Have you started seeing the most amazing person but are you realizing that you are letting an ex’s infidelity sabotage your new relationship?
Did learning that your ex cheated devastate you and leave you with residual PTSD and trust issues?
Struggling with past infidelity is common for people when they get into a new relationship after their old one is torn apart by an affair.
Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to get over the past and move on to find the happiness you seek.
#1 – Get help.
If your ex’s infidelity is affecting your new relationship, then you most likely have trust issues. You don’t believe that someone else wouldn’t do to you what has been done before.
The best way to get rid of those trust issues is by talking to someone, either a therapist or a life coach. These professionals can help you process why those trust issues exist and help you with tools to manage them so that they don’t control your life or destroy your new relationship.
If you aren’t comfortable talking to someone, do some research online. There are lots of articles out there that will help you dig into your trust issues and teach you how to manage them.
What you shouldn’t do is talk to your friends about these issues. Your friends were probably there for you when you were struggling and they might encourage you to be distrustful of a new person, especially if they too have been cheated on in the past.
Friends are great but they often bring their own stuff into a conversation and that won’t help you get past those trust issues so that you can have the healthy relationship you want.
#2 – Consider your role in the old relationship.
Infidelity doesn’t happen in a void – there are two partners in every relationship and their issues are usually the result of both parties. I am not saying that it is your fault that your ex cheated but your relationship was fragile enough that your partner strayed, trying to find something that was missing.
When my ex cheated on me, I was devastated. While I don’t blame myself for his cheating, in retrospect I have realized that I helped create the petrie dish in which my partner’s infidelity developed.
I was contemptuous of him, always questioning why he did or didn’t do things. We lived apart often, because of work or the kids. We never had sex. I was always in charge. Etc.
None of these things made him feel loved or respected and eventually he met someone who make him feel both. And he left.
In my relationships since then, I have worked hard to not create an atmosphere where my partner would look elsewhere for love or affection. I work hard to communicate instead of being passive aggressive and treating my guy with contempt. I make sure we have sex and that the power in the relationship is even.
It’s not always easy because old habits are hard to break, but doing so has kept our relationship strong and infidelity proof.
So, take a look at your behaviors in your new relationship and make sure that you aren’t repeating ancient history yourself.
#3 – Don’t project old stuff on your new partner.
You have a new partner. They are a wonderful partner. You fell in love with them for a reason. They aren’t your old partner.
One of the biggest challenges in new relationships is that we bring our baggage into it. The feelings about things that happened in the past come with us into that relationship and can wreak havoc when they do so.
If you have done some trust work outside of this relationship it will make it easier for you to recognize that this new person is someone who you can trust until they have shown you otherwise. They are not your old partner, this is not your old relationship and you aren’t the same person you were before.
Even if you haven’t gotten past your trust issues with your ex, you can work to recognize this – that your partner is not your ex and that you can love and trust them until they do something that would make you question them.
#4 – Don’t suffer in silence.
A key part of trusting someone is communication. If you have insecurities about your partners infidelity, it is important that you address them up front by talking about them.
It is important that your new person know that you have these trust issues, that you have suffered some trauma from the past infidelity. It is also important that they know that you will work to trust them until they prove themselves untrustworthy.
If you suspect that they are doing something that makes them untrustworthy, it is important that you consider whether or not what you are perceiving they are doing is in your head or if there is tangible proof that what you suspect is true.
I have a client whose new partner is SURE that he is cheating on her with his old girlfriend. And how does he know that she thinks this? Because she is talking to their friends about it, not to him. He isn’t cheating but, because she won’t talk to him about it, she has this image in her head that he is cheating, one that might be snuffed out if she discussed it with him.
So, if you are struggling letting an ex’s infidelity sabotage your new relationship, talk to your person. It will help you manage your fears and hopefully move you forward towards a healthier relationship.
#5 – Have hope.
I know it’s hard to believe that, after all that you have been through, you could possibly have a healthy relationship. You have been cheated on, maybe repeatedly, which probably made your self-esteem plummet and to question who you are in the world.
Why, you think, would anyone ever love you again?
Don’t let yourself believe that! Infidelity happens for a variety of reasons but none of them is because you are a bad person, because you are unloveable. Relationships are hard and they can end badly but that doesn’t make you less than. That makes you human.
It is essential that you work to believe that you are worthy and loveable and amazing and that your new partner would be a fool to cheat on you. Talk to your friends and family, to people who love you, so that you can have a clearer picture of how wonderful you are and how lucky your new partner is to have you.
Because it’s true – you do deserve to be happy!
Knowing how to not let an ex’s infidelity sabotage your new relationship is the key to finding happiness.
If you can get some help managing your trust issues, if you can take stock of your role in your failed relationships, if you can push back on your comparing your new person to your ex, if you can communicate with them before issues occur and if you can believe that you deserve to be happy, your new relationship will flourish and you can live happily ever after.
I know that it might not be easy, but you can do it and you can be happy just like you deserve to be!