How your relationship changes after someone cheats



Do you—or your partner—have a cheating heart? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Research shows that infidelity rates may be as high as 60 to 70% (but it’s tough to get an exact number because it’s all self-reported).

And you can’t just blame the guys: One study found that women and men cheat at the same rate.

But the reasons why men and women are unfaithful tend to differ. Most women cheat because they feel emotionally deprived, and men are unfaithful because they often feel sexually deprived.

But no matter who does it or why, it’s going to seriously impact your relationship. Here’s what kind of changes you can expect.

1. You can’t trust anything anymore

Not surprisingly, not only will a victim of infidelity mistrust their partner sexually and emotionally, he or she might also begin to doubt them in other areas. In the wake of an affair, more and more lies come out, and that makes trust very difficult. It then becomes easy to feel dubious toward your partner in other aspects of life, such as finances or parenting.

2. Your confidence plummets—or soars

Part of the reason many people cheat is because they felt unwanted or unloved in their relationship. Then they discover sexual or emotional appreciation in the affair which, in turn, bolsters their confidence. The flip side: The person who is being cheated on will suffer a major blow to his or her self-esteem.

3. Your focus totally shifts

Cheating can create a level of stress and anxiety that can trigger a depressive episode. For some people, an affair can make them lose focus on other aspects of their life. Self-care, their career trajectory, friendships and thoughtful parenting can all take a backseat. Take it one day at a time and start prioritizing healthy habits, like going to the gym and starting therapy, to help you rebuild your life and your relationship.

4. You may not even recognize your libido

For some people, infidelity can destroy their sex life. If your partner has cheated on you, even if you are working hard to forgive and rebuild the relationship, sex is often the last piece of the puzzle. You’re sorting through all kinds of emotions—depression, anger, betrayal—and that just kills your sexual desire.

5. Your commitment to each other might become stronger

Infidelity will test even the most resilient relationships. But cheating, despite the many problems it can bring, isn’t necessarily the kiss of death. An affair can actually be the thing that saves a relationship, who believes that cheating can be a huge wake-up call to both partners and a test of their commitment. If the cheater realizes it’s a big mistake and seeks to understand why he or she was tempted, and the betrayed spouse is willing to look at what might have been missing in the relationship, both of them can repair the damage and actually make the relationship stronger.

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