1. Was it because you were bad in bed?
People sometimes leap to the conclusion that cheating happens because of a lack of sex or a bad intimate connection. However, most cases of deception have to do with a need for an emotional connection, a desire for novelty, or a need to be desired. People will often say they cheated because they wanted to do something “just for me,” or to be selfish, just once.
Try asking this instead: What was missing in your relationship? Emotional connection? Closeness? Intimacy?
2. I had a feeling he/she would cheat
Even if you knew from the beginning that it would probably happen, it won’t change the fact that it happened and will only make your friend feel worse. Your friend may even associate the negative feelings she [or he] is having about her ex with you.
3. Didn’t you see this coming?
This is a common thing to say as so many people assume that the other partner must know on some level that their spouse was unfaithful. This is a very insensitive thing to say because if the person had no idea, as I had no idea when my husband was cheating on me, then they began to lose what little self-esteem they may be hanging onto. Their thoughts are “why didn’t I see this coming if my friend assumed I knew on some level? Did my friend know and not tell me?” If you are the one being cheated on, a comment from a friend can shred the little dignity you may have had left.
4. How’s your ex doing?
You should never ask how the cheater is doing. Many clients have cried nickel-size teardrops on my therapy couch about the pain, hurt, and anger they feel toward even the most well-meaning friends who open raw wounds. It’s much better practice not to mention the betrayal or the ex-couple at all. Be available to support non-judgmentally if and when your friend brings it up to you. He or she only will if you establish complete trust and safety within the confines of your relationship.
5. Just try to work things out
Don’t say “you should just go back to him or her and try to work it out because you may never be able to get with someone better.” Instead, say, “you are an amazing person who deserves better; you don’t need someone who doesn’t recognize your awesomeness.”
Flooding someone’s ears with toxic messages that send low-esteem energy their way is never cool. When a person has been cheated on, he or she needs to hear uplifting messages that will help him or her grow in a positive way, so he or she won’t end up dating the same type of person again.
6. You should sleep with your ex’s best friend
You should never tell a person who has been cheated to seek revenge. Don’t do it! This is because someone is going to get hurt. No matter how many hook-ups they have on Tinder, the pain will not go away.
7. What did you do wrong?
One thing you should not do is blame the person who was being cheated on. You should not make comments such as, “It’s probably because you didn’t give your ex enough sex,” or “It’s probably because you were working all the time and never home; the person your ex cheated with probably did something that you didn’t or wouldn’t do.” It’s important not to say things like this because, often, being cheated on is a hurtful thing and this can cause a person to feel more depressed about the situation and form insecurities about themselves in future dating situations.
8. I just saw your ex with someone new
Never say you recently saw your friend’s ex with someone else. The right thing to say is, “I’m so sorry that he/she cheated, but at least you know what’s really going on now. You deserve to be with someone who isn’t careless with your feelings and your time.” The person is already hurt and embarrassed. Your friend doesn’t need to know that you saw the person he or she has feelings for is openly flaunting his or her side piece to the world. It’s hurtful and comes off like you don’t care (you just wanted to come in their face and be messy). If you care about them, keep that information to yourself.
9. It’s his/her loss, you didn’t do anything
This would not be good to say because, when things happen in a relationship, the person needs to reflect on the relationship, challenges, the ways they’ve handled things — and take ownership of any areas where they may have been guilty of conflict. I’m not saying the other person is to blame, but the supporting friend should not jump to conclusions by saying the “victim” didn’t do anything. You should validate your friend’s feelings and let him or her know you’re available if he or she needs to talk.
10. I know exactly how you feel
This is a phrase many of us use to convey to the person that he or she is not alone and that you understand. However, the problem is that you don’t know how he or she feels. You have some ideas, but you could be wildly off. A better question would be, “How have you been feeling? What are some things you’ve been thinking about?” This opens up the channel of communication for your friend to tell you their unique experience.