Why did my partner cheat on me?
It’s normal to experience a range of emotions after your partner cheats on you
Written by spunout
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
Finding out your partner has cheated on you can bring up a lot of emotions. You might be feeling angry, devastated, shocked, sad, or all of these at once. It can also cause a lot of confusion about your relationship, what it meant to you and your partner, and what it means now. There will be a decision to make about whether to continue seeing each other or break up, and it can be hard to know what the right thing to do is.
Feelings you may have after being cheated on
- You may be feeling everything from shock to anger to sadness
- You may start analysing the entire relationship and question everything about your time together
- You may find it difficult to stop thinking about it and wonder who the person was and when or where it happened
- You may wonder if they think of the other person when they are with you
- You may want to forget about the whole thing, pretend it never happened, or choose to move on before you’re ready
- You might start to feel very low or depressed
Why do people cheat?
The reasons why a person cheats can be different in each relationship, and the only person who can answer the question of why is the person who cheated themselves. However, they might not even fully understand why themselves. Here are some reasons why a person might cheat:
Problems with the relationship
Relationships can be hard, and sometimes there are problems that can be difficult to fix. In some cases, it might not be possible to save the relationship from whatever problems are going on. Even when a person is unhappy in a relationship, they might not want to break up, or they might want to avoid conflict for as long as possible. They could start cheating on their partner as a way to avoid having to deal with these issues.
Afraid of commitment
Some people may not be at a stage in their life where they feel like they can commit to a serious relationship. This could be the case no matter how old they are. People who feel this way might end up continuing the relationship even though it’s not what they want, and begin cheating on their partner.
They have feelings for someone else
It is normal to sometimes find that you are attracted to someone else even in a relationship. However, sometimes this attraction can develop into something more, and you might start to have feelings for the other person. When this happens, some people end up acting on those feelings instead of being honest with their partner about what’s going on. As well as this, many people have pasts that involve exes and other relationships that can at times be hard to leave behind.
Lack of communication
Every couple is different, and the boundaries of a relationship are not always the same from one couple to the next. It’s important when starting out a relationship to talk about what these boundaries are. If one person thinks that the relationship is exclusive, but another thinks that it’s more casual, then this could cause an issue down the line if one person feels that their partner has cheated, but the other doesn’t see it the same way. It also helps to communicate clearly what it means if you decide to take some space from each other or time apart so that everyone is on the same page.
What to do after you have been cheated on
It can be extremely difficult to make a decision about whether to stay in the relationship or not. Although many people say that things would be over as soon as they found out, it’s not always an easy choice, and it might feel a little more complicated for you.
In order to make your decision about the relationship you will need to
Talk to your partner
Ask them why they cheated, if they have done it before and what they are prepared to do to fix things. Explain to them how this has made you feel, and tell them that if they are asking for your forgiveness, that you are going to need time to process what has happened.
Consider if you can move forward
You may be able to forgive, but not forget. Even if you stay with your partner, what happened could continue to come up as an issue. If you cannot move forward, you may have to walk away from the relationship altogether.
Decide if you want to work it out
Make a decision about what you want to do. Try and have confidence in your decision, whatever you choose. There will be ups and downs no matter what you decide.
If you’re struggling, you could go for counselling, either on your own, or as a couple if you want to stay in the relationship and your partner is willing to join you.
This is a really difficult time for you. It’s important that you take time to look after yourself, talk to someone about how you’re feeling, and practice self-care.