What Not To Say To A Friend Who Has Been Cheated On

So, your friend got cheated on. As horrible as situations like this are, they're not as uncommon as they should be. 75% of men admit that they've cheated at some point, and 68% of women say the same (via BBC). Dealing with the aftermath of infidelity is difficult and painful, and bottling up your feelings about it isn't a good solution. Your friend needs someone who knows and loves them to lean on during this difficult time. One of the hardest parts is knowing what to do when your partner cheated on you and how to move forward, and it's likely that your friend is going to come to you for advice.

We all want to learn how to be better friends and support our loved ones in their times of need. However, when it comes to being there for someone who's been cheated on, it's important to be careful not to make the situation worse (via Glamour). So, what is the right thing to say to someone who's been cheated on? And, what comments can do more harm than good?

What not to say

Whether or not you've been cheated on in the past, it can be difficult to know what exactly your friend needs to hear when they call you crying because their partner has been unfaithful. Your natural impulses regarding how to respond in the heat of the moment may not be as helpful as you want them to be. Many people have the immediate urge to tell their friend to leave their cheating partner, but you should stay away from going this route (via HuffPost). While they very well may choose to breakup in the future, it's important that your friend has time to process what happened before making any major moves or choices. By the same token, avoid immediately jumping to pushing your friend to move on. Resist the desire to say something like, "you'll find someone new." It's possible that they will, but let them do this on their own time.

You may also be thinking that you're not surprised. Even if you've had a bad feeling about your friend's partner or you're not shocked that they were unfaithful, this is definitely not the time to voice that (via Glamour). Keep in mind that your friend may stay with their partner and work past the issues. Avoid saying things like "all men are bad" or "if they cheated once, they'll cheat again." Not only are these things not necessarily true, but your friend likely isn't ready to hear you fully turning against their partner.

How to help

So, what is the right thing to say to your grieving friend? The best thing you can do for your friend is let them know that you love them and that you're there for them. Saying that you are here to support them however they need goes a long way (via HuffPost). Asking questions like "how can I help?" or "how can I best support you?" are great ways to express this and let your friend lead the conversation.

Value listening to your friend over talking (via Glamour). As you listen, focus on letting them know that however they feel about what happened is okay and that there's no pressure to do anything immediately or make any major moves (via Romper). It's also important to assure your friend that they aren't at fault for this affair. It's easy for people who've been cheated on to believe that they did something wrong to cause what happened. This is almost never true, and this way of thinking can be embarrassing and harmful to their self-esteem. Assure them that what happened was the fault of their partner and has nothing to do with them. If you focus on your friend's specific needs and reassuring them that everything will be okay, you'll be exactly the kind of friend they need right now and they'll be feeling better in no time.