How To Deal With Cheating (Besides Breaking Up)

Everyone has an opinion about what cheating in a relationship signifies. Some see it as the ultimate betrayal, while others view it as a chance to work on whatever issues lie at the heart of such behavior. There is no one right way to deal with an affair or a sexual indiscretion in a monogamous relationship, although, according to Hollywood rom coms, cheating of any kind is reason to sever ties immediately.

While the idea of the male cheater still reigns supreme in popular culture, unlike eras past, the stereotype of women as innocent, loyal and true 24/7 is starting to crumble. One survey released by Bloomberg Business in 2013 revealed that 10.6 American women reported cheating on their spouse in 1991, which reached 14.7 percent by 2010. (Men have hovered at 21.6 for a while now.)

The reasons men and women cheat are complex and varied, but a recent British study suggested that men cheat with co-workers while women cheat with close friends. What happens after a couple is faced with infidelity is up to each person in the relationship, but it doesn't always have to signal splitsville. If you don't want to kick your S.O. to the curb just yet and are interested in giving it another shot, here are four alternatives to breaking up after someone cheats.

1. Try Couples Therapy

It can be incredibly helpful to get a trained, outside perspective to help you and your partner get through the damage caused by cheating. (And it should go without saying that couples therapy IRL is not like Couples Therapy on TV. Sure, there will be difficult discussions and tears, but you will not be living in a house with other folks going through the same insanity to cause even more tension and drama.) Here are a few things to know about couples therapy before scheduling your first appointment.

2. Try Sex Therapy

Although couples therapy and sex therapy have begun to merge as of late, traditionally the two were separate fields with separate training. If you feel that your issues are more laser focused in the bedroom, a sex therapist can be more useful than a general couples therapist as they are trained to mediate discussions about fantasy, desire, and intimacy. Here are 11 signs your relationship could benefit from sex therapy.

3. Read A Book And Talk It Out

If you can't afford couples therapy or sex therapy, there are ways to use professional tools on the cheap that can help you and your partner recover from cheating. Check out best-selling books on the subject by clinical psychologists or focus on general communication and connection strategies offered in these expert-approved texts.

4. Experiment With Consensual Non-Monogamy

Sometimes cheating is a result of dissatisfaction with the socially-prescribed monogamy model. That absolutely doesn't make the cheating OK, but if both parties are on board, experimenting with consensual non-monogamy can be a viable choice post-infidelity. Before you jump in, these classic books on the subject can familiarize you with the many options out there beyond classic monogamy.

Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.

Images: Unsplash; Giphy (4)