Next to death, one of a relationship’s biggest tragedies is being cheated on. It is a deal-breaker for most people, and the relationship either crumbles or takes a completely different turn after. But what makes cheating so painful, what makes us cringe at the very thought of being cheated on? Healing after an episode of infidelity is not easy, but the one thing that can make it easier for you is recognizing why you feel hurt in the first place, then working your way to health.


Monogamy, in its very nature, dictates that you stick to one partner. The ‘mono’ in monogamy means one partner at a time. Most relationships are based on this premise. Thus, you feel like you own your partner. You are theirs and they are yours. When they cheat, you feel like they have been taken away from you. It is the same as coming back home and finding your house has been burglarised. Not only do you feel violated, but you also feel bad that treasured things have been taken away from you.

Mental images

Perhaps one of the things that hurt the most about being cheated on is imagining your man/woman with the other person- doing the things that you two are meant to be doing. The pictures are haunting, at their best, and the fact that they live in your mind makes them all the more hard to get rid off.

Betrayal of trust

Trust is the most important element of a monogamous relationship, and once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. It will take an iron will to mend broken trust. The partner who is cheated on will always be suspicious henceforth, because, among many other reasons, once bitten twice shy. The thought that you fully trusted someone to be faithful but they weren’t will make you wonder if you can even trust them with anything else.

Deliberate harm

The other thing that causes pain is the fact that your partner did something that they knew would hurt you, deliberately. We expect the people we love to make choices that will not jeopardise our relationships or hurt us. Just the very fact that they knew what finding out about their cheating would do to you but they still went ahead with it anyway, makes you question your worth in their eyes.

Low self-esteem

Being in love gives us such emotional highs. It is a good feeling to know that above all, somebody chose you. That they are your ‘personal person’. Then they cheat and you realise rather painfully that you are not as good as you think. You were not their only choice, that you are dispensable. It is one of the worst feelings to contend with, the knowledge that you are replaceable.

Living a lie

Being cheated on makes you question pretty much everything in your relationship. You question every feeling, every word, every action; and you wonder which one was real and which one was not. Your foremost thought usually is that everything was probably a lie and you were not smart enough to notice it.

Waste of time

Another thing that causes you heart to clench is the fact that you invested your time, effort, energy and even made adjustments in your life to align it to theirs – only for them to cheat. Time you would have invested in a person who actually appreciated it.

Feeling dumb

Yet another thing that makes being cheated on so painful is the feeling that you have been taken for a ride. You feel that you sat through it all and never suspected a thing until it was too late. They took you for a fool! But you know how sleek cheaters can be, you can never really blame yourself for that.