How do I get over feeling replaced?

Breakup after infidelity - 10 tips to regain control of your life

It is what it is: your partner has cheated, you are facing the shards of your relationship.

  • Not sure how to get over being cheated on?
  • Are you tormenting yourself with details of the affair and constantly brooding?
  • Have you been abandoned by your partner because of an affair, but are far from finished with him?

As long as the actual relationship lasted, it actually takes that long to really get over it, say experts. That is of course a shallow consolation - after all, with eight years of marriage that would mean eight years of aftermath. It's not that bad either, it may be a long way to digest everything - but it is a process in which many steps lead to the goal and healing is slow but steady. Even if you can't believe it now, you will get over it! These pieces of advice may help you with that.

10 expert tips on how to survive a breakup after infidelity

1. Get out of the victim role - make friends with other singles!

The love fraud is exposed, everything comes out and your partner is gone. For now, put the numbers and statistics aside and take this: For some unfaithful partners, the affair is something of a stepping stone to leave the relationship. Tragic, says the American infidelity expert Shirley Glass. Then the real intention, namely to continue the affair, is often masked by lame excuses, such as: "I need some distance" or "That has nothing to do with you". You may be ready to forgive your infidelity and work together to see how it came about. But in this scenario you have next to no chance: Before you have even sorted your thoughts, the decision has already been made - you definitely do not have a say or even the power to maintain your relationship. A terrible situation, especially if you embrace the role of victim. In the beginning, says Glass, it is important that you feel your anger, your discouragement and yes: yourself as a victim. After all, something bad happened to you from your point of view. But after a while it is more important that you wonder if you want to get stuck in it. If you persist in anger, you become bitter; if you foster punishment fantasies, punish yourself. If you get stuck in pain, you give your ex-partner power over your feelings. And if you then wallow in self-pity, you are totally incapacitated. The antidote to the feeling of being a victim consists in the conscious formation of one's own inner resources and goals. You know that you can survive even in the face of enormous obstacles, so step by step you will become more and more independent. It will take time to feel whole again, but you do not have to tackle your healing on your own either. Glass says the most important thing you can do (especially if your children are not living with you) is to make friends with other singles. And look for like-minded people - but not unhappy abandoned people who will drag you down even more. But people who have already been through and survived a separation through infidelity. That's encouraging! Expert tip from the book: The Psychology of Infidelity

2. Allow yourself a little malice!

Has your partner left you for the affair? Then take this to heart: Only a fraction of the relationships that arise from infidelity will be happy. Andrew G. Marshall knows this all too well. The British couples therapist thinks that if a secondary relationship suddenly becomes official, then two things will happen: First, the secret relationship loses its charm (after all, it is no longer secret anymore). In addition, the affair partner, who previously only made his chocolate sides visible, shows his real face - and with it the infamous everyday life returns to the love story. Even a couple whose love was so great that other relationships were sacrificed for it will sooner or later have to overcome the hurdles of a real partnership and master the challenge of turning a relationship that was exciting per se into an everyday box of two. Just imagine what nice, little disappointments that fresh love affair awaits. Even if it's not the fine English way: A little mischief is sure to temporarily do you good. And one more thing: Are you afraid of never finding someone again? After an ugly relationship, some people fear that they will be alone forever and ever. But that's not the case, says Marshall: Anyone who has had a breakup and thus a solid, committed relationship is much more likely to find a new partner than someone who has never been in a relationship ... Expert tip from the book: Can I tell you ever trust again?

3. Be glad you made a decision!

Do you know what is really the worst in such a situation? When no decision is made. Hang-ups, according to Ulrich Clement, can drag on for months: Then everything remains unexplained and you are caught in the stressful triple constellation. Leaving everything open, writes Clement, could also be a decision. But for you this is the worst of all. If your partner vacillates between their affair and your long-standing relationship, you will get into an ongoing conflict. Should you pull the rip cord on your own (and risk that the relationship is over, even though your partner doesn't want to leave you) or join the theater and wait for the infidelity to be decided? You shouldn't fool yourself - you aren't making conscious decisions here, no: you make yourself and your feelings dependent on those of the other. In doing so, you give up all power and submit to that of the other. This is not supposed to sound cynical now, but be glad that the results are clear and that you are not being held up. This gives you the freedom to leave the past behind and look ahead. Expert tip from the book: When love is cheating

4. Let go of your ex-relationship!

No question about it: being abandoned is one of the greatest hurts we can experience. We want to be loved in all our facets, if we are so obviously rejected and exchanged for the affair, a feeling of worthlessness arises almost automatically, says psychotherapist Bärbel Wardetzki. How can you be a lovable, attractive person when you've been abandoned? What are you missing for your partner to give preference to another person? Anyone who does not have such thoughts after a breakup is endowed with extremely good self-esteem. Most of us lack just that, says Wardetzki. We doubt ourselves and of course we take love fraud to heart - as proof of our own worthlessness. You absolutely have to find out! As with all other rejections, even after a breakup you are more or less forced to deal with this fact and your feelings about it. How severe the actual hurt turns out to be depends on you, your previous history, your experience. The important thing is that you first honestly accept the breakup - by letting go of your relationship. Don't run after your partner, don't get bogged down in negative thought loops like "what does the other have that I don't?" Make sure you reflect on yourself: Because you are worth it! Expert tip from the book: Slap in the face for the soul

5. What is good for you now? Brainstorm in the morning!

Perhaps your grief will subside a little in the evening, but when you wake up at the latest it will be there again: the sad despair over the immense loss you have suffered (or believe you have suffered). The morning is particularly problematic for people in a life crisis. The whole day is still ahead of you, the grace of sleep may have provided a little break for thought, but now they are back: all your problems. In difficult life situations, it is extremely important to take good care of yourself instead of waiting for others to do it or have to, says Roland Kopp-Wichmann. There may even be someone out there to do that, but that is no substitute for taking care of yourself. You probably know that. But how do you do it? First of all, you know best what is good for you - you just have to manage to get hold of these positive sources. For some people these are very elementary things like good food, sleeping or jogging. Shopping is good for others, activities, distracting visits to the cinema. Now is the time to make a point of figuring out where to start. You have no control over your thoughts about the affair or the end of the relationship. But how long you have been doing it. Kopp-Wichmann's tip for a better start to the day: Do a little brainstorming, ask yourself the following question every morning while still in bed: What are three things I can do today to make me feel good? Book: Cheated? Ways out of chaos

6. "Bury" your ex-partner!

Breaking up is a process, make sure you understand that. Even if everything went pretty quickly for you in the end. The discovery of the affair, the decision, the consequences - for the majority of those who have been betrayed, this comes out of the blue. There are harbingers, signs, processes of alienation within the relationship. But that's only marginally of interest to us here, it is important that you make yourself clear: saying goodbye to your ex-partnership is difficult, but it has to be. And he's always radical, says Arnold Retzer. Regardless of how it came about and how you feel about it: separating means: being separated. Let the other go their own way, even if it is damned difficult. And go even further: A failed relationship is like a death, says Retzer. That's why you can deal with it like this: You have lost something irretrievably, say goodbye to it. It is inevitable that you go through tough phases of grief in the process. After the shock of your partner's infidelity and the intention to separate, comes disbelief (it can't be!), Then anger (how could he do this to me?), Then grief is only possible. That is, when you understand that attempts at resuscitation in your relationship are in vain. Retzer advises: Treat your ex-partnership like a corpse that you have to bring underground. Bury the hopes and illusions associated with this love - only then can you dare to start over. Expert tip from the book: Praise the marriage of convenience

7. Get your ex-partner out of sight - but not completely out of mind!

It has become popular - what could be more natural than doing tabula rasa now? Away with all the memories, out with all the gifts, letters, photos - what you no longer have in front of your eyes can no longer hurt. Unfortunately it is not so. On the contrary: the faster you destroy your past by throwing away everything that reminds you of this time, the more stubbornly your emotional life may steer against it. It is understandable that after the breakup you do not want to be reminded of what happened at every turn. It is also sensible that you create an environment that leaves as little space as possible for pain. Nevertheless, this is exactly where you have to go: through a deep valley of pain. American couples therapist John Gottman recommends that you do not get carried away with skipping actions. When a breakup is inevitable, people often had a tendency to get cynical, condemn the past, and mess the whole relationship (even if it lasted many years). This also includes destroying all things from the relationship, throwing away wedding rings or radically breaking off contact with mutual friends. Better take your distance first, give yourself time to sort things out for yourself and keep mementos from your relationship in a safe place. At some point you may be happy to look back - after all, this relationship is also part of your life, even if the breakup was particularly tough because of the infidelity. Let yourself be helped, you shouldn't go through it alone - if you don't have anyone you know you can trust, you should think about professional help. And believe: the moment will come when you can and want to remember - without anger and hatred. Because how you twist and turn it: This failed relationship is an integral part of your biography and therefore belongs to you. Expert tip from the book: The measurement of love

8. An affair is not a rescue measure, fight against dangerous hopes!

What you need now is comfort, in every form available. In doing so, you shouldn't make certain mistakes. Because sooner or later they could be dangerous for you. Like that an affair - even if it leads to a temporary breakup - can revive your relationship. The single coach Christian Thiel thinks this view is fundamentally wrong. Only rarely can infidelity really save the partnership or lead it into new waters. It is more likely to have a negative and destructive effect on the relationship. Sorry if we're taking the last glimmer of hope away from you, but you'd better face the facts. In other words: Do not weigh yourself in the belief that your current ex-partner will soon come back to you when he has come to terms, remorseful, purified and reignited - for you. That may happen in cheesy films, but in reality it usually looks different, explains Thiel. It is true that an affair only turns into a stable partnership in three percent of cases (see also tip 2). However, Thiel says that this does not mean that the actual relationship comes back into balance after cheating. That is rather the exception. Expert tip from the book: Why women always want sex and men always have headaches

9. Revenge is sweet: Pay your ex back - but only in your mind!

It's one of those things about revenge: You have our full understanding if you feel like taking revenge on your ex after he cheated on you and then left you. But where is this going? According to American studies, at least it helps you feel a little less anger - at least that's what people who lived out their lust for revenge did. But where does it lead when you get relief with more or less perfidious actions such as hate mail, Facebook dislikes and blind destruction rage, which you take out on the belongings of the outlawed? First of all, according to Wolfgang Krüger, it may help you not to be completely overwhelmed by the pain of the affair. According to him, intense feelings of anger can also strengthen the attitude towards life of the duped. But that's all. Because anger - and thus also acts of revenge - only lead to the fact that you get stuck in the matter in the long term. After all, it takes a lot of brain activity to keep visualizing the anger and planning new attacks against the former lover. Better is: paint in your mind with relish how you will really get him or her back, imagine how you can really wipe out the other, make life difficult for him and the new relationship. But leave it at that: shoot a fateful-affair-style thriller in your head cinema. At some point you have dumped so much garbage in your mind that you can let go of your ex and start over. Expert tip from the book: The secret of loyalty

10. Goodbye - try a separation ritual

This may sound strange to you, but if an outside relationship has made the breakup inevitable, consider some sort of breakup ritual. Admittedly, that takes a lot: you have to agree to the breakup over and above the first horror. However, Hans Jellouschek believes that then it would be important to separate well - despite all the terrible arguments and arguments. How does it work? In theory, at least according to Jellouschek, something like this: A pre-formulated text in which both partners say that they will take their part in responsibility for the separation, thank each other for the time together, say goodbye and wish the other luck for the future, is made by both Partner adjusted so that they are satisfied with it and then read it out to each other in a small ceremony. You will probably need a middleman, someone to lead the ritual. A couples therapist or mediator can be of great help here. The renowned couple therapist Jellouschek has had many good experiences with this separation ritual.It helps the couples to make a kind of peace after all the previous anger, anger and hatred and to give something very moving and conciliatory to the act of separation. Perhaps that would also be an option for you? Expert tip from the book: Why did you do this to me?


Who wrote this article?

Thomas Schmidt (39), editor-in-chief of Seitensprung-Fibel.de, has been reporting openly and in a variety of ways on the topic of affair since 2008.