Stream of Consciousness

Would You Stay With a Cheater?

There is one opinion held by many people, widely accepted, which makes me want to blow people’s houses up. Okay, not really, but I swear I turned green a few times.

This opinion hurts people, worse than they’ve already been hurt.


What is this opinion?

When someone cheats on you, someone you love, someone you’re in a serious relationship with, the consensus is this;

“You should stay. Don’t be weak. Work it out. Leaving is the easy way out.”


*turns green* *fumes* *smashes things*


Um, no.

Leaving is not weakness.

Staying is the easy way out.





Reasons Staying is the Easy Way Out



Your relationship will never be the same again. Period. End of story. You KNOW this already, but you’re denying it to yourself and nodding along as your friends tell you things will work themselves out, or you guys can work this out.

Your gut is telling you that this is wrong. But the world is telling you not to ‘give up on him/her’, not to ‘be so weak’, ‘it happens’, etc.

Have the strength to believe in yourself, your feelings, your needs and wants.



If they cheated on you once, they will most likely do it again. I know, I know, everyone says this.

But think about it. Why did he/she cheat on you? It normally isn’t a big issue, like you ignoring them for years and years.

The reason is normally more shallow or spur of the moment. In short, dude or dudette has issues they need to work on. Issues don’t go POOF and never bother you again. They take years to get worked out. And if you stay with said person with issues for years, even if they’re getting their issues worked out? They’ll most likely cheat on you again.

Now, even if you are the couple where the cheater finds solace in another’s arms because their partner has ignored them into alienation and/or neglect? What kind of loving person could ignore you for years, putting you and your feelings and needs aside?  Do they really love you that much? Do they care? I don’t think so.



You will always wonder. If you stay with someone who has cheated on you once, there will always be that sense of foreboding or wonder. Will they do it again? There cannot be trust in a relationship if you’re wondering why your spouse is home late. And this normally leads to a negative, bitter hatred of self and your partner.



You’re afraid. Leaving is hard. You’ve spent a lot of time on this person, on this relationship. You’d have to start over. Maybe a new job, new house. With no one there to support you. It will be a lot of hard work, a lot of unknown. Where will your life go? What will you do?



If you have children, you’re teaching them that cheating is acceptable if you stay. And that opens a whole ball of wax you don’t want to touch. Like, who will your children grow up to be, believing it is all right to cheat on the person you say you love? And if you think they don’t know – you’re insulting them.



If you stay with a cheater, you will constantly wonder about your self worth and your decision making skills. Second guessing yourself because there is no harmony or trust. You have no solid ground.



You have to convince yourself you’re not a failure. And that’s hard. Failure isn’t failure in this case. You believe leaving your relationship, giving up on it, is bailing or ditching, or failing. It is not. Staying with someone who doesn’t treat your with respect is failure. Settling with what you have, is failure.




This person made the choice to cheat. It wasn’t an accident. Not oops or sorry. It wasn’t something they were forced into.

They made the decision to cheat on you.

Knowing it would hurt you.

Honestly, if you stay – it doesn’t make any sense. If this person will hurt you on purpose, you’re not in a relationship. And it certainly isn’t love, real love.

This person will not respect, honor or sacrifice for you.


Don’t settle. Consider your value, your self worth, self respect. What do you want? Do you honestly want what you have? Take a look at your life, at your relationship, a good hard look. And answer that. Truly.

You deserve better. Don’t settle for less than what you deserve.


Look at it this way. If your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/fiancé,etc truly loved you, they wouldn’t cheat on you. Love is selfless. Instant gratification isn’t on the list.

I asked my family what they would do if someone cheated on them and I had an instant uproar of painful sounding revenge, and once we got serious, they all brought up valid points. I’m going to use “he” to keep things simple. This was their serious, non cutting body parts (*cough cough* Holly) answer:

“He made a promise to me that I was the one he wanted, he was going to love me forever. So if he cheats on me, he doesn’t deserve me.”


This discussion always bodes the question:

How can you stop being someone who you have loved for so long?

Better question:

How can you stay with someone who doesn’t truly love you?


So, answer me this…

Would you stay with a cheater?

Why or why not?



*note: this post was not written to put anyone down or trash anyone who has stayed with a cheater. This is simply me telling you, that in my opinion, you deserve all the happiness possible. Please keep in mind that I do not think anyone who has stayed with a cheater is a moron. It is your choice.*

14 thoughts on “Would You Stay With a Cheater?

  1. You bring up a lot of great points. My first serious relationship ended when my boyfriend cheated on me, and we didn’t stay together at all. It was a painful, life-altering situation for me. But, looking back a decade later, extremely necessary.

    I think that this situation is extremely dependent upon the relationship. I agree with MOST of what you say “in general”. However, I think there are far too many exceptions to be able to cast the stone as far as you have.

    First of all, I believe that the concept of cheating is such a big deal in our society because we inundate ourselves with these ridiculous standards about what “love” is. “You should mate for life”, “have sex one with one person for 70 years”, “marry your high school sweetheart”, “feeling attraction to another human being once you’re married is wrong”, etc. Not that some people don’t pull these things off spectacularly — kudos to them! — but its not really how were biologically wired.

    So people find themselves trapped in situations (i.e. long term relationships) too young, expecting X but actually wanting Y, without really having a sense of who they are and what they want out of life, so yeah. Cheating is going to happen, and it’s going to SUCK, and luckily it will be a formative experience for those people as they come to determine what they really want.

    I do not condone that type of cheating, though I can see, almost from a sociological point of view, why it might happen. But it’s from within that type of example that I would definitely say yeah, staying with that person is a bad idea, will only lead to more missteps, you’ll feel bad about yourself, etc.

    But what about when you have a long-term couple, both very mature and aware, but one has had an unexpected learning curve, or rough patch, that led them to cheat, for which they are repentant and determined to alter the unhealthy aspects of their lives?

    I look at it in terms of character arcs in novels. Because we’re all arcing, all the time, right? And some couples have the patience, wisdom, and forgiveness to ride out a spell like that, to allow the other partner (character) to grow and adapt and evolve from within the space of the relationship.

    I don’t know. All I DO know is that I can’t judge for someone else what is or isn’t right in their relationship. I am in a monogamous relationship, extremely high level of trust, feel very secure in myself and the relationship and our combined projection…but I also know that life happens. What if I slip up? What if he does? We actively talk about these things – like, hey, if you feel compelled to seek out somebody else, just let me know before it happens, so we can TALK ABOUT IT and discuss what the appropriate next step will be. This is part of our partner agreement. Some might call it absurd, or asking for trouble. I call it honest, and acknowledging the fact that we never know what can happen in life.

    I also know that it’s very natural for some people to maintain multiple levels of relationships, with varying degrees of intimacy (polyamory), which some could construe as cheating. In fact, it’s not, because of communication and the fact that it’s all out there in the open.

    I think communication is at the heart of this issue, isn’t it? It’s the deceit, lying, the hiding, the ‘giving them what we think they want’ aspect, that makes the cheating you talk about a black and white issue.

    But taking all types of relationships into account, cheating CAN be a gray area. Are the alleys of communication open in the first place in the relationship? Have these things been discussed between the partners, the actual human tendencies looked at and thought about? Is this relationship WORTH saving? As in, is this a really worthwhile human being that you want in your life for reasons apart from googly-eyed love or sex, or because you think you SHOULD stay with your HS sweetheart or father of your children?

    I say this because I can see someone cheating as a turning point for a couple, but not necessarily in a bad way. In the same vein of your character really fucking up during the novel, and then having some a-ha moment that saved their lives and all their relationships. I know a lot of couples that cheating has in fact produced a stronger, more communicative, more blatantly HONEST relationship as a result. Because it allowed that partner the chance to have a life-altering revelation in some way, re-prioritize, etc.

    It matters most to the couple involved, and that situation varies HUGELY from couple to couple. How long they’ve been together, hidden doubts, secret fears, shared values, combined goals, independent goals, etc. Whether it’s a full-fledged secret mistress for years, or just vaguely romantic text messages shared a handful of times, there are lots of levels to consider, and lots of different reasons behind the secrecy.

    But at the end of the day, if the cheating partner can’t answer WHY they did it, or take that hard look into the dark spaces of their heart….then you need to GTFO of there.

    1. I guess I should have been a bit more direct, lol. My definition of “cheating” is when the other person is not okay with their partner sleeping with someone else.

      You bring up some really good points. Love should not be staying with your high school sweetheart, etc if that’s not how love works for you. I think society’s “rules” on love, marriage and happiness in general is pretty stupid in a lot of cases.

      And it’s like my momma always said, “if you’re not lookin’, you’re dead”. No one ever stops feeling physically attracted to others. Its impossible. And a ridiculous rule to try and force on people.

      I like how you brought up communication, because if people would be more honest about what they want and whether or not they’re happy, some negative experiences wouldn’t happen in the first place.

      For me, I wouldn’t stay with a man once he had sex with another person. I just couldn’t. But that’s because of who I am and my specific past and present, and in general, who I am. But – as you point out – I will communicate when in a relationship. And the person I’m dating will know how I feel about it and respect the fact that I would leave them. If not, well, I wouldn’t stay with someone who didn’t respect me. 😉

      I do have to say that I have seen a couple who had a cheating problem but got over it. They wanted to get through it and loved each other insanely. But afterward, they were a little less happy, a little less of that spark showed through anymore. And it made me sad for them. They were the type who didn’t communicate, didn’t know there was a problem until something drastic (cheating) happened to jolt them awake. And that’s why communication is such a huge thing. Society blows it off or belittles it but honestly, if we knew who WE were and knew what WE wanted and shared that with our significant other, how much simpler would life be? How much easier would it be to be able to figure it out, if we actively talked it through with the person who loves us?

      And now I’m grumbling because I can NEVER think of everything I want to say in a blog post before I post it.
      Thank you for your comments. Very thought provoking. 😀

  2. Let me just say that, having been cheated on, no matter how much people tell you it’s not your fault, it always feels like it is. And leaving still feels like failure.

    Now that I’ve got that out of the way, HELL NO I wouldn’t stay with a cheater again. The wondering never stops, the sneaking suspicion that something’s up never goes away, and everyone is miserable. I hated the person I became, the kind of person who looked through his phone trying to find out if he was really being honest, or if something else was going on again.

    Also, I should have known better than to marry him in the first place because we were already having problems then, but (to quote Joyce Palmieri from Kindergarten Cop), I was young and stupid, and I made a mistake. And once I was up to my neck in it, I didn’t want to admit defeat. But you can’t change people – only they can change themselves, and they have to want to change in order for it to work. He didn’t want to change, and we ended up divorced.

    He got his mistress knocked up and I still stayed, thinking we could work it out. But when he chose her over being my driver when I had to have an outpatient procedure at a hospital the day after Thanksgiving, that was the last straw. We were divorced within six months, and I am much happier now than I was for most of my first marriage.

    He finally married his mistress when he got her pregnant a second time. He wanted me to drop child support because he couldn’t afford to shell out for three kids each month. I told him to stick it (well, I didn’t use those words exactly – I was much more polite). They seem happy enough (they just had another baby this spring), but I wonder what goes through her mind when he leaves for his second job. Because if he’d cheat on his first wife, why not his second?

    And now our son is paying the price. He was only three when we got divorced, so he probably didn’t know anything was going on as far as cheating goes, but he knows now. I hated having to tell him that his dad was a cheater because he worships his dad, but he deserved the truth, and I gave it to him as factually (meaning without putting my own emotions into it) as I could. It sucked, big-time, but I hope it was the right thing to do. He’s 10 now (almost 11), and it didn’t feel right to lie.

    Cheating hurts everyone – not just the person who was cheated on. That’s a hurt that never goes away, even if it does lessen over time.

    1. Wooooow. Thank you for sharing! Yeah, I would imagine the not knowing would drive me insane. I majorly respect you for gathering the oomph to leave AND not to lie to your son. That never turns out well and he has the right to know what happened. I definitely think it was the right thing to do.
      Just wow. It sounds like you went through the wringer. And came out on the right side. 😉 I think its so much easier to stay with the self denial and ignore what you can. The fact that you even dealt with not liking who you’d become speaks volumes about your character.

      1. Bubbles definitely deserved to know the truth, but I still hated to hurt him that way, because I know it did. But he’s a smart kid, and had been starting to wonder why his brother’s birthday was a year and three days after his if his dad and I didn’t get divorced till he was three. Kids are smart.

      2. Yeah and he’ll be better for it. He sounds like he’s got a good head on his shoulders. It’s better that he understand why you got divorced than to wonder why. Wondering always brings too many variables that can mess with a kid’s psyche, even sometimes more than knowing. 😉

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