The immediate effects of infidelity are often painful; however, the long term psychological effects of infidelity can be even more devastating. It affects the individuals involved and leads to post-traumatic infidelity syndrome, causing long-term infidelity effects on the victims. 

What Is Infidelity? 

Infidelity, also known as cheating, is a breach of trust in a relationship where one partner engages in a sexual or emotional relationship with someone outside the partnership. The long-term psychological effects of infidelity can be devastating. They can lead to depression, anxiety, and intimacy disorders. 

Extramarital affair or unfaithfulness in a romantic relationship

Therefore, it’s essential to understand the psychology of cheaters or how to deal with depression after cheating on someone. While staying with a cheater can be complicated, dealing with the effects of betrayal in marriage is necessary for healing from post-traumatic infidelity syndrome.

Why Do People Cheat in Relationships

Research suggests that psychological reasons for betrayal include a lack of emotional satisfaction, a desire for novelty or excitement, a need for validation or attention, and underlying issues such as attachment disorders or personality disorders.

What are the reasons why people engage in infidelity in relationships

In some cases, intimacy disorder and cheating can be triggered by unresolved relationship issues. An addiction may drive serial cheaters to the thrill of the chase and the high of engaging in risky behaviors. Regardless of the reasons why people cheat, the long term infidelity effects can be significant, causing guilt, shame, and depression for both the cheater and the partner who was cheated on.

How Does Cheating Affect a Woman

The impact of cheating on a woman

Women who have been cheated on may experience a range of emotions, including betrayal, anger, hurt, and sadness. These emotions can cause long term effects of being cheated on, such as: 

Betrayal and Distrust

When a woman discovers her partner has been unfaithful, she may feel betrayed and mistrustful. These feelings can be particularly strong if she never thought she had a cheating boyfriend. Betrayal and distrust can cause emotional distress, leading to long-term psychological effects.

Post-Traumatic Infidelity Syndrome

Post traumatic infidelity syndrome (PTIS) is a condition that affects some women who have experienced infidelity. Symptoms of PTIS can include flashbacks, anxiety, and difficulty forming new relationships. PTIS can be challenging to overcome, but with the right treatment, women can learn to manage their symptoms and move forward.


Women dealing with infidelity years later may experience depression, decreased self-esteem, and feelings of worthlessness. These feelings can lead to difficulty functioning in everyday life. They might also come down with long-term psychological effects. It is important for women to seek help if they are struggling with depression or other mental health issues after experiencing infidelity.

Intimacy Disorders

Infidelity can cause an intimacy disorder, making it challenging for women to trust and form meaningful connections with others. This can lead to difficulty in future relationships and a long-lasting impact on a woman’s mental health. Learning to trust again after infidelity can be difficult, but it is possible with the right support.

Guilt and Shame

Women who cheat may experience guilt from cheating, while those who suspect their partner of cheating may struggle with their gut feeling on cheating. They might find it challenging to trust their partner again. Coping strategies can help women manage these emotions and move forward after infidelity. Strategies may include therapy, self-care, and communication with their partner.

How Does Cheating Affect a Man

What is the impact of cheating on a man

Infidelity can be a devastating blow to any relationship, but the effects of a cheating girlfriend on a man can be particularly profound and far-reaching. The following are ways in which cheating can impact a man.

Emotional Distress

Infidelity can cause significant emotional distress in men, leading to feelings of betrayal, humiliation, anger, and resentment. Men who have been cheated on may struggle with trust issues, which can profoundly impact their future relationships. They may also experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following the discovery of their partner’s infidelity.


Being cheated on can also significantly impact a man’s self-esteem. Men may question their own worth and value, feeling like they are not good enough for their partner. They may also experience feelings of inadequacy, questioning their ability to satisfy their partner emotionally and sexually.

Health Issues

The stress and emotional turmoil caused by infidelity can also have physical health consequences for men. It can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and other stress-related illnesses. Men may also turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse, overeating, or other addictive behaviors.

Trust Issues

Infidelity can cause significant trust issues for men. They may struggle to trust their partner or future partners, impacting their ability to form healthy and fulfilling relationships. Men may also become hyper-vigilant, constantly looking for signs of infidelity in their partners and feeling anxious or suspicious even when there is no reason to be.

Relationship Issues

Infidelity can cause significant issues in a man’s relationship, whether he is the one who cheated or the one who was cheated on. Men who cheat may struggle with guilt and shame and find it challenging to regain their partner’s trust. Men who were cheated on may struggle with anger, resentment, and a sense of betrayal, leading to a breakdown in communication and trust in their relationship.

Can Relationships Work After Cheating

In some cases, relationships can work after cheating. However, it takes effort and commitment from both partners. The road to recovery is not easy, but with proper communication, counseling, and a willingness to forgive and rebuild trust, couples can move forward and have a successful relationship.

Video: Can A Relationship Go Back To Normal After Cheating?

It’s also crucial for both partners to set boundaries and establish clear expectations for the relationship moving forward. This includes being open and honest about their feelings, avoiding situations that may trigger infidelity, and being willing to work through any issues that arise in the future.


What percentage of people cheat?

Health Testing Centers surveyed 441 people in 2021 and found that just over 46% of those in monogamous relationships said they had cheated on their partner. About 24% of marriages where one partner cheated said they stayed together.

Can infidelity cause mental illness?

Infidelity can be a very distressing and traumatic experience for many people, and it can potentially contribute to the development or worsening of certain mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Can a woman cheat and still be in love?

Cheating doesn’t mean the woman’s love wasn’t real. Sometimes, infidelity can be caused by a mental disorder or environmental factors such as peer pressure.

What do therapists say about affairs?

Therapists usually see affairs as complicated problems that can have a significant effect on the emotional and mental health of those involved. They may focus on helping individuals and couples deal with the experience, figure out what led to the affair, rebuild trust, and fix the relationship, if that’s what the person or couple wants.

What to say to a cheater?

What you say to a cheater depends on the context and your feelings about the situation. However, it can be helpful to communicate your thoughts and feelings in a calm and non-judgmental manner and to express your expectations and boundaries moving forward.

Should couples stay together after infidelity?

Whether or not a couple should stay together after infidelity is a personal decision that can depend on many factors, such as the circumstances of the affair. While some couples can work through the betrayal and strengthen their relationship, others may find the damage too great to repair.

Final Thought: The Pain of Infidelity Never Goes Away 

Infidelity can leave a lasting impact on individuals and relationships, causing long-term psychological effects that can be difficult to overcome. The pain of infidelity may never fully disappear, but it is possible to find hope and healing in the aftermath of betrayal.

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