After infidelity: Do Cheaters Often Stay with Their Affair Partners?

do people who cheat stay with the person they cheated with

Infidelity can tear apart a relationship. It often leaves the person who was cheated on to deal with an aftermath of pain, chaos, and anger. Healing from a breakup after infidelity is a challenging journey, but it’s possible.

Cheating comes in many forms. It’s complex and nuanced. There are different reasons why people cheat. There’s definitely some couples who are able to repair after infidelity and even strengthen their relationship afterwards. But more the majority, statistics show that the odds are no in their favor.

How many couples survive infidelity?

According to data from community health centers, only 15.6% of relationships were able to recover after infidelity. This means that the vast majority of couples who experience infidelity do not make it through the ordeal. The reasons for this are complex and vary from couple to couple, but some common factors include a lack of trust, difficulty communicating, and ongoing feelings of anger, resentment and hurt.

Do people who cheat usually end up staying with the person they cheated with?

The likelihood of a relationship that started with infidelity succeeding in the long run can be quite low. According to a study conducted by psychologist Dr. Shirley Glass, only about 25% of relationships that began as affairs actually end up lasting.

In another study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, researchers found that couples who met through infidelity were more likely to experience lower relationship quality, lower commitment, and higher chances of cheating in the future compared to couples who did not begin their relationship with an affair.

But what if I want to work it out with my partner after infidelity? 

Firstly, it’s important to understand that recovering from infidelity is difficult and takes a lot of work from both partners. Both partners need to be willing to sign up for this long road ahead.

It requires a willingness to communicate openly, work through feelings of hurt and betrayal, and rebuild trust over time. It will require therapy, prioritizing rebuilding trust and connection, and both people not only working on the relationship, but also doing work on themselves.


  1. Glass, S. P. (2003). Not “Just Friends”: Rebuilding trust and recovering your sanity after infidelity. Free Press.
  2. Knopp, K., Scott, S. B., Ritchie, L., Rhoades, G. K., Markman, H. J., & Stanley, S. M. (2017). Once a cheater, always a cheater? Serial infidelity across subsequent relationships. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46(8), 2301-2311.
  3. Mark, KP., Leistner, C. E., & Garcia, J. R. (2020). Insecure attachment predicts perceptions of relationship quality among individuals who began their relationship as an extradyadic affair. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 37(10), 2672-2689.

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