How do I stop feeling jealous in a relationship after cheating?
I'll give the short answer first and then get into more detail on some things that I think can help get you on the right track. Do you have to ask yourself why you're feeling jealous? Then from there pinpoint the real reason. Address and deal with those reasons to build your self-esteem and confidence.
Possible negative things you could be saying to yourself are, "I am not deserving of actually being loved," "I am such a fool for not seeing that they were cheating on me" and "I am afraid of being alone, and I love them." Once you can digest and understand your feelings, you can start to use some tools that are available to dive in a little deeper. Self-help journals, workbooks, meditation, positive self-talk, and seeking a professional therapist, can all be very beneficial in pointing you in the right direction to boost your self-esteem and self-worth.
Now for my longer answer lol...
A real possible reason you're probably feeling jealous is that deep down inside the cheating validated how you think about yourself. The shame and not feeling enough could be making you feel raw.
Over the years, I have talked to many people, and this question keeps coming up. First off, yes, cheating happens, and it happens often. I am not trying to rain on your parade or be a Debbie Downer, but it's just a thing that comes with the territory in many relationships, unfortunately. A few things have to happen if your relationship is going to have a fighting chance.
These two things must happen if your relationship is going to have a chance.
Number 1. Both of you must look at the cheating that happened like a monster if you will. How are you going to conquer it as a team? The essential tip here is that you're not going to fight each other, you're going to work together to fight and defeat this monster.
Number 2. The person that cheated must be willing to be 100% transparent. You see the damage has been done and now really the only way to regain that trust is to build from the bottom up. This means that the non-cheating person gets to go through cell phones, ask where they are or where they are going, etc. (This transparent phase happens after a lengthy discussion has occurred and things have calmed down). This is a big step. If the cheating party isn't willing to do this, then there is no chance of the relationship working.
"Remember, there's a difference between somebody who wants you and somebody who would do anything to keep you." -unknown
Now, if both parties are working together to fight the monster together and the person that cheated is being transparent, then the jealousy will take care of itself. Just like in my short answer, the self-esteem work must continue as well. Yes, a mistake happened, but the real question is, how are both of you going to work as a team to conquer it. It can't be a one-sided fight. Both people in the relationship have to be willing to work together. Cheating isn't a solo person problem.
Acknowledge your jealous reaction
Of course, you're going to be upset. Someone just betrayed you and hurt you. It's okay to allow yourself to feel it. If you weren't a jealous person before, but this got your emotions going, take a step back. When you're calm, tell yourself you're going to need a little time to process this. Tell yourself that the reaction you had was okay and that it's not your fault. (I mean the feelings are valid, not if you took violent action.) Tell yourself your feelings and emotions don't control you; however, it was completely okay to feel that way at the moment.
If you feel the jealousy coming on, call it out. It's okay to take a break and digest it. Understanding your feelings is critical. But also expressing them to your partner at a time when things aren't heated is a great idea as well. This might not be right away. Keep this in mind too, it's okay to have the feelings, but it's not okay to act out of jealousy. When you respond out of jealousy, you're letting your emotions control your actions. This is what you want to prevent from happening.
Do you always feel jealous? If so, here are some tips below that could help you stop feeling insecure in a relationship after cheating.
Work on being the best version of yourself
Working through your thoughts and selecting the right emotions when you feel jealous can help fight of jealousy. Ask yourself, do I have a valid reason to feel jealous? Sometimes thinking the person we are with deserves better because we have low self-esteem or low self -worth is not precisely the other person's fault. This comes from inside us, and we are reflecting our feelings onto someone else.
I understand that your partner cheated and that is very unfortunate, but it doesn't mean it will repeat itself. I know the phrase "Once a cheater always a cheater" is very common, however, if you both work together in attacking the problem and not each other the odds of it happening again can be lowered.
A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity. - Robert A. Heinlein
Communicate your feelings to your partner
Once the dust settles, find time to set down and talk civilly. Express to your partner insecurities, fears, and the reason why you feel jealous. Help your partner understand your view and how you think about the situation moving forward. When you open up your feelings, your partner then you should reassure their commitment to you. Make sure that you understand what they are saying back to you and try not to doubt what they are saying. I am aware that some people still cheat after they express their commitment, but you must let those feelings go. If your relationship is going to have a fighting chance, then establishing the trust must happen first.
Do not overstep and invade your partner's privacy
This can be a challenging one. I know that you want to go through all their things and get all the answers. Yes, you will need and want closure. Here is the thing, in time, that will come if you both decide to work on the relationship. Like I said above in my long answer. If your relationship is going to have a fighting chance, then the person that cheated is going to have to be very transparent with their actions and cell phone. There is a time and a place for this, it's not in the heat of the battle. If you know, they cheated, and you caught them there is no need to fight with your partner, instead ask why did they cheat, what made them cheat? Find out the root cause of them cheating instead of trying to put the blame. Snooping through their things is only going to continue to divide, and they will want to pull away instead of being forthcoming.
Can jealousy ruin a relationship?
A small amount of being jealous is reasonable, it means that we care a lot about the person and we don't want to lose them. Jealousy gets toxic for the relationship when it goes from small amounts of jealously to controlling. Examples of slight jealousy are like you miss them when they are gone, or you get a little upset when you catch them looking at another person. The type of jealousy that ruins relationships are the controlling type, the I own you type, you belong to my kind. We don't own or control anyone. I get into more detail about this below.
4 Reasons why you are jealous of a relationship after cheating.
1.) You feel insecure
After someone cheats on you, you might have the feeling of not being enough.
You have what I like to call the broken record on repeat in your head telling you that you don't deserve happiness. You might have been hurt many times in the past so as soon as things start to feel great, you self sabotage to protect yourself by controlling when it'll go bad. For example, let's say the person you are dating feels right. In the past, when things went great, those people make you down, so in your mind when things go great, bad things are soon to follow. You then try to predict and figure out what the bad things will happen, so you're not disappointed as much.
How can I fix this?
STOP IT! You have to trust your partner; you have to believe what they are saying is true and believe them. When you start to feel like jealousy is coming on the tell yourself, you deserve happiness. If you choose to be grateful for the things you do have hard for the jealous feeling to stay, the power of gratitude is incredible.
"You didn't just cheat on me; you cheated on us. You didn't just break my heart; you broke our future." - Steve Maraboli
2.) Your past is coming back to haunt you
Some of what you're feeling can be unresolved issues from the past. Maybe you have been cheated and let down in the past. Perhaps you know someone who has been cheated on, and their situation didn't work out well. Maybe your mom and dad cheated. There can be endless reasons why you might feel this way. Whatever the reason this is preventing you from opening your door of trust. Instead, you built up a big wall with barbed wire and sharpshooters at the top.
How can you repair it?
If your past feelings involve someone other than your current partner, tell yourself that you didn't do anything wrong. It wasn't your fault, nor did you or will you ever be able to control others' actions. Remind yourself that you deserve to be loved and you deserve happiness.
You made it through the last experience, and you can do it again if needed. You're strong; you will make it and be even stronger.
If it was your current partner, then tell yourself that you chose and committed to forgiving them. Anyone can make poor choices, and you decided to give them another chance. Once you select forgiveness, you mustn't keep punishing yourself for that choice. It is also imperative that you do not keep punishing and shaming your partner for the same mistakes you forgave them on. You forgave them now it's time to trust.
3. You think you can control your partner
When we believe that we can control or that we "own" our partner, another form of jealousy is born. It's the belief that our partner belongs to us. My favorite saying is, "I'll let you do what you want to do; that way, you'll show me what you would rather do." We can't control others. I'll further my point. Think back to when you were a teen. Did you follow every rule your parents made? Did you ever try to break those rules and push the limits? Did your parents own you? You see my point. We can't control peoples, thoughts, actions, feelings, etc.
Whenever we accuse people of things that they aren't doing can increase the chance, they will do them to piss you off. Guess what? You're already accusing them of the crime, what's the harm in them doing it?
What can you do?
Tell yourself that the more you accuse someone, the more you push them away. The best thing here is to trust your partner will make the right choices. In return, giving them the trust will make you have a closer connection. If you treat your partner as a person on the same team going through the journey of life with you instead of a prized possession you own, things will have a higher chance of working out in the long run. Work with your partner instead of against them. You are both on the same level, not one better than the other.
Never make a decision when you are upset, sad, jealous, or in love. - Mario Teguh
4.) Feelings can change, but you refuse to acknowledge it
As we go through life, everyone changes. You aren't the same person you were at 12, 17, 20; you get my point. I recently read that a person will change an average of 5 times from 20-30. They then will change one time every ten years after. When I say change I am meaning, wants, goals, views, how they feel about things, what's important to them, etc.
I know we are taught that when we fall in love that we stay in love. That isn't true; you see the natural part is falling in love; the hard part is staying in love. When we believe that things will never change and then we start to feel them change jealousy can occur. We are left asking why are things feeling different; we later try to grasp for control.
How can you stop this?
If we can agree that people and feelings do change, then being transparent will give you the best chance it communication. If both people are open to how they genuinely feel, then there is no other option but to grow together. What happens is people aren't honest with each other about how they truly feel. This doesn't give the other person a chance to adapt or understand why the other person might be having those feelings. You know that saying, "you can't fix what you don't know." As things begin to change and the relationship grows to accept it, continue to talk with your partner about it. Jealousy will not help the situation.
The bottom line is you don't want to guilt someone into staying in the relationship; you want them to stay because they choose to be with you.
At the end of the day, if someone wants to cheat, they will find a way. The most important thing is that we understand our value and what we have to offer. If we know that we bring a lot to the table and the other person doesn't see value in that, it's ok. We can forgive them and seek someone that will. We can't control others, but we can control our feeling and how we feel about ourselves.
I would love to read your thoughts and views about cheating. Please comment below. As always I appreciate you.