What it really feels like when someone you love cheats on you.

Cheating on someone is one of the worst (I repeat – WORST) things you can ever do to someone. To you, it might have been all a game, but to them, it might have meant everything.

Whether or not you’re doing it to fill a void or just for the thrill of it, when you cheat on someone, you’re doing more than just hurting them. You might be unaware of the consequences of your actions, but let me tell you, for someone who has been cheated on, it will always be some sort of reminder to them – it will always haunt them. It is a concoction of heartbreak, anger, regret, anxiety, and shame all rolled into one.

When you cheat on someone, you’re telling them they’re not good enough for you. That you never loved them.

You may beg to differ, but how can you put someone you truly love in such a position? To make them doubt their self-worth? To make them question everything they thought they knew about you? To make them believe that their trust was completely misplaced?

“Did I do something wrong?”
“What could I have done to prevent it?”
“Why did this happen?”
“Am I not good enough?”
“Why did you do it?”

– are questions you’ll ask yourself over and over again when you’ve been cheated on.

You don’t cheat on someone you love. Period.

When you cheat on someone, they’ll always be emotionally scarred. They’ll have their walls up because they don’t want to ever be hurt that way again. To feel like your world is crumbling, to believe that things like that happened, but just not to you. You see it in movies all the time, but we all know what happens in the movies and what happens in real life are two completely different ball games altogether.

They won’t let just anyone in; and even when they do let someone in eventually, they’ll always be guarded.

They’ll be paranoid, and you can’t blame them for it. Even if they’re in a new happy relationship, they’ll carry the hurt and the emotional baggage from the previous relationship into their new relationship – whether it be conscious or not – and it can’t be helped. They’ll always be suspicious, but don’t blame them for it; they’re just afraid that the same thing will happen to them again, and they can’t go through something as painful as that ever again.

They’ll want to trust again, but it’ll be difficult for them. They would take forever to learn how to trust, and how to be okay. Even if they’ve come to the rational conclusion that their cheating ex is a horrible person, you’ll somehow still fear that every future partner has or is cheating on you. Congratulations, you’re now an emotional wreck and a mess inside, and you’re going to spend every waking moment trying not to imagine the worst because you believe you’re completely broken.

When you cheat on someone, what you really mean to tell them is this: “I don’t love you. I don’t respect you, and I don’t care for/about you. I didn’t think about us, and how this would affect us. I was only thinking about myself.”

Is just one person not enough for us anymore? Aren’t we supposed to just find one person whom we think is worth it, and always stick by them through the good, the bad and the ugly?

When you love your partner, it means you respect them. And when you cheat on them, you’re betraying all of that. Isn’t it absolutely apparent that loyalty is fundamental in any relationship? We don’t need a Guide Book for Dummies for that, do we?

So please, leave if you must, but don’t cheat on someone you love, because that is the worst kind of damage you can do to someone who loves you.

Written by: Vondra Tay (with permission)

This article was published in thoughtcatalog.com

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  1. When i left an unsafe marriage due to mental illness, I refused to go back. I left everything behind, my rings, my phone and my marriage. He is with someone new already and it had been only 15 days since I left. I didn’t feel this way towards him. We met to confirm he was moving on, but I forgave him for the way he did this. He kicked my son & I out after 6 years of being united because he had a manic episode. Now that it has been 3 months, I’m having a hard time filing for divorce.I don’t want my marriage to be over! I realize I’m never going to be able to trust him again therefore no point in reconcile. I don’t know where to go from here, I’m numb to this area. I thought he would be in my life in our 50’s instead I’m in limbo because my heart won’t let go.

    1. Hi Paula , Do understand what you have been through . Have been divorced and been through the trauma . Had reached the rock bottom of my existence on this planet and contemplated leaving it . However the voice within said you are a coward as you are afraid of facing life I listened to the voice within and from a tiny spark was lit within to bring about my own transformation . over the years that tiny spark has become a burning desire to change and I have moved on and healed and become stronger from within . Given below is a small prayer which may help you heal .
      Healing Prayer .
      Healing Prayer .

      Light before me
      Light behind me
      Light at my left
      Light at my right
      Light above me
      Light beneath me
      Light unto me

      Light in the eyes of those who see me
      Light in the ears of those who listen to me
      Light in the hearts of those who think of me
      Light in the hearts of those of speak of me

      Light restore me to health

      Light be always in my heart
      Light be within me
      Light establish me forever
      Light be around me and preserve me
      Light be before me and lead me
      Light be within me and give me life

      Light be near me and rule me
      Light be beneath me and fortify me

      I love the light in those whom I may have offended,
      Knowingly or unknowingly
      May the light be with them .
      So be it
      So it is
      It is done .

      Adapted by Dr Joseph Levy from an ancient Christian prayer .

      God Bless !!!!!!!

  2. I broke up with my “partner” on new years eve. She kept telling me she wasn’t seeing/talking to “that guy” anymore. She lied to me, several times. This article I just read sums how I feel and how I know I’ll feel in my future relationships. My only question is: But, why? I still have no answer and she still denies it. Grrrrr….

  3. At age 23 our marriage died. He was 26. He cheated then accused me of the same behavior. Our little family of three was broken up. Our son’s little heart was broken. Mt heart was broken. Ability to trust another man never came alive in me again. I had to ask: why do I trust un trustworthy people?
    I never learned what trust was in childhood years. Neither parent was emotionally available. I never knew where my boundaries were or how to have boundaries. The two most important people in my life were not present to protect me from harm. I learned to build walls early in life to keep people out. Books and animals were safe. They became a safe refuge. Today at age 70 I remain single by choice. I never want to experience picking up the pieces of my heart again. Train wrecks in relationships over the decades taught me to draw close to my Creator, for he has never left me or abandoned me or lied to me. Through all my days God is there. Every prayer said he hears. I am never alone. For me this is the only relationship that matters. I am spirit living in a mortal body. The things of this world all pass away, in the end of my days on this earth what I did to help another person know about God is what matters. To be loved by God is the highest position in life. To be loved by God is The highest relationship there is.
    The tragedy of the past is past. To live in the present moment with faith, courage, hope and love for God and what I can do for God when asked, and believe me a heart knows when God calls you, well, it is the highest aspiration there is on this earth.

    1. I like you Jim also rely on my savior for ALL my needs…I can relate to what you are saying except I did marry to only have unfaithfulness.My childhood sounds like yours and never knew what love was until I met the,lord.I realize now he is all I need,and soon and very soon he will take us to glory so keep the faith,stay strong and know your not alone..God Bless

  4. iwas married for 19 years to a women I dedicated my life to I was not supposed to work because of my disability but I did anyway just to show how much I loved her and our children I wanted them to have what they needed and wanted only to hurt myself more and all the while I was being cheated on did not know it but I was just used taken for granted and before she abandoned me left me for dead without getting my meds I was lost and alone waiting day and night bye the window to see my children at least well after 2 years my daughter got in contact with me told me her and her brother missed me and wanted to be apart of my life again my wife ask me if we could at least be friends for the kids sake I took them out for dinner spent a lot of mony I really did not have cause now im living on dissabilty checks not much but I did this she called a few hours after they left only to tell me she left me for another man I was so devasted I wanted to give up but when my daughter found out what she did she wrote to me and told me she was sorry for her mom doing this to me that she would be theyre to help mr through it only to find my baby girl was playing me too for her mom convinced her to do this anyway its not been easy for me but im getting through as best I can afraid yes but I trust god is helping me through it ty sorry if I said to much but I just needed to let some of my hurt out ty again shawn h

  5. For the first time in history, we want one relationship to give us all the needs that have to do with anchoring and rooting and a sense of belonging and continuity and stability and predictability and security and safety and that whole dimension of our life—and we still want that same person to also provide us a sense of novelty…. I want the same person to be familiar and to be new, and to be comfortable and to be edgy, and to be predictable and surprising.

  6. Cheating defines infidelity broadly: It could be sex with another person, but it could also be the more nebulous stuff of “emotional affairs.”) Though we often think of affairs in terms of deficiency—what went wrong, what one person couldn’t give the other, how one person failed the other, and all that—often, people cheat not because they feel confined in their marriage, but because they simply want more of what it proposes to offer. People evolve; marriage assumes that they will evolve together. That is not always the case. Cheating can be the ‘it’s not you’, ‘it’s me result of that’. Often, “it’s not so much that you want to leave the person that you’re with; it’s that you want to leave the person that you’ve become.”
    Cheating, which is a betrayal that causes pain that can reverberate over the long term—and not just between the couple in question, but also to their children, their friends, their community. Part of all that can be accounted for in those historically inscribed expectations of what marriage and long-term coupling offer—expectations that, more often than not, cannot be fully met by changeable, fallible humans. Cultural notions of what romance is all about fill us all with heady hopes; cheating is an attempt to fulfill those hopes. That, too, is new. It used to be that people outsourced their expectations of happiness to cultural institutions, organized religion chief among them. People found fullness in their lives—all the stuff of the modern-day wedding vow—not just from their spouses, but from community and civic engagement and religious faith. Or, put another way: “‘Happy’ used to be for the afterlife.”

    1. Esther Perel, interesting listening to her talks 🙂
      She also said “The victim of an affair is not always the victim in the relationship.”
      I am guilty of having an affair after years of trying to keep up with a dominant male who would disregard the stress I was under which ultimately lead to a nervous breakdown when again he failed to be their for me to lean on claiming I was strong and could cope, well he was wrong and I sought solace with another, only then did he acknowledge my inability to cope.
      I had played the victim in this relationship for over 20 years with my basic human needs not being met and other stressors that could have been avoided with just a little compassion….he learned the hard way, but then so did I.
      There are no winners in these situations.

    2. Really interesting insight and perspective Bob, especially your viewpoint re: outsourcing expectations to cultural institutions in the past. Do you have a blog or something? Would love to read your views on other matters.

  7. He met her as he came in the door to work. She was married too but saw in him her chance for more. But in reality she was only one in a long line of women strung out behind him starting the first year we were married. It included my mom and sister who had been dating his younger brother for two years. He and his dad had me cosign a $40,000.note at the bank which was 2 days AFTER he filed for divorce. We ran cows on 1400 acres of grass and raised show lambs. We had 3 kids and the 2 girls barrel raced . The 2 toughest were involved big time in sports. He worked 12 hour shifts so I fed the cows, did the tractor work, etc. I always a had fresh bread or rolls, pies,etc only to find myself served with divorce papers on our 20th anniversary. Needless to say I remain single to this day some 25 years later! Trust? What’s that? I found out he’d filed at our sons basketball game when a friend came and sat down by me and asked me if there was any chance we would work it out!

  8. I think the term “emotional scar” is incorrect. It’s more like a wound that never really scars over because even near misses open it up again… maybe not to the gaping wound it was when first inflicted, but still not quite permanently sealed shut.

    1. I totally agree. I always compared it to a poison from certain snakes. Some have poison that will not allow the wound to heal for years. They’ll constantly hurt and some make the wound literally drip or ooze.The victim gets to deal with all the misery and the snake slithers on to his next victim

  9. I will never diminish the severity of cheating. I agree that it is one of the most hurtful things one may do to someone they love, but it is hardly ever a simple and thought out choice. See girl => Cheat to get girl – I am sure there are some people out there who are narcissistic in their behavior, but a majority of cheating comes from a breakdown of communication and a breakdown in the relationship.

    Do not misunderstand me, I am not trying to rest any blame on the shoulders of someone who has been cheated on. I know that in the end, cheating is a choice and one that has to be consciously made. So the blame will always lie in the lap of the cheater. However, to think that they fully understand the consequences of their actions, is misleading. It is a cycle of self-deception, guilt, shame, excitement, and lust that will cloud the most soundest of minds. When that cloud bursts, it only heightens the feelings of guilt, shame, self-loathing, self-hatred and those can be displayed in many ways. Some of the ways are more self-preserving but more damaging to the relationship, and some are more relationship preserving, but extremely damaging to the person. This is the reason not many relationships survive infidelity. It rips apart the relationship and destroys both people involved.

  10. I was in a relationship for 3 years and he was the only person I could have very seen myself spending my life with. I was completely 100% in love. He had left his wife after we started dating but please don’t judge as I had no idea about his wife. He deceived me from the beginning. 2.5yrs in everything started to fall apart when his wife called me. I was flabbergasted, I mean we lived together and I had no clue. Over the following 6 months of him begging and pleading with me, I found out that he also had a 5 month old son with her and a girlfriend in another town. I was completely blind. I felt stupid and blamed myself for trusting him so completely that he was able to carry on like this behind my back. One day I decided that was it I couldn’t take the back and forth crappie trying to work things out game. I called him and had him meet me for coffee and I told him I was leaving the country and never coming back. We parted and I went to gather the last few things of mine and the door bell rang, he was on the front porch crying and begging me, and telling me how much he loved me. I couldn’t take it. I told him I would call him later. Then I got into my car and I drove 5 hours away to a town where I had 1 family member and I told no one. My cell was still connected for 3 weeks after and he would call me and ask where I was so he could get on a plane and come get me and I wouldn’t tell him. I moved back home about a year later now 15 years later and I am married with 5 children. But yes I am scarred for life from it. This hits home for me.

  11. One can return to intimacy, I believe, first with themselves and then with the other.
    It’s a very challenging journey and one that many have felt well worth taking.
    Most that have “cheated” love their partner and wish for only them to be in their life.

  12. This pretty much summed up everything i have felt. Although my husband swears he hasn’t cheated. He spent years insulting me extreme on some occasions. Lied about ridiculous things. I always made excuses for his behavior, until i got tired of it. He hid his phone quite a bit.although he claims later down the line he wasn’t.yet he slept with his phone every night. He had crushes on quite a few women. And told me they were better than me too often. Our neighbor was doing internet porn but i thought we could be friends. Finding out all she did was talk trash about me. When i wrote her off my husband got nasty and snotty with me. Although i was very patient with this crazy girl. Then we had a threesome with my girlfriend. I caught him. Trying to make moves on her when he thought i wasnt seeing. When i confronted him .. Several years he told me no. He didnt. I was seeing things. Only 7 yrs later confessing. Im still with him. My wall is bigger than i care to mention. I will never believe in real true love. Between a man & woman. I dont know. I appreciate the article. And by the way i eventually ended up cheating. Which destroyed him. He told me how lucky i was to have him and how no man would ever want me. That was i guess my way of telling myself. He spoke lies. Im not sure. But it hurt me quite a bit too. To be a cheater in my marriage.

  13. My husband cheated on me a few years back, and 8t was hard on me, even to this day I am sometimes reminded of it, and we talk about it, but to me he can’t seem to understand the amount of pain he caused t9 myself and our family. After his affair we separated for about a year and we are working through it to build that trust. But I have to admit that there 8s always a feat to the back of my mind.

  14. Maybe it’s just me but when I found out he had cheated, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Almost like I had a thousand pound weight in my chest. When someone betrays you like that, it is almost unbearable. There I was with an 18mo old child and found out he had been lying for months. I was so angry and hurt. Dying inside but had to push myself to keep going if not for myself then for my child. I don’t think I could ever put another person through that.

  15. Maybe this is why I always feel scared that everyone im with is cheating on me. I try to fight it because I know its damaging my current relationship and even though I smile part of me is always a nervous wreck. The worst part of all of this is for some reason people will look past a good man or woman and return to the cheater because for some reason they feel like they have to fix it. Its not worth it. A cheater is always a cheater in my experience and doesnt feel the love for thier partner that they deserve or cheating would have never happened in the first place. I have to ask myself sometimes if this will ever go away?

  16. We are living at a time where 99% of people are cheating in their relationships. some are doing it for fun others to hurt their their partner. Whatever the reason is, I believe it is one thing to cheat and another to cheat and to rub that on your partners face, I mean, thats being disrespectful. If you gon cheat, don’t get caught period.

    Again when someone cheats on you, it feels so sad, I have been there I know how it feels. At one point being cheated on made me doubt myself worth, my intellect and my beauty. But I HAD A MEETING WITH MYSELF, I discovered my worth was even higher, I had become more intellectual and my God, I have never been this beautiful. I was just unlucky to date a bad person, a person who found me trying to build my perfect little world and turned upside down It had nothing to do with me but everything to do with him being ungrateful,thirsty and evil excuse for a human being.

  17. Unfortunately each one of us cross such a moment in life …. I have broke up with my ex boyfriend couple of weeks ago after 1.5 years of relationships… just couldn’t hande anymore, last time cheated on me with his ex girl … I’ve seen pictures that she uploaded on Instagram for his birthday, same place, same time together and he was keep saying that I am crazy … keep denying…. better alone than with someone like that…. even though the questions are still here … so many why?!

  18. We have created the term cheat it stems from pride and has everything to do with self confidence.
    The early peoples on the planet did as they wished as in had sex then walked on. They were self sustaining and satisfied. There were births and the female tribe members cared and took turns breastfeeding them.
    We have become much too (ha) civilized and tender with too many feelings.
    Love is caring and helping each other it’s not choking the livelihood out of each other.
    I wish we all understood the basic necessity of life and stopped playing Jerry Springer with our precious time here on earth.

  19. I have been with my boyfriend for 20 years and he has cheated on me more times then I can count with multiple people. The first time was when we were about to move into our first house together and he was caught at a car show but my best friend kissing and holding another girl’s hand. I confronted both of them there and she kept saying she as sorry and he denied anything was going on. The second time was a few years later when when moved a couple hours away from our family but we still were traveling to visit our family all the time. He would stay at his parents and I would stay with our daughter at my parents. One day I was on our computer and was signing into a social group page when a different email popped up…I tried until I got into the account and found a fake account with 40+ women on it from the area where our family lives….he was talking to these women sexually and sending pics back and forth as well as meeting up with a few for sex. I left him about a year after that. When I left him, his mother as well as himself tried to sue me for anything and everything they could. We had a daughter together and this was the way they treated me. I could not handle anymore and he said if I got back together with him that it would all stop. So I did. This is now 7 years later and I just recently found out that he never stopped. He still continued to cheat. He is still living with me and we now have another daughter. I want to leave him but I am afraid of being alone. He says he won’t do it again but he will. If it had been one time that he met someone had had sex that would be one thing but most of these women he had fake relationships with. How do you get past something like that? It hurts so bad to think that we never had a relationship because our relationship was based on lies.

  20. Bob berlin… great stuff!

    Michelle… don’t stay with someone that makes you feel that way. You deserve better and it’s out there, but harder to find with someone dragging you down like that.
    Get your things in order, document the cheating for legal reasons and leave him.

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