If you've ever been cheated on, then you know just how violating and devastating that experience can feel. So if your friend or family member is going through the same thing, you probably want to offer some words of comfort. Knowing the right things to say to someone who was cheated on can make all the difference.
Although it can be a life-altering shock, cheating is not uncommon, and no relationship is totally immune to it. Even rich and famous people get cheated on every day, with the latest news claiming that Khloé Kardashian's boyfriend Tristan Thompson was cheating on her all throughout her pregnancy, according to The Cut. Although the reality star's situation is terribly sad, Khloé is far from alone.
In fact, rates of infidelity affect between 10 to 25 percent of relationships, according to Psychology Today. The exact figures are hard to come by because not everyone is super honest and upfront about cheating behaviors for obvious reasons. Also, factors such as gender, age, and relationship duration may sway the stats as well. Still, a pretty significant portion of people in relationships will have to come to terms with a cheating incident. Here's how you can be a good friend to someone whose relationship has just hit the fan.
1"This Isn't About You."
When you've been cheated on, it's easy to blame yourself for the event. Cheating can wreck your self-esteem in so many ways. That's why it's important to reassure your friend that the cheating incident is not necessarily a reflection of their character, attractiveness, or personality. It may not be about the faithful partner at all. Getting away with cheating simply feels good for some people, according to a 2013 study of cheating behavior in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. It doesn't matter how amazing their partner may be.
2"Whatever You're Feeling Is OK And Normal."
People coming to terms with a cheating issue may feel like their emotions are all out of whack. It's normal to feel everything from disbelief to total pain from cheating, according to Elite Daily. Give your friend the space to start processing these confusing responses.
3"You Don't Have To Make Any Big Decisions Now."
Your friend may be wrestling with some big choices now, especially whether to stay in the relationship or leave. And, depending on the circumstances, decisions about potential divorce, childcare, and living arrangements may come into play. Remind your friend that there is plenty of time to process everything, and they don't have to make any major life-changing decisions right this moment.
Cheating is a complicated issue that differs for every relationship. The person who gets cheated on doesn't have to immediately dump the other person, as noted in Glamour. But they aren't obligated to stay put, either.
4"You Will Trust Again One Day."
Sure, you probably want to reassure your friend that they'll have love again one day. But maybe don't bring up the possibility of romantically finding someone new or better right now, even if your friend has decided to go the breakup route. It's just a lot to think about at once. Instead, focus on the fact that trust can be regained. Now whether trust is regained with the cheater is another question entirely.
5"You Will Be OK."
They might not believe it right now. But it's true.
6"Let Me Know If I Can Do Anything For You."
After an affair, the person who got cheated on may feel empty, irritated, or even ashamed of the event, according to HuffPost. Anything you can say to provide reassurance can mean so much. If your friend wants your help committing some act of vandalism against the cheater, well, maybe don't do that. But if you're able to sit through a crying jag, or offer up your couch for a night, then you're the best.
7"Here, I Brought You Ice Cream."
Bring your friend some of their favorite treat. Nothing can instantly take away the pain of cheating, but a glass of wine or a scoop of their favorite ice cream certainly doesn't hurt.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.