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There is Hope
A cheating spouse is something most of us just see in the movies, hear about in the news, or perhaps have happen to a friend. But the chance of our own spouse cheating never even occurs to us. It just seems like something that happens to other people, not to us. Then it happens – to you.
How you respond plays a crucial part in determining the future of your relationship. And knowing the right way to respond and what to do next is rarely clear. If you're looking for help learning the best way to respond to cheating, you're at the right place - we'll help you. Read on.
At Guy Stuff we deal with spouses cheating every day. Helping men and women deal with this incredibly difficult situation is one of our specialties. We have nearly 20 years of experience guiding people during this painful time and helping them figure out the best next steps after cheated has occurred.
Below you'll find real-life stories from spouses who've cheated – both men and women. We'll explain what qualifies as cheating and the different forms of cheating that can take place in today's world. There are also answers to the most common questions we get asked by both those who've cheated and the ones they've cheated on.
By reading this article you'll figure out how to best respond.
Kevin thought he was probably making a mistake, but he didn’t know how to stop himself. His relationship with his wife, Jada, had been tough for a while. It wasn’t that they didn’t like, or even love, each other, but the passion was gone.
She was always busy with her work and the kids. And it seemed like every time they talked it was only about the family schedule or to-do lists.
He didn’t mean to cheat on his wife and start an affair. In fact, it had all been pretty innocent at first. Since they worked together there were all kinds of projects and clients they had in common. He convinced himself the phone calls and texts were necessary to do his job. But then they became more than just work.
Jada also recognized things had been strained between she and Kevin. She loved him, but they really seemed to be in different places. Even so, she figured at some point they would work things out. But then he started to change.
She had been trying to ignore the signs of a spouse cheating for a while, but she couldn’t anymore.
She didn’t know how to bring it up with him though. Should she just come out and accuse him of cheating on her, hire a private detective, or just leave? At the moment she couldn’t decide if she still loved him enough to stay or hated him enough because of his betrayal to leave.
Cheating is one of the most devastating and painful things a relationship can endure. It’s not only incredibly destructive to the relationship, but is also deeply personally damaging to the people involved.
While a cheating spouse doesn’t inspire much sympathy, cheating can be a difficult experience for them too. There's the guilt and shame over hurting someone you care about, knowledge that your own poor choices may have destroyed your relationship, the psychological challenges that come along with trying to understand your own behavior, are just a few. For example, Kevin (the man described above) knew at least some of the damage he was causing while he was doing it, but still didn't stop himself. What kind of a person does that?
Betraying your love and relationship doesn’t have an upside. However, no matter whether you're the cheated on partner or the cheating spouse it doesn’t have to be the end either.
When most people think of cheating in a relationship they think of one partner having sex with someone other than the person to whom they're married to. The truth is that cheating in a marriage or any relationship can happen in many other ways too. Certainly becoming physically intimate with someone outside of your relationship is considered cheating, but it doesn’t take sex for cheating to occur.
People often believe as long as there is no physical contact they haven’t crossed the line. This is simply not true. Emotional affairs can be just as, if not more, damaging to a relationship as a physical affair. Note how Kevin withdrew from Jada and his family as his connection with Hailey grew and the impact it had on all of them. Cheating can also take the form of micro-cheating, which is a series of small, subtle actions that compromise and threaten the relationship.
Even if you have no intention to cheat, creating intimacy (physical, emotional, mental) with someone other than your partner is still considered cheating. Once cheating occurs, in whatever form, it will either severely damage or completely break the trust your relationship is built upon. And when this trust is broken it's very difficult to get it back. You can rebuild trust, but it takes a lot of effort and time.
Emotional affairs are the kind of cheating that doesn't really look like cheating. If you're sneaking out of a hotel room it's pretty obvious you're cheating. But if you've got this strong inner desire to tell a coworker about this cool new restaurant, why is that cheating? That's just being friendly, right? And who would ever know how badly you want to share this info with them and why anyway (like trying to impress or have them like you).
Almost no one goes out looking for an emotional affair. However, many, many people are prime targets for one and really want the enjoyment one will give them, but don't even know it. There are a lot of people who are already married or in a committed relationship but aren't getting their emotional needs met by their partners and feel unfulfilled. Anyone in that place is susceptible to having an emotional affair.
If you have emotional needs that are starving to be fed and an opportunity comes along to fill them your brain is going to be all over it. So people without awareness of their emotional vulnerability and a plan of how to manage temptations can easily become emotional cheaters. It can happen anywhere – on Facebook or Instagram, at the Starbucks cashier or Home Depot returns desk, even at your kid's school. It just takes someone new who's showing interest in you, is happy to see you, remembers you. Who isn't going to like that?
The one thing that is certain to come along with a spouse who's cheating is questions – a lot of questions. The following are just a few of the most common ones we get asked. Most of these are asked and answered from the perspective of men cheating, but much of the explanations applies to women as well.
When you discover your husband has cheated on you it's really hard to know what to do next. Seeing anything beyond the hurt and betrayal can seem impossible. Any wife who says, “My husband cheated on me” is sorting through a lot of strong and difficult emotions.
And it’s not only husbands who cheat on their wives. More wives than a lot people realize cheat on their husbands. This puts husbands also in the humiliatingly position of having to admit, "My wife cheated on me."
Cheating happens even more frequently in the dating world where the level of commitment is less and the lines are easier to blur. "My boyfriend cheated on me" is even more common than “My husband cheated on me.” Regardless of whether it’s your boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife that cheated, there are a number of things you'll have to figure out.
These are just a few of the many questions you'll have to answer. Many more will be unique to your relationship and you and your partner. A multitude of questions can swirl through your head making it really difficult to figure out what to do next.
The steps to take after you learn your husband cheated you can vary depending upon your specific circumstance. Every relationship is different. For instance, is the cheating still going on or did it end already? Do you really know for sure? So what you do after your boyfriend has cheated on you will depend on a number of factors.
Before you do anything, however, you need to give yourself some time and space to think and sort through your feelings.
Because of the extreme and volatile emotions both partners can be experiencing when cheating occurs it can be very difficult to talk about the subject. Having an experienced professional counselor guide and mediate your discussion can be extremely helpful. When you're struggling to wrap your head around accepting, “My husband cheated on me,” it's also a big relief to have someone you can talk to about it who will keep it to themselves.
Suspecting your husband is cheating is a difficult and painful thing to have to deal with so it can be tempting to just ignore the signs. It's also easy to wonder is my husband cheating but without sufficient evidence or facts to know for sure. If you really think it could be true then you'll likely be looking for signs your husband is cheating in everything he does.
It's true that if your husband is indeed cheating on you there will be signs – though they can be subtle and hard to see, but they'll be there. The same goes if it's your boyfriend, girlfriend or wife whom you think is cheating.
Obviously all of the above behaviors could have valid reasons for occurring. None of them in and of themselves will tell you with certainty if your spouse is cheating on you.
If there isn’t a reasonable cause for the changes, then it's possibly a sign of a cheating husband – or a cheating wife.
There are a variety of reasons for why men cheat. And since we know they aren’t the only ones, there are a range of reasons why women cheat too. The bigger question is why do people cheat on the people they love?
Unfortunately, there's no specific answer to why that applies to everybody.
Although some of these may be true in a relationship – sexual dry spells happen, as do couples falling out of love – none of them make cheating on your partner acceptable for either men or women. Being in a relationship with one or more of these issues is actually very common. Despite how happy other people may look on the outside a lot of people are actually struggling and really aren't that happy on the inside. The most important thing to know is that these issues are all fixable.
Men who cheat often say they still love their partner. This may be true, but cheating obviously isn't the way to show love and doesn’t occur in healthy, stable relationships. If one partner cheats on the other, even if they do still love them, it's a sign that there were problems in the relationship that needed to be addressed before it got to that point.
Most men who cheat never set out to do so intentionally, but they're nevertheless still 100% responsible for choosing to do so.
Yes, in our experience most cheaters do change. However, they need professional help in order to know how to make the necessary changes. Unfortunately, most people just tell themselves they wont do it again and think that’s going to be enough. It isn’t.
Cheating doesn’t just happen. There’s a build up that occurs making someone susceptible to making such a bad decision.
So what actions have you seen them make that give you reason to believe they’ve changed?
If a cheater doesn’t recognize how vulnerable they are to cheating again then they very likely will do it again. At Guy Stuff we help cheaters and their partners develop a Safety Plan that supports them in being successful at not repeating. If your partner has a plan they're actively working on to prevent them from cheating again then this will give you reasons to feel confident and regular reminders of why you can be hopeful.
Discovering that your husband cheated on you is one of the most painful and difficult things a wife can experience. There will be a number of intense and painful emotions that you'll experience – hurt, betrayal and sadness are just a few. If your husband lies to you about cheating too, which usually happens, then your feelings will only intensify.
It's easy to allow these feelings to take over and determine how you respond, but doing so won’t help you or resolve anything. Instead, what you'll need to do when your husband cheats is keep your emotions in check and make some decisions on how to respond and move forward. But doing this is much easier said than done. So first give yourself some time and space in order to grieve and work through your feelings a bit. How much time to give yourself can vary from person to person, but at a minimum take a couple of days to a week.
Many people have sworn if their spouse ever cheated on them they'd be gone. However, when it actually happens to you making that life altering choice isn't so easy. You may now be reconsidering that option and all the changes and hardships that would come along with it.
Once you've given yourself some time, the next step will be to find a way to communicate with your husband. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. When your husband has cheated and lied to you your anger and pain is going to be looking for a target. Anyone in that emotional state is prone to focus more on how they've been hurt rather than communicating effectively with the person who hurt them. On top of that your husband is likely to be defensive and not very cooperative. Couples in this situation find couples counseling to be a valuable resource to help them navigate such a highly emotional subject.
When your husband cheats on you it's very easy to let your emotions get the best of you, and so you may have already reacted to him or the other woman. While the release can feel good in the moment, it never helps address the issues you ultimately need to resolve with your spouse. Even though your reaction has likely complicated things and possibly made the situation worse, it can be overcome with the right guidance.
Right now that may seem impossible, but it can happen. It takes patience and hard work from both partners, however.
With the amount of tech we all use every day and the secrecy it allows it's very easy to become suspicious that our partner could be cheating. However, being suspicious of their behavior is one thing, but confronting your husband and accusing him of cheating is a whole other.
Why does he want to be on his phone more than talk to me?
She turns her phone off every time I walk in the room. What's she hiding?
I don't know any of the people he talks to when he's gaming online. Is that really all he's doing?
Because our brains can so easily turn normal curiosity into suspicions there are several things to think about first when considering how to confront your 'suspected' cheating husband. Remember, nobody likes to be accused of doing something wrong or bad, nor wants to admit it if it's actually true. As a result, in most cases no matter how you ask about cheating you're going to get a defensive answer, and usually an outright denial.
If you don't have solid proof of cheating then you shouldn't be confronting your spouse. What you should do instead is share your concerns and questions about their behavior. Ask for clarification of the things that you don't understand and concern you. Make it a conversation rather than an interrogation.
Take a minute to consider your mindset. Describing it as a "confrontation," even if only in your own thoughts, means you're approaching it expecting a fight. If you go into the conversation in an adversarial manner then you're going to be contributing to the potential for conflict and limiting the possibility of a positive outcome.
If you're being routinely cheated on then there's a problem and you're right to be asking why. Although each situation of a partner cheating on you is going to be different, there will be some common elements among all of them that help explain some of the reasons why cheating is happening. To really answer this question, however, you've got to be prepared to look at yourself honestly and be ready to make some changes.
First, obviously you're attracting the wrong people. While this isn't likely a new concept, keeping this in mind as you consider other elements is important. So as you continue to read be on the lookout for any possible reasons why you attract partners who cheat on you.
Second, you're also attracted to the wrong people. This can take some deeper exploring to truly understand the psychological reasons why. Despite their positive characteristics (physical appearance, personality, etc.), someone who's not considerate of you and likely even outright disrespectful shouldn't be a person you want to be with. So why are you attracted to someone who mistreats you and could cheat?
Start by considering the "type" of person you're attracted to and those that are drawn to you. What are the common traits for each?
Your goal for dating shouldn't just be to attract people, but to attract people who respect and love you enough not to hurt you by cheating. You should be seeking the kind of person who will respect you enough to tell you they want to be with someone else before doing so.
When choosing a partner or determining whether to stay in a relationship the positives should outweigh the negatives. There's no doubt you're going to feel conflicted about the relationship and it can be a really difficult decision to end it, but if you have a partner who doesn't respect you the mistreatment will only get worse.
Part of the problem with your poor choice in partners is that you're either not seeing or ignoring the red flags. These are not small, insignificant issues like wearing mismatched socks, but serious character issues that indicate they may not be trustworthy, honest, or respectful enough not to cheat on you.
For example, here's a red flag from someone we're working with at Guy Stuff:
When Sara couldn't resist the temptation to kiss her ex it should have been a red flag for Matt. Part of the reason he attracted her in the first place was because he was someone she could do that to. A person who is only attracted to people who value them would've walked away after that date, and may never have even gone out with her in the first place. Matt didn't and that's why he says, "I always get cheated on" too.
"I really miss talking to you and learning from you. I have learned a lot of things from this experience and think I am becoming a better person because of it. This has opened my eyes and made me see the kind of person I was and the kind of person I want to become. I miss our conversations so much. Thanks for all your help that you tried to give me Dr. Kurt. I appreciate everything you tried to do for me and (wife). You are the best and wish I would of listened and took your advice more to heart."
If you've cheated on your wife you're likely struggling with a lot of guilt. Maybe also regret, remorse, or just wish there was a reset button that could make it all go away. And you're probably also wondering if there's a way to fix it.
These are two really tough questions to ponder. And, understandably, knowing how to answer them is even harder. Perhaps that's why you're on this site reading this right now. You need some perspective and guidance from someone who's walked this path before. It's true at Guy Stuff that we've got a lot of experience helping men navigate the treacherous waters when they've cheated.
Most guys don't end cheating very decisively. It usually tails off over time rather than clearly ending. Stopping the relationship is also usually much easier said than done. Most men feel very conflicted at this stage and don't know what they want to do, so they're hesitant to make any big decisions that eliminate options.
Having an affair destroys the trust in a marriage, even if you think your wife doesn't know. It’s also an indication that there were problems in the relationship to begin with. So if you've cheated on your spouse, and you value your marriage, you'll need to start to take steps to rebuild the trust and fix the problems that existed prior to the affair (not just the ones caused by it).
And it isn’t usually successful when you try to do it alone. In order to fix the problems cheating on your wife creates, and address the other issues in the marriage, all couples really need the assistance of a professional marriage counselor who's walked this path before. An experienced counselor can help you see problems you cannot see on your own and can give you the tools needed to make the repairs and changes needed to find a happy future together.
Is that even possible? Can someone actually get over being cheated on? Yes. Understandably, it's not easy to do.
First, it takes a desire by both partners to want to stay together. Second, a commitment is necessary in order to do the hard work to heal the wounds and repair the relationship problems. Lastly, it almost always requires the help of an experienced counselor to unearth and address the reasons cheating happened in the first place.
Each of these steps takes patience. In the beginning, one or both partners are likely to be unsure of what they want and so may not know if they even want to try to stay together. Additionally, being skeptical that you can really get over being cheated on is normal and to be expected. When you start to address the pain of infidelity it's tempting to want to run away and avoid it (both the cheater and victimized partner can do this).
If you've been cheated on and you want to stay together, then you'll need to spend some time thinking about how the two of you arrived here and what needs fixing. Affairs happen for many reasons. However, none of them justifies betraying your commitment to the person you say you love, but determining the reasons why it happened can tell you a great deal about what changes are needed. In order to cope with cheating and get past it you'll not only have to work through the infidelity itself, but also the problems that existed prior to the cheating.
One of the biggest challenges in how to get over being cheated on is rebuilding the trust that cheating destroys. It can be very difficult to get past the distrust and worry that this could happen again. Reaching a point where you feel comfortable that your husband or partner won’t cheat again takes time and work. Getting over infidelity requires both partners having patience with the process of recovery and making changes in their relationship a priority.
The affair with Hailey was fun. It gave him an escape from the monotony of his daily routine and made him feel wanted again. But even though those things were true, he still wasn’t happy.
He thought about leaving Jada, but nothing about that idea felt good or right. He imagined having a real relationship with Hailey, but he wasn’t certain about that idea either. The fact was that he didn’t know what he wanted or whom he loved. But at this point he had messed things up so much that he was pretty sure Jada would leave him if she knew he was cheating.
Jada clearly suspected something. She was suspicious all the time, always interrogating him about his calls and whereabouts. He could tell she didn’t trust him.
With all of these questions constantly swirling in his head, and the guilt and sneaking around – he was exhausted. When Jada finally confronted him and asked if he was having an affair he confessed. He told her he didn’t love the other woman, he loved her and wanted to work things out.
Jada felt like she was simmering all the time. She had become obsessed with monitoring Kevin’s every move. She questioned him daily about his calls, texts, and what was going on at work. Since he wouldn't give her the password to his phone she looked at the phone records, but nothing appeared unusual (it was all work calls).
She was so confused. His behavior and explanations just didn't match up. This left her torn between not speaking to him and yelling at him. Sometimes she wanted to leave, other times she just wanted him to prove her wrong – that he'd been recruited by the FBI or CIA or something – and tell her how much he loved her. Not that she would've believed anything he said at this point anyway, but it would be nice to hear.
And she felt so alone! She had plenty of girlfriends, but telling them she thought Kevin was cheating on her felt like it would be too humiliating. They thought he was the perfect husband. Wouldn’t they wonder what she had done to drive him away? Would they blame her? Tell her how she could've prevented it? She really didn’t think so, but it still seemed too hard to say those words out loud.
The worst day of her life was the day that she finally got up the nerve to ask Kevin directly if he was having an affair. She was still shocked when he said, yes, and confirmed her worst fears.
After a few days she called Kevin. He had left message after message and said he loved her and he wanted to work it out. He wanted her to come home. He wanted her to forgive him. But she didn’t know what she wanted.
Somewhere within her she thought she still loved him. It was hard to tell though through all the pain and hate she was feeling. She needed help. She needed – they needed – someone to help them figure out if there was any way to salvage their marriage.
So when she called she said they needed to go to counseling. It was the only way – their only hope. Kevin agreed.
With our help they now have a plan they follow to both protect their relationship from another affair as well as strengthen the love between them.
A cheating spouse causes what can seem like irreparable damage. And without help the destruction is often unfixable. However, with professional guidance it's possible not just to save your marriage but make it better than it's ever been.
A spouse can cheat in an instance, but repairing the damage can take some time.
We know how incredibly hard it is to cope with the reality of a spouse who cheats on you. Over the years we’ve heard countless stories from both men and women trying to understand how their relationships got to this point and if there is any possible way to heal the damage.
At Guy Stuff we successfully work with couples trying to resurrect the love, rebuild the trust, and find hope for a happy future. This one of the reasons why over 300,000 people just like you visit the Guy Stuff website every month looking for answers and hope. We understand the challenges each couple faces when cheating occurs are as different as each couple.
That's why we’ve designed a series of simple questions to help you examine your relationship for possible cheating. Our Cheating Spouse Quiz can help you identify the challenges you face as couple and give an idea of the areas that need to change.
And you’ll get next steps to set you on the path to clarity so you’re ready to move forward.
Please Note: The Cheating Spouse Quiz is in its final stages and will be released next month. In the meantime, please take our Love is Gone Quiz to learn what problems contributed to getting to this point.