Relationship Help

Healing After You’ve Been Cheated On


If you’re in the process of healing yourself after your spouse or significant other cheated on you, you might feel like a tree that has been cut down. However, what you’re going through may in fact be more like a cut back. And that may not be such a bad thing.

There was a lifeless, old and scraggly tree in our front yard a few years back when we moved into our then-new house. It was ugly, and I wanted to have it cut down. When the tree service arrived that fall, we were advised instead to have the tree pruned, to have it cut back. The service did just that, and we were left with naked, even uglier tree.

But when spring arrived, that tree sprang to life. It was unbelievable. The tree put out fresh green leaves, followed by bright flowers on every branch. It did not need to be cut down. That tree needed a pruning. It had to be cut back. Sometimes that’s what people need, too.

A book I’ve been reading lately discusses being vulnerable and authentic in relationships. The author wrote about experiencing both the painful and the pleasant intervals of life, using the same illustration of growing seasons and pruning seasons. According to the author, the greatest periods of growth in our lives come after being cut back.

Being cheated on is like suffering a deep cut. It’s painful, and parts we never thought we’d lose are cut off. But even for the cheater in the relationship, the wounds can be just the spots where great change takes place and the significant new growth starts. It’s amazing that something as terrible as an affair can work out to your benefit, if you allow it to. Things may be ugly at the moment, but just wait until the season of growth arrives!

The author of my book said she hopes that the person who inflicts a pruning as painful as an affair would help that person grow into a more tender person who can love more deeply than before the mistake was made. Such miracles are possible!

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