Cheating Partner, Should they be forgiven?
Cheating is one great offense that have killed so many relationship.. Deciding to forgive your partner or not is a decision that requires Care to avoid unnecessary mistakes.
Here are guides to help you in forgiving your partner or not
1.) Decide if you want to re-establish trust.
When a partner is unfaithful, it is a serious breach of trust. And it is something that may indicate that this person is not worthy or capable of a healthy relationship. On one hand, good people make bad choices and if they are truly sorry and can make amends, forgiveness can lead to an even better relationship. On the other hand, if you simply cannot trust that person again, the relationship is effectively dead. Some key things to consider:
- Is your partner truly sorry?
- Did they voluntarily tell you, or did you find out from someone else?
- Has this sort of behavior happened before, or has he or she promised to not do it, and it has continued or gotten worse?
- Is this part of a larger picture of poor behavior towards you?
- Is your partner willing to take steps to mend the relationship (if you decide you want to go that route) such as marital counseling, quitting a job, moving, etc.?
- Do you feel you want to trust this person again? There is no right or wrong answer for this. This is entirely up to the person who has been cheated on. It does not matter if the person who has cheated is sorry, made amends, and so on — this can be a deal breaker plain and simple.
Feelings may change with time and further experience with the cheating partner. It can go one way or the other. This is natural.
Well-meaning friends and relatives may want to give simple advice to make a quick, definitive decision. Be aware that you do not have to make a decision right away in most cases. It is your life.
2.) Understand the nature of your partner’s cheating.
People cheat for many different reasons and it is not always about sex. Sometimes people cheat because they are seeking an emotional connection, trying to deal with a loss or crisis, or seeking an escape. This is not an excuse or reason for the behavior, however.
» Do not assume that your partner’s cheating was all about sex. Find out why they cheated before you move forward. Try telling your partner, “I need to know why you cheated and who it was. Please be honest with me and tell me what happened”
»Be aware that they may not really know why the infidelity happened. They may not really have deeply thought about it, or even if they did, they still may not really know why. And there may be reasons not fully understood by the person. This does not excuse it, but realize “I don’t know” may be the honest answer. Some common reasons include:
- Attraction to a different person.
- A desire for attention, excitement, or novelty.
- A troubled marriage: poor communication, stress in the marriage, partners growing apart.
- If the person’s parent was unfaithful (especially the same sex).
- The individual comes from culture or subculture that expects and tolerates infidelity.
- Mental illness or disorders. People who cheat are not mentally ill, but a mental illness such as bipolar disorder, depression, or even severe attention deficit disorder can all contribute to poor decision making.
3.) Request that your partner cut off all communication with the third party.
The third (or even fourth or fifth) party needs to be out of the picture for the relationship to survive. Boundaries were breached, and they need to be re-established in a way that protects the relationship. That means asking your partner to break all ties with the person. This severing may be difficult if the third party is a coworker or someone else that your partner sees on a daily basis.
- This may require a change in lifestyle, such as quitting a job, the softball team, or moving to a new town.
- If the relationship was of a very close family member (such as a sibling), this can be extremely awkward and difficult. Not only is your romantic relationship damaged, but close family relationships as well.
- If your partner is unwilling to cut off contact with the third party, it may be a sign that they are unwilling to stop cheating. In this case, you may not be able to repair the relationship.
- If the third party continues to pursue your partner despite being cut off, you and your partner may want to pursue a restraining order to keep this person away from you both.
4.) Communicate with your partner when you are ready.
Learning that your partner has had an affair is likely cause you to experience a high level of emotional distress. You may need some time before you can talk to your partner about what happened. It is important to discuss the affair in order to move forward in your relationship, but don’t feel like you have to discuss the affair with your partner right away. Take your time and talk about it when you feel ready.
- If your partner pressures you to talk, say something like, “I appreciate that you want to talk, but I am just too hurt right now to talk about what happened. Please show your love for me by giving me space and time.”
- It is OK to be very, very angry. You have every right to be hurt, angry, and otherwise furious. Expressing this is healthy, as it is not OK to be cheated on and your partner needs to know how his or her actions affect you. Not being honest and open about this means they do not have to face the reality of what has been done, and you may implode if you try to squelch these natural and normal feelings.If they try to avoid or blame you, this is a sign that they are not truly accepting responsibility. You can say something like, ” I want to keep the focus on your behavior.”
5.) Set boundaries about relationships outside of your marriage.
Affairs often happen when healthy relationship boundaries are not respected. You have every right to make it clear what these are, even if the other person gives excuses or “reasons” for the affair.
- For example, your partner should not talk to a work friend about you or your marital issues. You and your partner can work together to compile a list of topics that are acceptable as well as topics that are not acceptable for conversations with friends and coworkers.
- Friendships do not involve any sexuality. One does not kiss (except in polite greeting in certain cultures), flirt, or otherwise engage in even mild sexual behavior.
- There should be no one-on-one outings with people that risks infidelity. This means no drinks with single (or even married) co-workers, for instance. This may seem harsh, but this can help re-establish trust.
- Emotional intimacy belongs in the marriage. This does not mean you cannot have a best friend to confide in, but at some point it can cross the line to what is not appropriate.
6.) Ask your partner to make their whereabouts known to you throughout the day.
In order to reestablish trust, your partner will need to understand that they have lost your trust. For this reason, you will need to know where your partner is at all times. This may seem unfair to your partner, but it is necessary if they are committed to regaining your trust.
- Take caution not to cross into being demanding or controlling when doing this. It’s fine to check with your partner about where they are, but it’s not healthy to flood them with texts or calls, nor is it okay to threaten them or the relationship if they don’t reply immediately. It’s understandable to be suspicious, but your behavior also needs to be appropriate.
7.) Talk about your partner’s cheating, but set limits.
You, as the betrayed party, get to decide your limits and what you want to know when.
- One idea: schedule two 30 minute sessions each week to talk to your partner about the affair, rather than spreading the questions throughout the week.
- Don’t ask your partner to reveal things that will be too hurtful for you to hear. You decide when and if you want certain information. You reserve the right to not know things as well.
8.) Forgive on your own terms.
Your partner may be extremely apologetic and desperate for you to say that you forgive them, right then and there. But true forgiveness and healing will likely take time. And there is no timetable on that. The person who cheated must understand that they do not have the right to dictate when the healing happens. It is okay if you need more time to heal before you forgive your partner. To help your partner understand, let them know that you are still too hurt to forgive just yet and that you need more time.
- Say something like, “I appreciate your apologies and I want you to keep apologizing, but I am just not ready to forgive you yet.”
- It is OK to not forgive. Cheating is a deep wound, and sometimes is fatal to a relationship. This does not necessarily mean you are not a good or nice person or otherwise not loving enough. It is OK to say you have had enough.
9.) Seek help from a counselor.
Dealing with a cheating partner on your own is difficult. If it is too hard for you and your partner to work through this process on your own, seek the help of a licensed counselor who specializes in marital issues. A marriage counselor can help you to deal with your emotions and have more constructive conversations.
- Keep in mind that marriage counseling will not offer an instant solution. Reestablishing trust in your relationship will take time.
- Marriage or couples counseling can also help make ending the relationship smoother. Although counselors tend to try to fix relationships, they can help the individuals recognize when it is not working, and how to move forward in that direction as well.
Building a Better Relationship
1.) Encourage your partner to be more open with you.
Sharing more of your emotions with your partner and encouraging your partner to do the same with you will help strengthen your bond. Make it a habit to confide in each other every day. Some opening questions for confiding in your partner include:“
- Remember when we used to go walking and talking around the neighborhood, walking the dogs together? Let’s do that tonight… How about it?”
- “What happened yesterday between us didn’t go so well, and I want to try another way — can we start over, and this time I will take some deep breaths and listen more patiently. I also want to say what works better for me and find out what you are hoping for.”
2.) Be considerate of each other’s needs.
In order to move forward in your relationship, you will both need to learn how to understand each other’s needs. The best way to uncover what your partner needs, and let them know what you need, is to talk about it.
- If you are not sure what your spouse wants or needs, the best way to find out is to ask questions and listen. If you still are not sure, ask more questions. For example, you could say something like, “I think that what you need from me is ________. Is that what you mean?”
3.) Appreciate each other.
Showing appreciation through sincere compliments is an important part of a healthy relationship. Make sure that you and your partner are aware of the importance of complimenting each other and that you both know how to do it well. Good compliments should not only be sincere and specific, they should also be phrased as an “I” statement rather than as a “you” statement.
- For example, if your partner cleans the kitchen, don’t say “You did a nice job of cleaning the kitchen.” Instead, say “Iappreciate that you cleaned the kitchen.” Using I instead of you lets your partner know how you feel, not just that you noticed.
4.) Ask your partner to commit to change.
If you decide that you are ready to move forward in your relationship with your partner, you should ask your partner to promise you that they will not follow the same pattern of behavior that led to the affair. Ask your partner to articulate or even write out what that behavior includes and commit to change.
5.) Establish consequences to deal with the possibility of another affair.
Since there is a possibility that your partner may cheat again, you should work together to establish consequences for another affair. These consequences may include things like divorce or other repercussions. You may want to get these consequences in writing and work with a lawyer to make them legally.
6.) Know when to end the relationship.
If things don’t improve despite all of your best efforts and the help of marriage counseling, you may have to accept that the relationship cannot be repaired. Signs that the relationship may be beyond repair include
- Constant fighting.
- Inability to connect with your partner
- Inability to empathize with or receive empathy from your partner
- Hurt and anger that does not subside with time
- Inability to forgive your partner