a rebound relationship or hurting someone who doesn't deserve to be hurt or loaded down with your emotional baggage.
2. Moving on By Forgiving
It is best to forgive and forget to move on to a new love. The last thing you want to do is bring old baggage from a past relationship into a new relationship, so make sure that you have forgiven your ex. “Understanding the other persons perspective helps you to let go of the emotions connected to the betrayal, emotions that are keeping you from moving on,” according to Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., Detroit’s “Love Doctor.” Take it further and disconnect from the hurt, by writing your feelings down or writing a letter to the one who betrayed you. You don’t have to give the letter to him, but you need to release those thoughts on paper, and then bury the letter or throw it away, These physical actions represent discarding angry feelings and emotions by throwing them away, putting them to rest by burying them, or locking them away so that they don’t keep festering around in your heart or mind.
3. Let a New Love Enter Your Heart
Start slowly. Build trust with your new love. Trust is established “when the partner in a relationship promotes the individual’s best interests rather than his or her own, according to scholarly essay published by Psychological Science entitled, “Psychological Foundations of Trust.” As adults, we tend to build invisible walls whenever we have been hurt. Taking down these protective walls or letting our guard down means that we are opening ourselves up to be vulnerable -- and possibly hurt again. The key to breaking through the wall is to imagine that each time your new love show that she understands and cares about you that this chips away at the bricks in the wall.
4. Build Rapport
Whether you admit it or not, there is a chance that the reason you were unable to foresee the previous betrayal was because of signs you might have missed. These signs include a communication breakdown, not having an opportunity to be a part of your partner’s life, or understanding what makes him feel valued and vice versa. With your new love, you both should have an opportunity to get to know each other’s hopes, goals, dreams, favorite past times, and determine what makes you both feel special and valued. As time goes on you should eventually get to know your partner’s friends and family. The key is being transparent so that neither one of you has anything to hide. You will find love and happiness again, and the sting of the previous partner’s infidelity will be outdated.
- Statistic Brain: Journal of Marital and Family Therapy: Infidelity Statistics: Statistic Brain: September 2012
- Psych Central: Five Stages of Loss and Grief:
- More.com: Reinventing Romance Is There Love After Betrayal: Sherry Amatenstein: April 2007
- Psychological Science: Journal Psychological Science Treating Thoughts as Material Objects Can Increase or Decrease Their Impact on Evaluation: Pablo Brinol: 01-11-2013
- Psychological Science: Psychological Foundations of Trust Volume 16-5: Jeffry A. Simpson:October 2007
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