DON’T stalk them on social media
Whether you’re still trying to decide next steps or you already cut relationship ties, now would be the time to unfollow this human on all forms of social media. Facebook “stalking” a loved one is so tempting, and giving in will only cloud your judgment. A harmless Facebook photo of your partner smiling will send you into a tizzy because WHY ARE THEY SMILING when you’re hurt and confused? And who is that girl who commented on it? After an affair, space from the person is important -- virtually and IRL.
DO make an informed, final decision
So you took your time apart and weighed all the facts, variables, pros and cons. What’s your final decision?
If you decide to stay, make sure you AND your partner are 100% committed to repairing the relationship. Consider enrolling in couples therapy to help work through any big changes or bewildering emotions you’ll inevitably experience while reconnecting. Rebuilding post-affair trust will take a lot of patience, time, and energy -- but if both parties are willing to put in the effort, your relationship may come out of the woods stronger than ever.
If you realized the damage is irreparable and want to break things off, that’s also your prerogative. It’s an extremely hard decision to say goodbye, so try to remember the positives (there are some!) This is your chance to start anew and concentrate on yourself for a while. Be selfish! You deserve it.
DON’T punish your partner forever (if you stay)
Choosing to work things out with your partner is also choosing to forgive them for their mistake (eventually, of course.) You can’t pull the “cheating” card in every argument; you also don’t get to dig through their emails every time you have an emotional hunch. If you label them a cheater forever, how can you possibly get past it?
DO wait before jumping into something new (if you leave)
But if you went the route of bidding your philandering partner adieu... as tempting as it may be to download Tinder and fill this void with a new love (or lust) interest, that’s NOT where you should channel your energy right now. Your heart was just ripped out! That shit HURTS. If you don’t take time to heal before latching on to someone else, you’re just bringing an unhealthy, baggage-carrying version of yourself into the new relationship -- not exactly fair to you OR your new partner. Alone time for reflection will allow you to mend your broken heart and evaluate what it is you really want in love.
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Brooke Sager is a contributing writer for Thrillist who would feel too guilty even cheating in a game of Risk. Follow her adventures in NYC and beyond on Instagram and Twitter.