It’s pretty much the last thing any girl wants to find out about her boyfriend – that he decided to go outside the relationship they shared and cheat on her. It can feel like the end of the world and perhaps even like you’ll never be happy again. But regardless of how it feels, being cheated on isn’t the end of the world.

The key to recovering is to know how to make your peace with what happened and begin to recover from it. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it, especially once you realize the world doesn’t start and stop with any one relationship.

Know that it’s not your fault.

When something significant goes wrong in a relationship you thought was solid, it’s only natural to worry that you somehow brought it on yourself. This is even the case with something as unforgivable as cheating, but it’s essential to resist this thinking.

No matter what mistakes you may have made yourself in your relationship, there’s nothing you could have done that justifies being cheated on by someone you loved and trusted. Ultimately, your boyfriend made that choice all by himself, and only he is responsible for that.

Find an outlet for your feelings.

Resist the urge to try to talk things out with the cheater, as this rarely leads anywhere good and can easily pull you back into old patterns. Instead, turn to a trusted friend or family member who can listen supportively.

And if you genuinely feel you can’t talk about it just yet, be sure to seek some other outlet for your feelings. Pour your feelings out into a journal, or express them through art, music, dance, or other creative avenues.

Resist the urge to even the score.

It’s only natural to feel like getting back at a cheater by doing the same thing is the best way to feel better about the whole situation. But ultimately, that choice doesn’t lead anywhere good. It just keeps you stuck in toxic patterns instead of healing you the way you think it will.

Instead, make a clean break and look for productive ways to empower yourself that don’t involve the cheater in any way. Get that makeover you’ve wanted for so long, learn a new skill, or go out and start making a lifelong dream come true.

Don’t cave to the urge to take him back.

Once you know someone you love has the capacity to respond to that love with disrespect and heartbreak, things are never the same again. Trust takes so much time and effort to build, but it only takes one bad decision to shatter it forever.

So resist the urge to reconcile with a cheater no matter how many cards, flowers, and gifts he tries to give you in an effort to get you to take him back. Things may well be wonderful for a while, but it’s only a matter of time before he starts thinking about doing the same thing again, and you deserve better than that.

Raise the bar when you do start dating again.

Contrary to popular belief, there’s no right time to start dating again after a breakup. Some people do need a lot of time to get over something like being cheated on, but others are ready to get back out there reasonably quickly. Ultimately, only you will know when you’re ready.

But when you are ready, don’t let yourself fall back into old patterns and take up with yet another guy who won’t appreciate you or treat you the way you deserve. For example, why not try dating an emotionally mature older man instead – a sugar daddy type who knows what he wants and loves the idea of treating you like the queen you are?

Stop putting yourself second.

Whether you decide to start dating again right away or not, it’s crucial to make yourself a priority after a heartbreak. Chances are you poured a lot of yourself into your relationship, so you’re likely way overdue for some quality self-care anyway. Now is the time to really enjoy your life and reconnect with yourself in every way that’s important.

So what have you been keeping on the back burner in favor of a cheater who didn’t deserve to be taking up that kind of space in your heart? Go after that promotion you’ve been badly wanting at work. Hit the gym and get healthy. Book a vacation to a place you’ve always wanted to see in person. Anything goes so long as it’s all about taking care of you.

Ultimately, there’s no one right way to recover from the pain of being cheated on. Just make sure you’re focusing enough on yourself and relationships with people who genuinely deserve to be part of your life. You’ll be glad you did.