How To Get Your Ex Back After Cheating
The complete guide on how to get your ex back after cheating and actually keep them.
Regardless of its magnitude — whether you sexted with some rando once or had a full-blown secret years-long relationship — cheating on your ex is a horrible thing to do.
That said, I get it. Monogamy can be hard. Nature just loves to play this dirty trick on us, where we’re programmed to commit and derive meaning and happiness from one person yet feel attraction for numerous people. We’re wired to want to have our cake and eat it too.
The first thing to realize when you’re trying to get back with your ex after you cheated is that if you succeed in mending your relationship, from there on out, everything will be different.
This can be both a positive and a negative thing. On the one hand, betrayal can demolish trust and completely erode the connectedness you shared with your ex. On the other hand, it can force you to learn where you went wrong and grow from the experience. Let’s hope the latter is what hits you.
The Prerequisites To Getting Your Ex Back After You Cheated
First console my article on getting back with an ex in general. Study it thoroughly, and only then attempt to utilize the additional, more tailored, and specific advice I’ll cover later in this one. For your convenience, here’s a summary of my general ex-back article:
1. Tell your ex you want them back if you haven’t made it clear yet. Be direct, authentic, and bold about it. And don’t over-explain, be dramatic, or apologize for no reason. After stating your interest, if your ex is receptive, invite them on a date. But if they’re unreceptive and cold or if they blocked, ignored, or rejected you, end the conversation and move on with your life. Also: never accept friendship.
2. Move on with your life — a.k.a., go no contact. Don’t contact your ex anymore for any reason. Don’t go to places where you could stumble upon them. Hide every reminder of them that’s within your control. Avoid going to places that evoke painful memories. Throw away or return everything your ex gave you. If you live with your ex, move out or move them out. If you have mutual friends, stop hanging out with them for a time or distance yourself from them. If you work together or have a kid, only talk about those subjects. Keep your conversations short and polite, and end them as soon as you make some mutually beneficial agreement or decision.
3. Invest in yourself. Take care of life’s essential areas like sleep, health, hygiene, well-being, and responsibilities. Find ways to calm down and new sources of meaning more important than getting your ex back. Socialize now, but date only when it begins to feel fun and exciting. Raise your self-worth and lower your neediness through developing solid boundaries, building character, overcoming limiting beliefs, avoiding unattractive behaviors, and being vulnerable.
4. Ponder if getting back with an ex is even a good idea. Most people shouldn’t get back with their ex back. The only exceptions are those who are unattached to whether they get them back, are content by themselves, and know that if they do rekindle things, they could form a healthy relationship with their ex.
5. Set a date when your ex reaches out. If your ex reached out and they aren’t interested in discussing logistics, they’re probably still attracted to you. At this point, all you have to do is engage in a conversation and, preferably somewhere at the start, invite them out on a date. If your ex commits, have the date. But if they don’t — or they give you a “maybe answer” — end the conversation and go back to no contact until they reach out again.
6. Continue dating and/or get back together officially. If, once you’ve gone on a couple of dates with your ex, you can sense things are getting more serious — more sex, intimacy, personal conversations, and verbal exchanges of love consider re-commitment.
Additional Principles On How To Get Your Ex Back After You Cheated
Below are eight extra principles to follow when you want to permanently get back with your ex after cheating. As you’ll see, most fall under the category of common-uncommon sense. Some of them are easy to pull off, while others will make you question whether reconciliation is even worth it.
1. Be Brutally Honest About Your Cheating
Despite the pushback you’ll feel, you and your ex must be 100% willing to give and receive input from one another honestly and transparently. Without the willingness to do this, there is no hope of mending a relationship.
You must find the time to have heartfelt conversations about why you feel as you do, how the betrayal has challenged you, and what it means for the future of your relationship. Further, you must have these conversations imbued in respect — and you should never let them tumble and turn into arguments.
Or, worst of all, arguments about betrayal. I’ve seen many couples who had betrayal in their relationship, and pretty much all of their conversations eventually wind up back to that subject in a matter of days or weeks. Obviously, things never ended well.
On a final note, don’t shy away from seeking the support of a friend, family member, or expert. You will have an easier time mending your relationship if you talk to someone trustworthy to whom you can vent and get guidance and advice.
2. Open Up About Your Cheating
When there’s been betrayal, there have been secrets. And to mend your relationship after you cheated, you’ll have to address them — you’ll have to bring the bitches out in the open and talk about them — despite the uncomfortable awkwardness shrouding them.
For instance, if you had a secret phone or social media account through which you talked with the person you cheated, show it to your ex. Let them browse your conversations, ask you questions about it, and discuss the whole thing. Don’t be shy: you brought this upon yourself.
Don’t judge, hold grudges, or blame the other person for anything. Simply discuss why you’ve done what you’ve done, what you can do better to prevent it from happening again, what you can do to embolden trust and respect in your relationship, and what you can learn from the experience.
For how long should you continue with this self-scrutiny? As long as it is necessary. As long as trust needs to be rebuilt. As long as it takes for you to rebuild your reputation. Sometimes this will take only weeks or months. Other times it may take years — or forever.
Occasionally, you may retaliate or fight against the scrutiny. Maybe you’ll think it’s uncalled for, undeserved, or simply too much. If that happens, fuck you. Either find another relationship or put some damn effort into mending the existing one. You must be all-in to make things work with your ex after you cheated.
3. Be Ready For The Worst
Sometimes, your ex will be shocked because your betrayal will seem to them far bigger than they thought.
Maybe you told them one time you only kissed the person you cheated them with. When in reality, you fucked their brains out. Or you told them you only had sex with this person once. When in fact, you maintained a secret relationship with them for years.
In other words, due to shame (which is understandable), you might only tell your ex a part of what happened and leave the majority of the story and details out — or even lie about them.
If you’ve done anything along these lines, challenge yourself on them and tell your ex the entire truth. Then let them respectfully challenge you on your behaviors.
All of this is hard as nails, yes. But it’s through these tiny behavioral changes that you can get back with your ex after cheating for good. And If you aren’t willing to help them and go forward with this plan, you might as well end things — because they sure as shit won’t go far.
4. Drop Your Entitlement
You may think it’s your ex’s fault that you’ve cheated. Maybe they didn’t give you enough attention and love. Or perhaps they gave you too much of it and made you feel smothered.
Whatever you do, don’t start pointing your finger at them and dictate what they need to do to move the relationship forward. Don’t get locked in the toxic mindset of, “Okay, now let me tell you how things are gonna go here. Since it’s your fault I cheated, you’re going to XYZ, and I’ll do ABC.”
Obviously, this sort of attitude won’t revive your relationship. What will, however, is setting aside your urge to call the shots — the entitlement and self-absorption. For it’s only when you approach reconciliation from a helpers or givers mindset that you stand a chance at succeeding.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t have a voice. It simply means letting go of your need to control your ex and the flow of future events tied to your relationship. It means growing the fuck up.
5. Establish Freedom
On the one hand, you need openness tied with strong accountability in your relationship after betrayal ensues (See points #1 and #2). But on the other, you mustn’t let your ex monitor every move you make or repeatedly remind you of what you’ve done.
This only creates a cooped-up, claustrophobic feeling that feeds a sense of rebellion. After all, no one wants their personal freedom stifled. It’s like walking on a tightrope across a volcano opening. Lean too much on either side, and you’ll fall to a fiery death.
Here’s how I’d approach this conundrum: keep yourself accountable and concurrently communicate that freedom is a part of your relationship. Get other third parties involved if need be.
You should essentially be able to freely choose what you’ll do, where you’ll go, and who you’ll meet. But you should also be fair enough to show proof that you didn’t do anything shady in the background — even when your ex doesn’t ask you about it.
Further, you shouldn’t present this proof because you’re somehow forced to do it. You should present it because you genuinely care about your ex and want to mend things. You should present it out of love and respect, not fear or guilt.
6. Change Deeply
Here’s a bitter pill: you will likely cheat again. There is no going around it. Statistics proved time and time again that this is the reality. Once a cheater, always a cheater…
…That is IF you never change.
But if you do change, things can turn for the better. But for you to change in this way, you’ve got to start questioning your values, beliefs, past decisions, and who you are as a person.
You’ve got to start asking and reflecting on the following:
- Who Am I really?
- Am I somebody that wants to be lying and deceptive?
- Do I believe in the concept of commitment?
- Do I believe in the concept of goodness and loyalty?
- What do I believe?
- Why does cheating suck?
- What does it make other people feel?
Now, on the flip side, your ex has to change as well. Because if you cheated, they’ve also likely had something to do with it. It’s never all your fault — even though you did commit the shittier crime.
This is a scary concept because you have absolutely no control over your ex and their personal transformation. Sure, you can inspire or encourage them to be better. But you can’t force, cajole, or manipulate them into changing. You can only surrender to the uncertainty and hope for the best.
7. Enforce Healthy Boundaries
Since I already wrote an in-depth guide on boundaries, I won’t go far into it here. But I will say this.
Enforcing healthy boundaries means declaring what is and is not acceptable treatment in your relationship, both for yourself and your ex, and sticking by those declarations and following through on them. In other words, stand up for yourself — even if it means ending your relationship and walking away.
Your ex is not responsible for your happiness, and you’re not responsible for theirs. They don’t have the right to demand certain things from you, and you don’t have the right to demand certain things from them.
They must take accountability for their struggles without you trying to always fix them, and you must take accountability for your struggles and not allow them to always fix them.
The true purpose of a relationship is having two loving individuals unconditionally support each other as they handle their own problems together.
8. Develop Good Relational Habits
One of the most important yet overlooked ways to mend a relationship where you’ve cheated — or any relationship in general — is focusing on the little things like:
- Saying “I love you” before heading to work.
- Having regular date nights.
- Helping with household chores.
- Doing each-other favors.
- Making time for sex even though you’re tired.
The true beauty of these simple habits is that they add up over time and progressively embolden trust, respect, and affection in one’s relationship.
Some Final Thoughts
For the most part, getting your ex back after cheating on them doesn’t work out. In fact, in 9 out of 10 cases, it shouldn’t work out.
Yet, if you decide to still stride down the shit-stained road of mending things after betrayal, know that if you succeed, everything will be different. Your reformed relationship will rarely resemble its original form. Be ready for this.
And whatever you do, always be willing to leave your relationship behind if it’s unsatisfying, either for you or your ex. Don’t be selfish and let go as soon as it becomes apparent that you should.
A Cheat Sheet For Pinpointing And Maximizing The Odds Of Reuniting With Your Ex
This free cheat sheet will explain every step of the re-attraction process, cut out all the confusion, and catapult your chances of getting back with your ex sky-high. Check it out here.