seeking advice on: 1) if you’ve cheated on a partner(s) 2) if you were cheated on by a partner(s) 3) how did you handle the conflict/situation? 4) in your opinion, is it possible to move beyond this broken trust to a happy & healthy place?

No, I have never cheated on a partner or been cheated on. I think the main issue here is to ask yourself what your key dealbreakers are. We’re taught by society that “cheating” is the cardinal sin in relationships, and most of us take for granted that it’s the mightiest of dealbreakers.

I’ve seen people end long-lasting, loving relationships over their partner getting drunk and making out with someone else at a party. And I’ve seen people stay with partners after they snooped in their email or lied to them about being on vacation. (Personally, this baffles me.)

I certainly have a list of behaviors that I absolutely do not tolerate in a partner. And I have ended relationships after men I was dating violated one of these agreements. I’ve felt let down, betrayed, and disappointed. But it just so happens that none of my Unforgivable Sins in relationships are “don’t sleep with someone else.”

So you need to ask yourself: what are your unforgivable sins? When someone in a monogamous relationship cheats, I think the focus should be you violated our agreement rather than you performed a specific sexual behavior. What’s wrong about cheating is that it involves a breach of trust and deception.

It’s up to each individual whether that’s something you can heal and move on from or whether that specific act is unforgivable. And that takes introspection and the courage to think outside the terms we’ve been handed by our culture.