7 Therapist-Approved Things To Do If Your Boyfriend Is Cheating On You

Discovering infidelity and dealing with it

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Wondering what to do if your boyfriend is cheating on you? There is never an easy answer to this question. I experienced this first-hand while trying to help my best friend, Sarah, deal with the blow of infidelity. Sarah had been in a relationship with her boyfriend, Alex, for three years. She thought they had a strong connection, but lately, a nagging feeling had taken root in her mind. Alex had become distant, often sneaking away to take calls and spending less time at home.

One day, Sarah stumbled upon a suspicious text message on his phone, which confirmed her worst fears. Her world came crashing down when she realized that Alex had been cheating on her. In that moment, Sarah felt a rush of conflicting emotions: betrayal, anger, and heartbreak. She felt lost and didn’t know how to deal with a cheating boyfriend. All I could do was be there for her, as a shoulder to cry on, a strong pillar of support. The pain and angst were hers to endure.

In watching her ordeal up close, I realized that while discovering infidelity is devastating, with the right approach, you can find clarity and decide the best path forward for your well-being. To understand what the right approach is, I spoke to psychologist Anita Eliza (MSc in Applied Psychology), who specializes in issues like anxiety, depression, relationships, and self-esteem. Read on to learn what to do if your boyfriend cheats on you and make informed decisions about your relationship.

How To Tell If Your Boyfriend Is Cheating: 9 Tell-Tale Signs 

Unless you have caught your boyfriend red-handed or his infidelity is out in the open, before addressing the question of what to do if your boyfriend is cheating on you, you need to be sure that infidelity is at play. Gut feeling he is cheating, but proof to back it up can be an agonizing place to be. You are constantly walking on eggshells, with a knot in your stomach, because you don’t know what’s true and what’s an act he’s putting up to cover his tracks. 

Confront him without concrete evidence, and you risk your suspicions being invalidated and dismissed off-hand. Besides, if he is cheating, your suspicions and inquiries will sound the alarm bell, telling him to be more cautious. On the other hand, if he is not cheating and you’ve misread the situation completely, the accusations can cause serious damage to your bond. 

Now, the question is, how to tell if your boyfriend is cheating on you? Anita shares 9 tell-tale signs of a cheating boyfriend in a relationship to watch out for: 

Related Reading: Expert Lists Out 9 Effects Of Cheating In A Relationship

1. There is a sudden emotional distance 

That gut feeling, “My boyfriend is cheating on me”, that you have been wrestling with is likely stemming from the emotional distance you have been feeling. Anita says, “You can feel the emotional distance creeping between you and your partner even if you can’t put a finger on it.” 

Now, a person may act emotionally distant because of factors like stress or problems in their professional or personal life. However, these things are discussed in a relationship. If there is no plausible reason behind this change in this behavior, being emotionally distant could be one of the signs of a cheating boyfriend in a relationship.

2. A changed relationship with his phone 

How to tell if your boyfriend is cheating on you, you ask? The biggest clues of infidelity often are hidden in a person’s relationship with their phone. Being excessively protective of and dependent on one’s phone is a tell-tale sign of cheating. Here is what cell phone cheating signs may look like: 

  • He carries his phone with him wherever he goes, even if it is to answer the door 
  • If you live together, you may notice that he spends most of his free time texting rather than paying attention to you 
  • If you don’t, you may find his phone busy at all hours 
  • Or notice that he is online, but not texting you or even replying to your texts 
  • Changed passwords, password protecting certain apps, or locking certain chats are also red flags you mustn’t ignore 

3. He is irritable and short with you 

If your boyfriend is always in a mood, irritable, and ready to snap, no matter how hard you try to smooth things over, it could be because the turmoil of leading a double life is getting to him. He may be reeling under cheating guilt or struggling to figure out a way forward—should he come clean to you, should he end the affair, or should he end things with you to be with the other woman? After all, it’s not easy carrying out two relationships and keeping it all on the down-low.  

4. An inexplicable change in routine 

In any intimate relationship, partners know each other’s routines rather well. Even if you don’t live together, you’d know what time your boyfriend typically wakes up, he leaves for work, goes to the gym, has coffee, takes a shower, eats his meals, and so on. Perhaps, there was a time when you shared pictures and updates with each other throughout the day. 

“While it’s natural for the frequency of exchanges to die down as you become more settled in a relationship, partners still are in the know of what’s going on in each other’s day and life and can predict with fair accuracy what the other must be up to at a given hour. It’s a sign of intimacy in a relationship,” explains Anita. Now, if his routine has suddenly become so unpredictable that you have no idea where he is or what he is up to for hours (or days) on end, it is a glaring red flag that indicates your boyfriend is cheating. 

5. He is being secretive 

So, what’s new in your boyfriend’s life? Who has he been hanging out with? How has work been for him? Which coworkers is he getting along with these days? If you don’t know the answer to these questions because he is being excessively secretive and responds to your questions with vague responses like, “Oh, I was out with just some friends” or “Having drinks with people from work”, you’re right to be worried. The “my boyfriend is cheating on me” concern doesn’t take hold in a vacuum. 

Related Reading: How To Make A Cheating Boyfriend Feel Bad – 11 Surefire Ways

6. You have caught him in a lie

If your boyfriend keeps coming up with excuses for why he cannot do something or spend time with you or why he was incommunicado and his stories don’t add up, it’s likely that he has been lying to you. When a person is telling the truth, their version of events stays consistent. But if they lie to hide their tracks, chances are they will forget certain details and offer new versions of the story every time you bring it up. If you have caught him in a similar lie, not once but several times over, it’s one of the telling signs of a cheating boyfriend in a relationship. 

7. He gets defensive when questioned 

When you do catch him a lie or ask him questions about a certain situation over and over again, a cheating boyfriend will get defensive, and come up with retorts like, 

  • “I can’t believe you don’t trust me.”
  • “You’re acting crazy. I won’t put up with it.” 
  • “How can you doubt me?”
  • “Why would I lie?”

This, for him, is the easiest way to wriggle out of answering difficult questions that may expose his cheating, lying ways. 

Related Reading: 11 Feelings One Goes Through After Being Cheated On

8. A change in libido 

Yes, it’s perfectly natural for sexual desire to ebb and flow, and patterns of sexual intimacy to change in a relationship. However, these changes are gradual and feel organic. If, on the other hand, there is a sudden and drastic change in your boyfriend’s libido—he can’t seem to get enough of you for some days, and then, shows no interest in being intimate for days or weeks, it could be because the dynamics of his other relationship are impacting how he behaves with you. 

You may even notice that there are times when you’re physically intimate but he feels so distant and aloof. So, if you want to know how to tell if your boyfriend is cheating, pay attention to how you both connect in the bedroom.  

9. You’re no longer a priority

A successful relationship is based on the premise of both partners making an effort to prioritize each other. Yes, there are times when work, social commitments, and domestic responsibilities get in the way but you do find a way to snap out of it and reconnect. However, if your boyfriend is cheating on you, he may no longer make that effort. Instead, you may notice that he prioritizes anything and everything above you. He’s always too busy to meet or talk because, 

  • He’s been busy at work 
  • He’s spending more time at the gym 
  • He needs to hang out with the guys 
  • He is visiting his family over the weekend
  • He is attending his coworker’s cousin’s kid’s bar mitzvah

The fact is that he is unavailable because he needs to carve out more and more time to spend with the other woman. A part of you knows it. That’s why there is a voice in your head that won’t stop saying, “He is cheating on me.”  

What To Do If Your Boyfriend Is Cheating On You: 7 Therapist-Approved Things To Try

“He cheated on me. What should I do?” Allow us to help. Discovering that your boyfriend is cheating on you can be one of the most painful and devastating experiences in a relationship. The betrayal trauma and feelings of hurt and confusion can be overwhelming, leaving you grappling with thoughts like what to do if your boyfriend is cheating on you or how to get over a cheating boyfriend.

However, it’s important to remember that you are not alone and there are steps you can take to cope with this situation and move forward healthily. From staying calm and thinking things through to seeking support and setting boundaries, below are seven strategies that might answer your question, “He’s cheating on me. What should I do?”:

Related Reading: Emotional Adultery: I’m Cheating On My Wife, Not Physically But Emotionally

1. Stay calm and think through

“My boyfriend cheated on me. I don’t know what to do.” Can’t figure out how to deal with a cheating boyfriend? Well, it’s natural to feel a range of emotions when you suspect or discover that your boyfriend is cheating on you. You may feel angry, hurt, betrayed, or even be in denial. However, taking a step back, acknowledging and processing your emotions, and assessing the situation before reacting is important.

You deserve to feel safe, respected, and valued in your relationship.

– Anita Eliza, counseling psychologist

Pay attention to your gut feeling and any red flags that may have been present in the relationship. If you have concrete evidence of infidelity, such as messages or receipts, gather it in a safe place. Before making any decision, it’s crucial to ensure that your “He’s cheating on me” suspicions are based on facts. According to Anita, below are a few signs that your boyfriend cheated on you:

  • Behavior change: Sudden changes in behavior such as being overly sensitive or distant can be a red flag
  • Lack of transparency: If he is suddenly guarding his phone, email, or social media accounts, it could indicate he is hiding something
  • Increased secrecy: He may start going out more frequently without providing a clear explanation or become defensive when questioned about his whereabouts
  • Lack of interest: He might lose interest in activities or topics that used to be important to both of you, showing disengagement from the relationship
  • Emotional distance: Your relationship may be less intimate with fewer expressions of affection or interest in spending time together
  • Unexplained expenses or gifts: You may notice unfamiliar charges on credit card statements or find items that seem like gifts from someone else
  • Changes in appearance: Suddenly paying more attention to grooming, dressing differently, or wearing perfume might be an attempt to impress someone else

If you find these signs relatable, you may be contending with the dilemma of what to do if your boyfriend is cheating on you. Anita says, “Take a deep breath and try not to panic. Acknowledge and accept your feelings of hurt anger and sadness without judgment. Allow yourself to feel and process these emotions. Take time to analyze the relationship and identify any warning signs or underlying issues that may need attention for personal growth.”

It’s essential to approach this whole “he cheated on me and I’m gutted” situation with a clear head to avoid making hasty decisions you might regret later.

Related Reading: Painful Message To A Cheating Boyfriend: 50 Brilliant Ideas

2. Talk about the infidelity

Once you have gathered your thoughts and evidence, it’s time to have an honest conversation with your boyfriend. Choose a time when you both feel comfortable and calm and can speak openly without interruptions or distractions. Be honest about your feelings without being accusatory. Avoid the blame game. While your boyfriend’s actions were wrong, focusing on self-blame or revenge won’t help you heal.

Before making any decision, ensure that your suspicions are based on facts.

To those wondering, “He’s cheating on me. How do I confront him about it?”, Anita advises, “Have a chat with your boyfriend about what’s bothering you. Be honest and try to understand each other’s feelings without blaming.” According to her, here is how and what you should say:

  • Express how you feel using “I” statements, such as “I feel deeply hurt and betrayed by what has happened.”
  • Avoid blame-shifting or making accusations, and instead focus on specific behaviors that have raised red flags
  • Express your concerns and feelings and the impact of his actions on the relationship
  • Be prepared for his reaction — denial, anger, or a tearful confession, are all possibilities

This conversation might not provide all the answers, but it’s a crucial step toward healing and moving forward. Also, make sure you give your boyfriend a chance to explain. Listening can provide insight into their behavior and help you understand the full picture. This doesn’t excuse cheating, but it can offer clarity on underlying issues in the relationship.

Related Reading: 10 Smart Ways To Punish A Cheating Boyfriend Emotionally

3. Get support

If you’re still wondering how to deal with a cheating boyfriend, then there’s one easy answer – lean on your support network. Going through the pain of infidelity can be isolating and overwhelming, which is why having your best friend or loved ones around is important.

For example, Sarah says just my being there for her, hearing her out, and giving her a safe space to vent, helped her feel less alone and lost. Anita agrees and advises, “Try talking to someone you trust like a friend or a family member about what’s going on. Reach out to them for comfort, validation, and perspective during this difficult time.” We agree. It’s important to:

  • Not bottle up your emotions. Try journaling to process your feelings
  • Reach out to your support system or network of trusted friends or family members who can provide emotional support and a listening ear
  • Consider joining a support group for people who have been cheated on
  • Join online communities or forums to connect with others who’ve faced similar situations

When trying to figure out what to do if your boyfriend is cheating on you, consider sharing your experience with those who care about you. “It can help release feelings of resentment and anger toward your boyfriend for your peace of mind and well-being,” adds Anita.

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Would you stay in the relationship if your boyfriend cheated on you?

4. Set boundaries

“I was cheated on by my boyfriend. What should I do?”, “My boyfriend is cheating on me. How do I deal with it?” Constantly asking yourself such questions? Well, first of all, set some rules and boundaries. If you decide to stay in the relationship, it’s important to set clear boundaries to rebuild trust and ensure both partners understand each other’s expectations moving forward. Anita says, “Decide what you will and will not tolerate in your relationship. Let your boyfriend know what you need from him to feel better.”

Establishing boundaries might look like:

  • Open and honest communication
  • Transparency with phones and social media
  • Regular check-ins about feelings and relationship dynamics
  • Agreements on acceptable behavior and deal-breakers
  • Limited or no contact with the affair partner

It’s also important to establish consequences if these boundaries are violated. Remember, you have the right to feel safe and respected in your relationship.

Infographic for What To Do If Your Boyfriend Is Cheating On You
7 Therapist-Approved Things To Do If Your Boyfriend Is Cheating On You

If you decide to end the relationship

However, if you decide to walk out of the relationship, then the boundaries will differ but, either way, establishing the same is crucial for your nervous system and overall well-being. Anita explains, “It can provide space for the innocent partner to gain clarity, rebuild their self-esteem, and protect themselves from further emotional harm. However, they must communicate their boundaries assertively and stick to them for their mental health.”

In this case, you also need to figure out how to get over a cheating boyfriend. For that, Anita strongly recommends establishing a no-contact rule with your cheating partner. She says, “Consider distancing yourself from your ex-boyfriend to give yourself space to heal and move on. This is especially important in the initial stages of separation to allow for processing of emotions and healing without constant reminders of the betrayal.”

Related Reading: 7 Tips To Forgive A Cheating Boyfriend

5. Take care of yourself

“I was cheated on by my boyfriend. I don’t know what to do!” Well, taking care of yourself is probably the most important tip on how to get over a cheating boyfriend. A cheating partner can trigger feelings of self-doubt and insecurity, damaging your mental health. You are bound to lose trust in him. During this difficult time, it’s crucial to prioritize your well-being. Anita recommends practicing self-love and engaging in self-care activities that bring you joy and comfort. Focus on:

  • Eating healthy meals
  • Reconnecting with loved ones
  • Exploring hobbies you enjoy
  • Physical exercise
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Spending time in nature

She says, “Shift your focus toward setting new goals, pursuing your passion, and envisioning a bright and fulfilling future for yourself.” Avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms, like excessive drinking or engaging in risky behaviors, to cope with the emotional turmoil of betrayal trauma. Instead, focus on your overall well-being. Engaging in activities that promote self-love and self-care can aid in healing.

Related Reading: 11 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem Behaviors In A Relationship

6. Seek professional help

Struggling to figure out what to do if your boyfriend is cheating on you? Therapy can help. Whether you decide to stay or move on, individual therapy can be incredibly beneficial. A licensed marriage or relationship coach can provide a safe space to explore your feelings and help you navigate your conflicting emotions and make decisions about moving forward.

Anita explains, “A qualified therapist can offer a safe and non-judgmental space for the individual to explore their emotions, process the betrayal, and gain clarity about their needs and values. Therapy can help them understand the impact of the infidelity on their self-esteem, trust issues, and future relationships. Additionally, it can guide them on setting healthy boundaries, coping with grief and loss, developing resilience, and empowering them to make informed decisions about their future.”

If you decide to stay in the relationship, she recommends consulting a couples therapist to “help both of you talk about your feelings and figure out how to move forward”. A relationship coach can help both of you work through the underlying issues that may have contributed to the infidelity. They can facilitate conversations that might be too challenging to navigate alone and help restore the lost trust if you both choose to stay together.

On Infidelity

Our expert shares a real-life example of how therapy can help a person get over their cheating boyfriend

Mira, a young woman from Bengaluru, was shocked when she discovered that Ron, her partner, had been having an affair with a coworker. As a woman deeply rooted in her value system and religion, Mira initially struggled with feelings of shame and embarrassment about the situation, fearing judgment from her family and community.

However, with the guidance of a sensitive therapist who understood her cultural background and religious connections, Mira found solace in the teachings of her faith, which emphasized the importance of forgiveness and compassion. Drawing strength from her religious scriptures, she chose to confront Ron about his infidelity and seek closure for herself.

Through self-reflection, Mira embarked on a journey of healing and self-discovery. Today, she embraces her identity as a strong and resilient woman who understands and knows how to live independently.

Related Reading: Forgiving My Partner’s Infidelity To Reclaim My Life

7. Decide what’s best for you

Here is a crucial tip on what to do if your boyfriend is cheating on you — think about what you want. Anita explains, “Take some time to think about whether you want to stay in the relationship or not. Trust your feelings and do what’s best for you. While doing so, consider the 10-10-10 principle. Whatever decision you take, think about how you will feel about it 10 minutes, 10 months, or 10 years later. This would include your plans for the coming future and how they might affect your decision.”

Take the time to weigh the pros and cons of staying in or leaving the relationship. She explains, “Identify whether the partner is truly remorseful of the behavior of cheating and is willing to rectify it through his actions or is it a pattern that he tends to follow.” Consider your capacity to forgive and rebuild trust. Below are a few questions you should ask yourself before making a decision:

  • Do I still love my partner despite the betrayal?
  • Is my partner willing to change and address the issues that led to him cheating?
  • Can I see a future where I feel safe in the relationship?

Ultimately, the decision of whether to stay in the relationship or end it is yours alone. Consider your values, needs, and boundaries when making this decision. Your boyfriend cheated on you. Don’t feel pressured to stay in a relationship that no longer serves you. You may have thoughts about wanting to seek revenge and that’s okay, but acting on them will likely prolong your pain and hinder your healing. Below are a few tips that can help, whether you decide to stay or leave:

If you decide to stay

  • Commit to open communication and transparency.
  • Continue therapy or counseling to address underlying issues.
  • Give yourself time to heal and rebuild trust gradually.

If you decide to leave

  • Focus on your healing and self-care.
  • Lean on your support system for emotional support.
  • Consider therapy to process the breakup and betrayal.

Anita says, “Healing from the experience takes time and patience. Therefore, take each step at your own pace and be kind to yourself throughout.” Remember, you deserve to be in a healthy relationship where you feel respected and valued.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I stop my boyfriend from cheating on me?

Unfortunately, you cannot stop another person from doing something they want to. The best you can do is work toward building a healthy, wholesome relationship, build on the foundation of love, respect, and trust, and hope that your boyfriend will honor the commitment he has made to you.

2. Will he cheat again?

While the “once a cheater, always a repeater” adage doesn’t ring true for everyone, you cannot discount the possibility that a cheater may slip up again, unless they make the effort to change whatever unhealthy patterns led them to cross the line of fidelity in the relationship. Only by working on underlying issues that triggered the episode of infidelity can the risk be weeded out.

Key Pointers

  • Discovering infidelity requires you to stay calm, think through your emotions, and gather evidence before making any decision
  • Have an honest conversation with your boyfriend about the infidelity, focusing on feelings without accusations to understand each other’s perspectives
  • Leaning on your support network and seeking professional help can help you deal with your boyfriend cheating on you
  • Setting clear boundaries and rules is essential whether you decide to stay in the relationship or end it
  • Prioritizing self-care and taking time to decide what’s best for you can help you heal and move forward, whether you choose to stay or leave the relationship

Final Thoughts

“My boyfriend cheated on me.” This realization can be devastating, but knowing what to do if your boyfriend cheats on you can empower you to take control of your life and well-being. Whether you choose to stay and work through the issues or to move on, prioritizing your mental health and self-love is essential. Keep in mind that you are not alone, and there are resources and support available to help you through this difficult time.

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