We’ve all had a close friend or a loved one with a horror story of being cheated on in relationships. It’s a heartbreaking and devastating experience that leaves the other person emotionally wrecked and vulnerable. The person cheated on needs all the comfort and reassurance they can get. So the next time you have a friend going through the same experience, here’s how to help a friend through infidelity and get them back on their feet.
Assure them it’s not their fault
Probably the first thing you have to assure your friend is that it’s never their fault they got cheated on. They got cheated on because their partner made a conscious decision to cheat. Regardless of whether the relationship is failing, cheating will never be an option. Their partner could’ve talked with them to fix what’s wrong first or expressed the desire to break up before going after another person.
Ask them what they need
The most important thing you could do for a friend is to be there when they need you the most. But you also have to be careful that you won’t overstep your concern. Before you do anything — rush to their house and stay by their side for the next 24 hours or even organize a “breakup” party with all your friends — ask them what they need. Does your friend need space and silence to process what just happened? Do they need to go get some vitamin sea ASAP? Or maybe they just want you to sit beside them and be a shoulder to cry on.
You’ll be tempted to badmouth the cheater — they hurt someone you loved after all. But you should restrain yourself. The person cheated on has enough to deal with already, they don’t need friends telling them their versions of “I told you so.” Reassure your friend that you won’t be judgemental or condescending and that they can lean on you anytime they need to.
But sometimes, you have to take the reins
Your friend might withdraw into themselves and reject connecting with others, even friends and family. It’s normal to enter into a grieving period but as a responsible friend, you have to make sure your friend remains healthy even in this stage. That might mean dragging them out to eat, walk around, or gently pushing them to get back on their feet.
Hold them back from doing things they’ll regret doing
Like revenge. They don’t need that. No matter how tempting it is to throw eggs at their cheating ex’s house, expose them on social media, or even get into a rebound relationship, it’s never a good idea to get revenge. Your friend might find this a solution in their grieving state but it’s a temporary fix. They’ll end up hurting themselves more and even hurting innocent people in the process.
Assure them that they’re loved
Someone who has been cheated on will have a pretty low self-esteem after the fact. It’s inevitable. Your friend might think that they’re not attractive, charming, or loveable. But that’s where you have to step in and remind your friend that they’re not at fault here. They’re not the ones who sabotaged a relationship based on selfish whims. They’re not the ones who don’t know the definition of what it is to be a decent human being.
Help them rebuild their trust in others
Cheating ruins not only the relationship but also emotionally wrecks the person being cheated on. We’ve mentioned that it might result in low self-esteem but the aftermath could also affect the person’s willingness to trust others. If someone hurts you, the tendency is to think that others will do the same. Remind your friend that that’s not true. Although you can’t promise them that they won’t get hurt in the future, you can assure them that not everyone is as selfish as their ex.
Help them focus on the future
When something traumatic happens to a person, they often feel like they won’t get to move on from it. It feels like they’re going to exist in the pain and get stranded at that moment forever. You have to help your friend realize that’s not true. All the pain and heartbreak will pass. Help them look to the future, one where they will eventually find their happiness again.
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