I Cheated on My Boyfriend, What Next?

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Cheating on your partner is certainly a breach of trust in a relationship. However, if you feel bad about it, you might be wondering what you should do next. You might want to tell your partner or end the relationship.

This article takes a look at the reasons people cheat and offers ways to deal with this situation.

Why You Might Have Cheated 

No one plans to cheat when they get into a relationship, however, it is one of the most common reasons married couples divorce.

If you have cheated on your partner, you need to sit down with yourself and figure out why it happened.

People cheat for a variety of reasons, but some of the most common reasons include: 

  • You are craving adventure: When people feel like their relationship has hit a lull, they might sometimes think cheating is a great way to introduce some adventure into their own lives. However, this is a selfish decision to make. If you are looking for adventure in your relationship, you should speak to your partner about it and develop solutions together.
  • You feel disconnected from your partner: Having relationship issues with your partner is one of the most common reasons people cheat. The problem is cheating does nothing to solve any relationship issues you have. 
  • You are self-sabotagingPeople who self-sabotage often do things that might affect their relationships, especially when they think something might have been too good to be genuine. 
  • You are not getting your needs met in your relationship: If you feel like you are not getting your emotional or sexual needs met in a relationship, you are more likely to be tempted to cheat. If this is the situation, you might want to consider ending the relationship. If you feel like things can be worked on, you should communicate this with your partner. 

What to Do Next 

There’s no one way to deal with cheating in a relationship. People are different, and every relationship is unique. You can’t predict how your partner will react if you tell them, and even deciding what to say to them can be incredibly difficult.

If you’ve figured out why you cheated on your partner, here are the next steps you should take:

  • Communicate with your partner: Decide when and how best to break the news to your boyfriend. Hiding that you cheated on your partner after it happens is highly discouraged. You will find yourself coming up with lie after lie to cover up the fact that you cheated, and in many cases, you might even repeat your mistake. 
  • Apologize sincerely: Give your apology without any 'buts' and 'ifs'. Don't try to make any justifications for what you did. Make a sincere apology detailing your mistakes and how you intend to fix them. How you apologize deeply affects the next steps you and your boyfriend will take. Wait for them to accept your apology and listen to what they have to say. 
  • Make sure you are doing it for the right reasons: Sometimes, people who have cheated confess to their partners only so that they can feel better and ease their guilt. If you find that telling your partner about what you’ve done will only cause them more harm than good, then this might not be the best way to go.
  • Create boundaries for yourself: Stop speaking to the person or people you cheated with. Create limits to prevent yourself from making the mistakes you’ve made in the past. 
  • Don’t shift the blame: It’s unfair to try to make your boyfriend feel like their shortcomings caused you to cheat. Own up to your mistake and make it clear to your boyfriend that you take full responsibility for what you’ve done. 
  • Allow them to react: Don’t try and stifle your boyfriend’s reaction to being told that they’ve been cheated on. They might respond with anger or become distraught; they might ask you to give them space or even ask you to come closer. Whatever your partner’s reaction, allow them to express it healthily. Even if your partner reacts in anger which might be understandable, it’s unacceptable for them to become physically violent or abusive. If they do so, this is a sign that you need to end the relationship. 

If you or a loved one are a victim of domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential assistance from trained advocates.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

How to Repair the Relationship 

If you and your partner decide to work on the relationship after you’ve cheated on them, the next thing to think about is repairing the relationship. Your partner will be harboring feelings of hurt and betrayal, as is to be expected.

If your partner has decided to end the relationship, don’t guilt them or force them to continue the relationship. Accept their decision and try to ask for their forgiveness. Understand, that they might not be ready or might be unwilling to forgive you.

  • Forgive yourself too: While you are the one who might have made a mistake, you need to forgive yourself too. If your partner has forgiven you and has chosen to work on the relationship with you, carrying around the guilt of cheating can place an unnecessary burden on your relationship. 
  • Consider counseling: This could be personal counseling sessions or couples therapy for you and your boyfriend. Therapy equips you with the tools to healthily repair your relationship and move past your mistake. A therapist is crucial if you and your boyfriend have decided to remain together. While you might have personally looked into why you cheated, therapy will give you even deeper insight into why you cheated.
  • Don’t diminish their feelings: Even as you choose to move forward with your relationship, your boyfriend might periodically bring up questions about when you cheated and why you did it. However, if it feels like they have not forgiven you, it might be time to reconsider if you should indeed remain in the relationship. 

A Word From Verywell 

If you’ve cheated and you and your partner decide to continue the relationship, it’s essential to know that it’ll be a long process, and you need to be patient. Cheating breaks the trust your boyfriend had in you and your relationship, and this takes some time to fix. 

3 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Scott SB, Rhoades GK, Stanley SM, Allen ES, Markman HJ. Reasons for Divorce and Recollections of Premarital Intervention: Implications for Improving Relationship EducationCouple Family Psychol. 2013;2(2):131-145. doi:10.1037/a0032025

  2. University of Maryland. Why do people cheat. December 20, 2021

  3. Schofield MJ, Mumford N, Jurkovic D, Jurkovic I, Bickerdike A. Short and long-term effectiveness of couple counselling: a study protocol. BMC Public Health. 2012;12:735.

By Toketemu Ohwovoriole
Toketemu has been multimedia storyteller for the last four years. Her expertise focuses primarily on mental wellness and women’s health topics.