They Cheated, Now What?

So, you just found out your sweetie has been fucking someone else.

Your heart is broken, you are angry, depressed, confused, lost.  You keep playing the images, real or imagined, over in your mind.  The sex, the sounds, the intimate moments.

Sure, you’ve wanted to do the same on occasion.  You fantasize about a coworker or a friend.  Maybe you wanna make that cute lead singer in the church choir go up a few octaves for you.

But you didn’t, cause you’re not an asshole.

Your partner did. That total motherfucker!

So, what do you do?  Breaking up, or working it out?

Ever thought about an alternative?  Cheating is a wonderful time to change a relationship.

Obviously, I’m talking about you being cheated on, not you going out and cheating so that you can get change.

If you have been cheated on, but you still love your partner, please continue.  If you were the cheater, I’m sorry, I have no real advice for you.  You’re a dick, and I don’t like you.

It’s time for you to give an open relationship a try.

I know many will read this and assume I’m telling men who have been cheated on to take advantage of the situation to get what they want, be it the coworker, the friend, or every single woman in the choir.

Well, yeah. Why not?  She got what she wanted, and didn’t even ask.

Did Dear Abby start telling us that it's rude to confront someone sneaking around for sex with an honest conversation about an open relationship?  If she did, then fuck her.

I know, honesty is shockingly controversial.

Allow me to use some rather blunt language.  If your wife or girlfriend spread eagle to accept the cock of another man, just pounding, pounding, pounding, slapping dat ass every day at lunch, probably over her desk, probably with the picture of you and the kids looking right at her, while she drenched her thighs in excitement… and yes, I’m invoking some emotion here…

…you get free reign to talk to her about all the pussy you’ve passed up over the years in the name of fidelity, and then to choose one, and enjoy.

It’s as simple as that.

Don’t lie, don’t hurt with details.  Simply listen to your partner confess, and accept it.  Then, when explain to them that you will be finding a partner as well for the same type of activity.

Don’t be a dick.  Don’t make her feel guilty for her desires.

For goodness sake, you are reading this!  You are thinking about it yourself!

Yes, she acted on it.  That’s not the problem.  You wanted to act on it, too!

The problem was the lying.  The problem was not being honest.  So let’s address the actually problem! Start honest open dialog!

Get over that little emotional quip I threw at you.  If you can’t accept her having sex with another man, then just break up.  Either you deal with it now, or you divorce.  That image of another man fucking the holy shit out of your wife, slapping her ass, and making her moan will never, ever, go away.  Get, the fuck, over it.

Still reading? I have more happy news for you.

You’ve just entered into a minefield, and your relationship is about to end anyways.

Thank them for their honesty, and simply claim that you will act in an honest and fair way.  Above all, and I mean, above all, never ask for the cheating relationship to end.  They are an adult, after all.  You don’t own them.

But, so are you.  They don’t own you, your brain, your body, your heart, and especially not your dick.  Are your balls firmly attached to you, or in her handbag?

So, be open about it.  You want pussy besides her’s.  Say it, unsugarcoated, and direct.  You want pussy.  Go ahead, say it out loud, “1, 2, 3, 4! I like pussy and I want more!”

Be careful here.  What I said sounds like you are issuing her an ultimatum.  You are not.  This is not a negotiation.  You and her are both adults.  You are free to do as you please, and they are free to accept it, or not.

I’m a fair guy.  She got dick, you get pussy, and the moment her panties dropped, you got a green light that the days of monogamy are over.  And thank goodness, you have no idea how good life is about to get!

I know I’m going to get hate mail for saying that.  But this isn’t an eye for an eye.  Nobody is taking anything from anyone.

This is not a decision I made when I was first cheated on, to my regret.  The first time I was cheated on, I should have done immediately what I’m explaining for other men to do.  And I am living the life, now, that I’m inviting you to join.

I finally did do this, and I’m incredibly happy I did. Regardless of any immediate outcomes, I’m happier in the long run, both with my life as it is now, and in the pride I have in my own self worth and dignity.

So, here goes.

Explain that your goal is to not be cheated on.  If there is no lying, and there is no monogamy, there is no cheating.  Be forward, lying will never be tolerated.  And have self confidence, you deserve to be happy as well exploring other people.

If you are calm and understanding when they tell you about their cheating, which you probably already suspected, this will make things go easier than if you blow up at them.

Once you associate “other people” with “all hell breaking loose”, you will not find someone receptive.  

Start by attacking the real issue of the matter, the lying.  End it abruptly. You may demand honesty and forthrightness.  You have this right! It is nonnegotiable! It should be a deal breaker in every single relationship you have!

Lying by omission is still lying.  In any discussion, this must be tackled and agreed upon.

Do not proceed until this is absolutely, 100% locked down as fully agreed upon from now until the heat death of the universe billions of years from now.

Be careful not to get side tracked here, digging up all the details and making yourself go slowly insane.  All you really need to know is when they are meeting and if they are having sex. That’s it.

Going further is just torture and unproductive at this point, and maybe for any point, even if you move on to a happy sharing stories poly couple.  Don’t dig up the pain of betrayal, it’s completely useless.

Being honest about this topic will most likely shock your partner.

Also, don’t get side tracked by this all being an “honest mistake” and “one thing led to another”.  No… shit… sherlock!  Nobody imagined that they just started fucking out of the blue for no reason.  It happened, and no, it doesn’t matter how.  The old saying can be reversed: the means don’t justify the ends.  Good intentions never nullifies or softens the blowjob, the kiss, the anal penetration, or whatever act they engaged in.

Acknowledge every sidetrack by the outcome, and move forward.

Second, you are ready to move on to explaining your decision to seek another partner.  They are probably telling you at this point where they are breaking up with their fling.

They may have a deer in headlights look, and an “oh god no!” reaction when you tell them, “That’s up to you, but I’m still seeking another partner”.

Are they upset?  That’s a good sign.  Honestly, this is better than their calm acceptance.  

I don’t trust non-reaction people.  In my experience, no reaction, or quiet reaction to this type of discussion means one of two things.

They’re either exploding inside and it's going to come out later, rendering this entire conversation void.

Or, and worse, they’re a cold hearted person who has contempt for you, and no respect.  Contempt is the lowest emotion you can feel for someone, and it doesn’t go away in days, weeks, or months.  It’s measured in years and decades, if ever.

They cheated, and they don’t really give a fuck what you think about it.  Unfortunately, you didn’t get the memo on that, and launched into this conversion process.

If that’s the case, run!  Run away from this person before something worse happens.

But, if it is obvious that they want to still have a relationship with you, continue.

Acknowledge that you and them both feel hurt and that you should both want to discontinue all lying.

Tell them that you understand that they kept up the lie for as long as it worked for them.  Acknowledge that coming to you was simply part of the breakup with their other partner if that’s what they say they want to do.

Unfortunately, she can’t close this pandora’s box any more than she can unfuck her other partner.

Explain that they had an opportunity, no matter how limited, to have a relationship, even if only sexual, with another person and because of the nature of the secrecy, left open to the possibility that anything could happen.

Carefully explain that you appreciate and accept the apology for lying.  And be sincere.  If you can’t be sincere here, then you aren’t really interested in furthering a relationship with her.

If you say this with a smirk on your face, then you are plotting revenge through pain, not real change.

Explain that the experience which they had, they get to carry with them forever, and that an apology is not needed nor appropriate.

She will always remember her fling, and enjoying his body.  He will always remember her as well.

Apologies aren’t delete keys, erasing a chapter of cheating from the story of life in everyone’s minds.

Instead, what is appropriate is that you have the same opportunity.

Let me say that this is normally where the breakup happens.

I’m an outspoken kind of guy, and when this happened to me, I did just that.

When I found out about further cheating on the part of my wife and about a year before we attempted open, I did all of these things. I turned the conversation to what I wanted, I was told that while I might have forgiven her for sleeping with other men (multiple men in the space of just a couple days), she’d never forgive me if I went out and fucked anyone.

Her reason?  She cheated as a reaction to pain, and explained that my going out was to deliver intentional pain to her.  Yes… 12 men later, she was justifying her cheating and blocking any reaction from me.

My response? To laugh and tell her to go take a flying fuck off a bridge if she thought I gave one fuck about her permission

Mature? No.

Did it work? No.

But, I must admit, I felt very good about saying it.

Honestly, what kind of ruthless bitch expected me to ask permission?

Did I cheat? No.  But I broke up immediately, and within 24 hours, had someone else out on a date.

You can also expect something similar.  If you are prepared, you can handle the situation better than I.  If you are already prepared to break up, be honest.

Either you will have the same chance for a relationship, or you are done as a couple.

They may say that if you do it, they are done.  But point out to them that you are already done due to the cheating.  What you had is forever gone.  No amount of forgiveness will bring it back.  Not only is the relationship changed, but you are forever changed by the experience of being deceived.

Make clear that you are not asking for their permission to allow you to see someone else, but that you are seeing someone else regardless.  They simply have the option of staying as your new partner in your new type of relationship.

What we’re doing here is trying to save your relationship.  If I help you save it, and you become a happy polyamorous couple, great!

If not, fuck them, go grab her purse, pull your fucking balls out of it, and walk your ass out.  This is the alternative to breaking up.  If it doesn’t work, break… the fuck… up.

Here’s an easier way to think about your choices if they say no. You can:


  1. Be a bitch, and forgive, and ask nothing in return for your years of honesty and fidelity.  Also, since you did this, and you punked out, they fucking own your ass now.  She now knows that she can do whatever she wants, and you can’t do a fucking thing about it because you have the spine of a jellyfish.

  2. Break up, keep your balls, be poly, and find someone who will respect you as a person.


Hopefully, they will be receptive, and their initial no will crack when they see that you are not seeking this as revenge or simply as a one time “hall pass”.

Proceed by simply don’t try to change them.  Be open and honest, but make clear that this is something you’ve given thought to, that you want to communicate with them and maintain the relationship, but that you are willing to part on good terms to pursue this.

Give them time to think.  Inform them that you will spend time looking for a potential partner, but will not act on it immediately.  After a time you think is appropriate, no more than 3 days, let them know that you will be acting on it no matter their answer.

They can say yes, and stay with you, and you be the kind, honest, open, and caring partner.  Or you break up, and you tell them how quickly you two should be finding separate living arrangements.

This entire time, be a good partner!

Tell them how much you love them, hold their hand, give them hugs during the reveal, and be the good person.  It costs you nothing except pride.  Assholes don’t get far in life.

Later, give them space during the announcement.  99% of women will NOT want you to touch them after you break it down that new pussy is on your horizon.

However, once you are done, let me make a small suggestion.

Tell them that yes, you are still in love with them, and will continue to be for as long as you remain together.  Then, take her out to dinner, and drop the conversation about other partners, the cheating, and your plans.

NOT ONE WORD! If they bring it up, divert, and bring the focus back to your relationship.

Be romantic, splurge! Come home and make love exactly how she wants it.  And do not, under any circumstances, have this conversation again until they are done thinking or the time limit has come up.

By doing so, you give them 3 days to think about the kind of man you will be if she says yes.  So give her a loving 3 days to see how awesome you are!  Three days with a cold asshole would make any woman ready to leave.  So don’t be that guy!

Let’s be just as honest here as you should be with your partner.

WARNING! Once this box is opened, it will never fully close.  If they resist all change, and you stay in the relationship (you took the bitch route), they will forever suspect cheating and you will seriously consider it if you already have someone in mind.

Don’t do it.  You will hurt both partners as well as yourself.  Break things off cleanly while you are on friendly terms.

This is not to say that you can issue an ultimatum such as, “We’re going to have an open relationship that you agree to right here and now, or I’m leaving, right now, my bags are already packed.”  Come on, don’t be a douche.

Cheating doesn’t mean you get to write a blank check.  It means you get to start over, or not.  This is about defining a new relationship, not blackmailing them into putting up with your every sexual whim.

But start the conversation, maybe even suggest that she listen to podcasts on the topic together and sharing my book, Polyamory: It’s Not Complicated.

Discuss what your needs are, but do not focus on things that she doesn’t provide that you might be looking for in another partner.

You may feel that she has no right to be jealous, but she probably will feel jealous, and that only makes things worse.  Learn to cope with her feelings just as you expect her to cope with yours through this transition.

Angry conversations can quickly spiral out of control into the area of accusing each other of not providing enough for the other person.

Fact is, we know that very few people in this world do provide for every single need, not even all of the important ones.  But you must realize that while you have shattered this fantasy, most monogamous people still cling to it even more fiercely than a fundamentalist clings to the existence of an invisible man in the sky who runs the world.

When you have a problem with a church, you simply open up honestly, defend yourself against their arguments that don’t make sense in your life anymore, and move on.  You don’t try to talk others into leaving with you overtly.

The same is true in a relationship.  Your chances of a successful conversion when there isn’t any prior history of swinging or related activity is near zero, but it’s not zero.  You are the one moving forward.  Be open that you want them to go forward with you, but you must be ok moving on alone.

Realize that now and prepare to leave.  But do so in an ethical way so that they don’t just wake up to you gone.

When you realize that you are only responsible for you, your actions, and your feelings, you will realize that like me, even with extensive swinging and cheating, making the transition to open is very difficult and may be impossible for some people who have deeper issues.

If you are in a fully monogamous marriage with two kids, your chances of keeping a popsicle frozen in hell are greater than holding this clusterfuck together without change.  If it goes bad, and it likely will.  Grab your ass with both hands, get a good lawyer, and hold on tight through the process.

Break up or open up, but don’t bitch up.  Move forward, and good luck