Cheated On In Relationship

by Reid on April 4, 2015

Couple Arguing At BreakfastWhat do you do when your partner cheats on you?

With Cathy Vartuli from and Reid Mihalko from

Cathy: What do you do when your partner cheats on you?

Reid: I get angry, that’s what I do.

Cathy: Thank you, that was so helpful Reid Mihalko from

Reid: Awesome. You’re welcome Cathy Vartuli from

Cathy: It can be really devastating to be cheated on. There’s a trust that’s been broken. Cheating and having open-relationships are different things. Cheating implies that there was an agreement that this wouldn’t happen or a lack of communication about something happening. There is, it’s you committed to something; this is a big violation in trust.

Reid: Yeah. There’s a really good book by Tammy Nelson called ‘The New Monogamy.’

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: It’s a book about healing after infidelity. I love that book, it’s really, it has some really great frameworks on how to use cheating as an opportunity to figure out what’s going on in your relationship. Get present with the relationship and re-collaborate the relationship. There’s lots of evidence now that people can recover and build their relationship stronger. When you look at cheating as a symptom of something else that’s going on in the relationship. You can have an open relationship and still cheat on each other too. It’s not a monogamy centric thing.

I would recommend that book. The main bit of advise for this video, I would say is understanding that you’re going to have your feelings, your partner is going to have their feelings. Initially when you find out, all the betrayal, all that stuff is normal for you guys to feel. To as soon as you can, start looking at and asking yourselves questions like, “If cheating was the symptom. What was going on, the disease, the dis-ease, that was going on in your relationship?” Where you both were so disconnected that this other thing had to happen. Not have to, had to, but this other thing occurred. Getting really present and connecting together. Often you may want to bring in a third person to mediate your space.

Cathy: It can really help.

Reid: Getting present together on what was actually going on in your relationship, that that thing occurred. That’s a much more proactive perspective than the, “Oh my goodness. How could you?” All those feelings are going to come up and they’re going to be normal, but those are feelings of surprise, betrayal, grief, mistrust. Certainly feel those, but really the responsibility is on both of you a little bit. Certainly because there was something that was missing or being overlooked or out of sync in the relationship in general.

Cathy: Yeah, I think both, if the relationship is going to continue and some people do end it. If there’s enough good in the relationship, figuring out what you both want and getting a new commitment can be useful. Both people have a responsibility to get their feelings handled. I’ve seen it when 20 years down the road, the one who has been cheated on is still beating the other person up. There’s still that underlying lack of, I don’t know is that person is going to cheat on me again and you hurt me so bad. While those feelings may be legitimate, there’s nothing wrong with having feelings of being hurt and mistrust. If you’re still carrying them all those years later, it’s hurting your relationship.

I love that the non-violent communication concept of the relationship being this energy between the two of you, that you’re both nurturing. You can focus on the health of the relationship. It becomes less about, “Oh I was insulted. I was rejected.” We can start looking at, “Oh how is the health of our relationship?” The cheating was a symptom that there was something off in that. It’s not necessarily so much about the person who was cheated on. That can give you a way out that’s a little more comfortable.

Reid: Yeah, there’s more possibility there than the culturally approved.

Cathy: “What’s wrong with me?”

Reid: Yeah, or it’s the relationship must end now because the fidelity was broken and can never be put back in place.

Cathy: Yeah, and there’s nothing wrong with ending it. There’s also nothing wrong with seeing what you can rebuild.

Reid: Awesome. Tough subject.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: Hope this was useful.

Cathy: We’d love to know what you think.

Reid: We’re just scratching the surface. Let us know what you think. Comments.

Cathy: Bye.

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