You Cheated — Now What?

You Cheated — Now What? ©iStock/Viktor_Gladkov

You did the worst possible thing you can do in a relationship: you gave into temptation and betrayed him. In other words, you royally screwed up. Now that you’ve come to terms with what you did, what’s next? How do you move on with your relationship from here, and is that even possible?

  1. Take some time to think. Was it a one time thing? Do you regret it, or is this a sign you want out? You need to figure out exactly what’s going on with you and what made you seek comfort outside of the relationship.
  2. Realize you were in the wrong. If you haven’t come to this conclusion already, it’s time to face it. Whatever drove you to cheating, even if you think it’s something your partner did, you’re in the wrong now. You broke his trust and betrayed the person you love. The sooner you face that, the better you can sympathize with his devastation.
  3. Prepare for the worst. Cheating is big. You should prepare for the moment your partner finds out, because this may just be the end of your relationship. It’s not definite that he’ll leave you, but there’s a good chance he might, and you can’t blame him either way. Even if you stay together, the road to healing will be hard, if it’s even possible.
  4. Tell your partner. Your boyfriend has a right to know. You may want to save him from the heartbreak, but the damage is already done. If you don’t tell him, then from this moment forward, your entire relationship is a lie.
  5. Ask for forgiveness. But you should know that you might not get it — at least not for a long time. If you’re going to stay in the relationship, he has to be able to forgive you. If your relationship is ending, he may hold onto the anger and you need to let that go. Either way, give him time to accept what happened.
  6. Forgive yourself. You made a mistake. Sure, it was a pretty big one, but you can’t spend the rest of your life dwelling on the regret caused by one action. If he can forgive you, then you can forgive yourself — and even if he can’t, you need to learn to live with your choices.
  7. Remove the temptation from your life. You cheated with someone. Well, who was it? Not only do you know that you can’t trust yourself around him, but he’s also a memory of what you did. You can’t move forward with that dark cloud of guilt hanging over you, so say goodbye to your affair accomplice.
  8. Give him some space. He needs time to process what you did and figure out how exactly he wants to move forward. Give him the liberty to hurt and then to heal in his own way. He’ll come to you when he’s ready. Pushing for resolution will only drive him farther away.
  9. Move forward. Whether you stay together or break up, you have to move on from what happened. If you weigh that slip of passion with too much power, you’ll never be able to move past it. It can’t come up in every argument and it can’t be your downfall in a new relationship. You cheated, but you don’t always have to be defined as a cheater. 

Cheating is a scandal, that’s for sure. It’s not the end of the world, though, even if it’s the end of your relationship. You made a mistake and the best thing you can do is grow from it — and never do it again, of course.

Kelsey Dykstra is a freelance writer based in Huntington Beach, CA. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from Grand Valley State University and been writing professionally since graduating in 2013. In addition to writing about love and relationships for Bolde and lifestyle topics for Love to Know, she also writes about payment security and small business solutions for PaymentCloud.

Originally from Michigan, this warm weather seeker relocated to the OC just last summer. Kelsey enjoys writing her own fictional pieces, reading a variety of young adult novels, binging on Netflix, and of course soaking up the sun.

You can find more about Kelsey on her LinkedIn profile or on Twitter @dykstrakelsey.