The Complexity Behind Contacting Our Cheating Ex: Understanding the Urges

What is the real reason behind wanting to talk with your cheating ex? Has the holiday season started, or maybe an anniversary or other special day is coming up? Whatever the event, you suddenly feel a strong urge to reach out to your cheating ex. Understanding why we think we need to talk with our ex-husband or partner can help us process our longings.

Urges to talk to our cheating ex play in our mind

It's common to feel the urge to talk to your former unfaithful partner at certain times. You might come up with justifications for why you should communicate with them, but these reasons may not align with what you really want. These impulses may be emotional triggers that stem from past experiences or specific times of the year. So, it's important to examine why you want to reconnect with your ex before acting on those feelings.

As we explore the concept of self-care, it is essential to ask ourselves thoughtful questions that go beyond simply acknowledging our emotions. Stress can often hinder our ability to truly reflect on ourselves and understand the root cause of our feelings. Genuine self-care involves caring for our mental and emotional well-being, creating an environment that allows us to examine and understand ourselves fully. Therefore, an important question arises - is it safe to converse with a former partner who has previously violated our trust?

i.e. Amidst the confusion of our thoughts, it can be difficult to determine whether reaching out to our ex is genuinely out of concern for them or simply a reflection of our unmet needs. However, proper self-care requires us to focus on ourselves and our well-being.

Therefore, we must ask ourselves the right question: "How am I truly doing?"

When healing from the trauma of infidelity, self-care can serve as a guiding compass. It helps us explore the deep-rooted emotions that lie beneath our actions and reactions. By gaining a better understanding of these emotions, we can gradually create a safer and healthier emotional space for ourselves after infidelity.

How am I doing?

"What do I need at this time?" is a Powerful Self-care Question

When we take the time to reflect on our inner selves, we may find ourselves asking the question, "What do I really need right now?". This question is an underlying aspect of self-care. By exploring our emotions, we can start to understand the reasons behind our desire to reconnect with an ex-partner who broke our trust. There may be underlying issues, unhealed wounds, or unresolved emotions that need to be acknowledged and addressed. These emotions can take the form of fear, sadness, loneliness, boredom, or grief, all of which require our attention and understanding.

Reaching out to our exes is often just a temporary distraction, similar to eating junk food for a quick fix. It doesn't help us in our journey towards genuine healing and progress. Even though we may come up with logical reasons to justify our actions, it can lead us down a slippery slope, reigniting past pains and anxieties related to abandonment and infidelity. The aftermath of such communication may cause us to feel self-loathing, regret, and can even set us back in our progress towards self-care and healing.

Why do we Rationalize our Urge to Contact our Ex?

As a human being, you were created with a great capacity to rationalize. Maybe you have created hundreds of reasons why you should contact your ex even though deep inside, you know you shouldn't. And perhaps you are justifying it with the words, "I'll reach out just this one time…"

But that one time often spirals into something so much more significant for you. What if you don't get a reply? Will it bring up all the pain and anxiety of abandonment and him cheating on you again? Will you start loathing yourself for being weak or wrong in your own eyes? Could regret set in because you promised never to contact them, making you feel like you failed yourself? Will all that self-care work you were doing for yourself to feel safe go down the drain? Or will your insides begin to unravel again if you talk with your ex?

I know I need to look after myself

I know it is hard, and you must be asking yourself, why do I want to talk with my cheating ex? The answer is logical, so please don't be hard on yourself.

Before they cheated on you and your relationship ended, you had neural pathways in your brain wired with your ex and the life you shared. These do not just disappear because the relationship has ended. Every time you did something together over the years you spent with your ex, you deepened these pathways in your brain. Many of the experiences you shared were pleasurable, so you had the bonus of getting your brain flooded with dopamine, the feel-good hormone too.

Your brain has neural pathways of the life you shared with your ex

This hormone high can be potent and even addictive, especially if you had makeup sex or received affection and attention from your ex after arguments or stressful situations. These pleasurable experiences, and perhaps moments of stress followed by making up, may have accustomed your body to getting these hits of happy chemicals from your ex. The memory of an anniversary, holiday, or particular date can trigger those desires for dopamine again.

Humans enjoy pleasure, and we all have an inherent desire to communicate with others, seeking connection and familiarity. We can shift this natural inclination as we employ self-care as a transformative tool to rewire our brains to find sustainable and alternative sources of fulfillment. During this transformation, it is essential to be kind to ourselves, recognizing that personal growth requires us to overcome emotional addictions that may have tied us to our past relationships.

I don't understand why I feel this pull to contact them

Navigating the Urge to Reconnect

So how do we handle this longing to reach out to our ex when the desire hits us? The hardest part of recovering from the loss of a relationship is our brain learning to recalibrate. Dealing with the persistent urge to contact your ex-partner requires an understanding of the complex psychological processes that are occurring within you. After a breach of trust it's a challenge for our brains to adjust to the new reality of separation. Therefore, your desire to reach out is your body and brain adjusting to the new reality infidelity has forced on you. 

It's essential to realize that the desire to reconnect may not come from a place of genuine concern or kindness by wanting to wish them happy holidays etc. (even though you are kind and wonderful!), but rather from the psychological phenomenon of withdrawal and the inherent need for emotional comfort.

Are in withdrawal from your ex?

When one feels the need to reconnect with their ex, it can trigger the brain to revive old neural pathways. This can cause a craving for dopamine, temporarily relieving emotional distress. The more a betrayed wife interacts with her ex, the more these neural pathways can be strengthened, creating an addictive cycle. Therefore, reconnecting could lead to a greater dependence on the ex for emotional satisfaction.

Do you want to fix your ex?

It's important to acknowledge that engaging with an unfaithful ex and talking about their cheating will not lead to their transformation. They must want to fix themselves and heal their own reasons for cheating. Self-care is learning to support yourself first and foremost, not trying to fix other people like your cheating ex. 

Please understand and be kind to yourself because repeatedly withdrawing from a situation is emotionally taxing. Each withdrawal, however, reinforces your need to resist the impulse to engage with your former partner. Recognize that your emotional well-being is paramount and deserves more than the perpetual cycle of heartache and turmoil by reconnecting with someone who violated your trust.

I promised myself to not go there again

Nurturing Resilience: Resisting the Urge to Reconnect with Your Ex

Talking yourself off the ledge when facing the pull to reach out and make contact with an ex is hard work. So what should you do instead of opening that door again? First, honor your feeling to reach out, and be compassionate with yourself. Your feeling is not wrong; it is natural and expected after a breakup. Then invest in self-care time and grieve the end of the relationship and his cheating. Part of the grieving process is acknowledging our yearning for what we lost.

Confronting the persistent temptation of reconnecting with your ex requires constant self-reflection and emotional resilience. Resisting the strong urge to reopen old wounds is a difficult journey, one that requires a firm commitment to self-care and personal growth. How can we navigate this challenging path while caring for our emotional well-being?

To begin the journey of healing after a breakup, it is important to first acknowledge and honor the natural inclination to reach out for help. It's important to foster self-compassion and validate that the tumultuous feelings experienced are a normal response to the loss. Investing time in dedicated self-care and allowing space to mourn the end of the relationship and the resulting betrayal is essential for acknowledging and processing the associated grief.

Nurture resilience through self-care

Perhaps it might be helpful to view your need to talk with your ex through different eyes now the relationship is over. Do you see your desire to speak with your ex as an addiction? Maybe picture your ex as a drug dealer and yourself looking for that familiar high he provided? It's a sobering picture when we look at it that way. But you don't need to turn to drugs for highs because you can turn to self-care to meet those needs for yourself. Being reliant on someone else to meet your meets was never your intention. Building self-care boundaries is a safer way of living.

Reflect on what caused your relationship to end

Start a self-care journal and list all the reasons your relationship ended. Re-read this list each time your feel the urge to talk with your ex. By documenting the reasons, you remind yourself why it's important to avoid going back to something that didn't meet your emotional needs. Journaling reminds your brain why you broke up, and that you don't want to return to what failed or wasn't safe for you. It helps us stay strong and focused on our well-being.

Additionally, take some time to think about the qualities you want in a future partner. This new and hopeful list can help you maintain a healthy perspective and avoid repeating past mistakes. Ultimately, it's important to create a secure emotional environment for yourself.

When you engage in reflective exercises, such as journaling, it signals to your brain that the way toward healing and growth is by embracing a future that is not tied to the emotional turmoil of the past. Embrace this transformative self-care journey as a testament to your resilience and unwavering commitment to nurturing your emotional well-being.

Recognize Rumination

Recognizing the signs of rumination - the repetition of thoughts or feelings, is a clear indication of unresolved emotional turmoil. It signifies the need for continued healing. When we don't process our grief, it becomes a breeding ground for stagnant emotions. This manifests as a constant fixation on past experiences. To unravel the complexity of these emotions, a betrayed wife must commit to the healing process. It demands a dedicated effort that surpasses the confines of past relationships and enables the establishment of a secure emotional foundation.

Rumination is a sign we have more healing to do - not a sign we should talk to our ex

It's important to acknowledge that unprocessed grief can be harbored in the human body. That's why engaging the mind in navigating and reconciling the pain and trauma caused by infidelity is crucial. Self-care plays a pivotal role in creating a safe emotional space and enabling a clear and rational thought process. It's important to recognize that reaching out to an ex, while tempting, will not alleviate the pain, but instead perpetuate the emotional turmoil by reinforcing existing neural pathways.

It is hard but I will do the right thing for myself

Embrace healing

The journey towards healing may seem overwhelming and unfair, but it provides an opportunity for personal growth and empowerment. Take advantage of this chance to be kind to yourself and establish healthy self-care habits. Give yourself the space to recognize and deal with the many layers of hurt and betrayal. Acknowledging and processing these feelings is an important part of the healing process and can help you build resilience and emotional stability.

Healing from betrayal is not something you have to do alone. It's a collective effort that involves the support and encouragement of those around you. Lean on your community - family, friends, therapist or life coach for support because we need each other to feel safer in this world, especially after being cheated on.  Please feel free to connect with me by booking a call or leaving a comment below.

Self-care empowers us to overcome the pain and turmoil of infidelity, and build a strong foundation of emotional resilience for the future. 

Much love

Yours on the Journey

You may also find these helpful:

Controlling Triggers: A Guide to Healing After Being Cheated On
Why Did My Husband Cheat?
Unraveling Sexual Addiction: A Man’s Perspective to Healing and Understanding Lust
  • Lindsay O says:

    This makes a lot of sense to me. When things ended I was left dumbfounded and really in disbelief about what was happening. Slowly, I came to sort of accept the reality of it all but still held on to this need to make sure he was ok. I think that’s because that’s just what I always did. The way everything happened was extremely traumatic and cruel but it happened and I was left to deal with it the only way I knew how which was non existent. I didn’t know how. He started having health problems and I started reaching out even more because I was truly worried sick about his wellbeing. Even though he clearly did not care about mine at all. I maintained a relationship with his mom which looking back now was extremely unhealthy. I was lied to constantly about my ex husband, being told he wasn’t with the affair partner, he still loves me, he’s so unhappy, and on and on and on. ALL of these statements were complete lies. Mind you we may have talked about the situation but I didn’t ask about this, it was too painful to know. Yet even though I told her I didn’t care, I knew he was with her and I truly just wanted him to be healthy. It didn’t matter, I was still lied to constantly and daily. He ended up critically ill in the hospital and I was so sick over it. I broke down at work and had to leave so I could go and see him. I ended up seeing him twice and then got completely shut out of everything as these people calling me “family” often did when it came down to it. I asked every day to see him but I also didn’t want to cause stress for him either because I knew this person was up there at times. Even when she wasn’t, I was still shut out. I paid a couple of his bills trying to help because he was in such a terrible situation with no way to work which I can’t afford but it was just instinct. Well, he ended up getting better, got his phone and had it for days, I heard nothing. I figured he was just healing because that’s how stupid I am at times. He gets sent home, nothing. He couldn’t let me know he was ok, say thanks for trying to help, nothing. All because he was too worried about this affair partner I suppose. During this time I realized how done I really am. It was truly hard for me to let go of this connection I thought we had because I didn’t just start dating so I could distract myself. Ive been trying to truly heal the best I can. He, on the other hand had already started a whole new life with this girl while he was still married to me. In retrospect, why in the world would I ever think that any of this was a good idea? I don’t know but I have come to a point now where I want nothing more to do with anyone having to do with that situation. I don’t deserve to be lied to by his mother as if she was trying to get me to believe all of these things so I could potentially get hurt all over again? I can’t imagine what other reasons you would have to do that. Of course, this was all turned around on me which I expected and I can honestly say, I don’t care anymore. Whatever helps people sleep at night. It’s actually a good step forward in my journey of trying to heal from so many things. I’m not looking to date anyone nor am I worried about having a future partner – I know for me personally, I just don’t need it to feel complete or to feel valuable. This was definitely something I needed to work on- reaching out. I felt regret every time as I’d barely get an answer and it was so painfully clear he really didn’t care about anything that had to do with me. I don’t know, I just feel fine about accepting it for what it is. There’s no argument from me, no fight. She can have this, I’ve been through enough now. If there was any connection left between him and I, it’s completely gone now. But anyway, this article was a really good read and extremely accurate about the feelings you have when you’re reaching out to someone who betrayed you. The actual connection you form with your spouse over a number of years makes a lot of sense.

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    About the Author

    I am a certified life coach and relationship facilitator with a passion for supporting women who have been impacted by infidelity. Drawing on my personal experiences and deep insights, I am dedicated to helping my clients heal from the trauma of betrayal and reclaim their lives.

    Through one-on-one coaching, I am committed to providing a safe, supportive space for women to process their emotions and move forward after infidelity. You can find me in my vegetable garden or taking long walks in nature with my dog when I'm not working. Read more about  the betrayed wife's personal infidelity story...