real life

'My partner cheated on me as I don't make them happy, sexually or emotionally. What should I do?'

Being cheated on by your partner can be a devastating experience, both emotionally and physically. The immediate sense of isolation and uncertainty can take a heavy toll on your mental health, leading to symptoms such as shaking, a racing heart, and difficulty sleeping. Even when you do manage to rest, finding the strength to face another day can be a real challenge.

In these difficult moments, take some deep breaths, raise your chin proudly and force yourself to smile. Give yourself a little pep talk, as if you are an athlete about to take the field. Recognise and accept your feelings of sadness, anger and betrayal. These are not only normal – they are inevitable. Stay grounded and try not to panic or catastrophise. Remind yourself that life is a journey and that we are designed to adapt to difficult times – and you will too. Tell yourself (out loud if you like) that you will not only recover, but you will also grow from this experience.

Watch: The Mamamia team share their thoughts on emotional versus physical affair. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

If you haven't already, consider downloading some meditation apps to give your mind a break. Meditation takes practice, but every attempt will refresh you and help you stay in tune with your body.

Isolation and loneliness during Melbourne’s many lockdowns taught me the importance of finding a reason to get out of bed each day, and the same applies when your heart has been broken. You may need to force yourself to do the basics, like showering, eating and napping. Remember that no matter how devastated you feel now, it will get easier over time. The phrase ‘this too shall pass’ is true. It always does.


If you have close friends, lean on them for support. Many people in long-term relationships focus on their partners, so it’s normal if you don’t have close friends. Personally, I have very few, so I know the feeling, but venting to someone without judgment can really help. 

You can also start writing to get your thoughts out of your head and onto a screen. I also recommend talking to a therapist. I studied psychology and realised a little too late in life how valuable therapists can be – kind of like a mechanic servicing their own car, I suppose. If you find the right one though, they really are worth their weight in gold in troubled times.

As time passes, you will need to decide what you want your future to look like. This is primarily up to you of course, but your partner must also commit to working on the relationship. If they are open to honestly discussing what led to the affair, you can make an informed decision about whether or not your trust can be rebuilt. Even though you are hurt, try not to let your emotions (or the opinions of others) cloud your judgment. Keep an open mind and try to look at the problem objectively. Even in happy marriages, there is always room for improvement. Start there. Yes, your partner’s actions put you in this position, but if you want to stay together, it can’t be because you have the upper hand. You need to become a united couple once again, working together to face life’s many challenges.

Children are a top priority, but their welfare does not require you to neglect your own. In fact, this is a chance to set an example by staying positive, acknowledging the problem, and showing them how adults can navigate disagreements calmly and rationally.


They can often be irritatingly curious and crave stability and security. If you create an environment of open dialogue and answer their questions patiently and honestly in a way that is appropriate for their age, you can minimise future surprises.

In any discussions involving the possibility of separation, finances are obviously a big concern as well. I won’t delve too deeply into legal matters, except to say that money spent on an initial consultation with a family lawyer is well worth it. It’s completely understandable for couples to remain together for financial reasons, but it’s also important to know exactly what your legal rights are, as this may help in your decision making.

Finally, and most importantly, don’t blame yourself or over-analyse why things went wrong. If your partner raised their concerns prior to the affair, my advice would be entirely different. But they made a conscious choice to cheat, and now your self-esteem has taken a huge hit. 

Now is the time to be kind to yourself. Treat yourself to new clothes, a pampering at a day spa, or book that haircut at that fancy celebrity salon. Change and uncertainty are difficult, but growth often comes from suffering. Trust that you will be okay because you will be, given a little time.

Mitch Larsson is a former escort, relationship coach and author of ‘Time For Her’, available here.

Feature Image: Canva/Mamamia.

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