If there’s one thing in this world that makes a woman want to go all Carrie Underwood on an ex’s car, a la the music video, “Before he cheats,” it’s when a girl is scorned by a man who decided to play haphazardly with their heart and cheat.
In this day and age, cheating can take many forms—talking to girls online, swiping through Tinder behind their partner’s back and then, the truest form: actually going through with hooking up with another person.
Just last month, the #HurtBae video made its rounds on the internet, going viral for the saddest of reasons. The video showcased two exes sitting across from each other while the male confessed all the times he cheated on her while they were dating.
It was a hard video to watch, but it didn’t glamourize on the fact that cheating is one of the hardest forms of heartbreak to experience.
Hearts went out for #HurtBae because, just like every other person who’s been cheated on, the fact remains that they never asked for it.
Maybe they had hopes and dreams of a life that involved being with this person forever, so for all this to be taken away from them because of something they didn’t even do, is pretty damn tragic.
It’s a situation you never hope to be in, but if you are and you find yourself saying, ‘Now what?’ here are seven tips that will help you get through it and learn what to do when you catch him cheating.
1) Put yourself first
Finding out you were cheated on brings on a whole slew of emotions. Shock. Disgust. Anger. And so on. To help you get out of your depressed slump, you’ll want to up your self-care for the time being.
Take a relaxing bath, go visit your girlfriends—do things that will give you some space from your guy. Doing so could give you the clarity that you need and also, as an added bonus, make him sweat a little as he wonders what you’re thinking.
2) Allow yourself to feel all the emotions
With betrayal being up there on the same pain scale as grief, it’s important to allow yourself to heal just the same. And that means allowing however you feel to flow. Just let it all out. Tears. Sadness. Anger. More tears.
If you need to cry in the middle of the afternoon, at a time when The Notebook isn’t playing on TV and you don’t have a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in hand, then so be it. Eventually, the crying and the pain will hurt a little less and less.
3) Fight the urge to get revenge
There’s nothing like being cheated on to make you want to slip on your sexiest dress, hit up the local bar and find the hottest guy to get revenge with on your man. And as much as it might feel good in the moment to let it be known that he made the biggest mistake in the world, you should resist the urge.
Say things do work out in the end with you forgiving him, you’re going to feel just as bad if you have to admit that you got even while you two were still together.
Remember, two wrongs don’t make a right. So, try to hold it together for now and if you two do break up down the line, then save all the rebounding fun for then.
4) Find out everything you can
This isn’t something that you should do while you’re still emotionally raw, but if you’re actually considering taking this person back, then it just might be a necessary step. It truly depends on how hard it is for you to let things go.
See, now would be the time where it’s still okay to ask the hard questions and to find out every single detail. He’s at your mercy, so he’ll have to tell you everything.
But if you try and ask months down the line, when he thought things were squared away, he will likely be on the defense and leave a lot out.
Plus, knowing the details while you’re still not over the whole thing might help you make a more informed decision. If what happened isn’t as bad as what you thought, you might feel better and if things were way, way worse then, well, you just might get the clarity you need.
Just remember to have a glass of wine handy when you hear all the details because it doesn’t really need to be said just how hard this will be.
5) Seek support from your girlfriends
Your girlfriends are only a call away from being by your side with a bottle of wine, a bucket of ice cream and all the “he doesn’t deserve you(s)!” that you need.
Maybe some of your friends have even dealt with cheating boyfriends before, too, so it will help to talk to people who understand what you’re going through.
Be careful with how much detail you share, though. It’s good to be open with your friends about everything, but if there’s even the slightest chance that you will take back your man, just remember that while you might be able to forgive him, your friends might not.
They only want what’s best for you, so when their friend gets hurt, all they can think about is getting out the baseball bat, even long after things have been fixed.
6) If you do forgive him, try not to obsess
Your paranoia doesn’t just come from nowhere. If you’re in a relationship with a man who has cheated on you, it’s going to take some time before the trust is rebuilt.
In the meantime, you may find that you get panicky whenever you see him texting on his phone or you even go to great lengths to check his phone while he’s in the shower, or question him about every new girl that he adds on Facebook.
It’s exhausting. And while it’s not your fault that you’re this way—he’s the one who broke the trust, after all, you do have to remember that you can’t obsess over every single thing.
It won’t make for a very happy, healthy relationship and the truth is, you did decide to take him back. With that, means actually forgiving him and actually trusting him, no matter how hard it gets.
7) If you do forgive him, first find out where things went wrong
He can make all the excuses in the world about never doing it again, how he never mean to hurt you, yadda yadda, but if you do take him back, the only way that you can be sure that it will never happen again is to pinpoint what caused the issue and then fix it.
It will be a difficult conversation to have, but you both have to be as honest as possible. Maybe things in your sex life went stale for a while and he was starving for some excitement. Or maybe, he missed the single life and all the rush and adventure that goes into it.
If that’s the case, maybe being single is best for him at the moment. And if the problem stems from your sex life, then be prepared for the fact that this may be something that you may have to come to terms with to try and fix.
But, if the issues go deep, such as him being addicted to sex or him having a history of cheating in all his previous relationships, then your problems may be something that requires professional help, like from a therapist or counselor.