Monday, September 22, 2014

How to Help a Friend Whose Boyfriend Cheated


Most of my friends are past the marriage stage and onto babyland in their lives. Nevertheless, I've had cheaters on my mind lately. I understand that every situation is different. Depending on various degrees of infidelity spouses are more willing to seek help and forgive. There are those, like in my past, who were simply in relationships that didn't work out. No need to stay with someone who isn't willing to treat you what you are worth, so breakups happen. And sometimes they are really nasty. I say that so easily, but 10 years ago when it happened to me, I wasn't so happy, happy.

I.was.a.mess.

Cheating is terribly heartbreaking. Since I've been there, I feel like I can give others advice on how to be a better friend. So here's my advice for those who may have a friend going through something as embarrassing and heartbreaking as a cheating boyfriend/spouse (if amazingly you are a guy reading this blog, then switch it to apply to you, and welcome!!!).

Listen
Sometimes all a woman needs is to vent, cry, and/or get angry. She needs to feel comfortable enough with you that she can do all of those things. Maybe all at once. Give her that, don't treat her like she is crazy. She's wasn't born crazy, he made her crazy. Plus, making it about you is rude and selfish. Compliment her, often. The best compliment is one said about a person to somebody else. Let other people know how great you think your friend is, right in front of them.

Laugh 
You are friends for a reason. For me, no relationship I have can exist without laughter. Be silly, make fun of that ex (unless she gets defensive, then back off) make her feel at ease. Man hating can be down right hilarious and fun!
                                                                   
Give Them Time
It will take a while for your friend to move on. I dare say that going through cheating is similar to the 5 stages of grief. She's going to deny that her partner could be that guy (she might even go back to him for a while), then she'll become angry. She'll dogcuss him like the scum he is and you'll be right there with her. Next comes bargaining, suddenly her thoughts turn to: if she was just prettier maybe he wouldn't have cheated, if she had slept with him sooner he would have stayed, if she had dyed her hair he wouldn't have wondering eyes. Then it will all become so overwhelming she'll be depressed, this is when you should be the best friend she has, go places! Get out of town, see movies together, go to concerts and to the beach. Every weekend is officially girl's night out. Finally, acceptance. Hopefully your friend is mentally healthy and realizes none of it is her fault, she has to move on and accept what has happened is a thing of the past. I have met some women who check into psychiatric units after learning of a cheating spouse, the scale of how awful her experience can all depend on how long they were together and how deeply he was involved with other women. 

Don't criticize
She might want to go back to him, many women do. Please don't belittle her for making this choice. It will only add stress to your relationship and she will need you if/when he does it again. A woman's self esteem after finding out her man has been cheating is at an all time low. Don't say anything that would trigger those feelings. Remind her of her worth over and over again. 

Pray for her
When we sincerely pray for others, by name, I think a special thing happens. It softens our hearts for them. It allows the Holy Ghost to speak to us in ways that show us what they need. Pray with them, pray that their hearts will be healed and for them to recover in a healthy way. Remind them of their value as a person. They are worth something to you, to their families, no matter how worthless he made them feel, remind her of how precious she truly is in your eyes. 



Dare I say this?
Y'all don't get mad at me, ok?
Pray for the cheater. 
Yes, I said it. 

Here's the thing, as awful as they are, the cheater will always have to live with their actions, with who they are deep down. Especially if they have torn apart their family for some other female. They have to live with that, she will move on, but he will always be tortured by his own actions. A cheater is the one who eventually will have to come to terms with the loyalty and confidence issues they have within themselves. They are the ones who need the therapy.


Have you ever helped a friend in need? 
Do you have any advice to add?