Is the saying “once a cheater, always a cheater” true? Anyone who has been betrayed by their partner is going to receive a lot of advice—some good, some terrible. For instance, you might hear that cheaters aren’t worth your time. You may have realized by now that saying goodbye after you have been cheated on is not as simple as just leaving. In fact, some cheaters deserve forgiveness and a chance to make things right. Sometimes, cheating leads to a stronger, healthier relationship between the two of you.
Understanding how to forgive and heal when your partner cheats can change the outcome for the better. Here’s how to do just that.
Does Infidelity Mean My Partner Doesn’t Love Me?
No, infidelity, does not mean that the person you have been married to for 20 years no longer loves you. For humans, few things are black and white, including love. Most of the time, how you love and what you consider betrayals of trust reside in gray zones. The downside of this is that love can feel…mundane after a while, especially when it becomes routine. However, most people who find themselves in an affair are still in love with their partners.
Cheaters aren’t always prolific cheaters, either. Sometimes cheating happens by mistake; and if there is one thing humans are exceptionally good at, it’s making catastrophic mistakes.
When someone cheats, it does not always mean that they are not in love with you anymore. Affairs are a signal that your spouse wants something different. The issue with routine, even in love, is that it gets boring. You may start to crave connection, validation, intimacy, and affection from someone else, particularly when your spouse is not immediately available.
Therefore, the most critical part of forgiving and healing after your partner cheats is to understand that they still care.
Should Infidelity Mean The End Of The Relationship?
Affairs do conclude some relationships—but not all. Some relationships are troubled to begin with and are not destined to last. Other times, affairs are the result of some kind of miscommunication (or lack thereof) in the relationship. If you address those issues that caused the affair and actively work to make your connection stronger, there is no reason why your relationship cannot continue on and get healthier over time.
Should You Forgive A Cheater?
Electing to stay with the one who betrayed you is not easy. You are going to have to be a little brave when it comes to facing the hurt and deciding if you should stay together or separate. Some cheaters should not be forgiven, especially when they refuse to reconcile or own up to their mistakes. If someone is blaming you for their incorrect actions, it’s a sign that they are going to betray you again soon.
Look for the signs that your partner is truly remorseful:
- They understand the gravity of their actions and seek to apologize
- The affair was ended before or shortly after they confessed (or you found out)
- You understand at least some of the reasons why they cheated on you
- When asked about the affair, they are not defensive
- You are not blamed for their behavior
- They begin to work on themselves
- They are more attentive and try to communicate better
- The healing process is not rushed
How To Forgive A Cheater And Heal
The goal to heal the relationship and move forward together is unique to every individual. Some people power through the aftermath of the affair within several months. Others need years. Patience is key here.
Consider the steps below to get started on your journey to forgive and heal after your partner has cheated on you:
Head To Therapy
Yes, there is no getting around it—you are going to need to dig deep. Therapy is not just for those with depression or trauma. Therapists and counselors can help you assess the situation from various perspectives. Plus, you get a safe and comfortable environment to talk in, where no one can judge you. Therapists are also trained to help you both navigate the fallout of an affair and start communicating more effectively.
Seeing a couples therapist like those at Couples Academy is the first major step toward healing. Why? Because learning how to effectively communicate with one another plays a pivotal role in recovering from infidelity.
Address The Affair
When you are ready, you need to hear the details of the affair. Maybe you already know a little bit from the confession your spouse gave, but closure is important. Have your partner tell you everything that happened, including how they met the other person, what they did, where they went, and so on. You need the facts. Otherwise, your mind might spiral out of control, adding more strain to your relationship.
Knowing their reasons or the stimulus behind the act can then help you both address the weak points in your relationship. For example, if your partner got drunk and hooked up with someone, maybe they need to work on their drinking, too.
Rebuild One Step At A Time
With a trained therapist by your side and the full details of the affair disclosed, the harder part begins—rebuilding. Do what is required to heal. Do you need time alone to sit with your grief? Do you need your partner to do something additional to make you feel more at ease? Ask for it. Communicate and be compassionate with yourself.
Along with this, do things that build trust. Share in a hobby, such as dancing, hiking or yoga. By learning to enjoy time with one another, the things that made you love your partner before they cheated will become evident once again. In doing so, you can regain trust, working towards intimacy.
Healing After An Affair Is Possible
Forgiving your partner after they betrayed you is going to be one of the biggest challenges of your life, but you will be surprised how love works out. Cheating does not always mean an end, and if you take the right steps together, it could even lead to a greater bond. Let Couples Academy help you and your partner overcome infidelity to get stronger together. Our experienced and caring counselors are happy to answer your questions, so you can decide the best route for you. Why not give us a call or send a message today to learn more?