5 Facts You Need to Know If They Cheated

Recovering from infidelity is one of the most difficult challenges any relationship can face. For the person who was cheated on, it can seem all but impossible to regain trust, to get past the pain, and to even consider moving forward with the marriage.

For anyone who has been cheated on, there are a few essential facts for coming to grips with the reality of the scenario, and understanding them will be critical in your ability to rebuild the relationship.

These may seem a little harsh at times, but it’s a harsh situation to be in…

1. Your Spouse Is The Source Of Your Pain

As tough as it is to admit – it’s true. Your spouse is the one who wronged you, and right now, they are the source of all the hurt you’re going through. This is important to understand because it helps you shift away from blaming yourself, searching for outside “reasons,” or making excuses for them.

Also, once you internalize that they are the source of the pain, you can take the necessary space to think long and hard about rebuilding trust with them. You won’t be tempted to fall back into old patterns right away.

2. Your Spouse Is A Liar… And They Can’t Prove Otherwise

At some point during an affair, your spouse lied to you. Maybe it was to cover their tracks, maybe it was to “protect” you, maybe it was something more serious – one way or another, though, no affair can take place without a certain amount of dishonesty.

What you should know when your spouse has cheated.
What you should know when your spouse has cheated.

Unfortunately, that means that you can’t really trust what they say, no matter what promises they make. That is, you can’t trust them UNTIL YOU CHOOSE TO.

No amount of begging, pleading, promising, or “proving themselves” will solve the problem entirely. You have to choose to reinvest your trust. They can’t convince you – they can only help make your choice easier. Trust is generally earned through actions, and your spouse’s actions have betrayed your trust. It’s going to take time to rebuild it, and it’s a decision you’ll have to make for yourself.

3. You Can Still Make It Work

In the worst moments, this may be another fact that’s extremely hard to accept, but it’s true! You can still make your marriage work – it will just take time and effort.

Your marriage isn’t over unless you decide it is. With the help of counseling, you can find ways to forgive your spouse, reconnect emotionally, and move forward. The key is to recognize that your OLD marriage wasn’t a relationship that worked, but that you can embark on a NEW marriage with the person you’re already married to. You have to put the past behind you, own up to faults, and agree to start fresh. It won’t be easy, but it IS possible.

4. Details Hurt

You may think you want to know all the gory details, but if the hurt is still fresh… You don’t.

The specifics of when it started, where things happened, and even what happened won’t do much but give you more to think about, more to feel hurt about, and more to demonize your spouse over. The more you know, the more you’ll have to forgive.

Now, if you still want to know the ugly details after some time has gone by, after you’ve patched things up, then you have every right to ask – but understand that it won’t make you feel any better. It might even be a good idea to only bring up such questions when see a counselor or in some kind of mediated conversation. Dredging up the details can send you spiraling back into pain and distrust, even if the affair is long over.

5. You Can’t Do It Alone

When your spouse cheats on you, the emotional impact is devastating. In the face of such hurt, it’s difficult to make rational decisions, to communicate effectively, to even be in the same room as your unfaithful spouse…

Your judgment is clouded, you might be acting out of hurt or anger, and you can only see the situation from your own subjective position. With some professional help, though, you can understand the whole issue in a little more context, understand the conditions in your marriage that led to the affair, learn about forgiveness, and hopefully get some of those emotionally charged thoughts and actions under control.

A properly trained third party can make all the difference in getting you and your spouse talking again, helping you avoid destructive conflict, and teaching you tactics for rebuilding the damaged connection.

Our How To Survive An Affair video series is a great place to start!

If you’ve suffered through an affair, remember that it doesn’t mean the end of your marriage… It means the end of your OLD marriage. If you’re willing to work on it, and agree to move forward in a new direction of trust, love, and understanding, you can save your relationship in the wake of infidelity.

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!
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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

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12 comments

Debbie 7 years ago

I agree with #1 thru 4 however, when you get to #5 and talk about the conditions in the marriage that led to the affair I have to stop and think about that. So what, if I was sexier, prettier, younger (she was 18 yrs younger than me) I didn't complain as much, I didn't have an accident and have to be in the hospital 3 times and have surgery right before he started the affair, or just ignored the first affair (this was his second that I know of) that he had it wouldn't have happened. NO MARRIAGE IS PERFECT but not everyone that has problems has an affair. There is something morally and to the core of the person he has become that needs to be addressed first and foremost. The issues in the marriage are secondary in my opinion. Can our marriage be saved? Who knows, sometimes I don't even care.

Debbie 7 years ago

I agree with #1 thru 4 however, when you get to #5 and talk about the conditions in the marriage that led to the affair I have to stop and think about that. So what, if I was sexier, prettier, younger (she was 18 yrs younger than me) I didn't complain as much, I didn't have an accident and have to be in the hospital 3 times and have surgery right before he started the affair, or just ignored the first affair (this was his second that I know of) that he had it wouldn't have happened. NO MARRIAGE IS PERFECT but not everyone that has problems has an affair. There is something morally and to the core of the person he has become that needs to be addressed first and foremost. The issues in the marriage are secondary in my opinion. Can our marriage be saved? Who knows, sometimes I don't even care.

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi Debbie - So, if he has done this more than once, it wasn't the woman, and it wasn't the hospital stay. There might be something he feels he is missing like the excitement, or maybe he is trying to work through a midlife crisis. We are not excusing it, but by finding the reason why, you might be able to find another option together. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/real-reason-men-cheat/

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi Debbie - So, if he has done this more than once, it wasn't the woman, and it wasn't the hospital stay. There might be something he feels he is missing like the excitement, or maybe he is trying to work through a midlife crisis. We are not excusing it, but by finding the reason why, you might be able to find another option together. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/real-reason-men-cheat/

Red1 7 years ago

It's been almost a year since the discovery of my wife's 4+ month long emotional affair, which included commentary such as "come F me" toward the end. From the beginning, she has had a nearly complete lack of remorse. I always got to hear that it was "just a little flirting", "not a big deal", "you should be over it by now", "it wouldn't have happened if you met my needs", Etc. Blameshifting, DARVO, and complete lack of responsibility. Personally, I think it would have been easier to deal with if she had a one night stand.

Red1 7 years ago

It's been almost a year since the discovery of my wife's 4+ month long emotional affair, which included commentary such as "come F me" toward the end. From the beginning, she has had a nearly complete lack of remorse. I always got to hear that it was "just a little flirting", "not a big deal", "you should be over it by now", "it wouldn't have happened if you met my needs", Etc. Blameshifting, DARVO, and complete lack of responsibility. Personally, I think it would have been easier to deal with if she had a one night stand.

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi Red - It can be difficult to admit when you are wrong, and she may not see it as having the same impact as a physical affair. When you both are not angry, sit down with her and have a frank conversation. No yelling, or blaming. Just tell her the impact it has had for you, and why you want her to understand how you feel when she downplays it. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/resolving-conflict-fighting-fair-marriage/stop-fighting/

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi Red - It can be difficult to admit when you are wrong, and she may not see it as having the same impact as a physical affair. When you both are not angry, sit down with her and have a frank conversation. No yelling, or blaming. Just tell her the impact it has had for you, and why you want her to understand how you feel when she downplays it. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/resolving-conflict-fighting-fair-marriage/stop-fighting/

Elizabeth 7 years ago

We been married 23 years every thing going good. We have no kids together i have 4 2 son n 2 daughters one of my daughter need help so she move in That when it all started my husband. Being mean to me i mean very. Mean My daughter have a.baby my grandson. N i told him before we got married. My kids was in my life before he was. He make every day of my life he talk to me like he hate me i don't want be with him any more but have no where to go can't work. I am so depressed all the time he said i will not get anything if i leave so i better get a.good lawyer. I do want out but can't leave. i need help he told m to get out many time but this is my ho me to

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi Elizabeth - Was your daughter moving in agreed on by both of you? And is there a time agreed she would be moving back on her own? Your husband may be feeling stressed if he is having to pay for her and having the disruption in his home with no relief in sight. Even a biological father could have that reaction, not that is means it's okay for him to treat you with disrespect. I think you both need to sit down and have a calm talk. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/truth-anger/

Erica 7 years ago

The reason why isn't in the marriage itself, it is in the person cheating. You can have an amazing marriage like my husband has admitted, and if you are a cheater, you will cheat. No matter how great the spouse is.

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

That's very true, Erica. While generally, each spouse had a role to play, it's possibly that the cheating spouse has a separate issue they need to work through that the other spouse didn't contribute to. I hope your husband is able to seek counseling.