Here Are The Many Ways A Relationship Changes After Someone Cheats

As long as people are in relationships, cheating and infidelity will always be major factors. There’s not much you can do about people breaking the rules, especially when it comes to love and romance. There are no definite rules for how people should behave as friends or lovers, which means they’re likely to behave erratically.

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These days, cheating is more prevalent than ever. Scientists and researcher frequently conduct studies about cheating and how it affects people. For example, the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships concluded in 2015 that there’s a 42% chance that the average individual would cheat.

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Interestingly enough, people who were asked if their partners had ever cheated on them only admitted that it had happened 5% of the time. Similarly, the same group reported a suspected 8% chance that their partners would be able to cheat in the future. About 9% of them admitted that they, themselves, had cheated.

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Of course, it’s difficult to know who is cheating based on studies alone, since people are often hesitant to admit that they or their partners have or would engage in cheating. Also difficult to discern are the different ways in which men and women approach and react to cheating. A 2008 study created by Interpersonal Relations and Group Processes that men were less tolerant of their girlfriends cheating than women were with their boyfriends.

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A journal called Personal Relationships published a study in 2015 that found the gender of the person that a given individual’s partner had cheated with can have an effect on a couple’s relationship. Men were more likely to stay in a relationship if their female partner cheated on them with another woman. Ladies, however, were more likely to end a relationship if their male partner had cheated on them with a man.

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It’s a complete understatement to say that cheating has a major effect on a relationship in which one partner is unfaithful to the other. After people cheat, there are several different ways in which relationships can change – the most often, of course, is that they end. Plenty of people feel that infidelity means the death of a relationship, and I’m inclined to agree. Some people would beg to differ, however, and choose to stay in relationships regardless of whether or not cheating occurs. It’s difficult to agree with anyone who cheats, and I feel as though infidelity is the ultimate betrayal of trust and should end the average relationship for good.


For one, cheating completely ruins any trust you could have possibly had for your partner. That naturally makes it difficult to stay in a healthy relationship with them, even if you might choose to stay. Ian Kerner, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist who specializes in the areas of sex and couples therapy.

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Kerner even wrote a book about the subject of relationship trauma in a book called She Comes First. He feels pretty strongly about the issue, as evidenced by his career. “In the wake of an affair, more and more lies come out, and that makes trust very difficult,” he explained. Cheating and trust issues have become major areas of study in the past few years

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“It then becomes easy to feel dubious toward your partner in other aspects of life, such as finances or parenting.” This can lead to pretty disastrous results for a cheater, their partner, and even their child. Emotional neglect is almost as bad, if not worse, than physical violence sometimes, and the effect it can have on us is astounding.

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Another way in which cheating dramatically alters the course of a relationship is in terms of self-confidence. After someone gets cheated on by a partner who they’d placed a significant amount of trust in, it only makes sense that they would enter a difficult and depressed period of self-loathing. There’s not much to do about it. Even if your partner wants to engage in conversation about the issue, there’s a good chance you’re not ready to do so. At the same time, you’re going to want to talk about the elephant in the room. Why did they cheat? What does it mean? How do they view you?


At the same time, the person who was engaged in the infidelity could experience a sudden bolster in confidence, almost as though they have the upper hand in some kind of unseen power struggle. “Part of the reason many people cheat is because they felt unwanted or unloved in their relationship,” Kerner explained. “Then they discover sexual or emotional appreciation in the affair which, in turn, bolsters their confidence.” While self-confidence is always a good thing, having a huge ego can often turn out disastrous for both members of a relationship. If you and your partner aren’t on the same level when it comes to how you view yourselves as well as each other, things can get messy. Sometimes, this leads to more cheating down the road, from everyone involved.

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Tina B. Tessina, author of Money, S*x, and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, knows a lot about how cheating feels – in fact, she experienced it first hand. “After being cheated on by my husband, at first I felt embarrassed and like I just wasn’t enough. Not attractive, smart, or funny enough.”


Whenever infidelity occurs, another funny things occurs – a depressive episode. I’m sure we’ve all experienced periods of our lives where we were considerably down in the dumps about something or other, be that school, work or relationships, and being the victim of cheating can be one of the major catalysts behind extended periods of depression.

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“For some people, an affair can make them lose focus on other aspects of their life,” Kerner said. “Self-care, their career trajectory, friendships, and thoughtful parenting can all take a backseat. Take it one day at a time and start prioritizing healthy habits, like going to the gym and starting therapy, to help you rebuild your life and your relationship.”

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It’s easier said than done, but working to get your mind off things is the number one way to rid yourself of sadness. Some people even use periods of immense difficulty to better themselves. “People who recover from infidelity are usually able to go within themselves and recapture their center of power,” Kerner said.

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“They actually end up stronger and more resilient than before the affair.” You can find plenty of uplifting stories all over the internet that have to deal with people finding themselves in the wake of an affair. Just check out Reddit or a number of other forum sites that discuss love and marriage. Maybe pick up a new hobby or, as Kerner said, start working out more. Physical activity is a great way to tire out both your body and your mind, and even make you a stronger, more attractive person in the process. Other folks will engage in more creative pursuits, choosing to start painting or drawing as a form of self expression.


One of the major life changes that can occur after an affair is the total and utter destruction of your libido. Even if you’re generally a sexually confident or active person, it’s not difficult to begin questioning your attractiveness or desirability after someone behaves unfaithfully towards you.


What are the rules, what are the boundaries in such a scenario? It’s not difficult to overthink how you approach sex and relationships once you’ve been exposed to emotional trauma on such a scale. “If your partner has cheated on you, even if you are working hard to forgive and rebuild the relationships, sex is often the last piece of the puzzle,” Kerner said.

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Even couples who are able to recover from an affair emotionally often find it difficult to begin sleeping with their husband or wife again. After all, any trust that had previously existed is completely washed away. People are left hurt, confused and angry. That’s not a good combination when it comes to healthy relationships.

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“You’re sorting through all kinds of emotions – depression, anger, betrayal – and that just kills your sexual desire.” For others, however, their sex drive is increased, even if they’re not the ones doing the cheating. This can be either a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it, but people who aren’t used to change might have some issues with it.

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Overall, cheating is bad and you shouldn’t cheat nor should you continue an abusive relationship if your partner doesn’t have the common decency to at least respect you. If you or someone you know has personal experience with an affair, let us know how it changed the relationship in the comments. Until next time, be fair, don’t cheat.

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