He Cheated: What Should I Do Now?
There are all too many ways to be betrayed and cheated on (such as physically or emotionally), and there can even be a difference in opinion of whether there was even a betrayal. Ultimately, the call is based on your ability or will to progress with overcoming the infidelity, or not. Either option is valid and real, but impossible to discover without tapping into your gut. Everyone gets the final say in his or her own relationship decisions.
“You can do anything you want, really,” my roommate has said for the past two years. After encountering several romantic conundrums of our own and witnessing those of others, we’ve come to realize that there really is no “right” and “wrong” in the decisions you make with someone. That is, however, unless it is “wrong” by your own standard. So, when encountering infidelity, the key to developing a plan of action is deciphering just that: what exactly did you feel was wrong?
Lying by omission is still a form of dishonesty. Let’s just talk about this for what it is: your partner made a decision without your consent. I almost added, “without taking your feelings into consideration”, but that may be untrue, depending on the situation. Yes, your partner lied to you, whether outright or by omission, to be with someone else. For many, this may be a complete deal breaker. However, that is not to say that your partner did not fully consider the aftermath, or feel guilt or shame about the decision. Gauge your position by having a serious talk with your significant other. If he/she feels terrible about it, are you willing to let it go? Do you think you’d be able to trust your partner in the future? How will this make you feel about their outings with friends of their desired gender?
The Act Itself
Due to the presence of the media in our world, as well as certain male stereotypes, perhaps we anticipate men cheating more so than women. While there are trends to suggest that men do participate in acts of infidelity more often, that does not mean that they should be given an immediate pardon for said behavior. Similarly, women should not be given that same pardon for the alternative argument, that it “was just one time” for instance. Still, something was shared between your partner and someone that is not you. The event itself happened, and cannot be reversed. Knowing this, how do you feel about the physical intimacy that was shared with someone else? How would you feel about your physical relationship with your partner going forward?
Your partner’s inability to see the problem
The issue itself may lie in the “I’m yelling, but no one can hear me” phenomenon. The frustration you feel may be that your partner is not susceptible to your expressions of pain. Such inabilities to sympathize may mean that your values are not aligned. Are these values ones you are willing to compromise on? Is your partner stubborn, or willing to make a change? Are you able to proceed in a relationship with someone who does not see the betrayal as “such a bad thing”? Consider whether you would hold on to the anger or frustration that you feel now. Is it worth the coping mechanisms, such as passive aggression, you might inflict upon your partner in the future?
No one can tell you what to do in this situation. There are pros and cons to staying or leaving a partner that has behaved in such a way. But that’s a list for you to make, not anyone else. Consider the questions that are raised here and allow them to help you create a plan that will lead to a healthier, happier you.
- Psych Central
- Whisman, M.A. & Snyder, D.K. (2007). Sexual infidelity in a national survey of American women: Differences in prevalence and correlates as a function of method of assessment. Journal of Family Psychology, 21, 147-154.