How to deal with infidelity

Why do we find it so hard to let go - even when we can see and feel the damage the grudge is causing?

Holding on to emotional hurt is bad for your health. Experts claim it can damage all aspects of life, encouraging depression, digestive problems, exacerbating fatigue, lowering immunity and even causing physical pain. Debbie Willimott explores ways to budge the grudge of being cheated on, and devise a plan to make peace and move on for good

Why it hurts
We are most vulnerable in our romantic relationships, which is why it stings so much when we're wronged. “This issue tends to be more painful for women,” says US relationship expert and therapist, Dr Kathleen Nickerson. “Women carry a greater burden associated with romance - romantic relationships can lead to pregnancy and childbirth - so women are very choosy when it comes to getting involved. As such, we are especially upset when a romantic partner wrongs us.”

How to let go
“Cutting all contact is advisable,” says US life coach and counsellor, Joanna Fee, “unless there is a very important reason not to - such as your ex-boyfriend is the son of your father's best friend. If detachment isn’t possible, be polite, but limit contact to the bare minimum. Get focused on you, your life, and your health. Think about how you now want to change your relationship behaviour. Do you want someone with different qualities? Or to take things more slowly?”
“You can have a little ‘funeral’ for the memories that are haunting you,” adds Joanna. “Gather up notes, mementos, pictures - anything that haunts you - then take these to the trash, tossing each item in one at a time, saying an affirmation as you let each go. For example, you might toss in a photo of you and your ex while saying (either out loud or to yourself), ‘I looked beautiful that night and I am proud of myself for being loving and honest.’ The goal is to replace your bad memories with positive statements.” 

The benefit of letting go
Relationship baggage helps fine- tune your wish list for the qualities you're wishing for in a partner - it also helps you to be more selective in future. “Use your experiences to make wiser choices and as a learning tool - learn from your mistakes to choose someone who is a better fit for you next time,” says Joanna.

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The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read our Medical Notice.