Whether you've dealt with many indiscretions from one person or wound up with a series of individuals prone to stepping outside the relationship boundaries, being cheated on hurts, and it can affect your sense of self. You may feel stuck in this emotionally damaging pattern and unable to determine why this keeps happening to you. To recover your happiness and work toward better dating situations in the future, examine your own mindset, signals and self-esteem.
Be Whole, Not Half
If you seem to attract one cheater after another, it may be time to take a dating break. In the wake of a painful breakup, particularly one brought about by infidelity, you may feel especially vulnerable and self-doubting. Monmouth psychology professor Gary Lewandowski and his co-author, peer adviser Miranda E. Bobrowski, report in the Science of Relationships article "Relationships 101: Having Healthy Relationships in Your First Year of College" that the best thing to do following a breakup is to put dating on hold, resist any impulses to get back together with your ex, and simply take time to bolster your sense of self.
Attracting a Good Apple
After a breakup with one individual, it's all too easy to attract someone new who fits your accustomed pattern and responds to the emotional damage you're exuding, says therapist Michele O'Mara in “Dating Again, After a Breakup.” In order to have a healthy, faithful relationship, you need to attract -- and be attracted to -- someone whose personal values align with your own and who is mature enough to handle a romantic relationship. Until you have sorted out your own issues from being cheated on in the past, you are unlikely to attract such a person because your emotional distress signals will overpower your other characteristics.
Patching Your Self-Esteem
People naturally, though inadvertently, seek out those who back up the way they look at the world, say Lewandowski and Bobrowski. Over time, a pattern of poor treatment from a dating partner may convince you, or solidify your existing belief, that you are not worthy of a more rewarding relationship. If your self-esteem has hit a low point, try naming your many positive traits and reminding yourself that others' treatment of you does not make up who you are. If these measures don't help, consider talking with a school counselor, a trusted relative, or even a therapist, to help you see yourself as a valuable individual again.
Trust Yourself First
Even if you're in a relationship with someone who demonstrates loyalty, you may have trouble trusting this person because you find it difficult to trust your own intuition. Therapist Tammy Nelson in the Psych Central article “How Can You Rebuild Trust When Your Partner Cheats?” says reliance on your inner voice is often a casualty when you've been cheated on. To again build confidence in your ability to sense when something is wrong, try to distinguish your voice of wisdom from your voice of fear: the one that constantly provokes worry without reason.
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