What To Do When A Partner Cheats
As terrible as it may sound, many women today face the challenge of recovering from a partner's infidelity. We all wish this wasn't the case; that most people didn't have to face a scenario of a partner cheating, or that cheating wasn't as prevalent as it is in relationships today. And though a case may be made that infidelity was always as common as it is now-just not so commonly talked about-either way we've got a demon to face.
There is a foundation on which to start your journey of healing, however, in two basic steps. It may not be an iron-clad, fool-proof way to fix the issue you're facing, but it's definitely a place to start...
When a partner cheats, many emotions will immediately come to the surface that for the most part cannot be suppressed. Most of these will revolve around denial: a person who has been cheated on will want to know how it happened (time and place), they will want to know what could have provoked their partner to be unfaithful (as if they could fix it), and they will want to know how the person they love was capable of hurting them. Whether in one all-out brawl, or over many conversations subsequent, these questions will eventually come into play, and the cheated upon will want answers as to why they find themselves in this plight.
It is after these fights or discussions that the work then becomes internal, within you. Regardless of whether you intend on staying with your partner and resolving the issue, you will find yourself faced with two obstacles before you. Overcoming these to hurdles has the potential of securing, or ruining, your future stability in relationships.
After the initial fights and debates have taken place, you may find yourself in deep conversations with either your partner who has cheated on you, or yourself, but preferably both. The first obstacle you face is to forgive the act. As simple as this sounds, you have a much bigger task before you than simply saying “it's ok” to a person who has wronged you.
A common mistake many hurt lovers make is in saying they forgive without actually giving a second chance. For example, if you say you forgive your partner, but do not let the hurt of the situation go, that is not forgiving. If you forgive your partner, but do not trust him to be in social situations without you looking after him (mostly to make sure he won't cheat again), then you have not forgiven. If you hold other injustices within the relationship against your partner with all the angst and hurt you feel about the infidelity behind your accusations, then you have not forgiven. To forgive is a very hard act, and is mostly an internal battle within the forgiver. The key to it is to remember that you have made a choice to put the hurt of act in the past. And in doing so have created a clean slate for both you and your partner. Harboring any anger or resentment toward him will only allow your wound to grow rather than heal, and will be the anchor that sinks the relationship.
If you can both get to a point in which you have forgiven the act of infidelity, you are now ready to move on to the second essential act of getting past this issue. This reigns true whether you plan to stay together or not, and seems to be a step that alludes most partners long term. After the act of forgiving has taken place, each partner must make the step to move on from the act of infidelity. Whether you are now single or have chosen to give your partner another chance, both of you must now move on and not try to build a relationship off of the situation of cheating. Do not make the common mistake of making new rules around trying to keep your partner from cheating; this will only frustrate you both and inevitably make him want to cheat more while you drive yourself insane with worry. Replaying the situation in your head on repeat, or constantly talking about the instance are common signs of keeping the situation at hand rather than moving past it. Instead, if you have chosen to stay together, know that you also must keep up your end of the bargain by moving on from the act and moving forward as a couple. Respect him as a person who does have free will, but who you are also choosing to trust once again with your heart. You have made the choice to stay with him not because you now have power over him, but because he now sees his potential to hurt, and because you trust him not to hurt you.
If you have chosen to end the relationship and have forgiven him (still a vital step), you must also still make the act of moving on. Most importantly, this involves not holding past aggressions against future lovers. Simply put, do not hold the mistakes of your former flame against those of your future. You cannot hold your next boyfriend responsible for securing you and filling the void of your past boyfriend. Know, and remember, that they are two separate, different, individual men with different capabilities, needs, morals, values, standards, and all the rest. Do not punish your next boyfriend (or yourself) for your ex's mistakes.
Getting over infidelity is never easy, and it may take months or even years. But when you do finally stop carrying around the luggage your partner has placed upon you (also known as guilt, anger, pain, etc) you will find yourself liberated. And when you realize that you are a strong, independent, beautiful from the inside out woman who deserves a man who is as good to her as she is to him, you will only allow yourself to love men who live up to that standard. Do not sell yourself short, nor discredit yourself because apartner breaks your confidence. Confidence must be born from knowing that no matter what happens in the relationship, good or bad, you are whole and complete. And never regret. As they say, it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.
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photo courtesy venusgenus.com