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Cheating In Relationships: How To Move On From Infidelity

How To Move On From Infidelity

When you’re on the other side of cheating, a million questions can run through your mind. How to move on from infidelity? What to do when your spouse cheats on you? Should you be staying with someone who cheated on you? How to get over being cheated on? The questions are endless and the torment unbearable sometimes.

Studies show that 23% or more of men will be unfaithful to their spouse, or love interest, at some point in their life. For women, the statistic is 19%. These are conservative estimates, with some reports of infidelity being much higher.

What’s more, after someone has been unfaithful they are three times more likely than others to become a ‘repeat offender.’ That makes sense. If you are willing to break the promise you made once, you’ve then shown yourself to be among those who are willing to stray and more likely to do so again.

Very often infidelity spells the end of a relationship. In fact, more often than not this is the case. Even so, it is worth noting that some remarkable couples manage to mend their relationship and move forward in life.

That’s the exception, not the rule.

Related: How To Get Over Being Cheated On (And Be Able To Actually Trust Again)

When Your Spouse or Love Interest Betrays Your Trust

If you are in a romantic relationship (married or unmarried) and your partner is unfaithful, you are left at a crossroads. Do you stay in the relationship and try to make it work, or part ways and be free of the person who has betrayed you?

There are, of course, many different things to consider when making this decision. Are you married and have children? Was the person who cheated under unusual stress and acted in a way that is inconsistent with his/her character?

Everyone, and every relationship, is somewhat different. The particulars of your relationship need to be considered carefully. But in the end, there is an unalterable fact that cannot be ‘explained away.’ Your partner broke your trust. Made a decision to betray you.

Infidelity is not an accident. It’s not a mistake that can be excused by “Oh I forgot” or “I didn’t know what I was doing.” You may forget to bring milk home from the store, but forgetting that you are in a committed relationship is an altogether different story.

One cannot be that casual with infidelity. “Oops honey, crazy me, look what I did by accident. Wow, ended up sleeping with my co-worker. Boy was I surprised when I discovered what I had done.”

Nope. The one who is unfaithful may say that he, or she, did not plan it, and never intended it to happen. But that’s not 100% true. They may not have gotten out a spreadsheet and spent hours developing a detailed ‘Master Infidelity Plan’, but they certainly could identify what kind of relationship was emerging with the person with whom they cheated.

That’s true whether the relationship grew over the course of a single evening, or over the course of months. The failure to step away as the relationship became overly intimate is a sign of planning.

It may have simply been a plan to not avoid intimacy. One need not be the pursuer in an unfaithful relationship in order to be an active participant.

In the end, there is an unalterable fact that cannot be explained away. Your partner made a conscious decision to break your trust. To betray his or her commitment.

The unfaithful partners who claim otherwise are simply flaying about in an attempt to avoid taking responsibility. This is a bad sign. It strongly suggests that further betrayal may be in your future. With infidelity encore performances are unwelcome.

how to move on from infidelity
Cheating in relationships
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Forrest Talley Ph.D.

Forrest Talley, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Folsom California. Prior to opening this practice, he spent 21 years working at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center. During that time he supervised MFT and SW interns, psychology interns, and medical residents. In addition, he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at UCDMC. He worked in several capacities at the UCDMC CAARE Center. These include Co-Training Director of the APA approved psychology internship program, the Individual and Group Therapy Manager, primary supervisor for interns and staff, and the main supplier of bagels/cream cheese for all souls at the UCDMC CAARE Center.View Author posts