Being cheated on has to be one of the worst feelings you can possibly experience as a human being.
This one single act from the other person sends you into a black hole of complex thoughts and emotions that completely engulfs you and shatters you into pieces.
When you first come to know that your so-called loved one has cheated on you, it almost feels like being hit by a train.
You enter into a state of denial where you just wish that it is all a joke.
But sooner or later, the reality hits you and it becomes an unchangeable part of your life.
You start labeling yourself or seeing yourself as someone who got cheated on.
Suffice it to say, this not only breaks your heart into a million pieces and shakes your faith in humanity, but it also gives rise to another problem that lasts a long, long time.
And that’s the problem of overthinking.
- Why You Overthink After Being Cheated On
- The Effects of Infidelity
- 20 Ways To Stop Overthinking After The Cheating
- 1) Find Out Why You’re Overthinking
- 2) Know That It Has Nothing To Do With You
- 3) Understand The Psychology Behind Cheating
- 4) Accept That It Happened
- 5) Focus On The Present Moment
- 6) Lean On Your Social Support
- 7) Know That Rebounds Will Hurt You More
- 8) Don’t Seek Revenge
- 9) Focus On Yourself
- 10) Practice Self-Care
- 11) Work On Trust Issues
- 12) If Possible, Change Your Space
- 13) Indulge In Journaling
- 14) Use Positive Affirmations To Retrain Your Mind
- 15) Know That Not Everyone’s The Same
- 16) Resist “What If” Thinking
- 17) Establish A Physical Fitness Regime
- 18) Change Your Routine
- 19) Take A Break
- 20) Learn To Forgive And Move On
Overthinking is natural after suffering such a huge, gut-wrenching event.
When something so unexpected happens, you get stuck in that space and time.
The event keeps playing over and over again in your mind and you become like a broken record.
That’s literally what overthinking is…
it’s an obsession over the same thought or a series of thoughts.
And the worst part is, it keeps feeding on itself and becomes much bigger over time.
The end result is that it negatively impacts everything about you and your life. T
o better understand why overthinking happens, let’s take a look at the common reasons:
Needless to say, being cheated on makes you stressed.
It’s a negative situation that you just don’t know how to deal with.
This sends your mind into overdrive as it tries to process the overwhelming emotions and looks for ways forward.
On top of this, the cheating gives rise to so many questions, “Why did they do this?” “Was I not enough?” “Did they ever truly love me?” “How can someone be this cruel?” “How can I be such a bad judge of character?” “Will I ever be happy again?” and so on.
Essentially, your mind gets stuck in a loop and that’s the definition of overthinking.
When your partner cheats on you, your life suddenly takes a very uncertain turn.
You don’t even understand what you are supposed to do next.
Even small things like eating and drinking start seeming like big decisions.
Your normal routine gets thrown out of the window and your entire future suddenly starts to seem dark.
On top of this, you have to make some big decisions.
- Do you forgive your partner?
- Do you call it quits and move on?
- What will the future look like without your partner in your life?
- If you decide to forgive them, can the relationship really repair itself?
- Can you ever trust them again?
There are millions of questions like these going on in your mind and you start to overthink every small thing.
This one is pretty self-explanatory.
When one of the most trusted people in your life cheats on you, your trust gets shattered.
From that point onwards, you begin to see everyone with suspicious eyes.
It doesn’t matter if it is your friends, neighbors, colleagues, or strangers.
You start questioning their motives and analyze their every word.
You start doubting their every little action.
And you wonder whether they will betray you too, just like your partner.
At the end of the day, your lack of trust becomes your reason for overthinking so much.
Traumatic experiences can give rise to a lot of mental and emotional pain.
And when you’re in pain, it is only natural to overthink.
You start thinking about so many things all at once.
When it comes to your partner cheating on you, you might have thoughts like, “This pain is unbearable,” “Maybe I deserve this,” “Maybe they didn’t love me at all,” “Was I not a good partner?” “Was the other person better than me?” “What if I had been more loving and caring?”
Infidelity is a traumatic experience, to say the least.
The pain and suffering it gives you are quite frankly hellish.
You literally feel like your heart has been taken out of your body and squeezed right in front of your eyes!
In addition to the overthinking that you go through, you experience a wide variety of adverse effects due to the actions of your partner.
I’ll mention some of them below:
This might not happen to everyone who gets cheated on, but enough people get affected by this to make it relevant for discussion.
After suffering through infidelity, it is quite likely that you will internalize the whole matter and start blaming yourself for what your partner did.
You might wonder whether you had flaws or made mistakes in your relationship that led your partner to cheat on you.
This is rightly called internalized betrayal because you not only think you are responsible for the betrayal, but in this process, you are betraying your own self.
How can you possibly justify your partner’s actions and blame yourself?
Even if your relationship with them was rocky, they had no right to do that to you.
If they wanted a breakup, they could have done so and then moved on to a different person.
Needless to say, blaming yourself has a negative impact on your self-esteem and confidence.
You begin to see yourself as unworthy of anybody’s love and affection. That makes you miserable and lonely. And it certainly prevents you from approaching potential partners in the future.
This is self-explanatory.
Get burned once and you are always fearful of fire.
Similarly, when you get cheated on once, you become suspicious of every potential partner.
If you don’t heal from your trauma, your wounds will never allow you to settle down in a happy and strong relationship.
Even if you find the perfect partner for yourself, you will always be fearful that they too will cheat on you.
You might become controlling to the point that your partner feels suffocated being with you.
You may ask them all types of intrusive questions and their words and actions may seem suspicious to you.
Obviously, this is not what a healthy relationship looks like.
Trust is one of the foundational pillars of any romantic relationship and without it, you will likely not find true love.
Many people even go to great lengths to avoid any relationship whatsoever.
Even when they meet the right people, they refuse to commit. This keeps them from connecting with people on a deeper level.
Being cheated on marks a major point in your life.
There is no use lying about that. It will always be a part of your history.
Of course, you can choose not to let this single event define who you are or how your life is going to unfold. You can choose to let it go and focus on what truly matters… the future.
However, that’s not what happens usually.
People keep going back to the past and keep questioning why it happened. The memories keep coming back to them and the pain resurfaces from time to time.
A lot of the time, these memories are filled with regrets.
You regret meeting them in the first place, you regret not becoming aware of their nature sooner, and you regret loving them more than they deserved.
This is a sad state of affairs.
By remaining stuck in your past, you only hurt your present and the future.
You are not able to devote time and energy to the various important aspects of your life.
This only leads to more pain and suffering down the line.
For a whole lot of people, the pain of being cheated on is too much to bear.
And so, they fall into the arms of depression and anxiety.
These are serious mental issues that can suck the life out of even the happiest of people.
It can make life a living hell and can drive people into bad habits that can ruin them.
Depending on how attached you were to your partner and how much you loved them, their infidelity can take anywhere from a month to even years to process.
It can even change you as a person.
If you don’t take active control of this process, you risk becoming bitter, untrusting, paranoid, and aggressive.
Not only does it hurt you, but it also hurts the people around you.
After all, your partner was not the only loved one in your life.
You also have your parents, siblings, friends, colleagues, and other people who might care for you and be concerned about you.
It is certainly possible to stop overthinking ever after being cheated on.
However, you need to take conscious control of this process.
And going in, you should manage your expectations and know that it is going to take some time.
With that thought in mind, let’s take a look at some great ways to stop overthinking.
Above, we talked about four different reasons why a person might overthink after being cheated on.
In fact, this is the first step you need to take in order to put an end to overthinking.
Take some time out and ponder what exactly is making you do that. Is it the stress? Is it the uncertainty? Is it multiple things at once?
Gaining clarity on your current status will help you understand what you need to do to deal with your situation.
Everybody processes emotions and thoughts differently.
And so, you need to go deep within yourself to find the specifics of why you are troubled.
This might seem like an obvious thing.
You might say that you are overthinking because you got cheated on.
But sometimes, there can be deeper reasons behind your psychological state.
For instance, it could be that the cheating unlocked some past trauma and your overthinking might just be a response to that!
Without addressing this deeper cause, you can’t really get healed in the long run.
When people get cheated on, they usually start to feel worthless.
As mentioned above, they might even think that it was somehow their fault.
Obviously, this is a self-destructive way of looking at the situation.
You are essentially blaming yourself for a horrible act of someone that should have honored your love!
You should know in your heart that your partner’s actions have nothing to do with you.
In fact, you are not responsible for anyone else’s actions for that matter.
Everyone has a discerning mind as an adult and can make their own decisions.
It just happened to be that your partner made a really bad decision.
So, think along these lines instead of blaming yourself.
Realize that this could have happened to anybody. It even happens to the most loving, caring, good-looking, and talented people.
Your strengths or flaws have nothing to do with the cheating. There are so many people who are going through the same thing as you. And none of them are to blame for their partners’ mistakes.
You can even try and understand the psychology behind why people cheat to control your overthinking a bit.
After all, it might provide you with the answers to some of your burning questions.
It might give you some clarity and closure that your partner might not have given you.
Psychologists say that there are many reasons why a person might cheat.
It could be that they enjoy the thrill and adrenaline rush when they do something forbidden.
It could be that they have commitment issues and are not actually serious about you.
It could also be that they have self-esteem issues and feel better about themselves when someone other than their partner makes love to them.
For some people, it might just be that they lack self-control.
Of course, these reasons don’t justify cheating.
However, knowing about these reasons might give you some clues as to why your partner cheated. This can also make you stop blaming yourself for your situation.
So, now that you have understood why you’re overthinking, why your partner might have cheated and realized that it was not your fault, it is time to start moving on.
And the first step to that is accepting what happened.
I know, it sounds obvious and scary at the same time.
Look, whenever something hurtful happens in a person’s life, they go through the five stages of grief.
You might have even heard about them before.
Do you know what the first stage is? It’s denial.
It’s the stage where you still can’t accept the fact that you are actually going through a negative situation.
You might be hoping that you are seeing a bad dream or that you could have somehow misread the situation.
Your brain just doesn’t want to accept reality.
Of course, this is understandable.
After all, cheating is a major event that disrupts your entire relationship with someone you loved and cared for. It is a huge breach of trust.
However, the longer you stay in denial, the longer you will keep hurting.
It might take some strength to do it, but accept the facts and move on.
Yes, they cheated. It happened. Now ask yourself… what are going to do next?
They say… the present is the only moment that is truly real. The past is gone and the future isn’t here yet.
What’s here, is the present moment.
And that’s where you need to be, once you have accepted what happened.
Staying in the present automatically keeps away thoughts of the past.
You’re no longer tormented by the hows and the whys.
You are no longer worried about what might happen in the future.
This is a state of mindfulness.
And it has been practiced by us humans for thousands of years. It not only reduces your stress and anxiety but also makes room for peace and serenity.
Yes, it might take a little time to get used to. Thoughts might still crop up from time to time.
But after a while, you will begin to get the hang of it.
And after some more time, you will actually begin to enjoy it.
You can start practicing this state by focusing on your breath.
Just be mindful of every inhalation and exhalation.
Observe how your chest and tummy expand and contract rhythmically. By focusing on your breathe, you focus on the present moment and avoid to be stuck in your thoughts. Of course from time to time, your maind will wander and get stuck again in your thoughts, it is totally fine. Just focus back on your breathing….
Do this at least 5-10 minutes every day…. or more if you feel the need…. the goal is to learn to stop your mind control you….. It will take some time but day after day, if you practice regularly, you should feel better….
The pain of being cheated on is so numbing that you might forget about one very important fact.
And that’s that you have many other loved ones you can look up to.
Sure, your partner was a big part of your life.
But they weren’t your entire life.
You might have your parents, siblings, friends, work buddies, etc.
All these people have an important role to play in your life.
And you can definitely turn to them after what happened.
Every person needs a support system.
Sometimes, you just can’t be strong all by yourself.
You need reassuring words and the assurance that your life is indeed filled with a lot of love.
That’s when you have heart-to-heart conversations with your loved ones.
So, call someone or better yet, meet them and talk things through. Do not fear judgment of any kind. Don’t hesitate to share details if that’s what you want to do. In the end, you will end up feeling much better.
After your partner cheats on you and the relationship is over, you might be tempted to go on a casual relationship spree.
You might think that having rebounds will take your mind off of the situation and give you happiness and joy.
While casual relationships are okay and might help you move on and eventually find the right partner, you shouldn’t take this path for the wrong reasons.
Let me explain what I mean.
You might move from one casual partner to the next trying to subconsciously seek your lost partner in them. You might also try to make your partner jealous by being with a lot of mates.
These are obviously unhealthy traits.
And sooner or later, you will realize that this was the wrong thing to do.
At the end of the day, we need deep connections.
Superficial bonds are temporary and meaningless in the grand scheme of things.
Most people won’t admit it, but wanting to take revenge is normal after your partner has cheated on you.
In your mind, you want them to feel the same pain that you felt due to their betrayal.
You might even wish for something bad to happen to them.
Some people actually resort to revenge cheating just to get back at their partners.
Your vengeful thoughts and emotions might make you wonder whether you’re a bad person.
Well, unless you act upon these thoughts and cause harm to the other person, you are not evil.
You are just hurt.
So, no matter how badly you’ve been hurt, resist the temptation to take revenge.
I know it can be hard.
But be the better person.
Don’t do anything that goes against your principles.
Prove to your partner that they lost a good person… someone who wouldn’t take revenge even after being cheated on.
In time, they will truly regret what they did and your conscience will always be clear.
This is perhaps the single best advice anyone can give to you.
Most people take a turn for the worse and develop bad habits in the aftermath of the cheating.
It’s common for people to indulge in drugs, alcohol, sex, or overworking to distract themselves. Needless to say, this doesn’t work.
What works, though, is focusing on yourself in a healthy manner.
Once you accept what has happened, the only thing you can do is move on.
This is the best time to focus on your desires, needs, and wants.
Since you’ve been through a hurtful situation, it’s better to focus on your mental health for a while.
Think about what you need right now.
If you feel like crying, do that. Let it all out. If you feel like picking up a new hobby, that’s awesome!
Think about all the things you have wanted to do for a long time but couldn’t do for some reason.
Look, you are once again on your own now.
Instead of seeing this as a negative, try to see this as a positive.
You can again devote your time to self-growth. You can revisit your values, principles, attitudes, goals, dreams, and so on!
This is an extension of the previous point.
Instead of indulging in bad habits, try to indulge in self-care.
If you didn’t already know, self-care includes all the things you can do to take care of yourself so that you stay well physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Over time, these things make you fall in love with yourself and that’s where you want to be eventually.
So, sit down with a piece of paper and a pen. Then write down all the ways you would like to take care of yourself. If this is difficult, pretend that you’re making a list for your friend. How should they spend their day? What types of foods they should eat? What should their skin-care routine look like?
There are literally countless things you can do in this regard.
You could eat healthy food, take frequent naps, learn a musical instrument, get massages, practice meditation, seek therapy, read books, watch movies, and so on.
Over time, these seemingly little things will help you undo the damage that your partner left you with.
This is a must.
After being cheated on, it is only natural that your ability to trust will suffer.
You might become suspicious of everyone around you.
This could even extend to your family and friends. Of course, this is not the right thing to do, but in such a state of mind, it is understandable.
What you need to do is work on your trust issues.
If you don’t, you might risk distancing yourself from your loved ones.
Also, it might become very difficult for you to find someone new and establish a healthy relationship with them. You would always be paranoid and suspect everything they do or say.
So, how do you rebuild your ability to trust?
Well, for starters, avoid the temptation to snoop or cross-question other people.
When someone says something, try to understand what they are really saying, instead of what your mind “thinks” they are saying.
Also, you can take small emotional risks. For example, take someone at their word and see how that plays out. Gradually, your ability to trust will improve.
If you and your partner had been living together, you might want to change your environment for a while.
This is because everywhere you look in the house, you will be reminded of some of the other memories with your partner.
You will lament the times you had spent together and go into overdrive (mentally speaking).
To stop overthinking:
- you could go someplace else for a while.
- You could stay with your parents for a while or with a friend.
- You could also go for an extended vacation.
Or you could even move to an entirely new house if the memories are too much for you to handle.
This is especially advisable if you have decided to move on from your partner.
The change in environment can change your mental pattern and encourage you to form new memories.
If you’re not ready to do that with a romantic partner, you can certainly do that with your friends and family!
Journaling is one of the best things you can do to stop overthinking in its tracks.
This habit allows you to lay to rest your wildest thoughts and emotions.
Consider the pages of your journal the final resting place for all that you wish to discard.
One of the best benefits of journaling is that it helps you make sense of your psychological drama.
Instead of getting stuck in a loop, you’re able to conclude your thoughts, once and for all.
For some reason, there is a sense of finality to writing something down.
So, open up your journal and write everything that comes to mind. Don’t hold back even a little bit. Be honest, be authentic, and pour your heart out onto the pages.
You can also use your journal to track the improvements over time.
When you reread your thoughts, you will be able to tell that your mental health has improved over time.
From hopelessness and despair to aspirations and faith, there will be a definite shift in your emotional patterns.
Whenever you go through a traumatic experience, it has a huge negative impact on your mind.
It literally gets conditioned with new attitudes and thought patterns.
For example, when your partner cheats on you, it might make you believe that you are inadequate or that all people are cheaters.
It is quite easy for irrational beliefs to take root in your mind during painful times.
So, it’s important that you recondition your mind with positive beliefs and attitudes so that your life doesn’t get affected by your own negativity.
And one of the best ways to do that is by using positive affirmations.
These are short sentences that you can repeat to yourself over and over again.
For example, you can say affirmations like, “I am enough,” “Anyone would be lucky to have me as a partner,” “I am loved and loveable,” “I can begin again,” and so on.
I know it can sound silly but the idea is to work on a more subconscious level. ( But it does work)
Statements like these will slowly reprogram your subconscious mind into a more positive state.
And they will certainly stop you from overthinking your mind out!
Somewhere in your mind, you already know that not everybody’s the same.
Just because your partner cheated on you doesn’t mean that everyone else is a cheater too.
However, during that initial period, you might not think rationally.
And so, you might avoid relationships altogether.
Your mind might create all sorts of excuses to not trust people or to think that they will betray you too.
To stop this overthinking, you need to be a little brave.
You need to get out of your comfort zone, and be vulnerable with other people again.
You must allow them to care for you and make you feel loved again.
You must allow them to come closer instead of pushing them away.
When this starts happening, you will realize that your thoughts were irrational and a product of an overthinking mind.
Just ask yourself: why should I punish myself and other people just because of one person’s mistake?
And keep in mind that your some people cheat, some people are faithful.
Not everybody is the same and implying that everyone is a cheater or a liar because you have cheated on is somehow “ridiculous” and not fair to all the other people…. if you think of it.
One of the best things an overthinking mind likes to do is go down the “what if” rabbit hole.
As we all know by experience, there is no end to the what-if questions.
When you get betrayed by your partner, you might especially be tempted to go down that road.
- What if I am unlovable?
- What if I never find true love again?
- What if my future partner does the same?
You need to realize that these questions are meaningless.
Asking them won’t change the past.
And it certainly won’t have any effect on the future. It will only make your life hard.
So, realize the futility of these questions and stop.
I know that’s easier said than done, but if you intervene whenever your mind starts going down that road, you will eventually be able to control these thoughts.
Most people only know about the physical benefits of exercise.
They are simply not aware that it has tons of benefits for your mental health as well!
For instance, it can ward off stress, anxiety, and even depression.
When you exercise, your brain releases feel-good hormones that promote happiness and joy.
What’s even more impressive is that physical exercise helps you get a good night’s sleep (which might be much-needed if you remain restless during the night due to overthinking).
Plus, when you exercise, you remain in good physical shape.
This enhances your confidence and you just feel better about yourself.
So, if you hadn’t thought of this before, you should definitely craft a physical fitness regime for yourself. This doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym.
You can do some workouts in your home, go jogging, cycle around the neighborhood, and so on. The idea is to move your body and get your heart going.
When you make big and meaningful changes, that signals to your brain that it is time to think about the future.
As such, it reorganizes itself as per your new priorities.
This is where switching up your routine comes into play.
When you create new routines, your mind may stop overthinking and use its energy to focus on something new and refreshing.
Since this task is quite challenging, it keeps the mind occupied.
Also, when you change your routine, you are not reminded of how you used to go about your day with your partner around.
You are merely focused on how you want to live next.
You can also use this opportunity to integrate self-care practices into your daily life.
From morning to night, you can divide your day in such a way that you’re able to tend to all aspects of your life: health, work, finances, fulfillment, relationships, and so on.
This one is pretty self-explanatory.
After any event that sucks out your life, you need to rejuvenate.
Not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally.
Infidelity has a drastic impact on your entire life and you need to get things back in order. Otherwise, you risk falling into a dark stage and doing things that you will certainly not be proud of in the future.
You could start your journey of healing by taking a break.
And that means a complete break. No work, no nothing.
Perhaps the best way to go about it is by going on a vacation.
Is there a place where you had been itching to go but never quite managed to?
Well, this is your chance. Trust me, meeting new people, eating new varieties of food, sightseeing, and just being outside will have a healing impact on your mind.
If this is not possible for you, you could take a week off from work and just be on your own (if that’s what works for you).
If not, you could stay with your family or friends. You could also get yourself a pet. That is always a fun way to take your mind off of things!
Let me tell you straight away that this is going to be tough.
When you try to forgive your partner, your mind will immediately interject and question, “Why should I… after all they did to me?”
This obviously is a valid question.
Why should you forgive someone who didn’t care for your feelings?
But hear me out. You should forgive them… not for them, but for yourself.
You should forgive them so that you can cut that emotional chord with them and finally move on with your life.
Isn’t that something you want to do? Don’t you want to be happy again? Don’t you want to let go of the burden that’s sitting on your shoulder?
Well, be the bigger person and forgive your partner.
You don’t even have to tell them.
Just do it in your heart and that’s it.
When you genuinely do it, you will feel much lighter. There won’t be any resentment and you’ll be able to start your life anew.