Psychological insights on relationships: rejections, breakups, making relationships happy, unhealthy dynamics, and general psychology.

Is It Worth Staying With a Cheater?

How to stay with someone who cheats, what needs to be done, and much more. This post will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of staying with a cheater.

There are three people in the picture. A woman wonders if it is worth staying with a cheater

No matter how you feel right now, it’s always, even now, time for common sense. As paradoxical as it may sound, if you make the right moves, your partner’s cheating can be the good thing that happened to your relationship (though it could also be the worst). I’ll explain this in the text.

The basic premise here is that relationships are ultimately about agreements, compromises, exchanges, economics, and many other practical things, no matter how much we count on romance. I often explain to my clients that loving someone is lovely, but it’s equally good to connect with people based on practical aspects of the relationship. You’ll understand this in the rest of the blog post.

What Kind of Cheating Occurred?

I acknowledge that everyone here has different sensitivities to various forms of cheating. In my career, I’ve had cases where people considered liking someone else’s photos as cheating, while others only considered physical acts like sex with someone else. Some viewed just emotional exchanges as cheating.

Three people

People perceive cheating differently, so it would be a good idea for you to delineate your criteria for it. You can scale cheating in various ways. For example, based on the nature of the act (just messaging, sex, meetings, etc.), the type of cheating (emotional, physical, etc.), and the duration (happened only once, lasted for months, etc.).

It would also be beneficial to score everything from this questionnaire. This will help you avoid the trap of punishing every form of cheating equally. In your value system, some things must deserve a greater or lesser penalty.

  • Suppose you are of the radical school of thought that considers absolutely everything as equal cheating. In that case, I must say I disagree with that and suggest you consider clarifying such rigid views with a psychology consultant or even a therapist.

After scoring the types of cheating, determine different penalties for each level. If the most minor penalty is not talking to them, and the greatest is separation (with obvious other options in between), that can be your criterion.

This way, you will give clarity and direction to your thoughts and actions.

Once you go through these criteria and understand how significant the cheating is in your value system, and then combine it with “penalty points,” you will know more rationally what to do. But before you take any action, please read the entire text.

Couple in fight

Why We Are In Love With Someone – Psychological Explanation

It’s Worth Staying with a Cheater Because:

1. You Have the Upper Hand

For the first time in your relationship, maybe you have the upper hand over your partner. No matter how poorly the situation is set up and how unpleasant it is, this is the first time you have a clear reason to set conditions.

Also, as much as someone might criticize the idea of having the upper hand, its existence in any relationship is evident. We are never wholly equal with people, not even our partners. Sometimes they are in control of the relationship, and sometimes we are. Sometimes we are in a better place psychologically, mentally, physically, spiritually, and in terms of earnings, and sometimes our partners are.

Cheating tips the balance in your favor. Because the partner weakened themselves in that way. Your partner has weakened some qualities that are most crucial in our systems (honor, loyalty, restraint, etc.).

And so this might be the first time that control over the relationship is yours, and that’s a good position.

There are a wide range of things you can do because of this.

2. They Owe You

Guy fall out of love

This might also be the first time your partner owes you something significant. No matter how your relationship ends, this is your chance to get something from your partner as compensation for what they did to you.

As you can see in the previous suggestion (and in all others), we return to the path of reason. How do you use what happened instead of making things worse for yourself by making wrong moves?

3. You Can Gain Something Greater

No matter what your relationship is like, whether you still need to talk about something serious or you already live together, are engaged, or are even married, this is an opportunity to ask for something more than what you’ve been getting so far. As I mentioned, you can scale whatever the relationship is and ask for moving in together, marriage, engagement, or if you are married, something you haven’t been able to get until now.

In my career, I have had many creative ideas in this regard.

4. You Might Improve Your Relationship

If you start seeing a counselor because of this cheating, you may improve your relationship in crucial areas. The relationship could be better in some areas. Either your partner is bored or you have problems in the relationship.

I recommend a counselor because you obviously couldn’t recognize or resolve the problems that arose. A mediator can help you understand each other better and find quicker solutions for them.

5. You Might Finally Resolve Some Dilemmas

Man and woman in toxic relationship

Thanks to this, you may learn things about your partner that you never heard before, such as how your partner likes to have fun, what bothers them, what they miss in the relationship, what was on their mind when they cheated, etc.

When you get to know your partner’s depths better, you will better understand what you can do with them. Does it make sense to stay in that relationship and fix it, or not.

Specific Things To Do When Partner Falls In Love With Someone Else 1.

Reasons Not to Stay with a Cheater:

1. If This Isn’t the First Time They’ve Cheated on You

If you realize that your partner cheats relatively regularly, you can assume they won’t stop. This behavior is part of their lifestyle. They might come to you with words of remorse, but they just don’t want you to be angry with them. Your partner likely doesn’t think about stopping the cheating; they just dislike your period of anger.

Below, I explain why this might be a bigger problem than you think.

2. They Don’t Value You

Man and woman in toxic relationship

You obviously understand cheating as your partner betraying you. However, cheating should be understood on deeper levels.

Cheating means your partner values either their own needs or another person’s more in some aspect. Also, when they cheated, your partner didn’t consider you, indicating they don’t respect you, occasionally don’t think about you, and believe they can effortlessly “smooth things over” with you.

This last point is interesting because if they think this about you, it’s clear how they perceive you: gullible, naive, etc. In short, your partner considers you a weak figure (or even insignificant). In any case, they see you as less important than their needs.

Suppose you fail to resolve the reasons why your partner cheated (because they’re bored in the relationship/marriage with you, or they’re seeking revenge for something, etc.). In that case, your partner will likely continue to feel the need to cheat for the same reasons.

3. It is about learned things

Our character contains our habits, desires, what we have learned from others, what we think is good, and our genetics. I won’t go into the field of genetics, because I don’t think very well (we don’t fully know what we were born with and what we learned), but the fact is that the partner may have learned enough for him to be normal.

In the course of my career, I have had numerous conversations with people whose father cheated on their mother, who learned from their mother that cheating is not necessarily a bad thing, who looked up to their idols and did the same, who engage in behaviors unrelated to romantic relationships and therefore believe that cheating is acceptable, etc.

If the partner carries within himself that cheating is okay, only with the help of good psychotherapy or their firm decision – that belief can be changed.
So your partner can continue to cheat on you because that’s how they are taught, and they think it’s a normal, acceptable thing.

11 Unusual Facts About Personality You Should Know

4. If They’re Still in Contact with That Person

Three people sitting, one of them is cheater

Obviously, if contact hasn’t been broken, your partner has a strong reason for it. It could be that they feel comfortable with that person, it boosts their ego, the sex is good, etc.

Also, your partner has placed their reason above everything you offer or threaten. The conclusion is that they are torn between you and that person and are ready, if you leave them, to move into that person’s arms.

5. It’s Part of Your Partner’s Personality

We can easily conclude that cheating is part of your partner’s character, and let’s remember: character changes very slowly and with incredible difficulty. If your partner cheats, it psychologically means two things:

  1. They are more driven by the Id (the animalistic part of us) than the Superego (the ethical part of us).
  2. They skillfully use ego-defense mechanisms to minimize their guilt.

As you can read, these traits are part of your partner’s character (and which entity prevails within them, what they choose, and how they handle it), and each of these traits is very difficult to change. Due to these characteristics, your partner will probably find it difficult to make a change because it is natural for them to follow their animal instincts and to rationalize their cheating very well.

This includes feelings of guilt and remorse.

Alleviating self-blame also has to do with the use of the superego, the Id, and the ego’s defense mechanisms.

If your partner hasn’t gone through psychotherapy or abandoned cheating for a good reason, they will likely cheat again. A strong reason to stop cheating could be the burden of guilt, but let’s be clear: this burden troubles only a few people. For most, guilt is just a temporary feeling.

After the partner stops feeling guilty, they return to themselves. And anything can be found in their character.

How Conscience Work

How to Stay with Someone Who Cheats

Three people sitting

The only way to stay with someone who cheats is to go through several necessary steps:

  1. They Must Break All Contact with That Person: Contact must be absolutely cut off in all possible ways—phone, social media, in person. If contact cannot be cut off because your partner works with that person or is exposed to them somehow, request evidence that they have distanced themselves.
  2. Psychotherapy: Your partner must go through psychotherapy, or you both must attend couples therapy.
  3. Understand the Reasons: When you understand why your partner cheated, you must then rationally assess whether it makes sense to stay in the relationship. For example, if your partner cheated because they were drunk, that’s one thing, but if they cheated because they were bored, I believe it sounds more challenging to resolve. You can’t always entertain your partner.
  4. Make Them Pay for the Cheating: This might sound materialistic or immoral, but the idea is for your partner to truly feel the unpleasantness of what they did. For you to get at least some tangible satisfaction. This payment should be high by your standards and should be something you can look at when you remember the cheating and think: “Yes, they cheated on me. But I got __________ in return.”


  • This payment must be significant according to your criteria.
  • It should be something you can look at when you remember that your partner cheated on you, and think, “But I still got this.”
  • Payment is essential because if you don’t make your partner pay for the cheating, it will always remain between you. If you make them pay somehow, they also have something to hold onto and say: “But I compensated you with this back then.” And you’ll have something to focus on.

It’s not a good idea to be in a relationship where you can always return to and dwell on the cheating, which this compensation can potentially mitigate.

  • Once you’ve billed your partner, that should be it. We will write more about this in the text, How to Behave After Your Partner Cheats on You.

At some point, when you resolve the dilemmas between you, you need to work on intensively improving the relationship. Do whatever it takes. Read the text How To Improve Your Relationship

What is Necessary

Three black people
  • It is necessary to separate for a while to gather your thoughts.
  • Do not become aggressive (throwing things, yelling, insulting, or threatening), because this can quickly become the central issue instead of the infidelity. Keep attention to the main topic.

Also, if you become aggressive, your partner can easily claim that you always behave this way and that they have to cheat because of your behavior.

  • It is necessary to punish your partner for the infidelity. Let’s return to the beginning of the text.

The punishment must fit the transgression, so to speak. Having the same rigid punishment doesn’t make sense for every sin.

Once you determine what the punishment will be based on the above criteria, it’s important to enforce it.

Rules for punishment:

  1. Do not give up on whatever punishment you’ve decided on because of emotions or your partner’s sweet talk.
  2. Set a duration for the punishment.
  3. After the punishment is over, it’s time for the compensation we discussed earlier.
  4. This is also the time for conversations—not so much for you to understand your partner as for them to understand themselves.

When something related to you arises (e.g., your partner says they cheated because you don’t have regular sexual relations), you will have an answer on what you need to work on.


5. Even if you stay in the relationship, separate yourself in some way from your partner. For example, financially or by giving yourself more freedom, meeting new friends (not for sexual purposes, but so that if heaven forbid, cheating happens again, you have an exit strategy). Introduce new hobbies and activities into your life. Essentially, create a life for yourself apart from your partner (nothing wrong or dishonorable) that they will be aware of. Let’s call it a “sword hanging over the relationship” that should be there for at least a while.

6. After you return to the relationship, start building it anew. Do new things in the relationship. Because the relationship you had before was not good on some levels.

Of course, you won’t change the essence of the relationship (if you’re a parent, you can’t suddenly pretend to be a boyfriend and girlfriend). Still, you can introduce elements that will improve the relationship where it is lacking.

How to Get Back in a Relationship with Someone Who Cheated 1.

I will end this text with a philosophy.

Toxic couple

Even when we are, as I said, extremely hurt by someone else, if we try not to give in to our emotions but to reason and make the most of what happened to us, change something, and focus on the future (one month plus) instead of the present and the pain we feel, this can almost be the best thing that has ever happened to us. And I mean this both in staying with your partner and leaving them.

People make the mistake of thinking that what they feel now is what they will feel in the future. Look back, and you’ll see that this is never the case. Everything you once felt is now a thing of the past, and your rational decisions always shape the present and future.

Therefore, do not give in to despair; implement some steps from this text and plan your future. There lie your most excellent chances for happiness. Dee

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