wikiHow to Cope With a Cheating Partner

Three Parts:Discussing CheatingFocusing on YouReconciling With Your Partner

If someone cheats on you, it is a horrible, gut-wrenching feeling. There are many ways to deal with cheating. Open communication is a good start. Whether or not you choose to reconcile with your partner, take care of your personal needs too.

Part 1
Discussing Cheating

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    Talk about the cheating incident with your partner. Once your partner admits cheating or you discover it, talk about the situation. As this is a volatile issue, you might consider hashing out the affair with the help of a family and marriage therapist, clergy person, or psychologist. Your therapist can help you learn effective communication techniques.[1] Learning more about the incident will remove some of the mystery – if you don't know what happened, you may obsess over what may have happened. Until you can begin to make sense of what happened, you cannot begin to rebuild the relationship, if you decide that's what you want.[2] In every case, try to learn:
    • Why the cheating occurred
    • With whom it occurred
    • How often it happened
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    Discuss plans for moving forward. Although it can be hard to broach this topic, you need to know and decide what lies ahead. Whether or not you stay with your partner depends on many factors: your feelings, the legality of your relationship, the duration of your relationship, children, etc. If you are open to reconciliation, discuss what that will take.
    • For example, you might consider going to regular couples therapy.
    • You could opt for a temporary separation.
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    Help your partner find individual counseling. Whether this is your partner’s first time cheating or he/she cheated multiple times with many partners, it is important that he/she also receive individual counseling. You can ask your doctor for a recommendation. Psychologists and family and marriage therapists work with these cases. Religious clergy also often perform counseling. Make sure the therapist you choose specializes in relationships and/or infidelity.
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    Realize that your partner’s cheating is never your fault. Your partner has broken your trust and violated your relationship. You are not responsible for your partner’s behavior.[3] Even if you feel you could have been a better boyfriend, wife, etc., your partner still made the decision to cheat. Some reasons and situations that influence why people cheat include:
    • The person is unable to make himself happy and seeks external things to validate him and make him happy.
    • High levels of conflict or dissimilarity in couples.[4]
    • The person works in an environment that involves a great deal of touching, intimate discussion, or one-on-one time.[5]

Part 2
Focusing on You

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    Seek counseling. Even if you are in couples counseling, it can be valuable to have counseling alone. Take a moment to focus on you.[6] What is it that you need? What are your goals for this relationship, for your life? Evaluate how your decisions regarding this relationship will affect the rest of your life.
    • Counseling can help you learn to express the anger, sadness, and/or hurt you are feeling.[7]
    • Learn to frame the situations in ways that you and your partner can understand what happened and what you are going through. You can learn to be patient and begin to rebuild trust.[8]
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    Give yourself time to heal. Although you might feel that you need to fix your relationship as soon as possible, it is okay to take some time out. You need to process your thoughts and figure out your action plan. Your partner should understand this especially if he or she is hoping for reconciliation.
    • Consider indulging in a spa day or a weekend trip with the boys. Refresh your mind.
    • If you have children, ask if friends can babysit them so you can focus on yourself for a bit.
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    Spend time with loved ones. When you are dealing with a relationship crisis, it is crucial to lean on people who you trust. You might be uncomfortable discussing the affair with your larger social group. That is fine. Instead, seek support from close friends and family.
    • Remaining social and connected can lower your stress levels and reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones.[9]
    • Having the support of loved ones can help you feel that you have some control over your life and actions when the current situation may cause you to feel helpless and out of control.[10]
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    Start a new activity. Although it might seem peculiar to plunge into a new sport or musical activity, you might need to do so. By filling your time with a new experience, you will be less likely to ruminate on your partner's cheating. Instead, you will have to use your physical and mental energy to master your new subject. You also are likely to meet some new people who will know you as you without your partner.
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    Stay healthy. Avoid binge eating or using excessive alcohol or drugs. Try to maintain a balanced diet with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, and fish. Aim to incorporate serotonin-rich “happy” foods into your diet like turkey, nuts, cheese, yogurt, and bananas.[11]
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    Avoid rumination. You might feel tempted to rehash every detail of your relationship in your head. This is unhealthy. Your partner chose to cheat. He or she is responsible – not you. Let go of the past and the things that are done. Try to live in the present and also enjoy what is going well around you.[12] If you find yourself dwelling on your present situation, try the following:
    • Take a walk and try to engage your senses (sight, touch, hearing, smell). Think about what you see and what you hear. Listen for the birds or the sound of laughter. Feel the crunch of leaves underfoot.
    • Remind yourself of how strong you are, and that you’ve handle hard times in the past and you have the skills to handle hard times in the present and future.
    • Set aside time to worry. Give yourself twenty minutes to think about all your concerns. Then, shut your worry box and move on with your day.[13]

Part 3
Reconciling With Your Partner

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    Work to rebuild trust. Although it will take a lot of time to trust your partner again, share with him or her what needs to happen. For example, does your partner need to check in when leaving work? Perhaps you might want your partner to be accountable for his or her internet use. Another condition might be having established therapy or date nights. Whatever your conditions, state them clearly. It is your partner’s job to re-win your trust and respect.[14]
    • It is important that you communicate to your partner what you need from him or her to be able to build that trust.
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    Try a new activity together. In order to create new memories, it can be useful to do something new. Whether a ballroom dance class or taking up scuba diving, making new, positive memories will fill your mind with different thoughts. Additionally, this will give you time to re-bond.
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    Offer forgiveness. Once you reach a certain point, offer to forgive your partner. This does not mean that you forget his or her offense. This does mean, however, that you will not hold the past against him or her indefinitely. Instead, you are willing to move forward.[15]
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    Realize your future together will not be the same. If you decide to reconcile with your partner, your future relationship will be different than what you previously imagined. You will still remember that he or she cheated. Although you might not achieve the same happiness as what you had previously, you can grow in your relationship. Your newfound trust can bring a different sort of contentment to your life.

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Categories: Cheating in Relationships