Own up to it
Denying that you strayed from your relationship will only make your partner more angry and frustrated, so be a grown up and tell the truth if you’ve been caught cheating. If he has learned what has happened, there is no point in lying about it. “It’s hard enough to stomach the affair,” says Irina Firstein, LCSW, a couples’ therapist in New York City. “All the lies and covering up make the situation much more difficult to move on from.” So, why not just come clean? “Understand that the other person is in shock,” says Sara Nasserzadeh, PhD, a sexuality and relationship consultant and coauthor of The Orgasm Answer Guide. “Give him some space and time while making yourself available to answer any questions he might have.” If you try to ignore or lie about your unfaithfulness and infidelity, you’ll only cause your partner more hurt, resentment, and damage. Been hurt before? Find out the signs that someone is trustworthy.
Decide on your own whom you want to be with, if anyone
It’s up to you whether you want to repair the relationship or not, so no letting your squad or grandma make the decision. Only you know what’s best for yourself and what will work going forward after you’ve been caught cheating. “It’s extremely important for the partner who betrayed to look inside himself to have a deeper sense of why the affair began in the first place,” says Ashley Grinonneau-Denton, an American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists certified sex therapist and couples relationship expert. You should make the final decision on whether you want to continue with the relationship or not. “If you’re undecided about which of the two to choose, do yourself and your two partners a favor and totally distance yourself from them,” says Gilda Carle, PhD, relationship expert, and author of Don’t Lie on Your Back for a Guy Who Doesn’t Have Yours. “Then take the time to figure out who you are so that you can select an appropriate mate for your needs.” (By the way, these relationship fights are totally normal.)
Don’t dismiss seeing a therapist: It’s totally normal to seek professional help from an objective, nonjudgmental, third party if you’ve been caught cheating. While, of course, the counseling may have been more beneficial before you cheated, doing so now will give you understanding and insight into what happened and why it occurred. “This isn’t to resolve the overall issues you have,” says Dr. Nasserzadeh, but rather to help you “deal with the crisis while it’s hot, providing an opportunity to discuss and exchange information without emotionally getting out of hand.” Counseling can help you communicate better and it will give you peace of mind knowing that you tried to make things work if you do decide to step away from your partner and relationship. Grinonneau-Denton also suggests that you see a therapist who has experience addressing infidelity to get the most out of your therapy. Find out the surprising signs your partner is a keeper.