According to Stanley Scott, a research professor who conducts studies on marriage and romantic relationships, 45% of people who cheat do it again.
And for some people, there’s no going back from infidelity. Once it’s done, it’s done. They grieve and move on to someone else.
However, some people have stayed married even after one of them engaged in an affair. And as Scott suggests in one of his research, it’s easier (or better) to stay married than to get divorced.
Sitting across from your unfaithful spouse and working out a way forward can be hard. You may not trust this person anymore. You may have lost some respect for them.
But before making a final decision about whether or not you want to stay in the relationship, there are some things you need to understand.
1. Why did you decide to cheat on me?
Asking a cheating spouse this question will get them to open up about why they decided to cheat. If your partner was unhappy in the marriage and you weren’t aware, this question could help you understand what things need to change (if that’s what you want).
For instance, the problem might be “you weren’t giving me the attention I needed,” or “I got drunk at a party and woke up in bed with another person.” The answer your partner gives will be a major determinant of the next line of action.
2. When was your first time cheating?
The circumstance is important, but so is the exact date. When you ask this question, you’ll uncover how long they’ve been cheating on you. The longer they’ve been cheating, the more painful and harder it will be to sort things out.
More importantly, this question will reveal the date your spouse started getting tired of your relationship. If it’s something recent, that means you have an opportunity to work on fixing your relationship with them.
But if it’s something that has been happening for months or years, then there is less of a chance of reconciliation.
3. What was the cheating experience like?
Asking “how did you feel after you slept with the other person?” is sure to get a reaction out of your partner.
When you ask this question, your spouse will be forced to think about what happened during their infidelity. Now is your time to observe their reaction. Does he/she look guilty or remorseful? The way they answer this question will be a big indicator of whether or not they’ll cheat again in the future.
4. Did you enjoy cheating on me?
The more you learn about why they decided to cheat, the better you can understand whether or not it was an impulsive decision.
If your spouse says “no,” and means it, it means they likely did it because they weren’t happy in the relationship. There are several steps you can take to improve this, but you must first know whether or not they’re ready to put in the effort required for their answer to be truthful.
If your spouse says “yes,” or implies through his expression that he isn’t sorry about it, then there isn’t much hope for the marriage or relationship.
5. How many times have you cheated on me?
Don’t hold back with this question. There’s a good chance your partner cheats on you regularly or has for a long time. If your relationship is in a bad place and you suspect cheating, then getting all the truth out in the open can clear the air will do a lot of good.
An unfaithful spouse, however, will most likely refuse to give you the answer to this question. If your partner holds back this information, then they likely have something to hide from you–which means there’s a good chance they’ve done it several times with multiple partners.
6. What did you think cheating will achieve?
An unfaithful spouse will have a different answer depending on their idealism. Some might think it’s an easy way to get back at their partner, while others see it as a temporary escape from their current relationship issues.
You can use this line of questioning to get clues about what your partner is unhappy about in your marriage. Having this information and making the necessary changes will ensure that your spouse doesn’t feel the need to resort to cheating in the future.
7. How did you meet her/him?
The way your spouse answers this question will give you a good idea of how important the other person is in their life.
If they say “my coworker,” then it’s likely just a casual friendship. If they say “on Tinder,” then that’s a whole different game. It means they deliberately sort this person out while being in a relationship with you. That’s a big deal.
8. What made you think cheating was okay?
Cheating is never okay. Period.
However, here’s why this question is important: How your spouse answers this question will tell you a lot about their integrity, as well as how much they value monogamy in a relationship.
A person who feels guilty about cheating on their lover will have a harder time justifying their actions compared to someone who doesn’t see any problems with it.
If your spouse confidently justifies their actions or finds it difficult to see anything wrong with the behavior, then they’ll likely do it again in the future.
9. How do you feel about yourself right now?
You might be surprised to find out how much your spouse hates themselves after cheating. Most people who cheat aren’t just physically unfaithful, but emotionally unfaithful as well.
If your partner talks about feeling guilty, regretful, ashamed, or ashamed after cheating, then it’s likely they’ll never do it again. It’s not possible to feel any of those emotions and still make the same mistake twice – especially when they can’t forgive themselves for hurting you.
However, if they express pride, self-righteousness, or any indication that the affair was justified, then you’ll know your marriage is in trouble. Someone like that isn’t sorry about what they did and probably doesn’t think it will happen again.
10. Why did you choose to have an affair with him/her?
There are a few reasons why your partner might have an affair. A new, exciting lover is usually the first motivation, but there’s also a need to get back at you or escape boredom, or any other related issues.
If they had an affair because of something that you did, then this line of questioning will likely only make them resentful and unrepentant.
However, if they had an affair because they weren’t getting their needs met in the relationship, then you can use this information to work on what caused the problem.
11. How long has this affair(or affairs) been going on?
The length of your spouse’s affairs usually indicates the seriousness of the relationship. If it’s just a fling that fizzled out after one night, then it’s not likely to impact your relationship.
However, if it spans several months or even years, then there is more of an emotional connection between the two of them. What started as a physical liaison could have blossomed into love, which is why it’s harder for your spouse to end it and reconcile with you.
12. How long have you wanted to cheat on me?
An affair can’t happen overnight. Most cheating spouses have entertained the idea of being unfaithful long before acting on it.
One way to determine how serious your spouse was about cheating is to see if they were working up to it by flirting with other people, making sexual advances at others, going on dates behind your back, etc. If this is the case, then it means cheating might just be in their nature.
Asking him/her this question will help you understand what was going through their mind before they had an affair.
13. Why didn’t you just tell me that you weren’t happy?
The sad reality is that most people resort to having affairs because of the lack of communication in their relationships. If they felt comfortable being honest, then they probably wouldn’t have had to go behind your back.
This line of questioning will force them to re-evaluate the importance of honesty and openness in their lives. They’ll realize that there are much better ways to handle problems in a relationship than by cheating.
14. Do you regret cheating?
In some cases, unfaithful spouses don’t regret the affair because it gave them a sense of freedom or excitement they couldn’t get in their relationship. Some regret the affair once they get caught.
Knowing how your spouse feels about what happened is important if you’re thinking of reconciling with them. If they’re sorry that they cheated or wish it never happened, then there’s a good chance they’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.
15. Do you think our relationship is worth saving at this point?
This question is another way of asking your partner if they want to work on your relationship.
If they do, then you can focus on rebuilding the trust that was lost after the affair. If they don’t, then you need to consider whether or not you can remain in a relationship with someone who doesn’t want it to work out.
The bottom line is that you need to understand where their head is at. Do they regret being caught in the affair? Or do they see it as a means to escape their marriage (or current relationship)? If they’re not ready to work on your relationship, then it’s best for you both to move on without each other.
16. How would you feel if I cheated on you?
This question will give them a sense of guilt and make them reflect on what they’ve done to you. If they still feel anything for you, then it will be painful for them to think that someone would do the same thing to them. The question will test their sense of remorse.
However, if they try to justify their actions or try to make it seem like it’s a crime for you to cheat on them, then that’s a red flag.
17. Have you cheated more than once while we were together?
Knowing whether or not your partner had more than one affair throughout the relationship is important, especially if you want to reconcile with them.
If they’ve been unfaithful before it happened again, then don’t give them a chance to do it again because it probably will happen. However, if this was their first time cheating on you, then you have a better chance at fixing things.
18. Do you still love me, after all of this has happened?
Having your spouse admit that they still love you even after the betrayal shows that they’re sorry for what they’ve done, and will like to fix things.
Here’s the thing: When someone cheats, it’s either they want out of the relationship and are just waiting for the right time for things to escalate or they just fell out of line with their moral compass. If it’s the former, the cheater will willingly admit that there’s no love in the relationship anymore so that he/she can move on.
However, if they still love you, then it’s likely that what they had with whoever they were cheating on you with didn’t mean anything to them.
19. Do you think our relationship is worth saving at this point?
This question clears the air about what the next step is after the affair.
If your spouse doesn’t think that there’s a chance for you to work it out, then the message is crystal clear. On the other hand, if they believe in second chances, then you both can reason together about what you can do to make things work out in the long run.
20. What can we do to make things better?
After you’ve both accepted that your relationship is worth saving, then you need to figure out what can be done to make things better.
After the affair, you both need time to time to heal and take everything in. This will give you both time to find out what went wrong and how you can go about fixing it. If you’re not sure how to get your relationship back on track, then it’s best for you both to seek professional help.
Trying to rebuild trust after an affair will be hard and might take years to recover from. Not all relationships will recover from infidelity. But if you feel the relationship is worth saving, then go for it.
Asking your spouse questions about their feelings for you, how sorry they are, whether or not they think the relationship is worth saving, will help you determine what to do next.