When a person gets caught cheating their first instinct is to lie. If not completely, then they definitely try to minimize the damage. There are a few reasons why the lies comes so quickly.
Some people who get caught immediately freak out. It is like catching a little kid with his hand in the cookie jar. Fear causes them to at first deny they are doing anything wrong. When they realize that isn’t going to fly, their feeling of shame and embarrassment persuade them to downplay the details. They may feel convicted in some ways to tell the truth but are afraid of the consequences. This person wasn’t born to be a con artist, but fear motivates them to be really creative in the moment. If this is their first time getting caught your gut says not to believe them, but your heart overrules your gut and chances are you will want to believe them.
This person may never cheat again because getting caught scared the crap out of them. You may always wonder if they lied to you, but you have no further need to press the issue. For some people, cheating was a stupid mistake and the anxiety of getting caught is enough to keep them from doing it again. This isn’t always the case. If they think they got away with it because you believed their story, they may continue to cheat. Then it is only a matter of time before they make another mistake and it gets harder to downplay the details. It may take weeks, months or years for all the details to come out, but if they continue to cheat those secrets have a way of coming out in time. When you finally realize the extent of the cheating then you can make an informed decision about whether you want to work it out with them or not.
Some people lie because it comes easy to them. They have no intention of owning up to anything or taking any responsibility. If they do get caught red-handed, they almost always will blame the other person, circumstances or even you for why they cheated. This person can also be very persuasive in their lying and you may find yourself believing them because they seem so sincere. They then feel like they can do anything and be able to talk themselves out of it, because 75% of the time, they can. They get a rush from being sneaky and getting away with it.
This person’s weakness is that they are too cocky. They go on to cheat again because they think you will always believe their story. You will catch them again. They will lie again, and you will want to believe they can change again. This cycle will repeat 2-100 times depending on the power dynamic of the relationship. Once your gut overrides your heart, you will be able to leave this relationship. Some people even break up with this person and then become the person their cheating with in the future. This is sad, but does often happen. Some people have the charm, charisma or sexual chemistry that make other people agree to do some really irrational things.
Again, your rational brain will say that you deserve better and to leave the relationship after the first time you catch your partner cheating. Your emotional heart may convince you to give them another chance. Sometimes that works out. If they do cheat again you may decide you’ve had enough at that point and leave. No one can tell you when its the right time to leave. There really is no black and white answer. It is hard to say what you would do in this situation until you’re faced with it. You have to remember that cheating damages self-esteem and pride. This causes people to make odd choices. Some people only stay with their partner so the other woman or man won’t get them. It is out of jealousy and wounded pride that some people stay in the relationship. Is this the best choice? Obviously not, but again, our minds aren’t rational when we are hurt. Give yourself time to figure it out and don’t beat yourself up for making irrational choices in the moment. Just do the best you can with what you got. You will get there and someday you will be able to stand up for yourself again.
If you are struggling with your decisions or feel like your self-esteem is in the toilet, talk to someone who is non-judgmental and empathetic. They can help you though your thought processes without making you feel worse. They may also be able to encourage you to break through bad patterns in your relationship. You aren’t alone and is there is hope.
P.S. Not everyone out there is a cheater so don’t give up on finding a loyal, committed, kind person!