- Being cheated on is no fun for the betrayed partner.
- To lessen the pain, the unfaithful partner often says “it meant nothing.”
- This is actually a terrible thing to say, because it minimises the act.
- If you really want the relationship to work, you have to be brutally honest about what happened and why.
- You’ve broken your partner’s trust, and you have to rebuild it, which will take time.
If you find out your partner cheated on you, you’re not likely to forget it – especially as “once a cheater, always a cheater,” may well be true.
But people cheat for different reasons. Some people are convinced having a secret, discreet affair can actually improve their relationship.
If you were the one who was unfaithful, and you were caught, you may have caused irreparable damage – whatever your reasons. But there is one cliché you should definitely never say, because it can make everything worse.
Therapist Michele Weiner-Davis, author of “Healing from Infidelity: The Divorce Busting Guide to Rebuilding Your Marriage After an Affair,” told the Huffington Post that a very common excuse people use when they have been discovered is: “It was just sex. It wasn’t about you. It meant nothing.”
While the guilty party may feel this lessens the crime, Weiner-Davis said it can actually simply remind your partner that you weren’t thinking about them when you made the decision to cheat.
“It makes a person feel unwanted, unloved, unimportant,” she said.
She added that most cheaters use this phrase because it’s true – but that doesn’t make their partner feel any better.
“It may be hard to believe, but when most people cheat, they really aren’t thinking about their spouses or partners at the time,” she said. “They’re thinking with their groins, their hormones, their emptiness or their insatiable sense of attraction.”
Essentially, saying the act was nothing minimises it. Nothing you say will lessen the pain, so saying it could simply makes your partner feel less justified in their anger – which will just make them hate you more.
In a blog post for Psychology Today, intimacy and relationships expert Robert Weiss said the biggest betrayal with cheating is breaking the trust in your relationship – so you should be brutally honest about what happened.
“Usually, for a cheated-on spouse it’s not the specific sexual or romantic act that causes the most pain; it’s the lying, the secret keeping, the lies of omission, the manipulation, and the fact that they can no longer trust anything their cheating partner says or does,” Weiss wrote.
Many cheaters believe they can “get away with it,” and this may well be true. But Weiss adds continuing lying and cheating isn’t likely to solve your relationship problems long term. So if you truly value your relationship, and want it to work, you should come clean about what you’ve done.
Rigorous honestly won’t be comfortable, he said, but it’s necessary because revealing what you did isn’t the most important part of the process – it’s rebuilding trust.
“You won’t always enjoy it, and your betrayed partner won’t, either,” Weiss said. “However, if you truly love your significant other, and want to save your relationship, it’s a necessary part of healing.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.