Medically Reviewed By: Laura Angers. We may wish that when someone causes us pain, we'd automatically stop having feelings for them. But this isn't always possible. Even if our feelings seem to have turned to hatred rather than love, they are still feelings, and they are still for that person.
There are many ways lovers hurt one another and infidelity can be the most painful. You may feel inadequate or weak for not being able to satisfy your partner and maintain the relationship. You may feel betrayed or confused at how your partner could hurt you like this. You may feel alone without your partner to confide in.
However, you are not alone. There is always someone you can turn to, whether it be a family member, a close friend, or even a counselor or therapist. Infidelity takes emotions to a completely different level. The pain we experience upon such betrayal can be far more intense than that caused by a misunderstanding, or miscommunication.
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Cheating is not angry words said in the heat of an argument. Cheating is a choice. Upon discovery that a partner has cheated, we can be moved to a white-hot rage, gut-wrenching pain, overwhelming fear, and very uncomfortable insecurity.
We can also feel sad, or may not feel anything. We may feel as though we do not know what to feel. As sadness, fear, or anger simmers to a boil, it can be tempting to try to numb ourselves in order to not feel anything, even love. The range of emotions we still feel for that individual can encourage us do things we do not want to do… like, forgive; like, take that person back; like, open ourselves up to be hurt again.
After all, like we said above, the feelings that we experience after having been cheated on are feelings that we experience out of love. Sometimes that love isn't strong enough to survive the pain-but sometimes it is. It may be tempting to tell ourselves that the only way to avoid being cheated on again is to not forgive and not to take that person back.
She cheated on me, why do i still love her?
Yet, because we have been emotionally attached, we cannot stop loving, missing, and crying over that other person, at least not immediately. It is quite understandable to interpret such vacillating feelings as being weak or indecisive; and it is certainly vulnerable, leaving us open to further hurt and disappointment.
It is reasonable to expect a wide range of emotions as we come to terms with the reality of the betrayal, which can impact not only our thoughts, feelings, and understandings in our relationship; but it can further cause us to question whether we can trust our own judgment.
Love does not stop just because of betrayal.
The more we have emotionally invested in a relationship, the more damage we may be willing to tolerate in order to maintain it. This is completely understandable. Genuine love may very well suffer for the good of the relationship.
It is up to each one of us to determine whether we want to give our partner another chance, even after a betrayal. Being cheated on can generate feelings of inadequacy and powerlessness, but you have more in your control than you may realize. It is important to give yourself permission to feel whatever comes naturally.
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There is nothing inherently 'good' or 'bad' about emotions, themselves. It is what we do with those emotions which can be positive or negative, healthy or dysfunctional. So take the time you need to release, and process, all of your feelings. While doing so, it can be very helpful to recognize that anger, unlike most other emotions, is not always what we are genuinely experiencing.
Anger often serves as a secondary emotion, masking the more foundational, or authentic emotion we are really feeling. This may occur because the more authentic emotion seems too weak, exposed, or vulnerable.
For instance, it can feel uncomfortable to recognize, let alone express, sadness, hurt, loneliness, humiliation, etc. Anger feels more powerful, more in control, or more aggressive as opposed to defensive. So while it is completely understandable to be angry at being betrayed in any intimate relationship, it will be easier to address emotions in healthier and more productive ways when we allow ourselves to be aware of what we are truly feeling.
We do not want our legitimate anger to turn into bitterness or hatred.
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While hatred also feels more powerful than love in the face of betrayal, it is ultimately not healthy. Neither is an unwillingness to forgive. Both are actually more toxic to us than to the other person. No matter which emotion we recognize, love or hatred, they both are consuming. We do not mind giving our time and energy to love when all is right with a relationship. However, when things are not right, we resent the time and energy given to that love. So why would we wish to give time and energy to hatred? Love is, even when we are in pain, a positive emotion.
Hatred is not, and it will rob us of time and energy. We can eventually heal from pain when we love, but hatred feeds upon itself and does not easily die. Betrayal by a trusted partner is certainly one of the most painful experiences in life. However, allowing ourselves to fall prey to anger, spite, and hatred are worse.
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The ability to love in the face of betrayal does not make us weak. It actually makes us strong, and having survived such pain, and still have the ability to feel love is evidence of strength. It is not easy to overcome the grief that surely comes when we are betrayed by a partner, but it is not impossible. Sometimes the pain may be overpowering. If we do end the relationship, the loneliness can be overwhelming.
It is better to be overpowered by the pain of love, and overwhelmed by the loss of that love, than to allow hatred to cripple us, hobbling us to the point where we can't move forward. Choosing to forgive does not mean the relationship will continue. It is important to forgive for our own health and wellbeing, regardless of what the other person chooses, or whether they deserve our forgiveness. We can forgive even in the face of someone who accepts no responsibility for their own actions, admits their wrongdoing, apologizes, or asks for our forgiveness.
We forgive in order to release the toxicity inside ourselves that can only turn to bitterness and resentment if left unchecked. However, forgiveness is not at all the same as reconciliation. While reconciliation requires forgiveness first, forgiveness does not always lead to reconciliation. In order for a relationship to be reconciled after infidelity, there does need to be appropriate acceptance of responsibility on the part of the unfaithful party, and a subsequent willingness to make amends.
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Without such important characteristics, it would be difficult to trust that such betrayal might not happen again. But it is also quite possible that healing and reconciling after infidelity makes many relationships stronger.
Infidelity does not necessarily mean a relationship must end. This is up to the two people in that relationship. We sometimes confuse forgiveness with forgetting.
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This misunderstanding can lead to either choosing not to even consider offering forgiveness until our memory of it fades or we interpret that the forgiveness we chose to extend must not have worked, or been legitimate. We also often confuse forgiveness with how we feel. The truth is that forgiveness is a choice. It is a willful act.
It has nothing to do with how we feel-about the other person or about what they did to us. We simply choose to extend forgiveness because we know it is the healthiest option. We also sometimes question if we have truly forgiven someone since we continue to have feelings about it. The truth is that our feelings are completely irrelevant to both our choice to offer forgiveness as well as to the question of whether or not we have genuinely extended forgiveness. Sometimes, the hardest part about dealing with your feelings after being cheated on comes from believing you need to confront the cheating.
This is important for the relationship, but achieving your own mental and emotional health is more important, especially because sometimes we don't know how we are supposed to act or feel. Instead of trying to deal with everything you are feeling, try to confront your feelings individually. If you feel angry, try meditation or breathing exercises. If you feel sad, try doing something you enjoy. If you feel alone, surround yourself with supportive people, and if you feel overwhelmed, remove yourself from the person until you have time to process your own feelings.
If you've been betrayed by a loved one, it is often difficult to see beyond the pain. The advice above is a good place to start, but it may not be enough to help you get to where you need to be.
If you need help, consider seeking the support you need from BetterHelp. BetterHelp connects you with d and professional therapists and counselors over the internet for flexible and affordable help. Below are some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.
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At one point, I decided to try Betterhelp. My counselor Dr. Brewer helped me to see some things I couldn't on my own and encouraged me to prioritize myself.
It was a huge help for me at that point, which led to the decisions I am happy about. You may feel alone after being cheated on, but that doesn't mean you have to process your feelings alone.