If you’ve ever been cheated on, you know there’s no shortage of opinions on what you should do next. “Once a cheater, always a cheater,” some will intone. “Break it off now.” Others are more forgiving: “What about the experts who say an affair can serve as a walk-up call for change?” they say. “Maybe the two of you can grow from this.”
But ultimately, your next move shouldn’t be decided by outsiders, however well-meaning they may be. Only you know what’s best for you — and sometimes, that’s remaining in the relationship. Below, Redditors who were cheated on explaining why they stayed with their S.O. despite the infidelity.
1. Because they were still in love.
“I stayed because I loved her because I always imagined that I’d spend the rest of my life with her. She ended up leaving me down the road and her unfaithfulness was a contributor to her decision. I’m glad she did because I would’ve stayed with her but it was never the same. To this day, the person I miss is not the woman who left me at the end of it.”
2. Because they were naive
“I was young, gullible and didn’t realize a relationship is nothing without trust. I didn’t realize her nights out with the girls would turn into nights of sleepless hell for me, with me going over all the ways she could be [cheating on me] again. Every night she came home from those innocent nights out, I’d play detective and come to the only obvious conclusion: that she slept with someone else. It’s no way to live, even if she had changed.”
3. Because they couldn’t afford to leave.
“We have kids and I honestly don’t think I could afford to be a single mother. I have a job, but I don’t think I could live off of my income alone. Plus, I was still in love and willing to forgive. [That said], I can’t forget. I never will. I am reminded of it every day. Next month it will be a year since I found out. In the back of my mind, I feel like it will probably happen again. I won’t stay if it does. My heart already has partially shut him out. I don’t think it will hurt as bad the next time. I already have a secret bank account so I can save up in preparation.”
4. Because they believed people are capable of change.
“I stayed because I loved her, and she seemed genuinely remorseful. It never happened again. Sometimes people do things they regret. Sometimes people deserve second chances. When you forgive somebody of something, you have to actually stop letting it affect how you treat that person. That doesn’t mean you should forget the transgression completely, mind you. But you can’t continue to hold it against them, especially if there is no suggestion that they might repeat the transgression. That’s not forgiving somebody; that’s being passive-aggressive.”
5. Because they thought they could fix things.
“I lacked the self-confidence to stand up for myself. I wanted to rationalize that I could fix the things she was telling me she was upset about and that doing so would solve everything … [And] I was still madly in love with her. She rewarded me by cheating on me again — and then I got cheated on in my next relationship.”
6. Because their relationship was already sort of monogamish.
“It didn’t particularly bother me. I choose not to ‘cheat’ but we are both adults and he can do what he wants. He travels for work and I’m OK with an occasional passing romp. I almost expect it, as that’s how we met. The odd thing is, he came to me admitting it and apologizing, saying he was drunk and stupid. I honestly think he was disappointed that I wasn’t jealous. Then we talked it out and dealt with it like adults. Here’s the thing: We are secure together and committed to each other. That’s what matters. Emotionally, I know that he is all mine and I am all his. As I explained to him: if he wants someone else occasionally (not locally or regularly), and he is safe, and it doesn’t interfere with our relationship, it doesn’t bother me.”
7. Because they didn’t want to feel like a quitter.
“Going through this right now, actually. It came out of nowhere two years into our relationship. We’re doing therapy to try to figure things out. I still love her — and she claims to still love me — but I’m not sure if I’ll ever be capable of respecting or trusting her again. I guess the main reason I’m trying to work through this with her is that every regret I have in life has stemmed from giving up when things became too difficult. I don’t want that to happen with the woman I planned to spend the rest of my life with. The odds are slim to none, but dammit, we have to try.”