Unfortunately, this topic hits home for many relationships. It is NOT important to focus on “why” a person cheats, but rather the unintended consequences of cheating and how to move forward. To be very clear…a person who cheats does so because they want to. It’s as simple as that! So don’t focus on why. Once exposed, the dynamics of the relationship can change considerably. To get straight to the point, here is what a cheater MUST realize…
- Your mate will lose respect for you (whatever bond he/she thought they had with you is completely broken all the way down to the core) and once the respect is lost, then
- Your mate may begin to resent you (typically out of fear, because now there is no trust) and once resentment sets in, then
- Your mate’s actual feelings for you begin to change (usually because they no longer feel safe and secure in the relationship) and
- Finally, it is hard for things to ever be the same (you’re not looked at the same and then you’re treated differently).
This may not be the case in all relationships, but typically these four steps in some way or form do take place if cheating occurs.
Now, how can a couple move forward if they choose to remain together? Know that this does not happen without a mix of emotions, which if not worked through can result in permanent damage to your relationship. Truth be told, it takes a whole lot of work to rebuild and restore a relationship that has been damaged by cheating. The kind of work the average couple may not be capable of doing. However, here are some practical steps one can take if cheating has occurred:
- Admit it! Your admission should be an acknowledgment of whatever your mate needs for you to acknowledge. This is huge, because in many cases cheaters have a tendency to LIE. Simply put, tell the truth…the whole truth!
- End all contact! Cease all communication with the person you cheated with. PERIOD. POINT BLANK. This may not be the case if your situation results in a child outside of your relationship, and in such cases you and your mate would need to come to an agreement as to how things will be handled. Clearly, there should be absolutely no “behind the back” communication going on, even if a child has resulted. Moving forward, everything must be out in the open.
- Re-Affirm Trust! If you want your relationship to work then your actions moving forward must re-affirm trust. Therefore, do things that demonstrate your desire to restore and rebuild your relationship. If your mate has doubts, it will continue to fuel mistrust. So it is your job to erase ALL doubt!
- Be transparent! Simply put…don’t keep secrets from your mate (especially with respect to online activities, having another cell phone, comings and goings, etc.) Just don’t keep secrets!
If you’re thinking that love may not be enough to heal your relationship, you’re not alone because the complexities of relationships are so vast and the circumstances vary…so if you have to call it quits, then do so. Cheating is a deal-breaker for many relationships. But know that many relationships CAN be saved with the necessary work and effort. Working through the process to restore, rebuild, and re-affirm a relationship may take time, but couples CAN weather the storm of infidelity. ~Doc Mel Follow on Twitter @doc_mel1