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Cheating and infidelity

Cheating means breaking the rules you have agreed on in a committed relationship. Usually cheating refers to sexual infidelity or adultery.

If you're making out or having sex with someone outside of your committed relationship, it means you’re cheating on your partner.

Cheating doesn’t always have to be sexual. Sometimes cheating is on an emotional level. When someone shares intimate thoughts with a person who’s not their partner, it’s called emotional cheating.

Cheating of any form can cause a lot of sorrow in relationships and can even lead to break-up or divorce.

Find out more about cheating in our Cheating: top five facts.

Why do people cheat?

There are many reasons why people cheat on their partners. You might cheat if you don’t love your partner any more, if sex isn’t satisfying, if your partner has cheated on you in the past, or if you feel neglected or under-appreciated.

Lying to your partner about your affairs can be a stop-gap arrangement, but it’s very likely that sooner or later your partner will discover the truth. If you feel guilty about having cheated and don't want to end your relationship, confessing might be an option. You could also keep quiet about what happened, although the lack of honesty could put a strain on your relationship.

If you've cheated and decided you want to end it with your partner, there are two options – to confess your behaviour and say goodbye or to hide your infidelity and say you want to break up for other reasons.

Is your partner cheating on you?

If you know your partner well and have had a close, long-term relationship, you can often tell when something’s not right. You might notice that they’ve begun spending a lot more time at work, they have less time for you and your family, start taking calls in private, and seem less committed to doing things with you. Maybe they're paying attention to their looks, and they appear confused and detached. When you ask them if anything's wrong, they shrug off your question.

Finding out that your partner’s been cheating on you can be a traumatic experience. It can seriously damage the trust between the two of you and could even lead to a break-up, separation, or divorce. You might spend days, weeks, or months wondering what you did wrong and why this happened.

But don't blame yourself – take some time to calm down and think about your relationship.

Whether you want to stay with your partner depends on a number of things. Is your partner willing to go on? If they are, what will it take for them to regain your trust? Will your trust in them ever be restored? How can you start rebuilding your relationship?

The answers may not be simple, but give these questions some thought and it might help you decide on the right path to take.

Did you learn something new?

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 02:40 pm
my husband cheated on me and I am unable to overcome the feelings of betrayal, anger, disappointment+++ How can I do this? Can my relationship really work after this cheating?

Hey there, so sorry about this. The feelings you are experiencing are normal. You partner broke your trust in him. This was not your fault since you have no control over the choices your partner makes. Has your husband shown any remorse since this happened? Has he apologized? Give yourself sometime, think about whether you want to forgive him and keep the relationship or not. It will take time before you can feel better about this. Lastly, the relationship can still work if both partners are committed and willing to make it work. Your partner would have to first seek forgiveness from you and you would have to forgive him and then both of you commit to the relationship and each other for it to work. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/relationship-problems/tips-to-recover-from-cheating-in-marriage

Hey Sylviah, so sorry about this. Have you talked with him about this? It is important that you find a good time to talk about this and based on your conversation you can then make a decision on how to proceed. I know this is a difficult conversation but it is important to talk about it to agree on the way forward. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/relationship-problems/tips-to-recover-from-cheating-in-marriage

Sat, 08/11/2018 - 07:43 pm
Hi love matters, I had a boyfriend who we broke up. There is a new guy after me who only wants to sleep with me because this is all he talks about when he calls or texts. He also sends nude pics and wants me to send too. He claims to love me dearly...should i trust this guy?

Hey Ashley, I couldn't possibly tell you whether to trust him or not, this is a decision only you can make. The decision to have sex is one that you only should make. You should only have sex with someone if you feel they are the right person and it is the right time in the relationship. If you are not ready and you are concerned about his requests for sex, you need to let him know. Also, if you do not wish to send him any photos of your own, do let him know. Take time and think about whether you want to be with this person and then talk about what you want from a relationship and have him share with you what he wants from a relationship. This way you can decide on how to proceed. 

I have been dating this man for the year and a half and over this period I have not met any of his friends or even family. He has met my family and friends. He claim to be an indoors person so we never go out we are always in. Should I trust him, I feel like he is hiding something from me!

Dear Zahra, have you talked to him about this? It is important that you talk to him and share your concerns with him. At times when you hold on to you thoughts you may end up taking things the wrong way. Relationships are about compromise, while he enjoys the indoors, if you prefer the outdoors, do talk about it so that you spend some of the time in the outdoors. Find a good time to talk about these issues so you can agree on how to proceed. Have a look at this article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/happy-relationships/tips-for-talking-to-your-partner

Hey Love matters, I have been in a relationship with a guy for about 3 years. He has since changed so much, he makes empty promises when he says he will call he chooses not to or even when he says he will come to check up on me. I do not want to loose him, what should I do?

Hey Jean, have you talked to him about this? It is important that you talk to your partner and let him know what you have observed. Open and honest communication will help improve your relationship. Find a good time and talk about what your expectations as you also allow your partner to share their expectations. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/happy-relationships/tips-for-talking-to-your-partner

Dear Silvya, so sorry about. People cheat for various reasons. Best thing for you to do right now is to take sometime and heal from this. Unfortunately, not all relationship will last a life time. However, just because one relationship didn't work doesn't mean the next one won't. Take sometime to heal and get over this hurt and when you feel ready you can try again. Remember this was not your fault and you have no control of the choices of your partner. We wish you well. Have a look at this articles;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/relationship-problems/why-do-people-cheat


Hae, have been dating this guy for 2yrs and I don't trust him I think he's cheating on me bcoz he keeps hiding his phone when we are together when he recieves a call he has to answer in another room away from me.He keeps telling me that I should trust him because he is with me. Do you think he is cheating coz I feel like quitting?

Hey Pesh, there is no way to know for sure if your partner is cheating on you. The best thing you can do is try to communicate with your partner. Be honest with them about your suspicions and your feelings along with your fears. I know this can be scary to bring it up but try to just tell them why you suspect something is wrong and not just accuse them a cheater. Generally, if you hold on to your thoughts you might take things the wrong way believe something without knowing if it is real or not. We wish you well.

Hi Sarah, your partner maybe experiencing delayed ejaculation which means ejaculating way later than desired – or even not at all. This mostly affects mostly older men. This can also be caused by psychological factors including fear of sex, having been abused, or thinking that sex isn't good. One can see a doctor about this, who will ask questions about what could be causing the problem and treat accordingly. This may mean seeing a psychologist to discuss any issues one may have. It's important you talk to your partner and get to know what could be going on and together get a solution for this. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/sex-problems-how-to-overcome-them/difficulties-with-sex-men

Hi love matters,ave been married for two yrs we have a son one yr old,my husband has this problem of chatting with women naughty chats asking wats there colour of panties they were,he even chats with his exes telling them he stills loves them i asked him abt this and he said he only enjoys them bt its me he loves nw i feel i no longer trust or love him.bt we are still living under one roof for the sake of our son.is this ok because i feel totally empty.

Hey Kendy, sorry about this. Have you talked to your partner about this, specifically about how this behaviour makes you feel and the fact that it has affected your trust and love toward him? There is no way to know if he is indeed cheating on you or not, but if the conversations are intimate and they continue, this may lead to physical intimacy. Do talk to your partner and let him know your concerns including how this has affected your love and trust toward him. Also, do let him know what your expectations are moving forward. Think about what options you have should he choose to continue with this. Check out this article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/relationship-problems/jealousy-and-other-problems

Thu, 09/27/2018 - 01:47 pm
I broke up with this guy because of cheating. He was still sleeping with his ex. He has been bothering me saying he has changed and that he has never loved any woman like he loves and he wants me back. Can someone really change and be faithful?

Hello Cecilia, anyone can change the more important question is whether your ex has changed and whether you believe him. There is no way to tell if he has changed, you need to think about whether you want to trust him and his word.Take sometime and think and then make an informed choice.

Hello Rael, you would need to talk to him to see if he is interested in getting back with you. If he is unwilling to talk with you, it maybe his way of saying no. Remember, he may have already moved on and for this reason you also need to allow yourself to move on. Check out the following articles;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/breaking-up/how-can-i-get-back-my-ex


Hi Eve, has your partner changed his regular routine? Is he working late more often? Has he changed how he handles his phone? Has he become secretive? These are some of the signs that may indicate something has changed about your partner. It is important however that you share your concerns with your partner, let them know what you have observed especially because holding on to your thoughts maybe misleading or you may end up misinterpreting issues. Check out this article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/relationship-problems/signs-of-a-cheating-boyfriend

Hi Shiko, so sorry about this. Your relationship may or may not work this is because your partner has to be willing to apologize and also commit to the relationship and you will also need to be willing to forgive them. It is important you take sometime and think about whether you still want to be in the relationship and then talk to your partner to see if they are remorseful. You can both then decide how to move forward. Check out the following article for more information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/breaking-up/guide-to-recovery-for-the-cheated

Tue, 10/30/2018 - 03:31 pm
I walked in on him with another woman he says things just happened he didn't intent or plan to cheat. This is not the first time but I still love and can't imagine losing I am so confused I don't know what to do?

Hi Carole, if this isn't the first time your partner has cheated on you, you need to decide whether this behaviour of breaking the rules of your relationship is acceptable top you. If it's not, you need to get your partner to commit to the relationship or you need to break up with them if they are unwilling to change and commit it maybe time for you to break up with them. Have a look at the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/breaking-up/knowing-when-to-break-up

Hi Jemimah, it is important to start by thinking about and addressing the reason that may have caused a breakdown in the first place. One of the key essentials of a relationship is open and honest communication. This ensures that partners can address issues when they came up without hurting each other or the relationship. Lastly, the other person must also be willing to rebuild the relationship. Have a look at the following articles for additional information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/happy-relationships/tips-for-talking-to-your-partner

Duke K
Fri, 11/09/2018 - 05:25 pm
I think my gf is cheating on me with my friend, they have been acting all weird of late when we are all together. I cant put a finger on it but there is something weird going between these two and to make matters worse i leave and work in a different town...how can I know for sure?

Hey Duke, there is no way to know for sure if someone is cheating on you. The best thing you can do is try to communicate with your partner. Be honest with them about your suspicions and your feelings along with your fears. I know this can be scary to bring it up but try to just tell them why you suspect something is wrong and not just accuse them a cheater. Generally if we hold on to our thoughts you might take things the wrong way believe something without knowing if it is real or not. 

Cheating!!!!! Why do guys blv they have the right to cheat and ladies do not... This is what most guys do tell me... But why??? Is the blood flowing in guys vein different from the one flowing in ladies vein...

Hey Mabel, people cheat for various reasons, both men and women cheat. Some of the reason advances include genetics, that some people are more likely to cheat than others, others like the thrill and rush they get from cheating and in some cases people just choose to cheat on their for reason best known to them. It maybe useful to find what may have led one to cheat if it happens in a relationship. Check out this article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/relationship-problems/why-do-people-cheat

Hey Kenny, have you found out from her why she doesn’t want to introduce you? It is normal for you to feel that it is time for you to meet her family and it is also okay for her to feel that it’s not yet time. All you need to do is talk about this and agree on when is the right time and what needs to happen before you are introduced. We wish you well. 

My girlfriend has been chatting with another guy on Facebook all the time even when we are together. She likes or comments on all his posts. Do you think she is cheating on me?

Hello Ryan, have you raised this concern with her. It’s not possible to tell whether she is cheating on you. It is however the moor ant that you have this conversation with her to get to know what could be going on. Give your partner a chance to explain what could be going before you make a decision on whether to keep the relationship or not. Check out this article for information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/relationship-problems/is-your-partner-cheating

Joyce Karemi
Thu, 12/20/2018 - 04:40 pm
I broke up with my ex 6 months because of his cheating but Now I cant stop think about him all the time. I almost called him the other. I just dont know how to survive the holidays with him. Help?

Hi Joyce, you mean the holidays will be challenging for you without him... Itis normal to have such feelings especially if you were still in love when you broke up. However, you need to remember why you had to break up and make a decision to move forward. You can consider getting a new hobby or even hang out with your friends. Healing and moving on can take time but with time you will feel better. Check out this article for additional tips;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/breaking-up/coping-with-a-break-up

Dear Eve, 

I am so sorry to hear that. I can imagine how you are feeling. It is always a difficult situation getting to know the person that you have trusted and loved is cheating on you. Perhaps, you may consider taking sometime to reflect on the news as you think of the way forward. In the meantime take care of yourself, surround yourself with people that care and love you. 

Wed, 12/26/2018 - 03:52 pm
Why do people cheat. I have been dating this man for this entire year we met at a friend's party. This was the first christmass we were to spend together having committed to each other and then I find out he is married with three kids since he ran out of excuses for not being available this christmass to spend time with me. His reason...he was unhappy with his marriage. To think that I gave my all in this relationship drives me insane. I don't k ow what to do...

Dear Rowsie, we are so sorry about this. It is important for you to realize this was not your fault, you had no control over the actions of the other person. Unfortunately, not all relationships will last a lifetime and this is why sometimes, even when you have done your best, a relationship may not work. Since he is married and he seems to have chosen his family, all you can do is move. It hurts, but it gets better with time, time is a healer. You could start by spending time with friends or even family during this time or get a new hobby, a fun activity you can engage in. Try get rid of all negative feelings, it may take sometime but eventually you will get over this and perhaps even be ready to get a new relationship. We wish you all the best. Have a look at the following article for additional tips;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/breaking-up/coping-with-a-break-up

Dear Jenniffer, so sorry about this. Yes, a marriage can recover after a partner cheats but it takes the commitment of both partners to  make it work. In your case, you need to be willing to forgive your partner who should also be remorseful, ask for forgiveness and commit to the relationship moving forward. Take time and think about whether you are willing to forgive and trust your partner moving forward as you decide how to move forward. Additionally, have a look at the following article for more information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/relationship-problems/tips-to-recover-from-cheating-in-marriage

Hey Shad, people will cheat for various reasons and it is important for you to take sometime and think about what your reasons are. Sometimes, a person will cheat because they are looking for something they think is lacking in their relationship. Often, open and honest communication will help to address the issues that may have made partners to draw apart. Have a look at the following articles for more information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/relationship-problems/why-do-people-cheat


Fri, 01/04/2019 - 04:54 pm
I am in a relationship with a married guy who provides everything for me including paying some of my college fee. I don't like it but loosing him will mean loosing a lot as well. He is not unhappy in his marriage but I feel this is not right. I have tried to breakup with him but he refuses to let me go but he also doesn't want a second wife neither do I want to be a second wife. I don't know what to do, please advice.

Hey Milkah, if you have decided that the right thing to do now is to break up with him, you need to have an honest conversation with him and let him know why you believe being with him is no longer the right thing. While he may not agree with you, you need to be firm about your decision, you don't need to be cruel but be clear and firm. Choose a good and neutral venue to do this, and try not to get into a discussion of how to make it work. Break up and walk away. Check out the following article for more information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/breaking-up/knowing-when-to-break-up

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