Stay or leave? What to do if your partner cheats

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Nobody likes to be cheated on. But if you find yourself in that situation, you'd probably be asking yourself if you should leave or stay on in the relationship.

But you know what? Breaking up doesn't always have to be the next course of action - not if your partner is remorseful and you still see a future with him.

Can't decide if you should leave or stay in this instance? It might help to first assess you level of investment in the relationship.

"Reflect on your reasons for wanting to stay or leave. Draw up a table of the pros and cons of staying and trying to make it work, or cutting your losses and leaving," says Dr Sara Delia Menon, Clinical Psychologist at Alliance Professional Counselling LLP.

Whichever decision you're leaning towards, there are various considerations you might want to take into account. She shares more about some of the things to consider before making your final decision.

Think about your own shortfalls

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Think the relationship is worth salvaging? You should not only take steps towards forgiveness, but also look at the kind of partner you've been.

"Very often, couples who experience infidelity have entered a space of emotional disconnection. They've stopped turning to each other to share joys and sorrows, and doubt the other will be there to listen or give support," says Dr Menon.

She adds that if you've been emotionally distant towards him in recent times, you may need to acknowledge the part you played in the disintegration of the relationship.

Of course, it'd help if your partner opens up about the factors that led to his infidelity and validates your hurt-and that you validate his.

Was sex involved?

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"Most couples find it easier to commit to trying to make the relationship work again if the cheating did not include a sexual component," she notes. And it's not hard to imagine why-sex is intimacy at its rawest form, so you might find yourself more forgiving if you know your partner didn't share his body with someone else.

If there was physical infidelity, a one-night stand might be easier to forgive than a full-blown affair: the latter not only involves physical and emotional betrayal but also deception, which is typically harder to accept.

The combination of these factors can make the cheating very difficult to let go of, and you should, as suggested, weigh the pros and cons of the relationship to help with our decision.

Get to the root of the problem

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It's definitely OK that you wish to give the relationship another go but you've got to consider the long-term effects of staying in this relationship.

For example, if you usually find it difficult to trust, will this episode only serve to bring out the worst in you?

And at the end of the day, whether or not you choose to stay, if you had a hand in the breakdown of the relationship, you can take this experience to improve yourself as a partner.

"If things don't work out, we can move from one relationship to the next, but till bring ourselves and all our unpacked baggage along with us. If the factors that led to the infidelity are not addressed, it's possible for these destructive cycles to repeat themselves," says Dr Menon.

This article was first published in CLEO Singapore.