From 1994’s “Indecent Proposal” to Beyoncé’s “Lemonade,” cheating is a recurring theme in almost every facet of pop culture. But once it happens in real life, listening to Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” on repeat isn’t going to solve anything.
Should you stay with your partner? And is there even a “right” way to handle the situation?
It is important to acknowledge just what goes into cheating. It is common for cheaters and their apologists to say that the act is a simple mistake. It’s not. Cheating requires many steps. It is not a split-second decision that happens without thinking.
Many of us at the Foghorn believe that cheating is not just an act — it is part of someone’s character. If someone is willing to cheat on their partner, it’s because of something deeper about their personality, specifically in how they view relationships and their need for instant gratification. There is no guarantee that they will not do it again. If your partner cheats on you, they just showed you the kind of person they truly are and that should not be something you reward by taking them back.
There are plenty of fish in the sea. As college students, we are unlikely to have children and a mortgage that legally bind us to our partners. Even if you still care for the person who cheated on you, the healthiest option is to leave them. Staying with an unfaithful partner can be incredibly damaging to one’s own self-image and sense of dignity. It’s like giving someone your trust, watching them throw it away and expecting you to pick it up again.
We cannot speak for our readers who are married or have children, since nobody on staff is in this situation. But we acknowledge that the circumstances are different. It may call for a different approach.
It’s a matter of self-respect — you either respect yourself enough to leave, or you’re giving a cheater respect that they do not deserve. Being cheated on can have a profound effect on future relationships and staying only magnifies the sense of feeling like a fool if it happens again.
Breakups are hard no matter how justified they are, but if there’s no ring, no child and nothing else outside of the comfort of a relationship to make leaving even more difficult — what’s the use? Relationships are built on trust and if your partner can’t even do that, you should just let it go. It’s a waste of your time and your mental health.
There is a small minority on the Foghorn who believe there are reasons to take someone back. They think that although the person made a mistake, they deserve a second chance. Cheating doesn’t ruin a future — whether it be emotional or physical cheating. It hurts, a lot, but in some cases, the future may be worth that pain and everyone who encounters this dilemma needs to make that choice for themselves.
However, the majority of the Foghorn believe that you should leave the relationship. It’s hard to break up, but overcoming the fear of moving on allows for new opportunities that may not have arisen. Cheating is cheating. Leave and find a better person.