"I never ever thought I'd it is in the kind of human being who stays with a cheater." as a therapist that specializes in couples and also relationship problems, ns hear this all the time from client who have been cheated on and also then decide to remain in the relationship. It's a telling statement since what precisely do us think this "kind that person" is? A doormat? Someone with zero self-esteem? I have the right to tell you the the prize is regularly none of these things. I can additionally tell you that all sorts of people—straight women, straight men, happy men, and also gay women—make this choice. And when they do, one of the hardest points isn't simply repairing their partnership with their partner but dealing with the shame they feel for staying. There space a million ways to hurt her partner and damage her relationship, however for some reason, we tend to draw the heat at cheating: friend cannot continue to be with a cheater. Pop songs cement it in our brains that once a guy cheats, it's time to cut his tires or burn under his house, not have an ethical conversation about the relationship. In the movies, the archetype the a cheater is a misogynist that calls

"I never thought I'd be the type of person who stays with a cheater." together a therapist who specializes in couples and also relationship problems, ns hear this all the moment from clients who have been cheated on and then decision to stay in the relationship. It's a telling statement because what specifically do us think this "kind the person" is? A doormat? Someone v zero self-esteem? I deserve to tell you that the answer is regularly none of these things. I can also call you that all species of people—straight women, right men, gay men, and also gay women—make this choice. And also when they do, among the hardest things isn't simply repairing their partnership with their partner however dealing v the dead they feel for staying.

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There room a million ways to hurt her partner and damage her relationship, but for part reason, we tend to attract the heat at cheating: friend cannot continue to be with a cheater. Popular music songs cement the in our brains that when a male cheats, it's time to slash his tires or burn under his house, not have actually an moral conversation about the relationship. In the movies, the archetype that a cheater is a misogynist that calls his girl friend "baby" and also smacks her on the ass—the form of human being who to adjust off every one of our douche-bag alarms. Yet in actual life, this isn't always (or even often) the case.


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First, a disclaimer: I'm no saying the every person who cheats—man or woman—deserves a pass. If you're date someone that doesn't treat girlfriend well and also doesn't do you feel valued, by all means, recording him, whether he cheated or not. Yet if after some contemplation you've decided you're not dating a jerk—just someone who made a poor choice—then it can be worth the occupational to rebuild the relationship. Together Tammy Nelson, Ph.D., a sex and relationship expert and also the author of The new Monogamy: Redefining Your connection After Infidelity, puts it: "Everyone loves to dislike a cheater. We like to think we deserve to see the human being through a moral sense that right and also wrong and take a black-and-white lens to cheating—that the cheater is always bad and also the victim is constantly right. However often it's no that simple."


Of course, the trick concern is, "How carry out I know if the relationship is worth saving?" I find that most of my clients currently know the answer before they involved my office. Yet we invest a lot of in our relationships, and also it's common to desire guidance top top a decision as huge as breaking up or continuing to be with someone. Here's the catch: I'm not so direct—my task is to command the conversation and assist the pair decide whatever is finest for them. But you're no my client, for this reason here's mine advice:


My first tip is to prevent thinking about cheating in a black-and-white way and rather think of it as points on a spectrum, with flirting ~ above one end and also a full-blown, top-secret affair on the other.

Then, ask your partner these questions: Why did you cheat? how did you decide to call me or save it secret? would certainly you do a different selection going forward? Why or how? What has actually changed?

Although it could feel choose a beat in the gut, shot to understand precisely why and also how the cheating happened. From there you deserve to decide if that seems choose it was a great person do a bad selection or a lost human being likely to make a string of negative choices. Truly understanding what occurred is additionally the only method to build earlier trust—which you're going to need if you decide to stay.

Next, you have to ask yourself if this is miscellaneous you have the right to move past. That doesn't median you need to forgive your partner or avoid being angry. However it does typical you can't begin treating him or her choose crap as payback, since that's cutting turn off your nose to spite her face. It's no comfortable to be in a connection where you're fighting all the time, nevertheless of whose "fault" the is.


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Moving forward also method taking a tough look in ~ your partnership and, rather of blaming your partner, being willing to work on elements that aren't therefore great. For part couples, cheating in reality brings to the surface issues in the relationship that had actually been brushed up under the rug. Therefore it's possible to build a stronger and better relationship after someone has actually cheated. Yup, I stated it.

If, after talk to her partner and also being super honest with yourself, you decide to stay together, the following hurdle is telling any type of friends and family that know around the cheating. (If you didn't tell anyone, great—but you could want to see a therapist to sort out any lingering feelings therefore they don't collection you off later.) This is whereby shame frequently kicks in—because we're told that solid people don't put up v cheating, it deserve to be embarrassing to tell loved ones the you're sticking through it. Yet you recognize what, find strength in the truth that you're may be to trust your own judgment and able to do a decision the is right for you. Over there is no shame in that.

Your friends and family can be safety of you when you broach the subject—and that's normal. The ideal thing you deserve to do is be up front: Tell them you've determined to give the relationship an additional chance and also communicate what type of assistance you need. Asking them to listen v a nonjudgmental ear and also focus on gift there because that you rather than tearing under your partner. Remember: your reaction comes from a location of love (they don't desire to check out you hurt), so resolve their concerns in a nondefensive means by assuring lock you've put a most thought right into your decision, and also now you require them to it is in there for you.

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Relationships space complicated, and the ideal relationship decisions room ones the account for those complexities. The important empowered decision to make—in any type of situation—is not the "should" yet the one that in reality feels right.


Amber Madison, LMHC, is a Manhattan-based therapist and also the author of room All guys Assholes? *Find she on Twitter