Last Updated on August 15, 2023 by Angela Vaz
Nothing beats the pain of discovering your partner was cheating.
I still remember that day like it was yesterday.
It was October 13th, 2019.
I woke up to pay some bills on my partner’s laptop (We’d been together for 9.5 years) and discovered that he’d been cheating on me with our upstairs neighbor.
I was sickened because it had been going on for 2 whole years.
I felt a rush of feelings like anger, extreme sadness, betrayal – I became a mess. I talk more about this in my post on how I got over my cheating ex and found happiness.
I know what you’re going through because I’ve been through the same ordeal.
In this post, I want to talk about what to do if he cheated on you but wants to stay together.
I am going to narrate my experiences and brief you on both of your options: Whether you decide to stay and rebuild the relationship or leave, I’ll tell you what you need to know.
My name is Angela, and I have a human relationships and psychology degree. I started this blog with the intent of helping people navigate difficulties in relationships.
I have written about this topic extensively, so I will leave links to similar articles I’ve written below. Be sure to check them out.
Let’s dive in.
This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may make a commission at no extra cost to you if you decide to click on a link and purchase something. Click here to read the full disclaimer.
1. Acknowledge your feelings
I want you to take a moment to acknowledge your feelings.
This is no longer about your partner or your relationship.
Take some time for yourself first and let it all out.
- Take a walk
- Talk to someone you trust (for me, that was my mom)
- Vent, scream, write in a journal
The idea is to get out all your feelings so that you can think rationally for the next part.
Take all the time you need.
Don’t let anyone rush you.
You don’t need to make a decision right away.
Your partner messed up – so he can wait. Stop thinking about him and put yourself first.
You are going to feel a range of emotions like anger, sadness, betrayal, confusion, or numbness.
Your mind may go into overdrive – and I have a post here on how to stop overthinking after being cheated on.
Please know, that overthinking is completely normal.
You’re going to think things like:
- How long has this been going on for?
- What did I do to deserve this?
- Wasn’t I a good partner?
- Couldn’t he have come to me if he was having problems?
- What did she have that I don’t?
It’s okay to overthink a little but don’t go into a loop.
This isn’t your fault.
Just because your partner cheated, doesn’t mean you were not worthy.
He made a conscious decision to cheat.
If he had issues with you or the relationship, he should have come clean about it and told you everything.
He needs to take responsibility for what he did.
2. Find out the nature of the cheating
I am not making excuses for cheating.
But find out the details.
Sit down and talk to him – calmly and rationally.
It’s going to be difficult to look into your partner’s face when all the trust has just been obliterated.
But this step is crucial if you want to make a decision of staying or not.
Find out everything:
- Was it a one-time mistake or an ongoing affair?
- Was your partner emotionally involved with the other person or was it purely physical?
- Why did he cheat?
- Why does he want to stay together?
Find out everything.
That’s why in my first step I’ve said, it’s important to acknowledge your feelings.
Once you let out your pain, it becomes easier to have a rational conversation.
3. Ask yourself if you can truly forgive him
In my case, my partner had been having an affair for 2 years.
I found out much later from my neighbors that he had also been sleeping with prostitutes – meaning he was cheating on her and me at the same time.
So, in my case, fixing the relationship was out of the question.
You need to ask yourself:
- Can you truly forgive him? Is this something you can get over?
- Can you ever trust him again? Is this something you can build together?
- Is he willing to take responsibility for his actions and work to rebuild the trust in the relationship?
- Does he seem genuinely remorseful for his behavior?
Please understand that I don’t condone cheating.
But this is your decision.
4. Know that it’s okay to love and walk away
I am going to tell you this: It’s alright to love your partner and still walk away.
Because love isn’t enough to make a relationship work.
Both of you may love each other deeply, but there is a huge crack in the trust department.
You are going to find it very difficult to build that trust again.
Maybe you love him, but he may not be right for you.
Are you willing to put in all that effort to rebuild the trust?
Can you do that?
If you can, then you can consider repairing the relationship.
But if you can’t trust him, know that this will impact both you and him.
- He is going to feel very insecure and suffer from low self-esteem every time you try to check up on him.
- You will always be stressed to leave him alone or allow him to go on for long periods without you
All of this is going to affect your mental peace as well as his.
This is something you need to consider before you repair things.
Please understand that we are human beings – not light switches.
Love cannot come and go away in an instant.
You may still love your partner deeply, but if you cannot live together as a couple, that is okay.
You can walk away and slowly get over him.
It will happen if you decide to.
There is no wrong or right answer here.
5. Do not blame the other person
It doesn’t matter if the other person who your partner cheated with is married or single.
It’s not on them to keep your partner faithful.
They could have tempted him or paraded around naked in front of your partner.
At the end of the day, your partner decided to cheat.
- Your partner decided to put his needs in front of you and the relationship.
- Your partner chose to act impulsively.
- Your partner decided to place a huge priority on his physical needs over yours.
- Your partner decided to disrespect you and the relationship you’ve built together.
So do not even for 1 second, blame the woman/man your partner cheated with.
Direct your feelings towards your partner.
I’ve written a post on what to say to the woman he cheated with.
6. Do not let him emotionally blackmail you
Please understand that most people who cheat, do it again.
It becomes a habit.
If you don’t want to live with him or want to start a fresh new chapter, do it.
Don’t let your partner convince you to stay with him.
This is purely your decision.
You need to weigh the pros and cons carefully before you make a decision.
Please remember that you need to live with the consequences of your decision.
So, do it of your own accord.
You need to think about:
- Were there pre-existing issues in the relationship that may have contributed to his cheating?
- Is the relationship strong and healthy aside from the breach of trust?
- Do you really love this man and are willing to work together to rebuild the trust?
7. Don’t stay for anyone else
Skip this step if you don’t have children.
But please let this decision be your own and not because you are worried about:
- The kids
- Your parents and friends
Your children will watch your relationship and most probably replicate that in their adult lives.
If the two of you are unhappy but are staying together miserably for the sake of the children, know that your children can read these feelings.
You are going to give off negative energy that your children will take onto themselves.
They may even feel that people who are unhappy need to stay together because the relationship is more important than the feelings involved.
You need to ask yourself if you are okay with projecting that kind of message to your children.
Additionally, please don’t stay with your partner because you are worried about society or what other people will say.
I left my ex-husband in India – this is a country that looks down on divorcees and shuns them.
I didn’t care.
I spend most of my time helping women like me who have left their relationships for peace of mind and just want to be free.
I’ve never been happier and I even found a good man who loves and respects me 2 years later.
We are going to complete 2 years of being together and I’m so happy I walked away from a relationship that wasn’t serving me.
8. Don’t stay with him because you’re afraid to be alone
If you are staying with him because you love him and want to make the relationship work – good for you.
I wish you all the best.
But do not stay with him for the wrong reasons, especially because you don’t want to be alone.
This is not healthy.
Not many people love being alone.
We, humans, are social creatures.
It’s going to take time to get used to living alone and living a single life – that’s okay.
But if you decide to do it, know that it can be done!
I fell in love with my single life:
- I got to spend more time on my business
- I didn’t have to check with anyone to do the things I wanted to do
- I had so much peace
- I got to love my dogs even more and spend so much time with them
- I fell in love with life and got a second chance to do all the things I had been wanting to do
- My life had so much peace in it (devoid of all the fighting and arguing)
Overall, the quality of my life improved drastically.
So, my honest opinion is, don’t be afraid to be alone.
I know so many women who choose to stay with the wrong person only because they’re scared of being alone.
They choose familiar pain over the unknown.
9. Set boundaries and expectations
If you are deciding to stay with him, then you need to rebuild the trust you’ve lost.
Rebuilding trust takes a lot of time and effort.
You need to set boundaries and expectations for the relationship moving forward.
This may mean:
- Going to couples therapy
- Setting up regular check-ins
- Taking a break from the relationship to reassess things
Whatever you decide, make sure you both are on the same page.
Be clear about what is and is not acceptable behavior and what consequences there will be if those boundaries are crossed.
You need to be consistent and actually follow through on your boundaries and expectations.
10. Attend couples therapy
Couples therapy can be a really helpful tool for navigating cheating.
A trained therapist is going to be extremely unbiased and help your partner communicate more effectively.
They will also help you both work through the difficult emotions and develop a plan moving ward.
During the sessions, both of you will have the opportunity to explore all the issues that may have contributed to the cheating – like issues with communicating, intimacy, or trust.
And they will help you address all these issues and give you tools to work with them.
11. Take time to rebuild the trust
If you decide to stay, then you need to rebuild that trust you’ve lost in your partner.
No, it cannot be done overnight.
Your partner needs to be patient, understanding, and willing to put in the work to gain back that trust.
You also have to forgive him and draw boundaries (like I stated earlier).
Both of you will have to make modifications to your behavior. This could mean:
- Being more transparent with each other
- Checking in regularly
- Making a commitment to honesty and openness.
Healing from being cheated on isn’t easy.
But it’s possible.
Ultimately, the decision to stay with a man who has cheated is a deeply personal one.
This depends on your own values and beliefs.
Some people feel that infidelity is an unforgivable breach of trust while others believe in the power of forgiveness and second chances.
In my case, I chose to forgive but I knew that I couldn’t trust him again, so I left with my dogs and started a new life.
Please know that there is no right or wrong answer – you need to do what feels right for you.
If you do decide to stay, you have to approach this healing process with a lot of patience and understanding.
If both of you can put in the work, you can do it together and your relationship can become stronger than before.
But if you decide that staying together is not the best decision for you – you have to prioritize your emotional health.
Ending a relationship isn’t easy – it’s very painful and difficult but let me leave you with this: You deserve to be in a relationship where you feel valued, respected, and loved.
Here are a few more posts you may find helpful:
- Can a guy cheat and still love you?
- He keeps cheating on me, what do I do?
- How to Make a Cheating Boyfriend Feel Bad + What I did
- Should I Tell Her He Cheated With Me? What You Need to Know
- What I Did to Get Over the Fear of Being Cheated on
- Should You Take Him Back? If He Cheated on You With His Ex
- Does He Love You if He Cheats on his Girlfriend with You?
- Here’s What to Say to the Girl He’s Cheated With
- What to Do When Your Cheating Ex Wants to be Friends
- Your Wife Cheated and Wants to Reconcile: Here’s What You Do
- I Caught Him Cheating – What I did to Stop Overthinking
- How I got over my cheating ex and found happiness
- No One Compares to Your Ex: Here’s What You Should Do
- 13 Unmistakable Signs He Thinks He Owns You + What to Do
- 13 Undeniable Signs Your Needs Aren’t Being Met + What to Do
- Finding Peace: How to Stop Thinking About Someone Who Hurt You
- 17 Unmistakable Situationship Red Flags that You Should Heed
- I Hate My Ex-Husband So Much – What I did to Stop and Move on
- 7 Reasons Why Your Husband Left You For No Reason – What I Did
- I Thought He Was The One: What I Did After I Lost Him
- How to Rebuild your Life After Losing Everything that Matters
- Will I Ever Find Love Again? You Need to Read this
- 13 Ways to Feel Loved When You Feel Nobody Loves You
- How to afford to live alone
- 13 insightful tips to help you live alone!