It is possible to save a relationship after infidelity, but it would take a huge amount of forgiveness and work to rebuild the trust that has been broken. The aftermath would be very unpleasant, and it would take both parties to be committed to healing the wound that has been created. Feelings of guilt, anger and betrayal would have to be managed to restore the relationship.
You can save a relationship after cheating firstly by acknowledging the deceit, sincerely apologising, and then cutting all contact (where possible) with the third party. Both of you then need to gain some understanding on why it happened, and the unfaithful party needs to be completely honest about what actually happened. The other person then needs time to grieve for the trust that has been broken and the relationship that is now ’lost’. New boundaries then need to put in place to make sure both parties feel comfortable moving forwards, which should facilitate the two of you reconnecting both emotionally and physically. Setbacks should be allowed for though; it won’t be easy as the grieving party will feel hurt and wounded for some time but ultimately in time, they must learn to forgive the infidelity for the relationship to survive and move forwards.
After finding out someone has cheated it is important to work through your feelings and acknowledge them. Then you need to decide whether you will decide to commit to the relationship and try to work through it or if you want to walk away from it. If you decide to make it work then you need to begin rebuilding the relationship, but obviously it would take the full commitment and participation from both parties.
Steps to make to save your relationship
- Acknowledge the DECEIT
The betrayal felt when someone has cheated is huge. Some people often can not move past this. I have experienced this myself when an ex- boyfriend who I lived with cheated on me with one of my close friends. The hurt caused was immense because I was completely in love with him. I could not believe he had done it but he admitted everything and showed total remorse for the affair, which did help me to overcome what had happened. It is especially important that the guilty party acknowledges the deceit caused and the trust that has been shattered.
- Say SORRY for all the hurt caused
It is particularly important that the unfaithful partner fully apologises and recognises all the hurt caused. It is also imperative that they take full responsibility for their actions without blaming their partner or anyone else involved. Crucially, the unfaithful person must reassure their partner that they will not ever behave in this manner again.
- END all contact with the third party
All communication with the other person must be ended with immediate effect (where possible). This includes deleting phone numbers and blocking them, in addition to removing them from your contacts on social media. It is only when ties are cut that the trust can start to be rebuilt. It would be difficult to trust someone who was still in contact with the person they had the affair with. However, sometimes this may be unavoidable, for example, if it is a work colleague. The issue is that the unfaithful person may not be as invested in making your relationship work if they still have ‘options’, which is extremely unfair on their partner.
- Understand WHY it happened
Why did the cheating party feel the need to be unfaithful? Were they feeling neglected, bored, or angry? Try to understand what led to those actions and fully discuss them with your partner. Solutions can then be established to these issues to overcome these feelings so that they are less likely to happen again! It might be simply that they wanted to inject some excitement into their life, so that might be something you need to try to introduce into the relationship. ‘Date night’ can bring a new zest into a relationship by ensuring you are spending quality time with your partner where you can really connect. The hustle and bustle of everyday life can almost make you take your partner for granted (particularly if you have children or a demanding career) but setting aside some special time for the two of you allows you to really appreciate each other and how they make you feel.
- Tell the TRUTH
The unfaithful person owes it to their partner to be completely honest about what has happened. The hurt and betrayal that has already gone before is bad enough but now they need to tell the truth about whatever questions they are asked as it will help their partner rebuild faith and trust in them. Lying is a massive part of the betrayal, so now you owe it to your partner to be brutally honest about the affair. The cheating party can’t just offer snippets of information that they think will hurt their partner the least; they deserve to know the whole truth and have all of their questions fully answered. Complete transparency at this point is so important to try to rebuild the relationship. If at this point the cheating partner decides not to tell the full truth about the affair, then their partner finds out more information later on down the line the relationship will be doomed. When my ex-boyfriend cheated, he didn’t tell me the full truth then months later I found out more facts about the affair. This made it totally impossible for the relationship to recover from as he was given the opportunity to be completely honest with me and he wasn’t.
- Let your partner GRIEVE
After they apologise and tell the truth about their infidelity, the unfaithful person should not expect their partner to fling their arms open and forgive them straight away! They will need space to grieve for the trust and connection they thought they had. Time is also needed to absorb all of the information and mourn the loss of the relationship that was.
- Discuss new BOUNDARIES
To make the relationship work, new ground rules will have to be made crystal clear to make sure the relationship can stay on track. You will both need to discuss what behaviour will and will not be tolerated. In order to rebuild trust certain activities might now be off limits. For example, if the infidelity took place on a wild weekend away, the cheating person probably won’t be permitted on these trips until the trust is completely restored. There also might be short term rules about discussing the affair, like not during work hours. Time needs to be set aside to discuss things properly to facilitate the reconciliation and the patching up of the relationship.
- RECONNECT emotionally and physically
This is going to be difficult especially for the person who has been betrayed, as they know that their partner has been intimate with someone else behind their back. So, this is going to take time for them to be able to give themselves both physically and emotionally. Perhaps start dating again so it feels like a fresh start in order to help reconnect, get to know each other like at the beginning again. This way, it might be easier to rebuild the relationship, rather than to expect things to just go back to the way they were before.
- Allow for SETBACKS
It won’t be a case of someone admitting that they have cheated, their partner being angry, hurt and upset and then forgiving them and not bringing it back up again! The deceitful behaviour which has broken the trust in the relationship has hurt the other person and they are highly likely to feel wounded and sore for a while. Much like a physical wound, this will take time to heal and rebuild the relationship, so don’t be surprised if some days there are setbacks, and your partner may become very upset and angry again. Eventually, things can return to normal if you are both committed to making the relationship work.
At some point the aggrieved party needs to learn to forgive the cheating ways of their spouse. Without forgiveness, the relationship will become toxic and will be unable to move forwards. If they cannot learn to forgive the infidelity, then unfortunately the relationship will be hopeless. It is important to work through the issues that have hurt the most and resolve them. Nothing can change the past so for the sake of the relationship these issues need to be dealt with and then put aside. It is only when the innocent party forgives you that the relationship can move forwards and begin to flourish once again.
Be selective who you confide in
When you find out about your partners infidelity you might be so furious that you immediately take to social media to shame them. Actions like this may make the relationship more difficult to repair. Of course, I am not saying that they don’t deserve it, why shouldn’t everyone know the truth! But it may make things more difficult for you should you decide to stay in the relationship. Friends and family members might be extremely opinionated about the situation. They also might refuse to have anything more to do with the person that was guilty of the betrayal, which could cause a family or friendship group rift. What makes it even more difficult is that these people genuinely have your best interests at heart and will not be trying to be difficult. Instead, they will be trying to prevent you from getting hurt again. An already fragile relationship may find it even more difficult to repair and rebuild when a lot of people know about the affair.
If you feel like you are going round in circles with your partner and you are struggling to move conversations forwards and you are finding it very difficult even though you both want to work at the relationship, then going to couples counselling might be for you. They are a neutral party that will not judge, and they will have a lot of experience dealing with infidelity. They may be able to identify any unmet needs within the relationship and guide the process of problem solving.
How Do You Save Your Relationship After Cheating?
To move forwards the person who has cheated needs to understand that they will need to be completely transparent with their partner and set other things, like going out with friends on boozy nights out aside in to concentrate on their relationship. They must endeavour not to give their partner any reason to doubt them or become suspicious of their behaviour. A lot of effort needs to be poured into the relationship so that it has a fresh new strong foundation.
To find success staying in the relationship after an infidelity both parties must be willing to look at the reasons that contributed to the affair rather than solely focusing on the betrayal itself. This is in no way justifying the decision, nor is it about excusing someone’s behaviour. It is about identifying where things have been going wrong in your own relationship, in order to find solutions to improve them and build a better relationship. Thus, you can actually emerge on the other side of the infidelity in a much better and stronger relationship if the issues are raised and managed in the correct way.
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