By Lori Zaslow and Jennifer Zucher for Project Soulmate with contributing writer Hana Gilbert

Cheater – someone who is in a committed relationship and breaks the trust of his or her partner by physically or emotionally involving themselves with another person. We’ve all been there, either in the form of the cheater, or as the cheated. The cheater is generally remorseful, claiming they “made a mistake” and “are willing to go the extra mile to mend what’s broken.” The cheated generally experiences emotional chaos as they decide between swallowing the heartbreak and moving forward, or letting the heartbreak crumble the relationship. Studies have shown that over 50 percent of men and women alike admit to being unfaithful at least once. With this statistic being so high, cheating has become a commonality, or an expectation, for most relationships. Some couples have the maturity to overcome infidelity scandals through in-house methods. However, most of us are guilty of spilling our heartbreak to any and all individuals with ears and time. Here’s where the majority of the problem lie; everyone has their own opinion regarding how to handle a cheater. Most relationship advice includes conducting a dramatic breakup, followed by an overt exit, and finalized by the removal all social media posts hinting at the existence of any form of a relationship. Realizing that at time colleagues, friends, family members, and even complete strangers are quick to give their relationship advice and dating tips before taking into account your thoughts and feelings. Professional matchmakers and relationship experts Lori Zaslow and Jennifer Zucher, founders of Bravo TV’s Love Brokers and Project Soulmate, are here to provide an outside perspective on the situation, giving you three scenarios that will hopefully allow you to decipher between a cheater and a keeper.

Relationship Advice On Handling Cheating Scandals

Friend advice #1 – “Don’t fall for a dog who has eyes for every bitch. If he really loved you, he wouldn’t be tempted to stray.” The art of checking out another person. Men think they’ve mastered it; women don’t think they’re actually doing it. Either way, your partner always seems to catch you mid check. At this point, no physical cheating has occurred, however, everyone can admit even a glance at another person stirs the insecurity pot. Feeling insecure, an immediate text is sent to the first group chat in your phone. Your friends, siding with you obviously, return advice strikingly similar to the quote above. Yes, there is some truth to their advice, however, they may be premature in their responses. You must keep in mind that your partner is human, and it is a natural human instinct to look at things we find beautiful or attractive. The act of simply looking at another person does not mean your partner is not happy with you, wants you to look like them, or wants to be with them. Your partner will most likely look at them, recognize some form of harmless attraction, and then move on with their day, completely forgetting the interaction. In this particular situation, your partner is guilty of human behavior, not infidelity, labeling him or her as a keeper.

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Friend Advice #2 – “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” So you’re in a new relationship. You ask your friends what they know, what they’ve heard, or how they feel about your new partner. They inevitably reply with the cliche, “A cheating scandal ended the last relationship. Once a cheater, always a cheater.” This is the most common cop-out for anyone trying to not get hurt in a relationship, and provides an excuse to not trust their partner. Unfortunately, this is too easy, and cheating is never that easy. Ultimately the most important thing to understand is why your partner cheated previously, or why people assume they cheated. Trust after affairs in previous relationships or in your current relationship lies in your own hands. It is your choice whether you want to trust your partner again. If your partner has yet to cheat on you personally, but you’ve heard he or she has cheated in the past, you must make the decision to trust them or not. You must also keep in mind that there are two sides to every story. Although they may have cheated in the past, they may not have been as stable as they are now, or they may have felt insecure with the person they were with. The fact of the matter is that you do not know. In this situation especially, you must ask yourself the right questions, find out the full story, and decide if you have a keeper.

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Friend Advice #3 – “Stop holding on to what hurts, and start making room for what feels good.”

You’ve been cheated on. It doesn’t matter what form, how it went down, or who caught who. Someone in the relationship is now labeled as a cheater. Every affair has two sides to every story, and overcoming an affair takes time to dissect both sides. Both sides will give an insight to what state the relationship was in, as well as the story behind the unfaithful partner. Unfortunately, cheating has a purpose. It doesn’t happen “just because” or “by mistake.” All behavior is purposeful. What’s important, however, is finding the purpose behind the act. If you chose you want to overcome the affair, you must become your own relationship detective- collecting data and evidence to solve the infidelity crime. You must ask both yourself and your partner the right questions in order to fully understand and comprehend the situation. This won’t be easy. This will hurt. This will take time. But, time heals. And with that time you have the ability to both work on your relationship and yourself. Finding the ability to forgive and trust your partner again is the most important part of overcoming an affair, and will help you turn a cheater into a keeper.

Relationship experts Lori Zaslow and Jennifer Zucher are BRAVO TV’s Love Broker and founders of Project Soulmate, a high-end New York-based matchmaking company.