Finding out that a partner has been unfaithful is devastating and, often, the sense of betrayal is magnified by the need to find new accommodation and the divvying up of mutual property. When a break up follows infidelity, the stages of grief can be very similar to those suffered in the event of the death of a loved one.
Discovering that a partner has cheated is rarely something that you’ll get over quickly but, does it have to be the end? Not necessarily but you do need to examine what happened and why in order to get over this hurdle in your relationship/
Taking stock of cheating in a relationship
Extremely often, the knee jerk reaction to a cheating partner is often to dissolve the relationship but, this may not be the only option. The first thing to do is to take some time out in order to process what’s happened and give yourself a chance to recover from the shock of infidelity in your relationship. If you live with your partner, it’s a good idea to stay with friends or family for a few days or until you’re able to gain a little perspective. The next, and more difficult stage, is to re-open a dialogue with your partner in order to find out why the infidelity happened and if the particular occurrence of cheating was a one off or something more significant. The most important thing to note may be the reason, that will actually make a difference as to whether you can forgive your partner for cheating and move forward in your relationship, or not. In general, these reasons may be one of the following:
The mistake - can you forgive the one off cheat?
Although this kind of betrayal to your trust still hurts, it’s possibly the easiest to forgive (although you’re unlikely to forget). If your partner has confessed to having a one night stand after a night out, there’s a good chance that it was a mistake and, one that he or she very much regrets in the cold light of day (hence the confession). If you feel that the relationship is worth salvaging, it’s more than possible to do so but, beware, you’ll find it difficult to trust him or her for a while and, you will probably need to establish a few boundaries to ensure that it never happens again.
The opportunist cheating partner
If a partner has been unfaithful simply because the opportunity presented itself, be warned - it’s probably not the first time - just the first time that they’ve been caught. You also need to keep in mind that it probably won’t be the last. The opportunist cheat is often led by ego or arrogance and is unlikely to change. There are also underlying reasons for someone to cheat in such a way. You may need to explore questions such as: is it the excitment of getting away with it? Is it the thrill of the action itself? Or is it someone who likes to cheat 'just because'? Which leads us to think about the boredom cheater.
The boredom cheat
In this instance, the person is cheating because they feel that your relationship has become stale and they’re looking for a bit of excitement. Although this may seem hopeless on the surface, it’s not necessarily a lost cause. Have a long, frank conversation with your partner about your relationship - during which, you both lay your cards on the table about what may have gone wrong. It may be that you’re both guilty of taking one another for granted or not spending enough quality time together; in which case, if you’re both committed to the relationship, you may be able to learn from this and make a fresh start.
Whilst it will take you a while to recover and to learn to trust again, it is more than possible to rescue a relationship from the clutches of infidelity - and even to build a stronger union from these dark days. You do, however, need to also let it go - which means resisting the urge to throw it in your partner’s face during every petty argument. The only real way to recover from a betrayal is to draw a line under and start the relationship over from a new perspective. If you can both learn from the experience and regain the trust, there’s no reason that your relationship can’t recover from infidelity.
If you are overcoming a relationship due to the above issues or working on yourself as a solo at the moment and would like to work on creating boundaries, carving out space for yourself to figure out what you want in love and life, or just need a neutral sounding board for any of the above issues. Please be in touch for an appointment with our UK dating and relationship experts over at Love Lessons Global firstname.lastname@example.org