Being cheated on by someone that you trusted, and most likely truly loved, is one of the most painful and heart-breaking events that a person will ever have to go through. There are many emotions that are tied to this act of selfishness and/or ignorance on the part of the cheater. One of the most awful parts of being cheated on, and there are many, is the shame that the person feels. It is not sensible, of course, and it is a completely backwards way to feel since the other person should be the one feeling the shame, but nonetheless, it’s almost always there.
The person who has been cheated on takes a portion of the blame, in many instances, and they may even take a large portion of it. The blame may indeed lie on both sides of the relationship in certain ways, such as problems in the relationship that were obvious but not dealt with or other things, but one person alone made one crucial decision that changed everything and broke at least one heart. For that choice, there is no one but one person who is to take the blame and that is the one who chose to cheat, rather than to deal with the relationship and any problems that it was having. For that matter, they could have even chosen to leave the relationship and be with someone else, but instead, they chose to stay physically but give their body and/or their heart to someone else. This is not the fault of the person who was cheated on.
The shame almost always comes in the form of one question, “What did he or she need from me that I wasn’t giving to him or her?”. This question is, in essence, asking “what’s wrong with me?”. It is interesting that this is the question that usually enters the mind immediately upon finding out about the infidelity. The real question should be, “What’s wrong with him or her?”, yet it isn’t.
People who are cheated on take it upon themselves, often because it gives them back some feeling of control. This may sound strange, but think about it honestly. If only the person cheated on could understand what they did to cause it, then they could “fix” it, making sure that it never happened again, whether in this relationship or a future one.
When you are cheated on, there is a great deal of shame because of this way that we want to find something wrong with ourselves, but the shame belongs elsewhere. It belongs directly in the lap of the cheater, whether he or she has every excuse in the world or not. Unless and until that person is willing to take responsibility for their own actions, their shame will continue and their behavior likely will, as well. The shame belongs to them, not to the heartbroken victim they’ve left in their wake, so if you have been cheated on, let the shame go right where it belongs, understanding that it wasn’t your shameful choice or anything that was wrong with you, but with them.