After the Discovery: They Cheated. Now What?

After the Discovery: They Cheated. Now What?

It happens everyday: An unsuspecting, loyal partner finds out his/her SO has been unfaithful. Naturally, after the initial shock associated with the discovery comes the question, "Now What? What Do I Do?" As a woman who once married and then divorced a cheater and then happily married my loyal spouse of 10 years, I feel fairly qualified to give my take on this question.

First and foremost, there is a difference between infidelity in a dating relationship and a marriage. Marriage complicates the issue significantly, so I will address the former in this post.

I frequently encounter questions on G@G asking what to do after discovering he/she cheated. I have a simple answer. If you are dating, it is time to move on. I know, I know... I give this advice all the time and then receive the specifics about how a situation is "special," and am told that I don't understand. I promise, it is not as "special" as you think and I do understand.

Many years ago, I married my on-again/off-again high school sweetheart. He cheated on me numerous times throughout our dating relationship, but he promised he was done being unfaithful. Clearly, I believed him. A year and a half later, he came home with an STI. Thankfully, since he was not often interested in sleeping with me (probably due to his infidelity), I did not contract it. We eventually divorced and the entire situation made me wonder how I ever could have allowed such a thing to happen. I am not a dumb or overly-emotional girl so how was I completely conned by this guy? The realization was undeniable: I made excuses for him when we were dating. I built him up to be something he was not in my mind and even when he proved he did not measure up to the fantasy I had concocted, I did not let it go. Quite frankly, I loved someone who did not exist; a fantasy man I created in my mind and then I assigned his face to that fantasy. He was always the same person, but I chose not to see it. Hence, when he promised to be different or gave me some lame excuse for why he cheated, I readily accepted it and continued on in a doomed relationship.

If you have been cheated on, accept the fact that he/she is NOT the person you believed them to be and move on. If your SO was the person you believed them to be, they never would have been unfaithful to you in the first place. Choose to step outside of fantasyland no matter how much pain your heart may temporarily experience. It is a much better option than going through what I went through.

Thankfully, armed with the information from my experience in my first marriage, I married again. I married a completely different kind of guy. We have been happily married now for 10 years. There is life after a breakup due to infidelity and it can be a better one than you ever imagined, but you must choose to move on before you can experience it.

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Most Helpful Guy

  • If you are in a clearly defined monogamous relationship and they cheat.. end it. Cheating is ALWAYS avoidable. If you believe you cannot control your own actions you are simply a child. No matter how hard it might be (pardon the pun) you always have the choice to do or not to do. And sticking with the do's , if you have said "i do " the vow you took should make it a pretty well defined choice. Don't. You should know the do's and don'ts and know there may be ramifications for your actions , if a quick screw is a worthy wager for your relationship , then your relationship is not worth very much to you.
    The only time i would ever put a caveat at the end of this , is in the case where there are children involved.
    Children need two parents. Not 1 for 5 days and the other for 2 . Single motherhood is highhandedly destroying the lives before they even start. And quite frankly , once you have had children , how you feel is irrelevant. What is important is that you raise your child in the best possible enviroment. If you are able to remain civil and live with the father/mother. Then you should. I understand people get bitter and resentment might come into play , but guess what. Your feelings do not matter anymore. So suck it up , act like an adult and get on with it. If that means having an open relationship. Or simply living together and raising your children together without anything but a friendship then so be it.
    And if you in any way think "oh but thats so hard " or " you don't understand the feels " .. i said it twice. Your feels are not important. The child is. As for those who declare that the relationship may be "toxic and it creates a bad environment to raise a child ". Is it toxic because you or/and your partner can't control your goddamn emotions? .
    The amount of data showing the impact of single-parenthood on the past few generations makes splitting the nuclear family completely inexcusable and unforgivably selfish.


Most Helpful Girl

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What Guys Said 9

  • Cut them off. Ghost them if you have to. In fact, radio silence might actually be better. If you're really extreme, you change your number, move if they know where you live and get a back up vehicle (something cheap for point A to B) so the one the cheater is familiar with isn't around as much. That will leave them guessing for a while.

  • A well written take!

    Welcome to GAG, too! Enjoy your stay, and write a few more like this!

  • TLDR version: If they cheat dump their ass.

    There. Five words verses your wall of text. LOL

  • 1. Cheating is usually avoidable. In most cheating cases, its usually the one playing "victim" that is the cause whether they did it intentionally or unintentionally. Then there are just some people that are just shitheads. but thats a small percentage.

    2. What to do next always depends. I always say look at the context or situation. Having one thing lead to another over time, thats premeditated cheating... more solid ground to take root. But a spur of the moment thing? thats a get out of jail free card. Regardless.. for security.. i rely on the laws of "third time's the charm" or at least "everyone deserves a second chance".

    3. Cheating isn't just sex only... yes.. it leads to sex but it starts way before then, and the idea of cheating starts even before that.

    After doing extensive research on cheating, not only have i gleaned that it is avoidable or it can be resolved, i have also found out why... and why it happens to women more than men...

    • I appreciate your point of view, but I was married to someone who literally cheated on me with at least 6 different people in a 3 year time frame. Some of them were male. In my opinion, cheating IS avoidable. The person who feels the need to stray can VERBALIZE their issue, practice self-restraint and be willing to work with their partner toward a solution. Anything less is pure selfishness and completely unacceptable.

    • Show All
    • You have a right to your opinion. My ex-husband is cheating on the wife he has now and will cheat on the next one. It is who he is. He will cheat with guys, girls and hookers. Nothing any woman can ever do will change that.

    • Then he is one of the shitheads i mentioned in my opinion. They are a small percentage and they do exist. My thing though is, even with shitheads... one day, someone out there will put them in a situation where they can't cheat. Maybe it wasn't you, or this other woman or maybe even the next woman/man. but one day, someone will.
      If no one does, Karma will get him, i usually hear they catch something... and its never good.
      Another reason i dont sympathize with most "victims" is because many know what they are getting into... but chose to ignore it. Then it happened.

  • Been cheated on twice in a row, both LTR. once in my 20s & again in my late 40s. i can tell you its soul destroying even for a guy and @ 52 by the time i regain lost trust, confidence etc ill be on my deathbed.. It boggles me why a woman 44yrs couldnt have just called it quits.. and damm she was good at hiding it.. didn't find out about it or the extant of it till few months after the split so double whammy

  • I broke up with my girlfriend on Sept. 17, 2016. I caught her emotionally cheating on me with her friend around June. She had known him for 2 years and never told him that she had a boyfriend. I handled it in such a strange way and let her go to Europe with him for a month. When she came back, she wanted to break up. I'll admit that I still wanted her back when she returned.

    Anyway, it'll be 6mos in 2 wks, but I still cry several times a week. I don't know if this is normal, but I just wanted to tell someone.

    Oh yeah, we dated for 6 years.

    • My thing is, Iook back and wonder if I had given her more love, then maybe she wouldn't have started emotionally cheating on me with her friend?

      When we were together, she mostly showed me a lot of love during the two years when she met that guy, I'm using that as baseline. Because it confuses me that a part of her could've been so unhappy that she resorted to flirting with another guy over text while we were together?

      Yet, she still did some very loving things for me?

    • Show All
    • You are very welcome... I am happy to share and wish you the best.

    • What makes me feel so bad is that I thought she loved me, so how could she betray that love? But, it really frames it better when I think, she only liked you.

      I loved her but she only liked me.

      That's really clear.

      Thank you! :)

  • i dont care what you do after they cheat, but, i do know that you should not try getting back with them. it only reinforces negative behavior. if you're that desp to be with someone, get a callperson, not the person who CHEATED on you

  • I've never been cheated on, but there was a girl I dated last year and the last time we saw each other, she invited me to her place, went out for drinks, then when we got back to her apartment to have sex, she asked me to go into her room and when I got up to take my shirt off and saw a condom wrapper that clearly wasn't mine in her bed.

    She knew I saw it but i didn't say anything. Then after that night, she ended up ditching me, canceling plans then blocked me from social media like it was my fault. That really hurt like hell and I don't think anyone else has experienced that. It really fucked me up. It's even more insulting that she took no accountability.

    • I wouldn't say I made this girl into something she wasn't. But kinda similar to your situation, I put up with some of her behavior of her acting hot and cold consistently as she was on the rebound and just got out of a 5 year relationship before we dated. I tested it out and see where it'd go as we had so much in common and she was very attractive. Doing so took a toll on me as it made me insecure of where I stood because she acted hot and cold. The weird thing was, the dates themselves until finding that condom were amazing but her behavior in between dates was so inconsistent. It made me wonder what was going on but it was also hard to prove. And I'm a "where there's no smoke, there's no fire" type. It still really hurt to find that the women I found myself to be most compatible with in terms of interest and conversation could also be so shitty to me.

  • I asked her if she had liked it. She answered yes.


What Girls Said 3

  • How is this guy different now?

    • He is completely different. Respectful, responsible, sweet and thoughtful. When we were dating, he made me the focus. My ex made himself the focus 100% of the time. The main difference is that by that time, I loved myself enough not to care if someone was into me.

  • What if he we're your First bf? You've never felt loved before

    • I would have still been better off by myself. I had to learn to be fulfilled alone before I was any good with anyone else. Being alone is better than being with someone who makes me feel like crap.

    • See I've never even had someone who makes me feel like crap. All I know is being alone.

  • I'm so sorry for what he put you through. Thank god you didn't get the STI. you deserve better


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