Infidelity has an uncanny ability to inspire a desire for revenge. Studies confirm what we intuitively know – that sexual unfaithfulness falls under some of the most hurtful experiences.
Many betrayed spouses contemplate having an affair of their own to get even or make themselves feel better. Being scorned and wanting retribution is an expected response to betrayal.
Finding out about sexual and emotional infidelity can lead to broken hearts and relationships coming to an abrupt and painful end; as well as abandonment, intimate partner violence, and loss of resources when these resources are invested into affair partners, and a person might act rashly in their attempts to decrease the pain.
However, revenge on a cheater is not the way to go, and there are many significant reasons why.
1. When things cool off, you might think differently
When you feel shattered and betrayed, revenge after infidelity seems acceptable. Acting out of anger and hurt doesn’t make you the best decision-maker. Hence, when you get some space, and things cool down, you might want to take your actions back.
Therefore, if you consider revenge after being cheated on, at least give yourself time before you act on it. Give a deadline until which you have to remain faithful.
Hopefully, by then, you will have considered all the consequences, and cheating payback is no longer your choice.
2. You will resent yourself for it
Cheating to get even with a spouse could make you more similar to your spouse than you would want in your and other’s eyes.
They hurt you with infidelity, and now you are cheating back as revenge. How will you feel knowing you did (almost) the same thing as them? Will it give you a new outlook on what they did, and will you feel pressured to forgive them?
If you are looking to make yourself feel better, this is not the right approach.
Revenge for cheating won’t get you the peace you are looking for. It won’t decrease the hurt; rather, it will only pile on more anger and bitterness that you have to deal with.
3. They can use it to justify their behavior
One reason to avoid revenge cheating is to prevent your partner from using your actions to get off the hook. Your revenge cheating can be used as an argument to prove fidelity is difficult and that infidelity happens easily.
They might say, “now you know how easy it is to slip up” or “now that you have done it too, you must forgive me.” Revenge adultery helps the person who betrayed you to feel less guilty for their actions and ask for more understanding.
The best revenge for cheaters is to show them they chose the easy way out in search of happiness and demonstrate the will power to avoid doing the same thing.
4. Hurting them won’t make your hurt any less
Perhaps you are wondering, “Should I have an affair to show them how much it hurts?” If what you are looking for is to decrease the pain, cheating on a cheater is not the right path.
Revenge of any kind rarely holds the key to the peace you so eagerly want.
Revenge cheating will most likely, only for a short while, help you feel less pain, but it will pile on another thing to get over in the long run. Revenge cheating won’t be of any help in dealing with the feelings or making a plan for overcoming the situation.
It only seems as though getting revenge on a cheating spouse will make things even and better, but unfortunately, it won’t. The only way to deal with it is to go through it.
If you can’t stand them anymore, it is better to end it right away. Trying to get the relationship back on track by going this far sounds like trouble. Revenge cheating won’t make you even and allow you to start over.
To give reconciliation a chance, you need to address the root cause of problems.
Furthermore, healing and forgiving infidelity are facilitated by hearing a sincere apology from the cheating spouse. Revenge cheating will only mask the root problems and hearing the other’s sincere regret.
6. Your confidence will ping pong
People considering this option might feel revenge after infidelity will bring their confidence back. Yet it will do the opposite.
When you have an affair of your own, you might feel more desired and attractive for a short period. It can help you see that there are other fish in the sea and know you have options.
For a moment, you will renew the sense of self-worth and feel a slight relief. However, other feelings will soon creep in.
At that moment, the confidence you acquired will deflate, and all the feelings you tried to avoid will come rushing back.
Also watch: The gifts of infidelity
Choose your next steps carefully
If you have been betrayed, you might be wondering, “should I cheat on my wife or should I cheat on my husband.”
Regardless of the reason you are considering it, you should know revenge cheating won’t take away the pain or make things better. There are many reasons to avoid revenge on a cheating partner.
Revenge on a cheater is supposed to hurt them, but somehow you end up being additionally hurt. Furthermore, when things cool down, you will look back on revenge cheating and see yourself differently. You might want to take your actions back, but you won’t be able to.
Finally, if your marriage still stands any chance of survival, avoid revenge cheating as it can destroy any odds of recovering from infidelity.
Revenge cheating won’t give you peace. If you want to feel better, deal with the pain, shame, and anger you feel, be kind to yourself, and give yourself time to process it before making any rash decisions.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Milica Markovic has graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy with a degree in Clinical Psychology. She has 7 years (and counting) of Psychotherapy and Coaching education (both Transactional Analysis and Psychology of Personal Constructs) and experience in working with clients. Throughout her career, she has had remote clients around the world facing various personal, academic, or professional challenges.
She finds her primary duty is to establish a trusting environment in which clients can feel safe enough to discuss anything that might be troubling them and grow closer to their goals. She believes that whether you are experiencing a personal, relationship related, or professional challenge, the journey to surpassing it can be made easier with the right help by your side.
Milica is also a strong advocate of lifelong learning and continuous improvement.