OK, he cheated. You are 100% sure – the unthinkable did really happen. Your feelings are hurt, your mind is racing, you are not certain in anything anymore and don’t know how to carry on. But you absolutely have to get out of this as soon as possible – we only have one life, and it’s not to be spent in darkness.
First, you are not alone. Although cheating is not nearly quite as prevalent as soap operas and some self-proclaimed professionals would like us to believe, infidelity is not rare either. Combining results from multiple studies, researchers revealed that whopping 25% of all people will be cheated on over the course of their relationships. That’s 1 in 4 – quite upsetting, actually. But knowing the statistics probably won’t help solve the most important puzzle – should you stay or leave? Follow the steps below, and hopefully the answer will come to you soon.
Talk it out. Now, this will be a very hard conversation to have – after all, cheating made no relationship better. There is likely a lot of tension between you, and you are both prone to getting emotional. However, if you make effort to be as clear and calm as possible, understanding each other’s feelings will help you figure things out. You can use this conversation to let him know how horrible it is to be cheated on, how hurt, confused and betrayed you feel. He will get a chance to explain why he did such a devastating thing, and what underlying reasons have pushed him on this slippery slope. If you’re not sure two of you can handle this tete-a-tete, get a counselling appointment. Although there is no valid excuse for cheating, it clearly indicates that something in the relationship was wrong for a very long time. Identifying those reasons will help you decide if what you’ve built is worth saving.
Take a break. Although it may sound a bit crazy, even a short, but complete break from all contact with your partner after he’s been unfaithful can help you clear out your mind and honestly evaluate your thoughts. Without the painful distraction of having him around, you will have a better opportunity to listen to your inner voice.
Decide. Making a decision to stay or leave will take a significant amount of time and won’t be easy. There are many factors to consider - so be honest with yourself. How long have you been together? Are you married and/or have kids? Was it really a stupid once off, or do you suspect he has actually cheated before? Also, take into account the conversation you had with him and ask yourself again if you honestly believe the relationship is worth repairing. Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer. And no matter if you stay or leave, take positive steps to forgive and let go of the situation. You can’t always control how others treat you, but it’s not a valid reason to let the toxicity into your life, so please smile and keep going. You’ve got this.