How to Move Forward in a Relationship After Cheating

A couple cheating behind each other’s backs
Want to know how to move forward in a relationship after cheating? Come clean and work on rebuilding your trust in each other.

Having trust in a relationship gives you a sense of security with your partner. But what happens when trust is broken?

In the case of cheating, many believe that the relationship is doomed, given it’s the ultimate betrayal.

However, when you love someone, leaving them even after they had an affair is not an easy decision to make. Even when your heart is aching, somewhere in your mind, there’s a hopeful thought that maybe you and your partner can fix your relationship.

You’re not wrong to hope. Many couples have stayed together despite one partner’s cheating incident.

While it is certainly going to be a challenge and will take plenty of time, here is how to move forward in a relationship after cheating.

Moving Forward After Cheating by Coming Clean

Imagine building a house of cards.

As you continue adding one card on top of the others, the cards become taller yet increasingly unstable. Soon enough, when you are about to add another card, the tower will collapse, unable to withstand any more weight.

Similar to a house of cards, a relationship becomes a fragile structure once a partner is guilty of cheating.

If you pile up one lie after another, eventually there will be no hope of fixing the relationship, as too much damage has already been done.

That being said, whoever cheated needs to come clean.

However, this doesn’t mean that they need to reveal every detail as it may become counter-productive. Rather, they should at least explain why they did it and how they’re committed to moving forward.

Only when asked should the cheater share specifics.

While this process can be painful for the one cheated on, it will help them make sense of the situation instead of wondering what they did wrong.

Knowing how to move forward after cheating is never easy for both the cheater and the one who got cheated on.

This demonstrates that even though they were cheated on, they still respect their partner enough to be vulnerable and disclose what happened.

Moreover, it shows that they recognize the harm that their cheating partner has caused to the relationship, indicating their willingness to take accountability for their actions.

As for the cheater, coming clean can be like lifting the weight off their shoulders.

It’s not easy to admit why they felt tempted to cheat, so telling their partner about it gives them the chance to feel heard and understood despite their mistake.

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Moving Forward After Infidelity by Rethinking Your Relationship

“Is it because I’m ugly?”

“Am I no longer interesting?”

“Is it because they have lost their feelings for me?”

Oftentimes, the person who has been cheated on asks questions like these, attributing their partner’s infidelity to their perceived unattractiveness or dull personality.

However, the problem is often much more than that.

According to psychologists, people sometimes cheat even though they love their partner because their emotional needs in the relationship are not being met.

This implies that in some cases, the person who was cheated on should avoid placing all the blame on their partner.

Moving forward after infidelity requires them to listen to their partner’s reasons for cheating as they come clean. Afterwards, both of them should reassess their roles in the relationship and figure out how they can resolve the problem.

Cheating is a complex issue that arises from various underlying reasons.

If you and your partner can identify these reasons, you can work together to address the behavior or action. This approach also helps ensure that there won’t be a recurrence of the cheating incident.

Mourning the Past: An Integral Part of Knowing How to Move Forward after Betrayal

Couple having a serious conversation to fulfill their commitment of moving forward after cheating
If your partner is committed to moving forward after cheating, they must honestly share their reasons with you.

Knowing how to move forward in a relationship after cheating starts with mourning your past.

Cheating leaves a permanent scar on the relationship. This means that even if you manage to save the relationship, you cannot fully revert to how things were before.

The person who was cheated on will always carry insecurities stemming from the incident, along with a lack of trust whenever their partner displays behavior that reminds them of the affair.

While their partner can help them in coping as they work through the relationship, one thing they must avoid early on is allowing resentment to build in each other’s hearts.

Naturally, once the cheater confesses, the other person may experience a mix of emotions, including anger.

If this anger persists, even if both have agreed to work through their issues, they will continue to fixate on their partner’s mistakes, making statements like, “It’s because of you I’m struggling right now,” or “It’s your fault that we’re not as happy as we used to be.”

As a solution, both partners need to mourn what their relationship used to be. By doing so, they prevent harboring grudges and allow themselves to progress to a new phase in life.

Setting Ground Rules After Cheating

In a healthy relationship, ground rules are established to maintain trust and to nurture ongoing growth as a couple.

However, ground rules after cheating are designed to prevent a similar occurrence, to hold both partners accountable for their actions, and to help rebuild trust.

Moreover, these rules tend to be stricter and demand greater effort.

If you and your partner are struggling to decide on appropriate ground rules, here are a few recommendations.

No Contact

The individual who cheated must cease all communication with their affair partner. This includes blocking and deleting their contact information, including numbers, emails, text messages, and social media profiles.

With this, they won’t be tempted to return to the affair whenever issues arise in their current relationship.

A couple hugging each other
Moving forward after infidelity means going on a shared journey to healing and addressing issues.

Additionally, it enables them to concentrate on supporting their partner’s healing process.

For the one who got cheated on, the knowledge that their partner has cut off contact with the third party provides reassurance of their commitment to repairing the relationship.


In a healthy relationship, there’s no need for a couple to access each other’s phones or constantly monitor each other’s activities.

However, when trust is broken due to cheating, the one who was cheated on requires an extra level of transparency to ensure that their partner’s remorse and willingness to change align with their behavior.

Meanwhile, the cheater owes this transparency to their partner after concealing and lying about the affair.

Avoid Revealing the Affair

The partner who got cheated on might feel the urge to share their story with family and friends.

They want to vent and seek validation for staying in the relationship.

However, if you’re in this situation, remember that everyone will have their own opinions.

This might leave you feeling confused, harboring resentment towards your partner or making hasty decisions.

Moreover, if you decide to share your story, exercise caution in choosing whom to confide in. Some individuals might spread it to others. Before you know it, acquaintances or even strangers might be aware of your partner’s affair.

A couple consulting a therapist on how to move forward after betrayal
Do you and your partner know how to move forward after betrayal? Try seeking a relationship counselor.

If you want to vent or seek validation, confide only in family members and friends whom you trust. Or, consider seeking therapy, where a counselor can help you deal with your thoughts and emotions.

Practice Patience

Forgiveness doesn’t happen in an instant. This means that if you’re the one who cheated, you shouldn’t anticipate your partner forgiving you within a few months of your confession.

Be patient in rebuilding the relationship and work towards earning your partner’s forgiveness through consistent reassurance, no matter how small.

On the other hand, for the person who was cheated on, be patient with yourself as well. The healing process takes time.

Don’t rush into forgiving your partner, thinking that you’re ready to do so because then, you’re not learning how to move forward from infidelity in a healthy manner.

Instead, your attempt to quickly resolve the issue might cause you to frequently revisit negative thoughts and emotions, as you haven’t had the chance to fully process them.

Active Communication to Figure Out How to Move Forward After Infidelity

A couple not practicing active communication in their attempt to move forward after infidelity
To know how to move forward after infidelity, you need to practice active communication with your partner.

A lot of the time, the absence of communication can lead to cheating.

Often, the cheater struggles to express their needs, leaving their partner feeling blindsided by the affair.

In some cases, the person who got cheated on may have ignored their partner’s attempts to communicate, resulting in unaddressed issues.

That being said, know how to move forward in a relationship after infidelity by maintaining active communication.

Whenever you or your partner need to voice a need, concern, or desire, focus on addressing a specific issue rather than phrasing it in a way that blames or hurts the other.

Avoid saying things like, “You always make me feel this way,” or “If you had just done that, I wouldn’t feel like this.”

Instead, try expressing your thoughts by following this pattern, “I’m feeling ___ because of ___.”

For the one receiving the message, practice active listening.

Avoid jumping to conclusions, cutting your partner off mid-sentence, or downplaying their emotions.

Once you’re able to constantly practice active communication, the need for an extra level of transparency slowly lessens as you’re able to re-establish your connection and rebuild trust in your relationship.

The Two-Way Process of How to Move Forward in a Relationship After Cheating

When it comes to cheating, most people believe that repairing the relationship requires the cheater to take the lead in trying to appease and support the other person.

However, figuring out how to move forward from cheating takes effort from both parties.

While the cheater reflects on the consequences of their actions and provides reassurance through their words and deeds, the partner who was cheated on should also focus on their own healing and help actively address any underlying relationship issues.

With a shared commitment to their responsibilities, not only will the couple overcome the incident, but also forge a stronger relationship.

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