Rebuilding After Cheating

Rebuilding After Cheating

Most of us have heard by now of Kristen Stewart’s little indiscretion with director Rupert Sanders. Surprisingly however, Robert Pattison is giving the relationship another chance. And why not? We tend to think of an affair as too catastrophic for any couple to come back from, but it doesn’t have to be the end of a relationship. Like any trial, it can be overcome, bringing the two closer together. That being said, there are some definite things to keep in mind if you’re hoping to rebuild your relationship post-infidelity.

Firstly, understand the reality of the affair. Did it get physical, or was it just a stolen kiss and a wavering heart? Let’s say it did get physical. Did your partner just find themselves in a heavy petting clinch or was it full-on sex? More importantly, how long did this go on for? If you’re the one that’s been cheated on, depending on how intense things got this can either be a major relationship roadblock or a mere indiscretion on their part. Decide what you feel you’re capable of forgiving, and if you’re the one that’s done the dirty deed, ask yourself what you feel deserves forgiveness. If it was a genuine moment of weakness then fine, it’s something that can be worked through, but don’t even bother if the infidelity happened twice or more, because then it’s a pattern you’re looking at. If you’re the one trying to get over it, you’re just setting yourself up for future heartache, and if you’re the one who cheated, you’re clearly not being honest with yourself about how meaningful your current relationship actually is.

Let’s stick with the victim’s side of things. Now it’s time for you to do some serious thinking. You need to evaluate your partner’s character and decide whether they’re fundamentally untrustworthy or simply made a big mistake. If you understand the full extent of the cheating then you probably have a fairly good idea already. Beyond that, how remorseful they are for their actions is also a good indicator of where their loyalties truly lie.

Assuming you decide not to kick them to the curb, you’ll have to take responsibility for your side of things. Yes you read correctly. Whilst you may not have caused the infidelity directly, affairs are often a symptom of some underlying issue in the relationship that has gone unaddressed. Think about what you could be doing, or not doing that might have lead to their seeking intimacy with another. If you can pinpoint and address that issue, you can help to prevent the cheating ever happening again.

Getting back to what the cheater themselves can do to make amends, identifying the underlying issue goes double for them. An apology and promises to change your ways only go so far. If you don’t do some soul searching to discover what made you look outside your relationship for succour, then you’re neither genuinely sorry, nor incapable of cheating again. Make sure you know where your feelings were at when you erred, and you can work to make sure your relationship never leaves you feeling like that again.

It’s also important to not expect instant trust from your partner, simply because you’ve expressed regret. A common mistake of cheaters is to apologize profusely and then expect everything to be okay again. The fact remains that you hurt someone and violated their trust. You might be ready to get on with business as usual, but they’re probably still going to take a while to heal. Don’t react angrily if they feel the need to rehash their feelings of resentment or disappointment. The onus is on you here, to do whatever it takes to restore their faith in you. Ultimately new and good relationship experiences will replace the bad ones, but that takes time. Until then, you’ll have to deal with being in the dog box for a bit.

As damaging as infidelity can be to a relationship, it doesn’t have to bring things to a crashing end. If the indiscretion wasn’t too severe, and if both parties are willing to work at making things better this time around, the romance will heal eventually.

Monika Wasserman

Monika Wassermann is a doctor and a freelance writer based in the UK who lives with her cat Buddy. She writes across several verticals, including life, health, sex and love, relationships and fitness. Her three great loves are Victorian novels, Lebanese cuisine, and vintage markets. When she’s not writing, you can find her trying to meditate more, weightlifting, or wandering around in town.

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