Last week I talked about the specific pain that comes when a partner cheats.
I shared the first step in how to get over a breakup after cheating, which was learning to recognise that the betrayal isn’t about you. If you missed that post, click here to read.
As promised, this week I am sharing the second discovery I made while healing from my own divorce after an affair.
No.2 – Don’t Expect To Get Closure From Your Ex
I recently wrote about how you cannot get breakup closure by looking to your ex for explanations, and this holds especially true after cheating.
Your ex’s perspective will informed by their own hurts, triggers and version of the relationship. This is why they can never give you an objective, satisfactory understanding for why you have been betrayed.
A person who crosses clear boundaries of trust in a relationship is not acting from a healthy place; they have emotional limitations. This is not an excuse for them, simply a fact.
If you try to make sense of what happened by asking your ex partner for answers you will not get the closure you seek.
Here’s what may happen instead:
~ You’ll be told they cheated because you couldn’t meet their needs (as discussed in the first post)
~ They are guilt-wracked and remorseful. This leads to you become torn between compassion for them and trying to sort out your own emotional fallout from what they did
~Your ex tells you more lies, leaving you confused and doubting yourself
~If they have cheated before, they see it as an opportunity to offload further guilt with stories of previous betrayals. These hurtful disclosures are possibly ones you need never have known about, now that the relationship is over.
~They may withhold or shut down completely. This will add to your frustrations and feelings of being left in the dark.
It’s normal to want to reopen the wound again and again, working out the when and how of the deception. We often want to know details we think will help (“was she more attractive than me?” “did you ever bring him here?” “were you online talking to them while I was upstairs asleep?”)
It’s obsessive and not useful, but it’s natural. Ask yourself why you want to know.
Usually it’s a way of trying to claw back some sense of control when we have been rendered powerless. But it’s a false sense of power. Your ex will always be in control of how much you know. And however much information you have, you can do nothing to change the past.
Your power actually comes from turning the exploration inwards.
When you focus on what’s within your control, you start to feel empowered and here are my most effective tips:
- Concentrate on your actions, your mindset and the way you respond to events. This will give you closure in a way that your ex partner never can
- Work on exploring your truth (of the relationship, the cheating, the breakup) not someone else’s version of your experience.
- The perspective from which we view a situation truly matters. Read this post to learn how to reframe your view of the rejection.
You will notice your healing makes huge inroads when you shift your focus away from your ex and back onto yourself.
In next weeks post, I share the last of my discoveries about moving on after cheating. It is potentially one of the most challenging, but it freed me of the deep resentment I was holding about being wronged.
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With love and support,
Ready To Move Forward With A Focus On YOU?