Right, straight off the bat I’m going to acknowledge a universal and unfortunate fact of life: people cheat.

They may even have reasons; they were experimenting, they were in an unhappy relationship, they had to hide their love away; they were drunk; they were drugged; ‘they were not to blame’. While these things may be true, and while it’s valid to assert that it takes two people to end a relationship, there is nothing, I’m afraid, that excuses cheating.

Even drugs and alcohol notoriously only amplify certain tendencies or thoughts that a person was already experiencing; it reduces your inhibitions, it doesn’t make you an asshole.

Without further ado, here are 5 reasons why it’s your duty to expose a cheater:

1.They’ll do it again.

That’s the big one – people need a deterrent because it’s a practice based on lies, deception and emotional manipulation, and often three people stand to get hurt. If people grow up in this world thinking that they can play by their own rules in relationships and play with other people’s hearts and minds. Dude, that stuff can literally ruin lives and shatter mental health and confidence. Cheating destroys people’s trust in other people and affects their ability to love and make themselves vulnerable again. Its’ impact cannot be overstated.

2. You need the justice for your emotional upheaval; the catharsis.

While the cheater deserves to face the consequences for their actions. As far as you are concerned, you need the resolution and clarity and support from the people around you to confirm that you made the right decision to move on. It’s not something that you should be bearing the emotional guilt for – either as the person that is cheated on, or the person who discovers another person is cheating, or even, that you are the ‘other’ women/man. It’s difficult and an awkward grey area to negotiate. But it’s essential that you face it head-on, otherwise it will spiral and more people will get hurt. You can prevent that.

3. Make sure people know that cheating isn’t ‘normal’ or a part of all relationships.

Otherwise, people will think that they deserve to be cheated on, that it’s okay. It’s not. Period.

4. If you don’t, the cheater gets to walk away, un-impacted by all the wreckage that they’ve caused.

That’s not right. Like smoking, it’s all well and good for people to make their own decisions freely, no matter how toxic. However, it’s when those decisions begin to impact other people, that the emotional second hand smoke of their lies begins to ruin other people’s day. That’s where we need to act and condemn the act of cheating.

5. Re-education.

If we can have something good come from what is otherwise a destructive process, it will help all the people who fall foul of cheating to try to move on and process the whole experience. This way, whether or not the cheater is particularly deserving of being given a second chance, the person that was cheated on can view the dynamic as something that blindsided them initially, but that can, with time, be negotiated and used as a springboard for something constructive.

Basically, I hesitate to burden an innocent bystander with too much responsibility if they happen upon information about a person cheating, but it is nonetheless something that must come out. People in the relationship deserve to know, and the person cheating needs to face the repercussions for their actions.

They may have had their reasons. I accept that, but it doesn’t mean that other people should be sacrificed and impacted in the long term by one person’s mistake.