Take Care of Yourself
After you’ve caught him cheating—or he confessed—you’re going to be in shock. Trust in him and trust of yourself is in question, and your self-esteem is crushed. The first thing you need to do is try to take a step back and give yourself a whopping dose of self-care. Sleep well, eat well, and exercise—being active will counteract the sadness you feel by boosting your endorphins.
Consider Taking a Break
Separate yourself from your guy for 24-48 hours before talking about what happened so you can calm down and reconnect with yourself. Chances are, your absence could make him feel super shitty for what he did rather than immediately go on the defense.
Mourn the Loss
Being betrayed is a lot like dealing with a death—after all, it is the end of your relationship as you know it. Whenever we have a loss, our brain chemistry gets messed up. So, you’re going to feel grief and you need to treat the situation for what it is. Do whatever you need to do to let the emotions flow—journaling, music, movies—and you will feel better.
Don’t Push for Details
You may have the impulse to talk with your guy and get every dirty detail of what actually happened. Unless you know that you definitely want to break up and you think that knowing the details will help you get over him, beware of how much information you ask for. Some details can haunt you long after the affair is over.
Don’t Try to Get Even
You’re probably going to be super pissed—and rightly so. But this isn’t the time to call up your ex-boyfriend for a quickie or rekindle a relationship with your former hook up. That won’t change that your man cheated, and chances are, it will just make you feel worse.
Manage Your Obsession
While it’s really natural to obsesses about his cheating, try to limit the “what if’s,” potentially blaming yourself, etc. All of that will overwhelm you even further. Call a friend, go for a run, or do anything you can to try to take your mind off of things. (You can also give yourself an allotted amount of time every day that you can mull over that nasty affair, then decrease it each day as you feel better.)
Make Sure He’s Willing to Make Things Right
If you want to work things out with him, make sure that he has severed all contact with the person he cheated with, that he’s taking responsibility for what he did—not blaming you—and that he’s willing to do whatever is needed to make you feel safe again. Only then can you guys start rebuilding your relationship.
Without trust, you can’t have any sort of love connection. But once you lose it, it’s hard to get it back. While your relationship is healing, your guy needs to be okay with being accountable when you ask him where he was (or where he’s going, who he’s going to be with, and so on) and he’ll have to understand that you’ll need time to really regain your trust in him.
Forgive Him—and Yourself
Whether you decide to stay with him or not, this is the most essential step. First you have to forgive him: This doesn’t mean you condone his behavior, but rather accept it and choose to move forward so you can be happy. But, more importantly, you have to trust yourself: If you don’t, it’s going to be very hard to move on—you’ll be anxious and on guard with every other guy you date.