Dear Level

The Six Questions You Need to Ask Yourself When Infidelity Arises

Considering staying with an unfaithful partner? It’s time for some reflection.

Aliya S. King
Published in
4 min readDec 5, 2020
Illustration: Olivia Fields

Update 6/7/22: Level has a new home. You can read this article and other new articles by visiting

So, you know how I always put all my business out there for Dear Level? In nearly a year of writing this column, I’ve shared insight about my sex life, thoughts on sexting, office love affairs, penis size, rules of courtship, and about everything else you can imagine. This time around, though, I’m not going to be so candid. Because we’re gonna discuss infidelity.

I’ve got experience here: I’ve cheated and I’ve been cheated on. I’ll leave it at that, but I say it to say that while I won’t bother with the details, I’ll still be using my own life to steer this ship and offer guidance the best I can.

So. You find out your partner has been unfaithful. What do you do? Is it a deal breaker, or do you try to stay together and work it out?

Cheating is rarely the first sign that things are off, so consider how much of a surprise it really is. Did you see the flags?

No two situations are the same, but there are some serious considerations to make when weighing that next course of action. These six questions may help you sift through the uncertainty and get to a place you feel good about — or at least as good as you can, given the circumstances.

1. Is it the first time?

This is not to say that if it’s the first time, that means you should stick around. If deep down you feel the relationship is a wrap, it probably is. If you’re not sure, it’s important to remember that this is your choice to make. Your friends, family, and your cheating partner all have their own thoughts and positions. This is monumentally different than any other relationship decision you’ll make. It’s up to you to consider your feelings — grief, rage, shame, sadness, even instinct — and how to move next. Take your time. If your partner is asking for forgiveness, they can wait. You need to process what…



Aliya S. King
Writer for

Aliya S. King is an author, freelance writer and editor.