One of the biggest costs of cheating in a relationship isn't the devastation it causes to the relationship; sometimes it's the loss of trust in you as a good person that is the biggest cost of all. The truth is, the closest relationship you'll ever have, is the relationship you have with yourself.

It might sound self-centered, but it's very true. When your sense of self is shattered, the effects are far reaching and can affect every aspect of your life from blocking you from being able to work on your marriage, to causing you to make poor choices in the rest of your life. Some people, who cheat, even start using alcohol or drugs, or slack off on their jobs - the choice to cheat can affect everything.

Loss of Trust

Both the victim of infidelity and the perpetrator will experience a profound loss of trust. The betrayed spouse will have a hard time learning to trust their spouse again. The cheater will feel as if they cannot trust anyone since they can no longer even trust themselves. Many times the person who cheats has an even harder time learning to trust themselves or others again even though they are the one who cheated.

Part of this has to do with the nature of trust. We trust people based on how trustworthy we are, more than on how much they deserve the trust. When we do something that is outside of our character it's hard to imagine that everyone isn't out there doing it. This is why you'll find that criminals have more household security than non-criminals. They know that good people do bad things.

Potential Divorce & Custody Issues

Even in the best of marriages, if cheating happens, divorces often follow. Most divorces are filled due to cheating issues even if it's not stated. Due to no-fault states the reason is not often defined, but surveys have shown that infidelity is the number one reason people file for divorce. While an affair doesn't mean you have to get a divorce, it could mean that it will happen.

Along with divorce come custody issues if children are involved. They are often the biggest losers when it comes to divorce. If you knew for sure you'd get caught cheating, would you do it anyway? If not, it's better to work on your marriage than to cheat - especially when children are involved.

A Devastating Domino Effect in Your Life

Many times an affair can have ripple effects on the rest of your life. You find it hard to be around the same friends, or at the same job. Due to that, you might feel off balance and out of control and sometimes make bad choices on top of bad choices. Your friends, family, and acquaintances start looking at you differently whether you're the cheater or not. If you stay you're weak, if you leave you're unforgiving. You can't win.

Loss of Friends

Some friends will feel too uncomfortable to keep staying around you and your spouse, some if you stay together, some if you decide to divorce. Who gets the friends depends on the relationships but often times everyone grows apart because of the affair regardless if the couple stays together. These situations make people insecure and uncomfortable and a bad choice can affect everyone.

Loss of Respect from Family Members Including Children

If everyone finds out about the affair, which usually happens once the word is out, family members, including children can lose respect for either party. Children especially cannot comprehend these emotions and will often blame whichever parent they are closest to at the time for the affair even if it doesn't make sense. Plus, the fact that a parent can make such a choice can set up children for a lifetime of trust issues.

Overwhelming Guilt & Depression

All parties involved in the affair, even the victims, can suffer from overwhelming guilt and depression that requires professional help. Usually everyone feels as if the rug has been pulled out from under them and everything they thought was up is now down. This can catapult anyone into a deep depression. Feelings of guilt can cause depression, as can anger. Sometimes it can take years to overcome. Some people never get over it.

Damage to Self-Esteem

When self-esteem has been effected by something either you did, or something someone else did it can start affecting every aspect of your life. The choices you thought were right, now seem wrong. Some people spiral into alcoholism or drug addiction due to the loss of self-esteem. Sometimes people start adding to the bad choices with more affairs or other bad choices instead of working on the issues.

Feelings of Insecurity & Loss of Emotional Footing

Children and spouses who experience infidelity in their lives often experience a profound loss of security. Emotionally, they are not sure who they can trust if they can't trust the most important person in the world to them - a spouse or a parent. Home is supposed to be a soft place to fall, but once an affair comes to light it's like a war zone instead of a safe zone. Even the person who perpetuated the affair can experience many of these emotions and feelings too. Trust of the self is an important component in a healthy life. If you can't trust yourself, who can you trust?

When it comes down to it the true cost of cheating in a relationship is the trust you lose for yourself. That trust can erode every aspect of your life and infect your current and future relationships. When you get right down to it, it's better to avoid cheating, and if someone ever cheats on you remember that it doesn't have to destroy everything if both partners are willing to do the work necessary to improve themselves and the relationship.

Author's Bio: 

C Mellie Smith knows from first-hand experience the pain of dealing with an unfaithful spouse. Having a direction and a plan is the key to successfully rebuilding your relationship after cheating. Visit her blog at: to download your free "Overcoming Infidelity" kit and get started on the road to recovery today.