Moving On From Being Cheated On: Can You Cheat Too?
“My partner cheated on me. Can I cheat too?”
The quick answer is NO. In no circumstance is cheating the best course of action when you’ve been cheated on. However, if you’re reading this, then perhaps you’re not looking for the quick and easy answer, are you? Perhaps you’re asking yourself (and the internet this question) because you think that somehow your situation calls for a yes and you just want to have some validation. I hear you. But let’s take a good look at some reasons why you may think it’s a good answer to you now, and why it may be a bad idea in the long term.
“I want to make him feel what it feels like to be cheated on!”
Cheating is by definition a dishonest and unfair act. When your partner cheats on you, it’s normal to feel extremely betrayed, angry, and very hurt. However, it’s a fact that we cannot control how other people will react to how you behave. If you think that the same act of cheating will result in the same feelings, think again. This may likely backfire. Instead, your partner may feel disgusted, justified, or may actually feel nothing significantly negative at all. In the end, you will just find yourself at the tail end of regret.
“I want to get even!”
Is there actually a score to keep when it comes to cheating? Is your relationship a game? Breaking trust is not something that can be evened out. It can only be broken even more.
The only way to go up is to rebuild it, not smash it into tinier pieces. And the very act of retaliation cheating is definitely going to make things worse. It can go into so many different directions that I can easily think up of various scenarios of how it can go wrong. It can be used against you while making your partner feel vindicated (e.g. “eh ikaw nga, nagagawa mo rin pala!”). Or it may actually make your partner cheat again since retaliation cheating will make it seem like a normal thing in your relationship now (e.g. “well if you can do it, pwede ko rin pala gawin din.”)
“Well, I’ve been wanting to cheat on him too, and I think this is my chance.”
Well, this is also a different type of scenario that points to a deeper issue than simple fidelity. Maybe you don’t feel angry or betrayed, but rather more relieved. More than that, perhaps you see this as opportunity to hook up with other people for a change. Before you act on your impulses, consider what is happening to your relationship and what makes you think this way. Perhaps it’s time to decide whether you’re still the right people for each other. If so, then it may be better to just let each other go before starting on a complicated affair. Or, on the flip side, it may turn out that you and your partner are actually polyamorous and may actually benefit with just having an open relationship. There are many ways this can go as every relationship is different. But one thing is for certain, just perpetuating the cycle of cheating just hides the real solution to your problems.
“Then what should I do?”
Acknowledge your emotions
These thoughts of cheating and being cheated on are complex and they often come paired with equally complex emotions. Write them down, cry it out, or talk about it. It’s okay to feel awful. Acknowledge that these emotions are making you think and act a certain way. But also know that emotions, no matter how overwhelming, are impermanent. And when you’ve finally acknowledged these emotions, perhaps you can also allow yourself to let it go.
Find emotional support from loved ones or professionals you can trust
Being cheated on is a traumatic experience, and it’s easy to withdraw from social circles because of feelings of shame and negative self-worth. But this is the last thing you should do. Instead, seek out friends and family you can trust for emotional support. Of course, you’ll have to choose these people wisely or at least take what they say with a grain of salt. Some of them may be the type to say sweeping statements such as, “Iwanan mon a yan!” However, relationships are never that black and white, and at the end only you will know what the best course of action is for yourself. If you feel like there’s no one you can confide in, perhaps you can consider seeking help from a couple’s therapist.
Focus on regaining positive self-worth
There’s a quote that’s making the rounds in social media that goes like this, “The best revenge is to have enough self-worth not to seek it.” After being cheated on, you may think you’re not a worthy person anymore. You may feel unlovable. But know that this is all untrue. You are worthy, and you are lovable. Focus on rebuilding a good relationship with yourself as this is really the best way to move forward. When you start loving yourself, you’ll know what you need to do with your relationships. “Moving on” doesn’t necessarily mean having a new relationship right away. Rather, it means not letting past experiences make you feel any less of a worthy person than you really are.