One of the most heartbreaking situations a couple can go through is infidelity. When trust is betrayed, it can be hard to know whether the relationship will endure.
There’s no universally applicable solution to the complicated question of whether a cheating relationship can survive. There is no band-aid remedy here. It takes time and a lot of effort for couples to rebuild trust, intimacy, and faith in each other.
In this article, we will look at several factors that may help a cheating relationship to endure. We’ll go into detail about the value of open communication, being prepared to accept blame, and having the capacity to forgive. We’ll also talk about how therapy and counseling might help you mend a broken relationship after an affair.
Although infidelity might be a challenging obstacle to overcome, it’s possible for a relationship to survive and even thrive after cheating. So, if you or someone you know is struggling with the aftermath of infidelity, read on to learn more!
Is cheating always a possibility?
As we all know, trust is important in a relationship. And there is nothing more damaging or no easier way to break it than betrayal. Or, in other words, cheating.
When you get into a relationship, love, trust and honesty are one of the many things you would expect. They are the foundation of relationships, after all. So what happens when one breaks your trust? What happens when one lies? What happens when one claims to love but cheats? Is it still possible for the relationship to survive? Or does staying just prolong the inevitable end?
For some reason, nowadays, people seem to normalize cheating. It’s as if when you get into a relationship, getting cheated on or cheating is a possibility that you should accept. Although I agree that it is one of the harsher truths in today’s reality, it does not make going through it any easier.
Do you want to know a secret? My boyfriend cheated on me multiple times
I remember the first time I got cheated on. Yes, you read that right. The first time. There was a second time, a third time, and well, you know how the numbers work.
At first, I thought it was a one-time thing, I thought he was worthy of another chance. Unfortunately, it happened more than once. Oh, and it was with the same guy.
“God rest my soul, I miss who I used to be
The tomb won’t close, stained glass windows in my mind
I regret you all the time
I can’t let this go, I fight with you in my sleep
The wound won’t close, I keep on waiting for a sign
I regret you all the time”
– Taylor Swift, Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve
When I first found out my boyfriend was cheating on me, I could not believe it. I did not want to.
I mean, he told me he loved me and that he was faithful. And I believed him. But I was wrong.
He was not faithful, and from what he did, for many, many times might I add, he didn’t seem to love me as much as he said he did. At least not enough for him not to cheat. And it hurt like hell.
Anyway, fast forward to what happened to our relationship. Can you guess? Yup, you’re right. We broke up. But that’s not really a surprise anymore, is it?
The cheating took a toll on our relationship and even more on me. It made me start to question the relationship. It made me question him, and it even made me question myself.
It broke my confidence and ruined my self-esteem. Questions like: “Am I not enough?” “Am I ugly?” “Do I deserve this?” “What’s wrong with me?” plagued my mind.
We ended it, but the pain didn’t end there
But over time, I came to realize that my love for him was not enough, and the relationship we had was not one that I truly wanted and deserved.
It was toxic, and no matter how hard I tried to move past the hurt and the lies, I couldn’t. Our relationship could not work anymore. So, we ended it. But the pain I felt didn’t end there.
For years, I became afraid of falling in love because of what he did. Despite breaking up and being separated from him, the pain that stemmed from the lies and betrayal still haunt me.
Needless to say, the cheating didn’t just break our relationship. It broke me.
Eventually, I got over it. It took some time, but I healed. I healed without him.
Of course, that is not the case for everyone. Sometimes, relationships can still survive even after a cheating incident. It is not easy, but it is possible.
I was not able to revive what we had because I knew he wasn’t for me. I could’ve forgiven him if it happened only once, and he redeemed himself. But to get cheated on several times? Alas, I don’t think there’s any redemption from that. I had to accept that I wasn’t the one for him too.
Moving past the lies and betrayals is not easy, which is why most people choose to just end it and not try to work it out. But if you do, if you’ve ever experienced being cheated on and chose to stay and try to fix things, you must know that it will not be easy.
Even after choosing to try and make it work, you may find yourself doubting your partner and your relationship from time to time. You may still feel paranoid and sometimes overthink. It is normal. Healing takes time.
According to experts, yes. It’s possible for a cheating relationship to survive. However, it’s not easy. So, here are some tips that may help you mend your broken relationship.
Consider having a time-out
It’s not easy to move past cheating. Your confidence will go down, your self-esteem will be ruined, and the trust you have for your partner and relationship will be broken. Having to go through cheating sucks!
However, no matter how unpleasant these feelings may be, it is important that you face them with a brave face. It’s like the saying: “There’s nowhere else to go but through it.”
Time outs will give both partners the opportunity to stand back and reflect on their emotions and their well-being. It can be incredibly challenging to deal with the hurt and betrayal while still being close to the one who caused it. Personally, I found it suffocating.
By being apart, both partners can concentrate on their own recovery and self-care. Also, it can provide them some time and space to consider what they want and need from the relationship going forward.
It can also help you gain perspective and clarity, which can be crucial in deciding whether or not to keep the relationship.
Ultimately, a broken heart cannot be patched up in a short time, no matter what 90s cartoons would tell us. It’s a long and difficult journey, full of bumps and turns.
But, if ever you do decide to stay in the relationship, make sure that you are not simply burying the pain, loneliness or anger that you feel. Take time to acknowledge and feel these feelings because only then will you be able to truly move forward.
Aside from spending some time apart, another aspect of repairing a relationship is open communication.
It is crucial that both partners are open and honest with one another regarding their thoughts, needs and boundaries. Rebuilding trust also requires opening up about the impact of infidelity on the relationship and on each other. Both of you should be able to create a safe space to be angry, frustrated, disappointed and vulnerable without judgment and within reason.
I understand that it can be really uncomfortable, and at times, you might even doubt if it’s the right thing to do. There’s also this fear that you might just explode at each other, which is why you should only do this when both of you have cooled down, and emotions have stabilized.
No matter how disconcerting or unnerving this is, it may be challenging for both spouses to move past the betrayal and recover fully without it.
So how can you learn to openly communicate with your partner?
I know just the thing – the free Love and Intimacy video by the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandê.
While watching it, I felt like someone understood my struggles to find love (and keep it) for the first time – and finally offered an actual solution. I stopped being afraid to express myself, and I also learned how to listen with intention.
But it all starts with your inner relationship. Once you learn how to love yourself, giving and receiving love becomes a whole lot easier.
If you’re ready to take that journey, click here to watch the incredible free video.
Being held accountable
When you’ve established an open-door policy in the relationship, it goes without saying that the person who cheated should know to ask for forgiveness.
And it’s more than just saying “sorry.” They must accept responsibility for their actions and be prepared to make them right.
It can mean initiating behavior that would encourage trust, like telling your partner about your whereabouts before they even ask, being transparent about where you’re spending your time and with whom, and expressing a willingness to change.
There might not be a magic button that you can press to make it go away, but with genuine intentions, the person who got hurt the most can find a way to accept your current situation.
Forgiving is not forgetting
If ever both of you decide to give it another shot, know that it’s not going to be a clean slate, even after the apologies and the fanfare. There’s no reset button, and there are definitely going to be moments when you start to rethink if you’re better off alone.
It’s one of the bitter sides to carrying on after a cheating incident – you have to live with it. And sometimes, it’s going to keep you restless at night.
I had a friend who took back a cheating boyfriend even after she discovered that he slept with their common friend. She decided to take him back because she said he loved him more than anything.
During the early weeks that she took him back, she couldn’t help but cry in front of him, and he always had to pick up the pieces and reassure her that it was never going to happen again.
One night, while comforting her, he snapped. He said she should not have taken him back if it had only made her more miserable. He did not have the patience to deal with the ruins because he wanted her to completely forget about it – that was his definition of “moving on.” Of course, we all know that it’s not possible.
The cheater is not entitled to a memory wipeout just because the other one took them back. For a time, there’s going to be a period when both of you will be in denial or angry. Well, how can you not? You had a seemingly good thing going on, and then somebody decided to pull the rug from underneath, and it all came crashing down.
These things take time, and both of you should be exceptionally patient. If either one is unwilling, then I suggest breaking up for good because it’s a dead end from there.
Take it as a lesson
It may not feel and seem like it right now, but getting cheated on can give you important lessons. I know it sounds a bit determinist, but you have to trust the process!
One lesson, for example, is not trusting too much. Yes, trust is essential to build and maintaining a healthy relationship. But sometimes, trusting people too much can hurt you in the end.
So, how can you avoid getting disappointed? Make sure your partner deserves it or, at least, earned it!
Other than self-reflection, seeking advice from a professional may help you too. Relationship therapists or coaches can help you see your relationship from a different perspective. They can also help you bring out underlying issues that you might be too afraid to acknowledge.
If you’re going down this route, it’s better to have your partner join you on your journey!
A conscious and deliberate choice
Staying in a relationship after cheating can be unimaginable, but sometimes, it’s what feels right for you. It comes with a lot of risks and tears, though. Are you prepared for it?
When it happened to me, it made me question what’s real and what’s not in my relationship. I personally did not want to deal with my ex anymore, but I can sympathize with the ones that still want to make it work.
What can you do to save what’s left? Let me tell you, it’s not a one-person job. As a couple, you have to dive into deep-seated issues that you weren’t aware of before.
After all, cheating doesn’t just happen out of nowhere. The third-party didn’t randomly just fall on the cheater’s lap, although some of them make it seem like that!
Cheating is always a conscious and deliberate choice, and it has its reasons. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that cheating is reasonable. Having problems in your relationship is not and will never be an excuse for cheating. But, there may be certain things that a person could see as a reason to cheat.
Is your partner insecure? Were they craving intimacy when they did it? Have they been longing for attention? Do you still feel connected to each other? Is it a lack of attraction? There are so many reasons and motives, but you can only get to the bottom of it if both of you are willing to talk and fix the root causes.
So yes, a cheating relationship can indeed survive. It might not have worked out for me, but I believe it can be true for other people.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
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