I'm still not over my cheating ex, even after 10 years of divorce. Am I broken forever?

I'm still not over my cheating ex, even after 10 years of divorce. Am I broken forever?
Samantha Lee/Insider
I'm still not over my cheating ex, even after 10 years of divorce. Am I broken forever?
Crystal Cox/Insider
  • You're not broken for grieving your marriage and the trust your ex broke.
  • To move on, consider the blessings you gained from leaving.
  • Delete your ex from social media and surround yourself with those who love you as you are.
  • Have a question for Julia? Fill out this anonymous form. All questions will be published anonymously. You can read more Doing It Right here.

I've been divorced for 10 years. My marriage ended because my ex-husband cheated on me.


He remarried two months after our divorce, and I still can't move on. The signs he was unfaithful were there throughout our marriage, but I ignored them because I didn't want to believe it.

When he said he was leaving because he just didn't love me anymore, it was like I was hit by a train. I replay that moment, and our relationship, over in my head all of the time. I'm trying to figure out where it began to fall apart.

What's wrong with me? I can't keep going through this.

- Pittsburgh


Dear Pittsburgh,

Nothing is wrong with you. Someone you loved deeply hurt you and betrayed your trust, and you're grieving.

The inability to move on from a relationship is common for people who had a toxic dynamic with their ex, Dr. Leela R. Magavi, a psychiatrist and Regional Medical Director for Community Psychiatry, told me.

"Some individuals remain in relationships after infidelity due to fear and low self-esteem. They lose their sense of self and fear what it would look like to live life without their partner," Magavi told me.

She said it's also common for someone who has endured their partner's cheating to wrongly "devalue" themselves or believe they're unlovable. You said you replay your relationship to figure out "where it all fell apart," which makes me think you believe you did something wrong.


It's easy to view an ex's infidelity as your own failing, as if your inability to give him something led him to stop loving you. In reality, his decision to cheat was a personal one. You may never fully understand his motives.

But what you do need to understand is that you're worthy of love and respect just as you are. Your ex's inability to love you doesn't make you unlovable.

At the same time, it's not a bad thing to think about your past relationship. In fact, reflecting on who you were in your marriage and how your ex made you feel could help you move forward from the emotional turmoil and create the life you want.

For starters, Magavi suggested unfollowing your ex on social media to give yourself some breathing room. Then, take some time to write down all of the pros and cons of your marriage.

Doing this can help you recontextualize your relationship and realize all of the beautiful things you gained from leaving.


"Individuals occasionally forget the negative aspects of the relationship and place their exes on pedestals during stressful times in life," Magavi said, adding that a more holistic view can stamp out self-deprecatory thoughts.

When you feel negative self-talk or loneliness creeping in, pull out that list and call a friend so you can talk through how you're feeling without judgment.

Finally, take some time to delve into a new hobby, or one you dropped during your marriage. It's empowering to do things for you and only you, and to build a life based solely on your happiness.

Leaning on people who love you and practicing unconditional self-love will get you there. I know you have it in you.

As Insider's resident sex and relationships reporter, Julia Naftulin is here to answer all your questions about dating, love, and doing it - no question is too weird or taboo. Julia regularly consults a panel of health experts including relationship therapists, gynecologists, and urologists to get science-backed answers to your burning questions, with a personal twist.


Have a question? Fill out this anonymous form. All questions will be published anonymously.

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