I cheated on my boyfriend. How do I fix it?

My Questions and Answers | | Expert Author , Psychologistℹ️
cheated on my boyfriend

I made a stupid mistake. My boyfriend and I have been fighting a lot recently about the smallest things. We’re both stubborn people and so it feels like every little disagreement turns into something big. After one of our particularly bad fights, I went out with my friends. I met this guy and we ended up sleeping together. I never thought me cheating on my boyfriend was possible because I have been faithful in every relationship in the past. I still love him and I know I want to be with him. But can you love someone and still cheat? Does me cheating mean maybe subconsciously I don’t love him? It’s just that night, it felt so good to just have a fun time. I wasn’t worried about avoiding topics or saying the wrong thing, it was just easy and simple. I didn’t even particularly like that guy and I won’t ever be speaking to him again but I don’t know what to do now. How can I fix my relationship after infidelity? Despite all our fights, I still think what I have with my boyfriend is special. Can our relationship go back to normal after cheating?

Related Reading: I cheated on my boyfriend but I want him back

Answer:

This is bound to be a deeply hurtful situation for both of you, and will be tricky to navigate. The most important thing is to confess it to him, as that is something he deserves to know. It won’t be easy, but you owe him honesty out of respect for him and your relationship. Cheating does not necessarily mean you don’t love your partner. Cheating is often more complex than it seems, usually with some pre-existing problems in the relationship, subconscious resentment towards the partner and seeking to fulfill a need which the relationship may not have met for you.

Here are a few things that would help you and your partner overcome this.

  1. Take accountability
    The most important things that help couples overcome infidelity are: trust and accountability. You need to be in a position where you can acknowledge your mistake, without throwing blame on anyone or anything else, and take accountability for your actions.
  2. Underlying problems
    Cheating is rarely as straightforward as it seems and there are usually other problems plaguing the relationship. In your case, it would be the frequent fights which would have led to emotional distance, alienation and resentment on both sides. Only when your needs – emotional, intellectual and physical – are not being met in your relationship, will you seek it outside of your relationship. Work on identifying what needs of yours were not being met, and what you can do about. Remember, this can be an explanation for what has happened, not an excuse.
  3. Be open and receptive
    Listen to his feelings and give him the time he needs to process this. Remember that his emotional experience is valid – whether it is anger, grief, disbelief, etc. Try to establish open and honest communication where you can both share your feelings, needs and expectations. Be willing to accept your partner’s needs and wishes.
  4. Rebuilding trust
    If your partner is willing to stay and work on the relationship, it will require both of your commitment to making it work. On your end, providing reassurance through words and actions is crucial in order to rebuild trust in the relationship. Commit to making changes in the relationship, if that is something you are ready for. Consider couples counseling if both of you are willing to make it work. A therapist can help you navigate communication, trust building and forgiveness in a healthier manner.
  5. Check in with yourself
    Don’t try to make this relationship work solely from a place of guilt. Ask yourself what you need and if you think you are able and willing to do what it will take to make this relationship okay. Take time to reflect on yourself and notice any self-sabotaging patterns that may have led you here.
  6. Be patient
    With yourself and with your partner. This is going to be a tedious process for both of you to overcome, and shaming or blaming yourself or each other will not help.

Related Reading: I Cheated but I Want To Save My Relationship

FAQs

1. Can a relationship work after cheating?

Yes, a relationship can work after cheating. However, whether the couple is able to overcome cheating or not will depend on:
1. The ability of both partners to accountability for their role in the problems in their relationship
2. The willingness of both partners to commit to change and making an effort for the relationship
3. Whether or not both are able to let go of resentment towards each other
4. Whether they communicate openly and honestly with each other, and extend empathy towards each other

2. How to gain trust after cheating?

It’s a difficult task. However, the most important thing is honesty, about what happened and why you think it happened. Only after this truth has been addressed, can you and your partner move towards repairing trust. 
1. Be patient with yourself and your partner
2. Provide your partner with reassurance and space, as and when they need it
3. Address the underlying problems in your relationship which led to this. 
4. Introspect and try to understand the reasoning behind your actions as well. Take accountability for your actions. 
5. Consider couples counseling.

3. Why did I cheat on my boyfriend?

Cheating is rarely as straightforward as it seems. There are several different reasons why people cheat, however, in order for you to know your reason, you’d have to think about what needs of yours were not being fulfilled in your relationship. These could of course be physical needs but they could also be: need for connection, need for security, need to be needed, validation, attention, appreciation, etc.

11 Tips To Build A Successful Relationship After Cheating


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