I Don’t Think A Relationship Should Survive Cheating, Even If It Can

As it is for many people, cheating is my biggest relationship dealbreaker. I refuse to stay with someone who’s strayed, and even if our relationship is otherwise good, I can’t see past the cheating. Here’s why I think that even if we CAN recover from infidelity, we absolutely shouldn’t.

  1. The trust has walked out. Cheating sends trust racing for the nearest exit. It takes a long time to build trust in a relationship but one night of cheating destroys it all. I might think that my partner and I can survive the affair and rebuild the trust, but will I ever be able to trust him again wholeheartedly? I doubt it.
  2. Betrayal is rarely a one-off. I don’t believe that a person will only cheat once. Sure, it can happen that way, but it hasn’t been my experience. I once took back a cheater who ended up cheating again and again, so I won’t put myself in that situation again.
  3. Fears never leave. Even if the guy never cheats on me again, I’ll always worry that he will. When he says he’s working late, I’ll be wondering if he’s lying. When he’s out with the boys, I’ll be fearing that he’s actually out with some other woman. Being scared and stressed all the time is no way to live.
  4. It’s way too much work. I’m all for working hard on relationships, but after a guy cheats on me, I wonder if I should even bother spending so much effort on someone who’s the reason why we have so much work to do to get back on track.
  5. It’s a breakup, really. When my ex cheated on me and I broke up with him, he tried to make me feel bad for walking away. I told him he actually broke up with me and walked away from the relationship when he cheated. If someone goes out of their way to cheat (cheating doesn’t just happen), he’s really making the decision to break up but doesn’t have the balls to end the relationship in a straightforward way.
  6. Asking “why” is pointless. If we’re going to make things work after an affair, we’re going to have to figure out why the cheating happened and how to move forward after it. But wait – who cares about the “why”? No matter what his reason for straying was, it happened and the only way it should be dealt with is by going our separate ways.
  7. Isn’t once enough? If a guy cheats on me once, it’s more than enough of pain that he’s bringing to my life. I really don’t need to let him in so that I can put my heart at risk of getting destroyed again, thank you very much.
  8. We need deal-breakers. Without dealbreakers and standards firmly in place, I feel like I’m just a doormat. Letting a guy back into the relationship after he cheated on me is basically accepting an average relationship. I want a relationship that meets my standards.
  9. The person cheated on has to deal with so much more. I know that a person who cheats will have to work damn hard to regain his/her partner’s trust and make the relationship healthy again, but what about what the cheated-on person goes through? He/she has to deal with their feelings, they’ll battle to trust again, and will feel broken down, such as by suffering from low self-esteem. Plus, for me, taking a cheater back means I have to lower my boundaries and compromise more. I have to ignore my feelings of hurt to make the relationship work. It’s not a compromise I want or deserve to make.
  10. Cheating is only a symptom. If couples want to make a relationship work after infidelity, they have to realize that the cheating is really just a symptom of bigger issues at play. Moving forward from the cheating episode isn’t a guarantee of being happy together again because so much else is wrong with the relationship. WTF is the point in staying?
  11. The relationship will never be the same again. Sure, there might be couples out there who survive cheating and have a stronger relationship afterward but I don’t see this happening for me. I feel like the issues and insecurities from the cheating experience will crop up again in future. I won’t be able to let it go nor do I feel I should.
  12. All cheating is a good enough reason to leave. The problem with our definition of cheating is that there are so many ways to do it. There’s obviously the sexual cheating, but then there’s emotional cheating, online cheating and micro cheating. We can call it whatever we want, but they all boil down to the same thing: the cheater is a jerk. We can say that emotional cheating hurts more or micro cheating isn’t as bad as a guy sleeping with another woman, but those are just the lies we tell ourselves when we hope a relationship can be saved.
  13. If he cheats, he doesn’t love me. I don’t buy a cheat’s declaration that he loves me and still wants to make things work even though he betrayed me. If that were true, he would’ve been more committed to me and our relationship to begin with. It might sound harsh but I don’t see how cheating on someone and loving them can work simultaneously. I’m not going to take a cheater back in the hope that he’ll love me in future. He had his chance. He blew it.
  14. I deserve more. I don’t want to be with someone who hurts me. I want someone who loves and respects me and gives to the relationship as much as I do. I wouldn’t cheat on someone, so why should I expect that in return?
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.