3 Immediate Things To Do If Your Partner Betrays You

How to heal yourself and move on.

Last updated on Jun 05, 2024

Instead of revenge Velizar Ivanov | Canva

In a committed relationship, when your man cheats, you want to kick him where it hurts. An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth. The thought of inflicting the same kind of cheating pain tastes like the sweetest revenge. You want to even the score and make him understand what he rained down on you. Or maybe your self-esteem requires emergency treatment, and you need to know if you're still lovable and desirable. The bottom line is that you feel overwhelmed and search for relationship advice. Can you start revenge cheating? Sure, but it may not accomplish what you want. To understand, let's look at your motivation, the possibility of repairing your relationship, and your recovery.


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Here are 3 immediate steps to take if you've been betrayed:

1. Explore your motivation for revenge cheating

He indeed screwed up, but your cheating won't unscrew the hot mess that remains. Remember that two wrongs don't make a right, especially in love. What if that eye-for-an-eye mojo works in reverse? He may use your revenge cheating to justify his initial cheating. And he may overlook something significant: Your thirst for revenge hides deep emotional pain. If you revenge cheat, how will he see the vulnerability you carry? He might minimize the effect that his cheating had on you. Do you think that cheating in revenge will teach him a lesson? It probably teaches him that your vindictive streak is a mile long. So, the best relationship advice I can give is this: Think long and hard about your motivation. Make sure it points you in the direction you want to go.  


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2. Examine the possibility of relationship repair

Do you want to repair the trust that cheating ruptured? Revenge cheating will make that task seem impossible because deception can't build genuine trust. I'll go out on a limb and state the cold truth: his cheating was the tip of the iceberg. You both need to explore what led to that cheating. You need to think about the relationship dance you were doing just before one of you veered off to dance with someone else. You don't need another lover — you do need to talk with your partner about what happened and why it happened. At a time when you need to begin the hard work of relationship repair together, revenge cheating will create a chasm between you. My advice for your relationship is summed up in a question: If one person cheating assaults trust, how can two people cheat to repair it?

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3. Protect and nurture your recovery

When a chunk of your heart has been cut out with a cheating knife, you need serious emotional triage. And revenge cheating won't heal that gaping wound. Do you bleed less when you make someone else bleed more? Your wound needs care and if it doesn't heal, neither will your relationship. Plus, you'll take that wound into your future relationships, making trust a risky business.

There's probably a good reason you haven't cheated before. Maybe it's your religious beliefs, moral code, or personal values. How will you feel after revenge cheating? After using a new lover purely to provoke an old one? Or, after using a new lover to jack up your self-esteem? What will the complicated fallout do to your already bleeding wound? The best relationship advice I can give you is this: Focus on protecting and nurturing your own recovery, not on exacting revenge. Don’t complicate your existing problems.

Now you’ve explored your motivation, examined the possibility of relationship repair, and focused on taking care of yourself, what if you realize that you don’t want him in your life ever again?  Let him and your plans to revenge cheat go. It's not necessary. Instead, focus on caring for yourself. Get the healthy support you need to move forward. I think revenge cheating is childish. But you are very valuable and worthy of so much more. So, if your burning question is still, "To cheat or not to cheat?" I'd say you're asking the wrong question. If your guy cheated and your relationship is on the rocks, I encourage you to reach out for help. A relationship counselor or coach can help you sort out your problems, rebuild your trust, or take care of yourself. 


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Gina Binder is a Licensed Professional Counselor who works with individuals and couples who feel stuck in life and helps them discover a pathway to healthy change.