Cheating can rock or ruin any relationship, no matter how perfect it seems from the outside.
As Little Mix’s Perrie Edwards takes the allegations of her One Direction boyfriend Zayn Malik’s rumoured infidelity in her stride, we asked relationship experts how you can forgive a cheating ex, and whether it’s possible to move on.
Janet Murray, Author & Relationship Guru says it’s absolutely possible to get over infidelity within a relationship with honesty and communication.
Harley Street relationship expert Louise Van der Velde agrees, saying the key to moving on is for both partner’s to be dedicated to doing so.
Why do people cheat?
Janet explains: “Infidelity is very personal and individual; there are many reasons people cheat on each other.
“It’s impossible to say something is forgivable or unforgivable without knowing the individual circumstances. But rather than putting it down to a wandering eye, remember that it’s never as simple as the act itself; there are always deeper psychological reasons at work.”
“We all have a few human needs and different people need them in different levels. Infidelity happens when a need at a deeper level is not being met within the relationship,” says Janet.
"But if you’ve been cheated on, that doesn’t mean it’s your fault. And it doesn’t always mean that it’s your errant partner’s fault either, just that the relationship isn’t filling both of your needs at that moment.”
[Related: Six common cheating myths, and the truth]
“It’s not as simple as you not doing X, Y or Z and the result being he cheated. Maybe it’s something from your partner’s past that’s created a need that you didn’t know about.”
She adds that it’s important to realise that there are many definitions of relationship so you need to make sure you’re on the same page as your partner and that what’s important to you – perhaps fidelity – is as important to them.
Can you get over cheating?
Janet and Louise agree that communication is key once infidelity has been uncovered.
Louise says: "It is important that both partners talk through what happened and find out exactly why one person in the relationship has cheated.
"The key at this stage is that the person who has cheated doesn't shut down and properly explains what has gone on and why it has happened.
"A lot of people who get caught cheating just want to brush the whole thing under the carpet - and that is very dangerous step to take.
"It is important, too, that the person who has been betrayed gets all the anger they feel out of their system - otherwise the infidelity will be like a festering sore which neither partner can move on from.
[Related: Seven signs he's a cheater]
How to deal with infidelity
Janet advises giving yourself time to breathe. “Be kind to yourself. If you’re on the receiving end it can be a real knock to your self confidence. So you need to know that it’s not necessarily something wrong with you, it’s something wrong with the relationship so try to remove slightly yourself from that.”
And take stock of how you’re doing. Janet has had clients who have been through infidelity and are now celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.
But she’s also seen people become paranoid wrecks, clinging to a relationship when they aren’t able to forgive and trust again.
“Relationships work in different ways and if you’re dealing with infidelity there are many factors to consider, such as if there are children involved,” she says.
In the case of Zayn and Perrie, Louise, author of Decent Proposal and an advocate of non-exclusive relationships says: "It is completely unrealistic to expect a young heart-throb like Zayn Malik to remain faithful to any woman. He is a young man who has women throwing themselves at him.
"It would be much healthier if Zayn and Perrie could agree to a relationship model which allowed both of them to see other partners. Obviously this model would only work if they are both in agreement.”