What to do when your boyfriend cheats on you

I have a few friends who recently experienced a sad end to what was once happy and hopeful relationships. The common reason, it appears, is the guy cheating on them with someone else. They ask me how to deal with the resulting breakup. This is my standard answer.

White Rose, watercolor on paper / Liz Lanuzo

White Rose, watercolor on paper / Liz Lanuzo

It's not all your fault, nor all his. Relationships break down for a lot of reasons. Your paths may simply go to different directions after a while, maybe there never seems to be enough time to spend together, maybe there's insecurity from one or both of you. Maybe you find out you both weren't the people you thought you were. 

To blame yourself for the whole break-up - thinking you weren't pretty enough, or nice enough, or patient enough, etc. - is such a self-absorbed act. Get over yourself. Your actions (or lack thereof) might have contributed to the collapse of your relationship, but it's never just you, no matter how inadequate or horrible you think you are. It's the same with him. He made his choices. You made yours. Don't blame yourself for a situation that wasn't entirely of your own making.

Getting past the self-blame will make the infidelity easier to accept.

Don't get angry at the other woman. Women don't "steal" men who don't want to be "stolen" from you. Men aren't brain-dead toys who don't know what's going on (I hate that about telenovelas). Seduction is a two-way street! So it's not entirely her fault, nor his, or yours. If you can understand and process that I assure you that it will hurt less. 

Anger takes so much energy to maintain; it deals the most damage to the person who keeps it burning inside. Just let it go. Separate your ego from the situation and try your hardest not to take it personally. Oh it's still going to feel horrible AF but..there is no but. That's just how it is until you're over it.

Get busy. His leaving will leave a void in your life - this is not just dramz, it's a fact. The time you used to dedicate to each other will now need to be filled by something else. I recommend taking up baking or painting like you've always meant to, or reading/watching a series you've always wanted to follow. Hell, study at the lightsaber academy if you want to. Be absorbed, be consumed by a different kind of passion. It's a good way to acquire new skills and knowledge. Or just to kill time, really.

It's going to hurt for a while. There's no way to hasten the process but you can make it a little less painful and destructive for everyone involved. Don't blame anyone, accept the situation, and move on with productive activities. This is easier than it sounds. :) Time will heal all if not most wounds.