How To Keep From Falling Apart When You Find Out He’s Been Unfaithful

I don’t think there’s a word to describe just how awful it feels when you find out that your partner has been unfaithful. Having been in the situation, I know it not only feels like someone has just sliced your heart right open, but kicked you in the gut, too. It’s a horrible, desperate feeling, and one that, unfortunately, you can’t ignore; you have to deal with it whether you like it or not.

It’s not going to be easy, and it’s going to hurt like hell, but here’s how to deal when you realize your partner has cheated ― and no, it doesn’t include forgiveness.

  1. Get rip roaring mad. You have every right to be pissed the hell off. You’ve been deceived, you’ve been lied to, and everything you’ve believed to be true about this person has suddenly gone out the window with that one revelation. You should be infuriated and don’t let anyone tell you different.
  2. Allow yourself to cry a thousand rivers. Similarly to being pissed, you have every right to be heartbroken, too. Cheating isn’t just about a physical betrayal, but an emotional one, too. Call in sick to work, take to your bed for days, and cry, cry, cry. Get it all out.
  3. Take about a million deep breaths. After all that crying, you’re going to need to breathe if you want to approach the issue with at least a modicum of rationale and sanity, so breathe. If you’re someone who meditates, then get your meditation on.
  4. Get mad again, but this time stay mad. It’s in being angry that you’re going to find the strength to deal with this head-on and not chicken out when push comes to shove. You’ve been betrayed; don’t forget it.
  5. Break something. I’m not suggesting you smash everything in sight, but throwing a plate against the wall is going to feel really good. Trust me on this one. Just avoid breaking anything that might get you arrested, like a car window or your partner’s nose.
  6. Confront his sorry ass. After you’ve breathed in and out, counted to a thousand 10 times over, and broken something, it’s time to talk to this sorry excuse for a man. You need to let him know the jig is up.
  7. Demand answers and don’t settle for excuses. You have every right to know why he’s done this and every right to tell him to go screw himself when he throws pitiful excuses your way. Kindly remind him that if they ever loved you or respected you, he’d be upfront and honest; they owe you at least that.
  8. Don’t blame yourself. You can’t forget that this was done to you by someone you loved and trusted – you are not to blame. No matter how rocky things might have been in your relationship, there’s no excuse for cheating. If your partner wanted to get action from someplace else, he should have ended things with you first.
  9. Take the high road. What this really means is don’t go stalking the person your partner cheated on you with or make idle threats against her. It’s your partner who messed up; not her. You also want to walk away with your dignity intact.
  10. Think about what’s right for you. As I said in the opening paragraphs, I’m a believer that cheating isn’t something that should be forgiven. I can say this because personal history has confirmed that forgiving cheaters is like giving them permission to do it again. However, if you believe in your heart of hearts that the best thing for you and your partner to do is to work through it, then go that route – just remember I told you so.
  11. Cut your losses and run like hell. Realistically, if you love yourself more than you love him, and you should, then you owe it to yourself to look at the situation, realize it’s flawed, and run like the wind ― like the wind! You deserve someone who’s going to be faithful and such people do exist. I bet my right boob on it, and my right boob is my best boob.
Amanda Chatel is a sexual health, mental health, and wellness journalist with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured in Shape, Glamour, SELF, Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Elle, Mic, Men's Health and Bustle, where she was a lifestyle writer for seven years. In 2019, The League included Amanda in their "15 Inspirational Feminists Every Single Person Should Follow on Twitter" list.

Amanda has a bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She divides her time between NYC, Paris, and Barcelona.

You can follow her on Instagram @la_chatel or on Twitter @angrychatel.