There’s no beating around the bush when it comes to cheating—it sucks, it can be super hard to recover from, and it can leave you feeling insecure, mistrustful, angry, and every emotion in between. But after all that, there are lessons to be learned, whether about yourself, relationships, or just how to heal.
We checked with Women’s Health readers and women we know who have been cheated on, and they opened up about what they learned from the awful experience:
“The biggest lesson I learned was not to let someone else’s actions affect how I feel about myself. I think the first instinct is to question what you did wrong, but you have to realize that it wasn’t you or anything you did, no matter how many excuses a cheater throws at you. They are only trying to justify their own selfish actions. Love yourself enough not to let them.” —Candace D.
“What I learned is to not carry the distrust forward. Your next love is not at fault, so you need to heal before embracing another.” —Shannon O.
“I learned how to drop a man in two seconds.” —Fox V.
“The best revenge is success [and] happiness…and not violence.” —Kay K.
“I learned to love myself more. I found out that life should not be about suffering, that love comes first from within. … No matter how much this sound like a cliché, [there are] great blessings hidden in those situations that have hurt you the most.” —Sofia H.
“I learned that I love myself way too much to put up with a guy who doesn’t want to only be with me. I also learned to be weary of dudes who are strangely jealous of you. In my case, it meant he was the shady one.” —Elizabeth O.
“I learned that it’s normal to want to do a bunch of insane, crazy things after someone cheats on you—like, straight out of a Taylor Swift music video things—but that you probably, definitely shouldn’t.” —Diana T.