Ask Yourself If The Relationship Is Worth Fighting For
Infidelity isn’t necessarily about a person not loving you and an indiscretion doesn’t necessarily point to a toxic relationship. But if you know your partner to be generous, loving, kind, and they seem truly committed to working things out, the relationship could be worth another shot.
“If there were some good things about this relationship before the infidelity, it may be worth hanging in there,” says Thompson, and relationship therapist Esther Perel agrees. “, what people tell you all the time is not that I wanted to find another person, its that I wanted to find another self,'” she says. In these cases, Perel believes the relationship can be salvaged with patience, communication, and understanding.
On the flip side, infidelity may be the catalyst that helps you see you and your partner aren’t right for each other. Again, a therapist can help you navigate this process for yourself.
What Changes After Cheating And How To Repair Your Relationship
Cheating changes everything between a couple. The uncovering of infidelity can annihilate the relationship, leaving both partners feeling alienated and lost. When youre at that stage, nursing the hurt or grappling with cheating guilt, the prospect of staying together after cheating may seem laughable. After all, cheating changes the fundamentals of trust, faith, loyalty, respect and love in a relationship.
Erika, a communications professional, talks about how cheating changed her relationship beyond recognition. I discovered that my partner was having an affair with his scuba diving instructor. Even though it was a brief fling that lasted the duration of the course, which was about four weeks, it changed my 7-year-old relationship beyond recognition. For the first few weeks after he confessed to having slept with his instructor, I could not even look at him or be in the same room.
As the ice began to thaw, I realized that he cheated on me but wants to stay together. He was profusely apologetic and wanted to make things right. To go back to the way things were. I knew in the heart of my hearts that things could never go back to how they were but I was willing to give this relationship another chance because he was genuinely remorseful. So, he cheated and I stayed, and we went into couples therapy to figure out how to build a successful relationship after cheating.
You Still Enjoy Spending Time Together
The relationship might be broken but it is by no means over.
Sure, you may be arguing more often than ever and it feels like the relationship has been irretrievably split into two.
But in the quiet moments, you still see what made the relationship work in the first place.
Theres still love, laughter, and companionship.
Outside of the infidelity, the relationship still stands on its solid foundation, and its clear that the two of you still care about each other very much.
People who find themselves on either end of the cheating spectrum often no longer want to do anything with their partner, which is completely normal.
After all, how can you go back to making things normal again with someone who broke your trust?
But if you and your partner truly enjoy each others company and share that fondness for each other, theres a good chance you can work on your problems together and come out of it stronger.
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They’re Committed To Communicating
One way to rebuild trust is to talk about everything, which is why couples who make it work are all about prioritizing communication. “Couples that stay together after an affair must have a commitment to keep talking to work through the aftermath of cheating,”certified counselor Jonathan Bennett tells Bustle. “If either partner shuts down and refuses to talk, the relationship will never last.”
Give Them Space To Process If They Need It
How to repair a relationship after cheating? Your partner is likely to need some time to process what happened. They might want to be alone for a while or need to talk to friends or family about it. It would be a good idea to learn more about personal time and its impact on mental health to understand your partner better.
Its essential to allow them the space to process their feelings and come to terms with what happened. Then, spend that period wisely by evaluating your role in the situation and what you can do to make things right.
If they need time apart from you, respect their wishes and give them the space they need. This doesnt mean that you should never talk to them or give up on repairing a relationship after cheating. However, it does mean that you should give them the time. They need to sort through their emotions before trying to work on issues together.
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The Cheater Wont Take Responsibility And Instead Blames Others
Its obviously true that cheating doesnt emerge out of thin air. Were all products of our childhood, and we all have the capacity to act out when we feel dissatisfied. However, if your spouse points to other people to justify why they cheated, your relationship might not be worth saving.
This behavior is particularly despicable if youre the person that your spouse is blaming for their infidelity. They put you through one of the most painful experiences of your life, and now theyre telling you that it was your fault?! If thats the message that youre receiving, then your spouse is treating you with a level of hostility that precludes reconciliation.
This might be a dealbreaker no matter who they say is to blame, though. If your partner insists that it wasnt their fault that they cheated, theyre telling you that there isnt anything they can do to prevent it from happening again. Until they take responsibility, youll never get the peace of mind you need to move on with your life.
Now that youve put some thought into whether your own relationship can or should survive infidelity, let’s address some of the facts. The collective wisdom of those who have been in your position before can give you insight into possible next steps. Maybe youll even gain some understanding of where you and your spouse fit into the bigger picture.
Therapy Is Needed To Heal After Being Cheated On
A study on the Aftermath of Infidelity establishes that the act of cheating can take a toll on the physical and mental health of the non-cheating partner. Therefore, a majority of couples who manage to move on together after infidelity relies on professional help. This makes navigating this difficult time and processing the complex emotions somewhat easier.
Its not just the non-cheating partner who bears the brunt of infidelity. The partner who has strayed may be riddled with cheating guilt too. Reconnecting with so much baggage can be a challenge. Thats why mutually agreeing to seek couples therapy helps make the road to recovery a less daunting one. If youre struggling to figure out how to heal after being cheated on and stay together or how to get over a cheating husband and stay together, then considering therapy is a good starting point. Know that help is only a .
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Get Temptations Out Of The Way
The first and most important step to healing a relationship is that the cheating has to stop.
The partner who cheated cannot see or contact the person they cheated with anymore. Otherwise, anything you do is a waste of time.
Take physical steps to cut off contact set up boundaries and establish rules that both partners should follow.
Its important to be clear about everything and to spell out what you will or wont accept.
Transparency is critical for both partners to feel safe and respected. Some things you can do are:
- Deleting contact information
- Removing social media contacts and dating apps
- Removing phone passwords
- Agreeing to come home earlier
Understanding How Does Being Cheated On Change You
It most definitely does. Couples who manage to stay together after cheating accept the fact that once trust is broken, going back to the way things once used to be is not easy. Both partners have to accept that this scar is bound to damage the bond they once shared. Then, work on rebuilding the trust in the relationship anew.
Understanding that cheating changes you in many ways and on many levels is the first step toward figuring out how to get over being cheated on. This setback will shake both partners to their core and maybe even bring about a shift in their perspective on relationships. An acceptance of this fact can make it easier to stay in a relationship after infidelity.
Related Reading: The Anatomy Of An Affair
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Whats Next For Your Relationship
Cheating doesnt have to mean the end of a relationship.
However, it is a sign that the relationship must be improved and both of you have responsibility to do this.
The best way I know to improve a relationship is to truly understand what your partner wants from you .
If youre a woman who wants to understand what your man truly craves from your relationship, check out this excellent video here.
Youll be introduced to a brand new concept in relationship psychology thats generating a lot of buzz at the moment. Its called the hero instinct.
I think it holds the key to a deep and passionate relationship for life.
Trying To Stay Together In The First Place
Not all couples bounce back from cheating. And often the ability to recover depends on the nature of the infidelity itself. Stepping out on your spouse could be a crime of opportunity that occurred in a moment of bad judgment. Or it could be a sign that the marriage was built on a poor foundation. Dr, Gail Saltz, psychiatrist and host of the How Can I Help? podcast, notes that cheating can reflect not just a desire for sex but a desire to end a relationship. Sometimes the person who cheated did it, consciously or not, as a means of leaving a relationship, she says. Sometimes that person was going to leave anyway and that is their step out the door.
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You Are In This Together
Permit yourself to have emotions. Allow your partner to do the same. Give the freedom to express and share without fear of rebuttal.
Using I statements can be a useful tool in sharing. Responding with an acknowledgment will allow your partner to know you heard and understand them. Asking them to clarify specific aspects of their statements is encouraged.
This is your relationship. It is solely between the two of you. Too often, people will run to consult with their friends about what their partner has done. It is you two who will be doing the work, your friends can be a great support system but should not be a source of opinion.
Seeking professional counseling is an excellent way to find a non-biased individual to help guide your conversation. I would encourage you to find a counselor together.
You both may have differing opinions on what you want. Counselors come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and creeds. Find one that works for both of you. Do not be afraid to seek individual counseling.
We work better together when we work well on our own. Individual counseling allows you to work through your thoughts without judgment before presenting them to your partner. A trained professional will help you discover what you seek out of a partner and what you can contribute.
Think About What You Want
Moving on after infidelity means taking the lead on how you want to live your life. Do you want to break up with your partner, or do you want to work on your relationship? Weiss suggests weighing all of the factors: “First of all, has the cheating stopped? Have the lies and secrets stopped? Generally speaking, are there more positive than negatives to the relationship? Is the cheating partner ever going to be able to restore relationship trust? There is no set formula for deciding to stay or go, but these questions can provide clarity.” These are important questions without right or wrong answers.
Regardless of what others say, your greatest concern should be yourself. For instance, if your partners actions are a deal-breaker for you, break up with your partner. On the flip side, you may feel hurt and betrayed by your partner but still want them in your life. “Betrayed partners should understand that it is normal to continue to love and care for someone, even after a betrayal,” says Weiss. “Both parties have to want to rebuild trust and intimate connection. The good news is that after an infidelity, if both parties do their work in the process of healing, relationships can end up being stronger than everdeeper vulnerability, deeper intimacy, and more rather than less support of one another.”
Or, then again, you may also not be sure what you want. That’s okay. The decision is yours alone to make.
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Understand Why You Cheated In The First Place
Before you decide how to fix a relationship after you cheated, you must understand why you cheated in the first place. The answer isnt as simple as I was attracted to someone else. There are usually underlying reasons why people cheat, such as:
There could be various reasons like:
- Feeling neglected in the relationship
- Feeling disconnected from your partner
- Seeking an adrenaline rush
- Being curious about someone else
- Having unresolved personal issues
Once you figure out the root cause of your cheating, you will be in a better place to take responsibility for your actions and make things right with your partner. Your relationship cant be fixed if you dont understand why you cheated in the first place.
Understand What Love Is Really About
Being cheated on is like a kick in the guts.
But what it does do is give you the opportunity to evaluate what love is really about. And whether your expectations around love are realistic.
After watching the free video on love and intimacy by world renowned shaman Rudá Iandê, I realized that for a long time I was trapped by the ideal of having the perfect romance.
Westerners grow up obsessed with the idea of romantic love. We watch TV shows and Hollywood movies about perfect couples living happily ever after.
And naturally we want it for ourselves.
While the idea of romantic love is beautiful, its also an unrealistic standard.
Experts estimate that the concept has only been around for 250 years. Before this, people got together for more practical reasons usually for the sake of survival or to have kids.
After watching this masterclass, I started to see that romantic love shouldnt be the standard by which we judge the success of relationships.
Understanding that the perfect romance doesnt necessarily exist made me free to live life on my own terms. It also opened me up to meaningful relationships without needing them to be perfect.
I also learned another incredibly important lesson from the shaman Rudá Iandê.
The truth is, most of us overlook an incredibly important element in our lives:
The relationship we have with ourselves.
So why am I recommending Rudás life-changing advice?
Its a wonderful resource if youre struggling with life after being cheated on.
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Give Each Other Space And Time To Calm Down
You would feel a lot of overwhelming emotions immediately after discovering your partners affair.
And while its completely natural and justifiable to be angry at your partner, you should also be cautious of what you may say or do in the heat of the moment.
It would be wise to take a break from your partner, delay the discussion, and try to calm down first.
Talking when your emotions are running high wont accomplish anything, so its good to process your feelings and work out what you want to say.
It may also be tempting to overcompensate for the situation by not letting your partner out of your sight, but you wont get any perspective on your relationship while youre together.
Give yourself the time and space to think things through, figure out what you truly want, and take care of your own emotional needs.
If you hang around too much with your partner, you may end up trying to punish them or they may try to rush you into getting over it which will only lead to resentment on both ends.
Talk It Out With Someone Who Sees It From Your Perspective
Its important to talk about your feelings and what happened, but you need to do it with the right person.
When your heart is broken and youre already feeling crappy, the last thing you need is someone standing in front of you telling you all the reasons that the infidelity is your fault.
You need to speak with someone who wont try to get you to make meaning of the experience or how you can learn from it.
I had a friend who reminded me of all the things that I did wrong in the relationship.
That wasnt what I needed to hear. All it did was make me feel worse.
So make sure theyre emotionally intelligent, positive and on your side.
And if you have mutual friends with your partner, you might not want to speak to them about it, either. You cant be sure which side theyll take.
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Dont Hurry Into Forgiveness If You Want To Stay Together After Cheating
If you dont want to move on after being cheated on for the fear of losing a partner, then the desire to salvage a relationship often results in hurried forgiveness. The one who has cheated keeps urging their partner to forgive so that moving on together after infidelity becomes a possibility. At the same time, the one who has been cheated on feels overwhelmed by a rush of emotions. They offer forgiveness before theyve had the chance to seethe, break down and heal.
This is, at best, a temporary fix. The unresolved issues of lack of trust, residual anger and resentment will rear their ugly head eventually. This can wreak greater havoc in the relationship. Taking the time to grieve and heal after being cheated on is a must for rebuilding a relationship.
Devaleena says, The biggest downside of hurried forgiveness is that the person who has cheated, feels like they have won over the situation and can now freely get back to old ways of being. This may spiral and the relationship might just start going through another phase of infidelity. One must understand if the forgiveness has come before time and make sure it comes only once you have processed all the emotions around the trauma.