Last Updated on November 26, 2022 by Angela Vaz
I was cheated on by my ex-husband who I was with for over 9 years.
It was messy, it was disturbing and I was broken.
It took me a long time to recover from that incident and learn to trust people again.
Getting cheated on isn’t easy.
More than the person committing the physical act with someone, it’s about the lies and the breaking of trust between you and your partner.
It can feel very traumatizing especially if you never saw it coming or it happened as if from nowhere.
You’ll have mixed emotions of anger, betrayal, hurt and shame, and probably more.
In this post, I want to discuss how to get over the fear of being cheated on.
I am going to draw from my own experiences as I write this post.
I’ve covered several topics on cheating and I’ll link to them at the bottom of the post if you are interested.
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1. Realize that not everybody cheats
If you have this fear, chances are you’ve either been cheated on or someone close to you has been cheated on and that fear has set in.
Or you’re hearing too many stories of deceit, and affairs and you’re worried that it will happen to you.
The first thing you need to understand is that not everybody cheats.
There are good people in this world who want to have a long-term relationship with their partner and are worthy of that trust, respect, and love.
I remember coming out of that bad relationship and having a drink with my girl friends who told me “all guys cheat.”
I was stunned but I slowly and carefully said, “No, all men don’t cheat. Some men do, and I chose one who did.”
If you believe that all people cheat or all people are deceitful, you are never going to be able to trust anyone.
You have to change that thinking pattern and believe that there are good, honorable people who don’t lie.
I’m not saying that the next relationship you have will be fruitful and will last forever.
But if you date someone who respects and loves you, even if the relationship doesn’t work out – they will be honest enough to tell you and break up with you before moving on to another person.
And also, if you have been through the pain of being cheated on, know that there are many others who have been through the same pain you have.
They are the people that will most likely never cheat because they know how horrible that feeling is.
2. Work on your self-esteem
If you believe that you aren’t worthy of love or relationships, you are going to attract predators, womanizers, and maybe even narcissists.
When I was in college, I was insecure.
I was insecure about my acne (I still have acne, but it doesn’t affect my self-esteem now), and my looks.
My roommate was getting asked out a lot and it did affect me because I was the person every guy approached to get closer to her.
It was heart-wrenching and instead of working on myself, I pined for a relationship.
I was vulnerable and naive.
And this led me to choose my first ex.
The same ex who took me for granted, walked all over me and cheated on me with multiple women and prostitutes while being married to me.
My point is if you are vulnerable and lack self-confidence – you are going to be a BIG target for womanizers and predators.
These types of people can sense your vulnerability immediately.
They will often test you by being kind (doing the bare minimum) or offering you a slight compliment.
Based on your reaction, they will begin to understand what kind of person you are.
They’ll say things like:
- You’re one of the most beautiful people I’ve met
- I’ve never met a person like you
- I’ve never told this to anyone, but…
Watch out for these types of compliments. They’ll come on the first few dates when they know absolutely nothing about you.
And if you answer like:
- Oh, nobody has ever told me that.
- I can’t believe it. I’m sure I’m not as good-looking as other people.
They will understand that you are very delicate and they can manipulate you very easily.
If you want to have a strong relationship with someone, become strong.
Build your self-esteem.
Start loving and accepting yourself for who you are.
Focus on your strengths and start building skills that you value.
3. Stop people-pleasing
After being cheated on, I felt like my self-confidence took a massive blow.
I became a mess.
I started doing favors for people and bending over backward to please people because I was desperate for friends and companionship.
I felt a void within myself and I wanted to be in everyone’s good books.
I couldn’t say no to anyone.
I lent people money, I spent months on the phone with friends who had bad relationships and wanted advice, and I’d drop everything I was doing just to meet people who were bored and wanted to “kill time.”
Needless to say, those friends didn’t stick around for very long.
Most of them were using me and it took me a while to discover who were my genuine friends. I let go of all the toxic friends.
Learn how to say no to people
Learn how to respect your time and your life.
You need to value your time, your goals, and your peace of mind.
If you don’t feel like going to a party, it’s okay to say no.
If you don’t feel like going out on a date, it’s okay to say no.
If you don’t feel like meeting your friends, it’s okay to say no.
The more you say no to things you don’t want to do, the more you’re saying YES to the things you want to do.
4. Heal before you start dating again
If you are constantly filled with fear or you aren’t over a particular ex, take a long break from dating.
Do not date because it is simply going to go south.
If you haven’t healed from your previous relationship and you start dating, you are going to make yourself vulnerable to womanizers and predators.
They will prey on the hurt that you are experiencing from having just come out of a relationship.
They will say all the right things to get close to you.
When we are hurting and when we haven’t healed from our previous relationship, our vision is skewed.
We cannot see with clarity and we don’t have a good perspective.
Anyone who shows you even a tiny bit of kindness will come across as an amazing person.
You’ll start comparing them to your ex and you’ll begin to think that they might be the right person for you.
You’ll end up wearing your heart on your sleeve, or you’ll cover it under a huge wall of bricks.
Either way, if you haven’t healed, you won’t have a good dating experience.
No future partner you date should bear the brunt of the hurt and pain that you’re feeling over your ex.
I remember going out with a man who wouldn’t stop talking about his ex.
It was clear he wasn’t over her and on our second date he got drunk and collapsed while I tried to walk him outside.
It wasn’t pretty.
5. Take some time to figure out what you want
Please understand that honesty and respect are the two basic qualities of a monogamous relationship.
It’s not asking for much.
But it is quite difficult to find because not many people actually know what they want.
Many people date just because they don’t want to be alone.
This is not a good reason to date.
If you are dating, let it be because you have some final goal – like getting into a loving and committed relationship.
But spend some time thinking about what qualities you want in a future partner. This is not an exercise you can do in 5 minutes – take your time with it.
And whatever happens, don’t compromise on those qualities.
If you’re looking for someone who is kind and loves animals, don’t pursue dating someone who hates dogs and cats and can’t stand them.
If you want kids in the future, don’t date someone who says off the bat that they are not interested in having children – unless having kids is an option for you.
By knowing what you want and having the courage to pursue someone you know is compatible with you, you are eliminating everyone that is not right for you.
This will set up strong filters when you are dating.
6. Take it slowly
Dating is data collection.
You don’t need to promise yourself to a person on the first date.
It takes months to fall in love and the first few months of dating should be spent getting to know a person.
Don’t bother about chemistry.
If a person is saying all the right things on the first date and isn’t shy or awkward, chances are they just have a lot of experience dating.
It’s okay if it’s awkward and you feel no sparks.
Give them a chance – as long as they are:
- compatible with you
- shares similar goals and aspirations
- displaying qualities like kindness, respect, and honesty
- are passionate about many things in life
- showing a genuine interest in getting to know you
These are all qualities you need to pay attention to.
Take notes, and if possible maintain a journal.
Write down what you like about the person and pay attention to red flags.
If you are enjoying their company and the conversation, move forward to the next date.
Don’t jump too much into the future and take it slowly.
Please understand that trust is built with time.
I am with a very good man who I love and respect and the feelings are mutual with him.
But I didn’t learn everything about him in a day.
It took me months to understand this person and even after living with him, it took me a few more months to see what he was really like.
The only way you can learn about a person is by spending more and more time with them.
People cannot put on an act for more than a couple of months.
With time, their facade (if they are putting one on) falls off and they expose their true identities.
So, don’t be in a rush to find the next Mr/Mrs. right.
Give it time, and take it easy.
7. Be okay with being single
If you are in a hurry to find a partner, you are going to rush and this is going to lead you to make hasty and bad decisions.
Be okay with being single.
Please understand that you don’t have to live up to societal pressure or societal norms – this is not going to bring you lasting happiness.
Instead, focus on your own journey and your own happiness.
Don’t tie your self-worth to your relationship status.
Being single doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you or you’re not good enough.
It simply means that you haven’t found the right person yet.
Those who are brave leave bad relationships, and these are often people who are single in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and so on.
There are single people of all ages.
Normalize being single.
Normalize being on your own.
I remember how worried I was after my second relationship fell apart.
I was 28 years old and I was panicking because I felt I needed to be in a relationship before 30.
This only caused more anxiety – it didn’t help in any way.
You cannot rush this process.
You cannot jumpstart love.
When you find a person that you are compatible with and wants the same things you do, then you can begin a beautiful relationship with them.
When I got used to being single and didn’t put my life on hold, that’s when I met my current partner.
I’m glad it took me longer because that wait taught me to be patient and not put my life on hold.
I now have a healthy relationship with my partner where we don’t feel the need to be joined at the hips to feel loved.
We both share good laughs and communicate well but we respect each other when we want space or want to work on our individual goals.
8. Realize that some things are out of your control
If you aren’t in a rush and take your time to get to know the person before you begin a relationship, you are minimizing your chances of being cheated on – it’s a fact.
But know this – how a person chooses to act is not in your control.
You cannot control another person – that’s not what relationships are about.
Being in a relationship requires some amount of flexibility – you cannot watch your partner 24/7 or monitor their movements.
That’s a toxic relationship.
Nor can you yell at them and force them to do things your way – that becomes toxic again.
That’s why dating should be done slowly.
As you get to know the person, trust is slowly built between both of you.
And as you build trust and mutual respect, the question of cheating almost completely goes away.
When you are with someone who respects you and loves you, they will respect you enough, to be honest with you.
You need to be okay with hearing the truth.
You need to be okay with not being able to control everything.
Worrying about your partner’s behavior and constantly obsessing over their whereabouts is going to strain the relationship.
I have a friend who was constantly worried about her partner cheating.
She couldn’t tolerate it if he spoke to the opposite sex for a little longer than what she considered “normal” and she’d constantly yell at him if he didn’t give her attention when she wanted it.
Needless to say, their relationship is rocky.
Realize that in order to have a successful relationship, you will have to learn to trust again.
And it’s okay to take your time to build that trust slowly. Take your time.
There is no rush.
9. Note their actions, not their words
We, humans, are flawed because we do pay attention to looks and words most of the time.
With time and experience, we learn to look at subtleties.
If you have enough experience with people, you’ll notice that some people just seem off to you.
You’re not able to put your finger on it, but some people just feel right.
They might look okay and say all the right things, but deep down you feel like you can’t trust them.
Have you ever wondered why this is?
It’s because your subconscious has already picked up the red flags that they are exhibiting via their body language and is trying to tell you that they are not okay.
Our subconscious has no way of directly communicating with our conscious minds.
So, trust your gut if you feel like you can’t trust someone.
Similarly, note a person’s actions – not their words.
If they say they are going to do something, do they do it?
If they are often saying nice things, how often does that translate to actions and deeds?
These are all ways you get to know a real person for what they are.
Note how they behave with people in the service industry. Watch how they interact with animals and children.
Watch how they communicate with people who have opposing views.
Do they treat them with kindness, patience, and respect?
Or is it just the opposite?
All these things are ways you make sure that the person you are with has morals and abides by them.
10. Be open to communication
Everyone says that communication is important – I agree 100%.
And I know so many people who are good at communicating but they’re often terrible listeners.
Just as important as it is to communicate, it is also important to listen with an open mind.
When your partner feels like they can talk to you, you become their confidante.
When they feel scared or are battling personal issues, you should be the first person they talk to.
This builds a strong foundation for your relationship.
Most people who cheat do so because of insecurity.
And as they become more and more insecure, they start withdrawing from their partners emotionally and then physically before finding other people whom they feel will understand them better.
This distance is created slowly.
Everyone has insecurities.
But how we learn to deal with them makes all the difference.
So, improve your communication skills.
Learn to talk to your partner.
It’s so tempting to pull away when we are going through raw emotions – but you have to do the opposite.
Crash into your partner instead and tell them everything that’s happening in your mind.
Remember, they aren’t mind-readers.
They’re human just like you.
Likewise, find someone that you can talk to – someone that listens and doesn’t take offense to everything you say, someone who doesn’t project their fears on you, someone that doesn’t gaslight you.
Find someone who is emotionally mature enough to communicate with you and listen.
11. Support your partner
The best way to overcome the fear of being cheated on is to be super supportive and loving.
It’s so easy to often blame the person who is cheating.
But I know that in many cases of infidelity, there is a long period of time when one partner feels unloved.
I’m not saying that it’s your duty to make your partner happy.
Everyone’s happiness is dependent on their own self.
But being supportive and loving is what will strengthen the relationship.
It will help your partner be more open to you.
When your partner realizes that they can depend on you and talk to you about anything, there are practically zero resentments being built.
There is nothing to hide.
This is the mark of a healthy relationship.
It is possible to get over the fear of being cheated on.
I know how afraid I was but with time, I was able to get over it and slowly open my heart to love.
I hope this post helped you understand how you can get over the fear of being cheated on.
And I hope that you are able to open your heart to love.
This is not a topic I can cover in one post, so, I’m going to link to more helpful resources:
- Boyfriend cheated on you with his ex, should you take him back?
- Does he love you if he cheats on his girlfriend with you?
- 7 reasons why a husband just leaves for no reason
- What to say to the woman he’s cheating on you with
- What I did when I found out my ex was cheating on me
- My wife cheated on me and wants to reconcile, what do I do?
- My cheating ex wants to be friends, what do I do?
- How to recover after a toxic relationship
- How to love yourself as a single woman
- 17 signs your partner doesn’t respect or value you
- 17 signs he only wants you for your body
- 21 signs he thinks you’re not good enough
- I thought he was the one: What I did after losing him
- How to rebuild your life after losing everything that matters
- Struggling with singleness? Read this
- How to recover from a toxic relationship
- Will I ever find love again? Yes, here’s why
- How to prepare yourself for a relationship and find love
- Will I ever find someone better than my ex? Yes, read this
- 7 books to read after a painful breakup
- 13 signs you are healing from a painful breakup