It takes work, but reconciliation after cheating is possible. Infidelity does not mean a relationship has to end. Couples who survive cheating redefine and deepen their connection. That does take effort, but the dividends are substantial.
Cheating trauma can be overcome.
Discovering that your partner has cheated is traumatic. Seeking the support of a counsellor can be important to successful reconciliation. It can help in gaining perspective of each other’s position and feelings. Managing memories and re-calibrating the relationship will require forgiveness.
Depending on which research studies you read, 20-60% of the adult population openly admit to infidelity. If you have been cheated on you are not alone. What you need to ask yourself is if the connection your have with your partner is solid enough to work for. If you can forgive them, you have a fighting chance.
Communication is #1
Lack of clear communication is the #1 cause of marital breakdown and infidelity. That is an important reason to become more aware of the frequency and quality of the communication between you and your partner. People are vulnerable to the amorous attentions of others when some need is not being met. Low self-esteem leads some people to withdraw and others to step out. Talking about concerns, fantasies and laughing a lot is preventative medicine when it comes to cheating.
After a partner has cheated the first phase of processing the revelation is known as the “roller coaster”. There are usually a lot of raw emotions. In order to progress to the second phase requires motivation, kindness and the capacity to avoid blame. Phase two is known as the “moratorium”. Moving forward to work through the experience is a decision. To work that decision must be mutual.
The M.O.s of Cheating
There are many different types of affairs. Some are just for sex, that basically means that the sex at home is disconnected. Others have extracurricular affairs because they are still discovering their sexual identity. One controversial category is that of sex addicts. There is a lot of disagreement surrounding this phenomenon, many claim it is simply a contrived legal mechanism to get serial philanderers off the hook. Real or not the consequences of sexual addiction for a committed relationship are nonetheless devastating.
Some one-night stands are simply opportunistic: “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”. Some want to explore new sexual territory and are afraid to go there with their partner. Some affairs are mid-life events seeking to bolster self-esteem. The worst of the worst though is retaliatory sex. When the purpose of the tryst is to intentionally hurt the other partner, there are much deeper problems involved.
Hope + Work = Reconciliation
What ever the circumstances surrounding the infidelity, if both partners are willing to take stock and share candidly there is hope. If you are determined and willing to communicate openly reconciliation is a realistic outcome. Couples who have worked through such challenges can have stronger and more enduring relationships.
The cheater needs to come clean. That is not easy to do. He or she must be willing to answer uncomfortable questions. They need to be willing to share what they were thinking and feeling. They need to have the courage to express unmet needs.
Listen without Judgement
The partner that has been cheated on needs to be willing to listen without judgement. If they cannot hear their partner, then the relationship can never be saved. If they can open their heart enough to listen with compassion and empathy, they can grow together in happiness.
Love is stronger than novelty. Keep trying to seduce each other. Flirt shamelessly. Let your partner know you want them erotically. Share your fantasies and make up new ones together. The pressures of daily life ebb and flow, if you take each other by the hand you can meet any challenge.