Is infidelity the worst fault in a relationship? More importantly, does it determine the fate of the relationship?
I bet your answer is a categorical "No!" but before we go on a rampage, let's say there are two sides to every infidelity. The story of the cheater and that of the person who suffered this betrayal of trust. Finding out the person you're with cheated on you is hard, with lots of conflicting emotions, from anger and hate to despair and confusion. For the cheater, if they care for you, it's also a difficult process that includes shame and anger. But is there a way to move on, solve things, and continue with the relationship? Or has it been irrevocably broken?
We've all heard that a relationship is built on trust and that if broken it is best to move on or if you're tenacious to try to build it back together. Today we are here for the latter, what must we do to keep it from falling apart? Some would say to cheat as well, that it's the only way to get even, but is a relationship just a tally board? I don't think so and nor do you bury a toxic situation with even more toxicity. So what next?
The answer to that question will vary from situation to situation since every relationship is different. It may be that on the surface everything looked great and suddenly you were hit by this freight train called Cheating or, perhaps things were already going downhill and you were scrambling to make things work. The first step is to unearth the whys and whens because that is the very first step in deciding whether you want to give that person another chance. Here is where the limits of what you're willing to tolerate will be drawn, if it happened more than once or if it was a one time thing, either way, when someone cheats, it isn't about you, it's about them 100 percent. Why? Because when someone cheats they're unhappy about something and this mainly stems from an incomformity about their lives and where they're heading as individuals. Perhaps it's their job or family stress, but there is always a catalyst that's behind this breach of trust.
Cheating is not about opportunity, we've all been tempted to do it, but what makes you take the plunge? If you want to save your relationship you have to understand the reason why they did it not the hows. It is important you don't focus on the latter because finding out the hows can be even more toxic, you already know that it happened, you don't want all the details to chip away at your confidence. What you do want to know are the reasons because from there you will judge whether you want to form part of the relationship and if the person you're with is someone you want to spend time with, demons and all.
Relationships are not perfect and require hard work, and the most important thing after experiencing a painful moment is to take time to yourself and allow your emotions to cool. Take some distance to figure out what next step you want to take and if it involves your partner. Afterwards, you should meet up and discuss all the aspects of the relationship, this will entail asking questions and and be prepared to face some painful answers. Armed with these answers you need to ask yourself whether the relationship will survive.
Forgiveness is hard and the first step you have to take when you decide to give the other person a second chance is to build a new relationship. The old relationship is dead and buried, and you have to build a new one from the ground up with a new set of rules and outlooks. This will be perhaps the toughest part in this journey because it means you have to build a trust and sense of innocence that has been completely lost. Last but not least, we've poured all of our attention to the wronged party, but you also have to look at yourself and your own actions and attitudes. You can't reinvent yourself but you can ask, "what were they like when they were with the other person?" You cannot discount the feelings of the other person if you want your relationship to survive. So, if after some time you feel like the trust just isn't there no matter how hard you try, then it's time you began to fly solo.
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Images by @raulromo