Contributed by Rebecca Smith, M.A., L.C.P.C., C.S.A.T.
You did what?! With whom? How many times?
I meet with several students each day, and unfortunately cheating is an issue that’s brought up a lot. Many students have been cheated on in the past, and a common mistake is asking for too much information (TMI).
What do I mean by that? Well, when you’ve caught your boyfriend or girlfriend cheating, it can become an obsession to find out all the details. Questions blow through your mind at lightening speed. You want to know what that other person looks like, how long they’ve been hooking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, where they would meet. You probably also want to know how it started, what your boyfriend or girlfriend said, and what the other person said. Details, details, you want all the details!!!
Most of those details are TMI and could do more harm than good for you to know, especially all the sexually-explicit details. Many times your imagination will create fantasies that are worse than what really happened. Additionally, once you know certain aspects, you can’t “un-know” them, and knowing the truth could drive you just as wild, if not more so. If your imagination is continuing to go crazy, you may want to talk to a counselor to find out how to stop torturing yourself.
While there are certain details that are TMI, some things you have a right to know: how it started and for how long it’s been going on; who it was and if it was more than one person; if the people involved used protection and if they’ve been tested for a sexually transmitted infection; if it was a sexual affair, an emotional affair, or both; and most importantly, if it’s really over between your boyfriend or girlfriend and the other person.
Being cheated on is a devastating thing to go through, and the recovery process takes time whether you stay in that relationship or not. If you choose to stay in the relationship, you will need to find a way to rebuild trust. The urge to pay the person back by either cheating on them or hurting them in some other way will be great. Find a healthy way to process your feelings of anger or depression. The goal is to move forward no matter what.
Also, stop blaming yourself! It’s not your fault that someone cheated on you. If you feel there are things you did wrong in the relationship, work on correcting them. That still doesn’t excuse your boyfriend or girlfriend’s behavior. Focus on what you can control and try to stop obsessing, blaming, and hating. Those emotions are draining, and they don’t change anything. Figure out what your choices are, and do your best to make the best choice for you. Hang in there!
Have you ever been cheated on? Tell me your story and what you did to rebuild trust or rebuild yourself in the comments. For more information on sexually transmitted infections and healthy relationships, visit the Sexual Health section of MyStudentBody.