"I never thought I'd be the sort of human who continues to be with a cheater." together a therapist that specializes in couples and also relationship problems, i hear this all the time from clients who have been cheated on and also then decide to continue to be in the relationship. It's a informing statement because what specifically do us think this "kind that person" is? A doormat? Someone with zero self-esteem? I have the right to tell you that the answer is frequently none of these things. I can also tell you that all sorts of people—straight women, straight men, happy men, and gay women—make this choice. And also when they do, among the hardest points isn't simply repairing their connection with your partner yet dealing with the shame they feel for staying. There room a million ways to hurt your partner and damage your relationship, but for part reason, we often tend to attract the line at cheating: you cannot remain with a cheater. Pop songs cement that in our brain that once a guy cheats, it's time to slash his tires or burn under his house, not have an moral conversation about the relationship. In the movies, the archetype of a cheater is a misogynist that calls

"I never thought I'd it is in the type of human who remains with a cheater." as a therapist who specializes in couples and relationship problems, ns hear this all the moment from clients who have actually been cheated on and also then decision to stay in the relationship. It's a telling statement since what exactly do we think this "kind of person" is? A doormat? Someone v zero self-esteem? I have the right to tell you that the answer is frequently none of these things. I can also phone call you that all kinds of people—straight women, right men, gay men, and gay women—make this choice. And when lock do, among the hardest things isn't simply repairing their relationship with their partner yet dealing with the dead they feel for staying.

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There are a million ways to hurt your partner and also damage her relationship, however for some reason, we tend to attract the heat at cheating: you cannot continue to be with a cheater. Popular music songs cement it in our brains that when a guy cheats, it's time to slash his tires or burn down his house, not have actually an moral conversation about the relationship. In the movies, the archetype of a cheater is a misogynist that calls his girlfriend "baby" and also smacks her on the ass—the type of person who sets off every one of our douche-bag alarms. However in genuine life, this isn't constantly (or also often) the case.


First, a disclaimer: I'm not saying that every person who cheats—man or woman—deserves a pass. If you're date someone that doesn't treat you well and doesn't make you feel valued, by all means, dump him, whether he cheated or not. Yet if after part contemplation you've chose you're not dating a jerk—just someone that 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, place it: "Everyone loves to hate a cheater. We prefer to think we have the right to see the people through a moral sense the right and also wrong and also take a black-and-white lens come cheating—that the cheater is constantly bad and also the victim is always right. However often it's no that simple."

Of course, the trick concern is, "How perform I recognize if the relationship is worth saving?" I find that most of mine clients already know the answer prior to they concerned my office. However we invest a lot in ours relationships, and also it's normal to desire guidance ~ above a decision as big as break up or continuing to be with someone. Here's the catch: I'm not so direct—my job is to steer the conversation and aid the couple decide every little thing is finest for them. But you're not my client, for this reason here's my advice:

My an initial tip is to avoid thinking about cheating in a black-and-white means and instead think the it as points ~ above a spectrum, v flirting ~ above one end and also a full-blown, top-secret to work on the other.

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

Although it could feel prefer a beat in the gut, try to understand precisely why and how the cheating happened. From there you have the right to decide if that seems prefer it was a good person making a bad choice or a lost human being likely to do a cable of bad choices. Truly understanding what occurred is additionally the only way 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. The doesn't typical you have to forgive your partner or avoid being angry. But it does mean you can't start treating the or her prefer crap as payback, due to the fact that that's cutting turn off your sleep to spite your face. It's no comfortable to it is in in a partnership where you're fighting every the time, nevertheless of whose "fault" it is.


Moving front also way taking a hard look in ~ your connection and, rather of blaming your partner, being willing to work on elements that aren't therefore great. For part couples, cheating actually brings come the surface concerns in the partnership that had been swept under the rug. Therefore it's feasible to develop a stronger and much better relationship after ~ someone has cheated. Yup, I stated it.

If, after talk to your partner and being super ethical with yourself, you decision to remain together, the next hurdle is telling any type of friends and family that know about the cheating. (If girlfriend didn't tell anyone, great—but you might want to view a therapist to sort out any kind of lingering feelings for this reason they don't collection you off later.) This is wherein shame frequently kicks in—because we're called that solid people don't placed up with cheating, it have the right to be embarrassing to tell love ones the you're sticking v it. But you understand what, uncover strength in the reality that you're maybe to trust your very own judgment and able to do a decision that is right for you. Over there is no dead in that.

Your friends and family could be protective of you as soon as you broach the subject—and that's normal. The finest thing you deserve to do is it is in up front: Tell lock you've chose to offer the relationship an additional chance and communicate what kind of assistance you need. Questioning them to listen with a nonjudgmental ear and focus on gift there because that you fairly than tearing down your partner. Remember: your reaction originates from a place of love (they don't want to see you hurt), so resolve their concerns in a nondefensive means by assuring lock you've placed a the majority of thought into your decision, and now you need them to be there for you.

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Relationships space complicated, and the best relationship decisions space ones that account because that those complexities. The important empowered decision to make—in any type of situation—is not the "should" however the one that actually feels right.

Amber Madison, LMHC, is a Manhattan-based therapist and also the writer of space All men Assholes? *Find she on Twitter