Staying Together After Cheating
Have you ever been cheated on? It’s gut-wrenching. It’s a sting that never fully goes away. It oftentimes leaves you heartbroken and unsure of why it happened.
So let’s imagine you are cheated on and, could you even imagine staying with the person afterward? Maybe the answer is yes. It’s a hard choice (kinda). And if the answer is yes, the question becomes….how do you get past it?
Getting past the cheating is the hardest part. Cheating forever changes the dynamic in a relationship. It creates, or widens, fractures that might have already been there.
So, if your partner decides to cheat on you, here are a few things to consider, and maybe do, when moving forward.
1. Try having an honest conversation
People don’t cheat for no reason (unless they’re complete jerks). If your partner cheats, more than likely they’re missing something from the relationship. Granted, cheating is not the right way to accomplish getting what you need from a relationship. However, it’s a good indication that problems are there.
Take this opportunity to sit down and have a truly honest conversation about each of your needs, wants, and desires in the relationship. This is the mature, adult route to take after someone cheats.
Though I do highly recommend taking this route, I know emotions will run high. It’s okay to be mad. You still have every right to be upset. And if you need to let them have it a bit, let them have it. But if you do want to salvage something, try talking.
2. Reflect on why you should stay
If someone cheats on you, it’s time to do some serious self-reflection. Why are you dating someone that doesn’t respect you? Let’s be real: if your partner cheats they care way less about your feelings than they should.
Are you purposely with someone that treats you poorly because you don’t know you deserve better? Have you been conditioned to think you deserve to be treated poorly?
Newsflash: YOU ARE WORTHY OF MORE.
Set the boundaries you need. Take this time to reevaluate what you want from the relationship and if this person deserves a second chance with you.
3. Place “trust check-ins” on the relationship
This is a hard one. If someone cheats the trust is gone, right? The only way to gain trust back after it’s broken is to earn it. Slowly, bit by bit. And to not hide ANYTHING.
If this means you checking their phone, that’s what has to be done. If it means you need to know everywhere they go when they leave the house, that’s what has to be done.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “isn’t that extremely toxic?” If you are, you’re right. It’s extremely toxic and can, sometimes, cause even more fractures in the relationship. But, you must build trust with them again somehow.
4. Pretend you don’t know
They say ignorance is bliss. And sadly, more often than not, it’s true. If you really love this person and you claim they really “love” you, maybe you say nothing.
This is not the ideal approach, mind you. The relationship will be doomed and it continues to inform people of how low your standards are. That will be taken advantage of.
Bright side: you get maybe a few more months of “love” with the cheater.
5. Consider an open relationship
This is not a joke. There are a variety of reasons a partner would cheat (none of which are acceptable reasons). And sometimes, it could be purely physical. Maybe they have an unusually high sex drive, and just need that little bit extra. If you decide to stay with the person and have a serious conversation about the cheating, consider bringing this up. This way, new sexual experiences are controlled by you, as a couple, instead of as two separate individuals.
6. Get petty
I can’t in good faith recommend this, but it’s technically an option you have. If you’re a petty person with lots of time on your hands, maybe this one’s for you.
Caution: Only go the petty route if you’re fully prepared for this relationship to end.
The best petty revenge would be, of course, “an eye for an eye”. Aka: they cheat on you, you cheat on them.
Now, being spiteful, although it might seem delicious at the time, probably won’t have the desired effect you want. But, eh, why not?
There are also far less dramatic, yet still petty, options. For instance, you could post about their cheating on social media. Forever labeling them a cheater, and ensuring any prospective conquests steer clear.
The petty ideas are endless. Get brainstorming.
7. Take a break
“We’re on a break”. That’s right. Full-on Ross and Rachel. Take a break. Let the embers cool and come back when you have both taken a step back to breathe.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is walk away and come back with a clear head. Taking a break will allow you the space you need to evaluate the relationship, what happened, and if the person is really worth the extra trouble.
Cheating will forever change your relationship dynamic. And you will need to start from scratch. Is it worth it to you to rebuild from the ground up?
8. Don’t hold it against them forever
If you are going to stay together and work things out, you must be aware that you can’t keep bringing up their infidelity every time you have a spat.
You can’t, for instance, throw the cheating in their face whenever they forget to take out the trash or refuse to do your laundry! No relationship can withstand that for long.
9. Say goodbye
This is the easiest, yet at the same time the hardest thing to do. Bottom line, if someone cheats on you they don’t respect you as much as they should. It’s a red flag that shouldn’t be ignored.
Even if you are out of your mind in love and they promise: “it will never happen again”. Guess what, it happened once. It can (and probably will) happen again. Cut your losses. Find someone that respects and desires you enough to realize they don’t need anyone else.