Caught Cheating? How to Move Forward After Being Unfaithful

November 26, 2011  |  
1 of 8

We all learn to look out for signs that our man is cheating, or subtle hints that he might be seeing someone else on the side, but what if you are the one that cheated?  Assuming that you still want to work on your current relationship, we have 7 ways to move on successfully after you’ve been unfaithful.  This is not a “loop-hole” and is not praised, but the reality is 14 percent of married women have had affairs at least once during their married lives and 17 percent of divorces in the United States are caused by infidelity.  If you fall into this category, and don’t want to be part of the divorce statistic, take a look at these helpful steps.

1. Own it

Own the problems that you created by having an affair. You cannot change what you don’t acknowledge and being defensive or combative about the subject will only prove that your apology was insincere. This is the time to be regretful, remorseful, empathetic, compassionate, honest, and emotionally available. Do not say anything that will give the impression that your man drove you to cheat, or in any way contributed to your behavior. There will be plenty of time to pass the blame around later on during counseling sessions, or during times of productive conversation with your mate. Don’t waste time blaming the affair on anyone or anything else and don’t point the finger at temptation, being drunk, or falling prey of a bad influence.  Telling your boyfriend or husband that you did not realize what was happening is not only ridiculous and pathetic, it devalues him.

2. Cut off the “other man”

In order to resolve your relationship, contact with “the other person” must be cut off 100 percent. You can’t work on dealing with the consequences of the affair while you’re still having it. Keeping a person in your life with whom you have had an affair is like trying to put toothpaste back into the tube. Not only is this a confusing message to the other person, it is also extremely disrespectful to your boyfriend or spouse. It does not matter if you have known the other man since kindergarten, or have to see him at work. It is time to break those ties. Do what you must to avoid any contact.  It’s a baby step in the right direction by showing your man that you are committed to making things right and want to forget about your terrible mistake.

3. Be smart

Don’t rely on your heart to tell you what to do, rely on your intellect. Do what logic tells you is the right thing to do.  Make the hard decisions. Either leave the marriage to free your partner, or commit to stay. Remember, checking out of one relationship before you finish it appropriately doesn’t work.  You cannot set a timeline for your man and when you think he should be “over it.” The truth of the matter is, he will never fully be “over it”, but might learn how to mentally move past the affair. When a person is hurting, they typically share their pain with the closest person to them. As their girlfriend or spouse, you are the one they will vent to, even though it is you that caused the pain. Additionally, you may feel as though since you’ve confessed, apologized and vowed to remain faithful, things should now return to normal. Nope.  It’s not up to you.

4. No excuses

In your head you might be comparing your current “boring” relationship with this new wild fling.  Don’t get caught in this trap.  It is unfair to compare a new, exciting, taboo fantasy relationship to one you’ve been in for years where there are kids, bills to pay, a house to run and noses to wipe.  Of course this new thing seems fun; it’s not real!  Also, keep in mind that now is not necessarily the time to pick fights over certain topics, particularly those related to privacy and possessiveness. Your man is feeling betrayed and frightened and it is only natural for them to project those fears onto situations that have any resemblance to your affair.  Be extra sensitive to his feelings and heightened sense of paranoia and possessiveness.  If you look at the cashier at the supermarket for too long, take note that your mate might be watching this and extrapolate it into something it’s not.  Listen to his fears and emotions and calmly reiterate that you are sorry, you know the damage has been done, and you are willing to do anything to keep him in your life.

5.  It’s not about you

Ask yourself, what are you doing to help your partner get past the affair?  Be mature enough to recognize that life is not always all about you and what feels good for you in the moment. If you are married and have children, you have an obligation and a commitment that exceeds what feels good. You must do whatever it takes until your partner finds emotional closure. Additionally, acknowledge how much you hurt your man, how difficult it must be for them to get over the pain, and vow to do whatever necessary to make things better…forever. Acknowledging the degree of pain you put your spouse or boyfriend through, and expressing appreciation for another chance, gives him the impression that you not only are mindful of their pain, but you will be less likely to make such awful choices again in the future.

6. Define cheating/ stop lying

Want to know if something is cheating? If you wouldn’t do it with your spouse standing there, it’s cheating. If your man presents evidence of the affair, own up to it. You need to understand that the worst thing that could possibly happen already has; you were dishonest and unfaithful. Therefore, continuing to lie, twist, or deny is simply adding insult to injury. Your only hope of regaining his trust is to give him the whole truth and therefore demonstrate your commitment to being honest with him, even about the tough stuff. You are kidding yourself if you think you are protecting your man by “omitting” certain truths. If you wanted to protect him, you never would have allowed him to get hurt in the first place.

7. Children first

If your marriage is over and you have children, understand that your relationship with your ex will never end. You will always at least be co-parents of your children. Build a new relationship as their allies and do everything to keep them out of your problems. You can’t hide the fact that you are going through a trauma so be honest with your children, but don’t weigh them down with too many details.  Be very conscious of what you say in front of them and focus solely on their well-being.  You’ve already messed up one relationship, now its time to strengthen others, especially with your children.

Trending on MadameNoire

View Comments
Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • Komedy825

    This has probably been the most ACCURATE ACCOUNT of a situation that I’ve ever read on this topic.This has been very informative and also cut&dry.I hope that this not only helps people in this situation,but gives them a BLUEPRINT to start the healing process.

  • Steelcitychick

    wow….what every happened to honesty?
    If one is truthful to ones self and to their partner, these steps would be null and void!
    There’s a reason you want to cheat! Confront it and move one with the new person, plain and simple!
    If you live to regret it, it’s the price you pay, the lesson you learned!

    • TrustIssues

      Yes, we men are not properly equipped to deal with cheating women.  Especially serial cheaters.  When we find out our spouse has cheated it crushes us, mainly because our spouse is our place of refuge this is where we go for comfort and to imagine that she has been pulling her pants down all over town makes us sick.   If as a man, you are trying your best emotionally, physically and financially to support your spouse, once she cheats you know she doesn’t value anything you bring to the table..because unlike men, women don’t typically cheat/sex someone without feeling an emotional connection (I said women), and for your woman to go out jumping bones without talking to you about whatever issues she has first is the height of disrespectful behavior.  In my experience, most of these cheating women never stop, and have a false sense of reality.  While there is no full proof to weed out this sort of ladies of easy virtues, men should be more attentive and not just believe the person they are with is always honest.   A lot of young ladies havent had any father figures in their lives and have no idea what a good decent man is about or brings to the table.  so many of them are always on the hunt for the proverbial bigger better deal….the next excitement….the greener grass without understanding that maybe if they work on their current situation it will be better.  

  • I don’t cheat. Never have. I have had moments when I’ve been tempted but it was pure lust. I realized that I was lacking something from my partner and talked to her about it (mostly it was feeling lonely and rejected). I never did cheat, not even a kiss, not even flirting while I was with her. Of course, she felt free to flirt with other girls one night. Smdh. People. 

  • Pingback: Caught Creepin’: How To Move Forward After Being Unfaithful | UE Radio Live()


    Please Women be careful because some men will put you 6 feet deep for playing with their feelings or sleeping with his friends and family!

  • Great article. I loved it. My Wife and I overcame my cheating when we were dating. I talk about it in my book “From Gigolo to Jesus” It was the Lord and my wife who saved my life. I pray continued success wth all you’re working on. God Bless

    K. L.Belvin

  • yui

    NEVER EVER EVER EVA EVA EV EV EV….get with a woman if she has cheated…On the first date or even, heck even before that, the first call…ask the hoe (because that’s what hoes do) has she ever cheated…If she says yes move along…Wait a minute…Hit it then move along…Cause The chick is not relationship worthy at all. 

    Once a cheat always a cheat. Look for the signs of  cheating..these are all factors

    1. Are her parents divorced
    2. How long did it take for you to smash
    3. How many partners
    4. Her dressing habits
    5. How often she attends church
    6. How often she reads her Bible
    7. Her friends and who she hangs out with
    8. Shows and movies she watches
    9. What she eats (yes its important)
    10. What type of men she dated in the past
    11. What is her mother and father like
    12. Kids out of wedlock
    13. Education level
    14. How does she spend her free time
    15. Does she drink or smoke
    16. Attitudes towards sex, marriage, and relationships

    Men need to do some research…Nothing is foolproof but there are a lot of signs that can ensure a man to pick a woman who would be faithful to the best of his knowledge. Picking the right woman is like choosing stock..Is she long term or short term value. Long term women you invest, but you have to do your due diligence of research to verify she has a 95% or higher chance of not cheating or being the best woman. Short term women you take out on a date, you hug you kiss, play around, smash and dash…Thanks..that’s all folks

    • doublestandard

      I hope ur list goes the same for men as well…..and funny how these women are just smashable and your sexual partners list continues to rise while you want your actual wife to have low number of partners, Hmmmm maybe ur furture wife would like someone with low number of partners as well

    • Marquis de Sade

      Uhhh, your rationale is filled with too many IRRATIONAL and SEXIST double standards…And as far she givin’ it up on the first date, has it ever occurred to you that mayhap, she did it cuz she’s INTO YOU?

      Despite popular belief, Women (like Men) are also VICTIM/SLAVE to animal attraction…Like what I alluded to in my earlier post, the male ego (if you allow it) can be your own worst enemy.

      • yui

        Marquis De Sade,

        If you’re a dude which I’m not sure because it sounds androgynous, My rationale may be sexist and have double standards but it’s the truth. If  you are going to be ok with women who are slaves to animal attraction and sleeping with men on the first date, then by all means do you. Best rest assure that she will cheat on you if you are with her long enough.

        Of course it’s a double standard, life isn’t fair. Men want mother theresa’s/claire huxtables…while being Hugh Hefner.

        I’m just giving men insights what type of women are more likely to cheat or not to cheat. The list is for both men and women.

    • Sugar_Spice

      Where did you get these factors?  My parents are divorced, I’ve dated some shady dudes in the past, & some of these others might apply to me but I personally wouldn’t consider these signs of me cheating.  I’ve been cheated on before & would never want to hurt someone they way I’ve been hurt. What does shows & movies & what a person eat have to do with anything?

    • Sdennis334

      What does attending church or reading the Bible have to do with fidelity? There are plenty of churchgoing people, heck, pastors too, who cheat on their partners – even sleeping with members of their own congregation. And where are you getting the “95%” as a reliable measure of faithfulness? Either you cheat or you don’t.

      • yui

        There’s been studies done that says that a woman’s church attendance is one of the leading categories as to why couples stay together forever. That said, You are absolutely correct. Attending Church and reading your Bible by itself doesn’t indicate whether a partner will cheat or not, but If she has all the other factors on the positive side that I listed then that can and more likely strengthen a man’s belief that A woman won’t cheat. Like I said NOTHING is fool proof. Hell, a woman can be mother theresa and cheat..but the probability is much much lower.

        Plenty of crackheads preaching on the street and have started a church. The baptist Church is FILLED with Adulterers. But that’s because a lot of these churches are nothing but night clubs masquerading as Prayer Houses. That’s why it’s important to have a combo of factors and not just single one out.

        It’s noteworthy that the man’s partner attends the right type of church as well, because a lot of church goers club at night then attend service the next day. If a man’s girl is doing this, then I can basically inform him that she is more prone to cheat, than a woman that is knitting or baking goods on Friday nights.

        95% is an arbitrary number. It’s just a way of giving a man a head’s up of who is more likely to cheat since all cheating situations are different. Yes either you cheat or don’t, but some women are more prone to cheat because of certain circumstances. So I broke it down rating level of cheating.

  • Love_Sexy

    I don’t know I always believed that men take it alittle bit harder than women when it come to cheating…I mean pain is pain and when it hurt it is devastating for anyone…..It would be nice for more men to comment on this article just to get their perspective on it……….Men always seem to pop in on MN giving their opinions so this is a good time for them to be heard on the subject….LOL.. Just kidding so no attacks!

    • Marquis de Sade

      Men take it harder cuz we (unlike y’all) are not emotionally predisposed or conditioned to deal with and/or process heartache…That’s why when women cheat, 9 times out of 10, men will end the relationship as opposed to forgiving, while women on the other hand, 7 times out of 10 will likely forgive and try to work it out.

      I think on a subconscious level, women come into most relationships with the predisposed notion that her b.f/husband will likely slip up once or twice durin’ the lifespan of the relationship, while on the other side of the coin, men (due their EGO) rarely entertains the notion that their g.f./wife will cheat.

      • Love_Sexy

        That is what I thought as well.

      • Pat Riarchy

        Naturally, it is the man’s fault. It’s his ego.

        There is a branch of psychology that I think you might be interested in It’s evolutionary (or biological) psychology.

        I would suggest that men find it harder to get over is because men care and females don’t. As far as females are concerned, they should be able to do anything they like to a man.

        So a man invests his everything into a female. His hard earned money and his heart. He thinks that she is with him. On his side. A team. They are like 2 peas in a pod. He can TRUST her. But he can’t. It’s an awful realisation to come to. Whereas the female is just concerned about her. Now she has to pay people exorbitant amounts to fix things and who is going to pay all the bills. So she starts actively looking for a replacement.

        What she wants to do is create a nest and secure funding for her and her kids. That’s why half of females reckon that baby sitting their own kids and personal hygiene are worth half a man’s assets, income and future income.

    • Komedy825

      I think men take it harder because of the old DOUBLE STANDARD.No matter what a man…DOES NOT want to picture the things he does to his lady,now being done by another man.Just the picture of that could turn any man insane,no matter how much other”side action”he’s got going on.

      • Love_Sexy

        Yes that is so true….very good point.

  • IllyPhilly

    Yes own it, In my case, unless it’s clear as water to both parties that this a relationship. It’s time to move on because once a cheater always a cheater. No ifs or buts. Keep it moving or ya’ll will end up on Snapped.

    • Girliusmaximus

      That is my show!

  • Kay

    I began dating my guy a couple of years ago. Things were going fine until he started yelling everyone, except me, that I was pushing for commitment. So, I started an affair with a guy he happened to know. When he found out he fought with the guy and was verbally abusive with me. We broke things off, but he always called me saying how much I hurt him and he loved me. I broke it off with the other guy too. We decided to try and make things work. He seems to be ok at times, but sometimes he will get depressed and call me bringing the same stuff back up. I told him maybe we should break it off for good; but he always says no. I love him, but I don’t know what to do.

    • yui

      The dude sounds like a loser…any man that says to a woman constantly he loves after she cheats on him is a Dud. I can see why you cheated on him. He sounds desperate and pathetic, something a female does when she finds out her rich husband is constantly cheating on her. Either the dude is super ugly and can’t get no other females, or just a lame guy in general, or You are either a dime piece (somewhat doubtful) that he can’t let go, that is the best he ever had. If I were you I would break it off and move on. He’s going to continue to throw in your face. Move along.

      • Terrimh84

        Yea I am a dime piece…. the thing is he was very attractive also he had a nice body, tall, chocolate southern man. After awhile I began to see his insecurities he didn’t want to stare at any guy for too long and made sure held me tight in public or showed lots of PDA . Yes I had to let him go I couldn’t stand to keep apologizing every time he was away from me and got into deep thought about my cheating.

    • solar23

      Have you talked to him about why you were cheating?  Were you completely honest?  He may love you, and probably have forgiven you, but he hasn’t forgotten.  He needs to heal in his own time, and either you value him and the relationship to take the time and the effort to work with him as he heals or plain and simple you don’t.  If you don’t then chuck the deuces up and keep it moving.  If you do place a high value on him then you will put in the work.  He is human, and will have some good days and bad days.  You also have to forgive yourself, and maybe then, you’ll realize that not everything he says has anything to do with your indiscretions, but that you are dealing with a completely different man, A man who has been betrayed by someone he cared deeply for ….trust once broken is difficult to repair….starting over with someone else may be the answer, but w/o dealing with the reasons you jumped into bed with someone else, and owning those actions, how can you be sure it wont happen again.  And you may do it to someone where you find yourself 6 feet under.  

    • Honest Brutha

      Unlike those who say the guys a loser, the fact is you pretty much ruined your relationship. If there were things that needed to be addressed they should have been addressed prior to you not only having an affair but “choosing” to have one with a guy he happened to know. The fact is you should just let him go so that he can find someone who under the same circumstances won’t feel it’s okay to do what you did or is this all about what you want?

  • Pingback:   Caught Creepin’: How To Move Forward After Being Unfaithful by WOW WHIP()

  • Terrimh84

    I agree . I started dating a guy, but had no clue how serious we were, heck I didn’t know we were even together, but he didn’t trust me any ways he had trust issues. I admitted to being unfaithful, but in all honesty he kept accusing me and assuming when nothing was even happening. For almost a year I did everything I could to make him forgive me, I felt like I tried more than he was and ultimately I figures if he can’t get past this and begin to trust me there was no sense on working on the relationship. He was half way in, but it was never the same so I had to end things… Or maybe he ended it the day he heard about the cheating. Basically it was not worth it. I am now just taking time off to analyze why I cheated.

    • Mia

      At least you own and take responsibility for your actions. Most couples that I’ve known that have dealt with problems of cheating usually take the cowards way by ganging up on the person that they cheated with. That never works because they are only using this method to keep from dealing with the real problems in their relationship.

      • Love_Sexy

        Yeah I never understood why people confront the person their partner cheated with instead of them. Absolutely bizarre to me.

    • Pat Riarchy

      I recall an episode of Dr Phil when he told a guy that he had to put up with his wife’s insecurity for the rest of his life if that’s how long it took for her to trust him again.

      Thank Heavens that females DEMAND to be treated equally so if a man cheats on his missus he can say sorry and he won’t do it again and if she can’t handle that then kick her to the kerb.

      Equality is the BEST thing ever for men.