Your spouse cheated on you, and you feel sick… sick down to your soul.
How can you move past this point of pain and despair, and feel happy again?
Having your spouse break your trust is one of the cruelest things that could happen to a person.
It costs the victim so much.
It would be great if you could wave a wand and make the pain of the affair go away…
… And to never have felt the agony of betrayal by your partner?
Sadly, if you’re reading this, then you know that’s not possible.
The pain is real and the betrayal did happen.
But at some point after the affair came out in the open and the dust settled, you’re probably wondering if your relationship can ever recover from the cheating and lying or whether it is better to just call it quits and move on.
While no one can make that decision for you, in this article I’ll give you some guidelines that will answer your questions and help you navigate the path of recovering from cheating in your relationship.
Can You Recover if Your Partner Cheats?
If your partner cheated you’re likely to be assaulted with a multitude of emotions and questions that seem to have no end.
Without a discernable pattern you can’t sleep or eat.
Your thoughts are obsessive.
You cry at the drop of a hat and feel empty, used up, and exhausted from the visions and flashbacks.
The stress is consuming your energy and you feel like there is nothing left.
In fact, you probably feel like there is no end in sight and you’ll never get past the pain and hurt you’ve experienced. But, while the reality is that you WILL get through this, the recovery time is not easy and not short.
How that recovery journey goes will depend upon whether or not you have any intention of working with your partner to heal the wounds and try again.
The recovery period can take years and much of it will depend upon the partner who did the cheating.
At some point you have to have a truthful conversation with your partner about whether or not they believe the affair is over and they also want to heal the relationship.
Because, quite honestly, if they aren’t committed to healing and change, then you’re only in for another big surprise, more hurt and pain and the end of the relationship in a couple months or years.
Without your partner’s commitment to change and healing then you have nothing to work toward or work on.
But, if your partner wants to heal and change, then this is the first step in YOUR recovery and journey toward healing. The reality is that your healing will take as long as it takes you and not how long anyone else expects it to take you.
Your partner must be a positive influence now or it just won’t work.
In these coming months you’ll experience…
- problems with self-control
- and physical symptoms such as crying at the drop of a hat
- lack of appetite
- and sometimes abnormal tics
Remember that if you truly want this in your life and your partner is willing to acknowledge their part and work with you then getting through this challenge is definitely possible and even likely.
However, when just one of you is not willing to work through the pain, have patience and understanding or acknowledge their part in the scenario then nothing will ever work out.
Determine if You Want to Repair the Relationship After Cheating
Cheating is one of the most painful things you might experience in your life.
… and confusion
While it might not feel like it’s possible at the time, you can heal from the infidelity.
The question is not can you, but do you want to?
To repair the relationship both of you have to want to and be committed to working through both the issues of infidelity and the problems which triggered the affair in the first place.
While no one took your partner by the hand and led them to start an affair, you also had a part in the breakdown of the relationship.
It will be difficult to own up to, but no breakdown is the fault of just one person.
The first thing to determine is whether or not you feel the relationship is worth saving and if you are willing to work through the issues. You’ll have to recognize that the original relationship is gone, forever.
It will be different from this point forward, whether you want it to or not.
And, you’ll have to determine if you’re willing to own your own responsibility in the relationship.
The next question is whether or not your partner believes the relationship is worth saving AND is willing to do everything in their power to win back your trust and love.
Because, quite honestly, without a complete commitment from your partner this relationship is doomed, more sooner than later.
Sometimes the cheating partner is not worth it.
If they have cheated on you or another person in the past, it probably says more about their character than they would like to admit.
This situation sounds more like someone who does it consistently in their life and not someone who can tell you that it was a one-off experience.
If this was a one-off night, what led to the experience?…
… Did he fall into the arms of another woman because you’ve been holding out for weeks?
… Did she succumb to the charms of another man because you’ve not been paying attention to her?
… Has your relationship been on the rocks for months and your partner was looking for validation or release?
A one-off experience often generates so much regret and remorse that your partner is more than willing to do anything to heal this relationship.
But, if the affair has been going on for months and is now more of a relationship than an affair, you have a whole ‘nother situation on your hands.
Men and women who have been working to conceal an affair for months may be on the brink of leaving your relationship in the first place.
If the affair comes to light, it could be all the motivation they need to leave your relationship and move in with the new person.
However, sometimes this sideline affair has been so deeply ingrained in their lives that they hadn’t considered what would happen if they were ever found out.
Their new partner may also have been comfortable with the arrangement, not pushing for any permanent relationship.
Ask yourself these questions before you decide if THIS is the relationship you want or if moving on and moving forward is a better choice.
Reasons You Should Not Use to Stay After Cheating
After infidelity, cheating or any other word you use to describe the event in which you have lost trust in your partner, you might struggle with the question of whether you should forgive your partner.
There are many reasons that you might stay and good reasons to work through the issues, but there are also some very bad reasons that you might use to justify trying to work things out.
Before making your decision, be sure that the reason you are staying isn’t related to your insecurities or poor self-esteem.
1) You might be tempted to stay if you think that you can’t find anyone better to spend your time with.
2) You might be scared that no one else would ever love you again or that you can’t get over this particular person.
3) Maybe you’re willing to settle because the other people in your life cheat on their partners and you believe it’s just the way things are done.
4) You might not want to be alone for long or think that you aren’t whole or enough of a person on your own to be worthy.
Another poor reason to stick with a relationship in which one of you has cheated is that you think you can “fix them.”
You might have discovered that they use pornography, have sexual conversations with other women or share pictures with another person. And, while there is no physical breach, there is an emotional one which is just as devastating.
But, when confronted your partner cries and asks for help for this ‘problem’ that they have. You love them, you have time and energy invested in the relationship and don’t want to throw it all away.
However, while they may appear contrite and remorseful, it is their responsibility to ‘fix’ them self and not yours.
If they do have a problem with pornography or repeatedly start non-physical or physical relationships with other people it is there problem to fix.
And, while fixing it, they shouldn’t be in a relationship with you or anyone else. If this person truly wants to change and prove them self to you, they will.
Otherwise you are only playing right into their hand and will find yourself up against the same challenge in a few weeks, months or a year.
You might also decide to stick it out because you don’t think you can do it on your own. But, before you know it the same problem is staring you in the face AGAIN and whatever trust you’ve begun to build has been destroyed.
You made it on your own before they came along and you can do it again today.
There are good reasons to stay in a relationship with a partner who has cheated…
… if they are truly remorseful and willing to do anything in the world to rebuild your trust in them
… if you both feel the relationship is worth saving
… if you get professional help
.. .and if you both acknowledge the problems in the relationship that were triggered by your behavior.
But if these four factors aren’t in place then any decision you make to stay is one sided and destined to failure.
How to Deal With Your Emotions After Cheating
Infidelity is one the most painful things that can happen to you.
There aren’t enough painkillers in the world take away the pain you’ll be experiencing in the coming weeks and months.
… if your partner is showing true remorse, is asking for forgiveness and wants a second chance then there are a few things that you can do to work through your pain with your partner.
Now, while you might think that it’s important to get past the initial feelings of betrayal and broken trust, physical symptoms and unstable emotions in order to work this all out with your partner – it’s important that you first work through those feelings first.
Although it’s critical to get past the stage, it’s also important that you don’t overlook it because otherwise it will come back and bite you, hard.
In order to move through the emotions and not bury them or go around them, you have to acknowledge them and open yourself up.
You might be afraid of what will happen when you open up the emotional flood gates…
… will you be able to come back
… or will you be forever swirling around the drain?
While it might be difficult to get through the emotions, you will come back from the pain.
The more you keep these feelings bottled up the greater the chance that you’ll experience an explosion instead.
Then, instead of just your partner who experiences the backlash of the situation it will fall on anyone who is standing in your way – boss, friends, family or children.
It won’t matter because you won’t be able to hold in.
It will feel difficult to open up but you have to unload those feelings on someone – a trusted friend, counselor, therapist, pastor or family member.
Unloading those feelings will help you process them as you speak them aloud and will help you to physically unload the emotions.
You might not want to think about utilizing the help of a professional, but a professional is exactly who you need right now.
When you are talking with them they will be objective, not take one side or the other, help you process your emotions and will encourage you to talk about everything.
Don’t hold anything back – it’s that important.
Before you can move past the cheating you have to work through the emotions and accept the reality of what happened.
… ignore it
… go around it
… jump over it
… or otherwise suppress it
You can’t unlive the negative emotions or pretend that it doesn’t happen.
You might be able to fool yourself but you can’t fool your heart.
As long as you don’t accept that what happened actually did happen, and feel the pain over and over again, then you won’t get past the pain and move on toward healing.
This means that every day you feel the pain of what happened, you acknowledge the existence of the cheating and start to imagine a future where the pain of today no longer exists.
Although time is a great healer – it doesn’t do the healing. It is what YOU DO with the time that makes it important in healing. If you do nothing then you do no healing.
You will have anger and hurt toward your partner and it’s important that you talk about that with them. Anger and pain are powerful emotions and you’ll be reminded daily of those emotions if you don’t face them and communicate with your partner truthfully and authentically.
Tell your partner about your pain, your hurt, your physical and emotional symptoms, about your grief, your anger and everything in between.
Tell them everything.
If they aren’t able to handle the outpouring of emotion from their actions then they may not be mature enough to handle the healing process.
Don’t apologize for how you feel or what you’re going through.
This is not your fault.
At no point did you point your partner to another person and tell them to have an affair.
After cheating, if your partner honestly wants to rebuild your relationship, is truly sorry and asking for forgiveness, they should be doing everything in their power to help you through this period in your life.
Don’t settle for anything less.
Repair The Relationship After Cheating
After cheating and infidelity it may feel like you’ll never be able to repair the relationship and move on.
The partner who was cheated on will have to work through a myriad of emotions ranging from…
… hurt to pain
… and debilitating physical symptoms
However, while it is difficult and challenging, you can repair this relationship under specific conditions.
You’ll first have to answer the question of whether or not this relationship is the one you want and are willing to work on.
Once you’ve come to the conclusion that you and your partner are willing to do what it takes to repair the relationship and restore your partnership, then it’s time to move forward.
1. You’ll both need space. If at all possible, the partner who did the cheating should move out for several days so the one who was cheated on can work through their emotions. During this time don’t have contact with each other.
The partner who did the cheating should leave the other partner alone. Give them the space they need or the rest of the journey can become corrupted.
2. The partner who did the cheating must be able to acknowledge what they did and when. Although it’s difficult and challenging, it has to be done.
The cheating partner may believe that the affair was only the tip of the iceberg and the rest of the relationship was problematic to begin with – the problem or transgression of cheating must first be acknowledged.
3. Ask for a meeting between the two of you. Make sure that the cheating partner is clear that this is NOT a kiss and make up meeting – but in fact a fact finding mission. The cheating partner must be ready to answer any and all questions.
If they aren’t, then it’s time to move on.
If they can’t answer your questions then they aren’t ready to do everything necessary to heal your relationship. Once you have your answers you can determine if you want to repair this relationship.
4. In the meantime the partner who did the cheating should be working out what drove them to cheat in the first place. If they can’t identify the trigger and fix it, the problem will likely raise it’s ugly head once more.
Infidelity is rarely the result of a momentary lapse.
The cheating spouse may feel lonely or left out of your life. It might be emotional or lack of sexual gratification – which is actually a common reason that women cheat.
5. If you move back in together, limit the amount of time that the infidelity takes up in your conversation. Yes, you have to talk about it and get out the issues.
But, talking about it 24/7 won’t help either of you get past the issues. Set aside 15-30 minutes each day to talk about it – at the instigation of the partner who was cheated on.
6. Build a new relationship between you. The old one is dead and gone and can’t be resurrected, so don’t try. What will be missing is trust. So, while the new relationship may be exciting to start and start over – you won’t have trust.
It is incredibly important that you both determine that trust is the most important factor in this new relationship that must be built.
This means transparency and honesty about everything, at every time. If one partner asks a question there can be no lies – ever.
7. Engage professional help. Although neither of you may want to use the services of a therapist or counselor, you’ll have better results if you work with a good counselor.
There are bad counselors who can speed your permanent separation, but a good counselor can help you both see the relationship objectively and honestly.
How to Move on After a Cheating Partner
A cheating partner will break your heart, tear apart your ability to trust and create a divide between you that it can be impossible to repair.
If you’ve decided that repair and restoration are out of the question for any number of reasons, then it’s time to get down to the business of healing and moving on in your life.
Moving on doesn’t necessarily imply another romance, but it does mean that you’ll heal, learn to trust again and enjoy living every day.
While those goals sound pretty good, they can take months or even a year or two to accomplish. The breach of trust, especially for a woman, is something that is difficult to overcome.
If you think about how you talk about sex – a woman ‘gives’ her body and a man ‘takes’ what he wants – it can give you a better perspective on how much more difficult it can be for a woman to learn to trust men again in order to give away something precious.
However, while challenging and difficult, it is possible and must become your goal.
Without healing and restoration of your own self, man or woman, you are carrying baggage which will certainly destroy any subsequent relationships and often leave you feeling bitter and angry.
And seriously, who wants to live that way?
Your first step is to allow yourself to actually feel all the feelings that are overwhelming you. Don’t box them up and put them away or they’ll come out and bite you when you least expect it.
Instead, allow yourself the time to grieve and feel the pain because you have to go through it to get over it.
Many people find it helpful and productive to use the services of a therapist or counselor to vent their feelings and develop constructive ways of expressing the pain, hurt, anger and frustration at the way that life appears to have worked out.
However, some professionals, like some friends, can do more harm than good. It’s important that you get referrals from people who have used counselors or call your local women’s shelter for the names of the therapists that they use.
Forgiveness is an important part of your own healing process.
Believe it or not, forgiveness is more important for the person who was cheated on than the cheater.
Without giving forgiveness to your ex-partner, whether it was asked for or not, you will often be left with anger and bitterness that eats away at you.
Often times your ex-partner won’t even know that you’re still harboring feelings of pain and bitterness as they blithely go about their merry way.
But that bitterness will poison everything else you touch until you learn forgiveness.
Set goals for yourself over the coming weeks, months and years.
These goals should be in any area of your life you’d like – whether financial, emotional, health or relational.
The act of thinking and planning for the future will help you to overcome the past and work toward something you can imagine in your life.
Remember that time doesn’t heal a thing. It’s what you do with the time that makes the difference in whether you can function in the coming days, weeks and months ahead.
It’s how you choose to heal that will be a powerful indicator of whether or not you’ll be able to enter into another relationship in a healthy way that increases the potential you’ll be happy.
Use your time well.
How to Find Love After Cheating
After a spouse or partner has cheated on you it can devastate your world.
Suddenly your entire universe is turned upside down.
You don’t know who to trust and how much you should trust.
You can experience physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vomiting and physical pain.
You may cry during the day for no apparent reason, have difficulty with eating or sleeping and be depressed.
But slowly, often after months or even a year or two, these symptoms resolve and you begin to heal from the experience.
At this point you might be thinking and wondering how you could possibly find another person to love, who would love you and more importantly who you could trust.
But, as difficult as it is to imagine right now, that’s exactly what can happen if you put in the time, effort and work to healing and developing a new trust in other people.
They say that time heals all wounds, but realistically time doesn’t heal anything.
Instead, it’s the work that you put into the time you are spending that determines whether or not you’ll heal and once again be able to find and return real love for another person.
Real love is the key here.
… Because real love is different than the fairy tale story that we either tell ourselves or which we see on television and in the movies.
… Real love is based on trusting the other person, accepting their faults and problems and working through them together.
… Real love doesn’t mean that the other person will automatically know your doubts, fears and needs and be able to meet all of them without guidance or questions.
It’s up to you to talk authentically and transparently with your partner about what you need and how they can give it to you.
Before you get there however, you have to have come to terms with the actions of your last partner. Learn from your past experiences and don’t repeat the same mistakes twice.
In other words, while you may have always loved the ‘bad boys’ or ‘dirty girls’ in your group, this may just be the person who cheated on you. It’s time to look at the past and keep yourself from repeating the same mistakes.
That’s what the this experience has been about – learning what not to do the next time.
Another step in the process of finding true love is to acknowledge your own part in the cheating. You might not have been the one cheating, but you were one of two in a relationship.
You didn’t make the decision to break the trust, but you might have had a hand in the decision your partner made.
Be humble and recognize that at no time is it just one person’s mistake. Time to own up to what you did too.
How are you working on repairing your relationship after the infidelity? Or did you decide to move on? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.