I read an actress in a recent article addressing the cheating nature between partners; men especially. Her perspective about cheating in relationships seems normal when coming from the male partner.
“Cheating doesn’t make a him a bad person, she’d say. It only validates him as a man” — Maybe we all have our individual interpretation for a “perfect relationship” I guess.
Generally, no one wants to be cheated on. Only few people can handle the pain that comes after a breach of trust occurs in any relationship.
Surviving Infidelity & Fighting For Your Marriage
Below, I have shared some simple but vital steps to take when you found out your husband is cheating for the first time or always.
1. Freak Out — Make Heavens Drop If You Can
There’s no two ways about it. You can not continue to blame yourself for staying faithful in a relationship which the other partner has taken for granted. If you find out your husband is cheating — go ahead and make a big issue out of it. Be sure to make him understand you are never going to take it. Even if you feel you can’t do without your relationship, you shouldn’t validate his actions; giving him an edge to do it again — No way!
2. Find Out Why He Cheated
When a man cheats, a woman is quick to conclude he cheated because of s.ex. People cheat due to many reasons and not always about the aforementioned. Sometimes, men cheat;
- when they are attracted to someone else
- when there’s poor communication in their current marriage or relationship
- when they want to seek attention
- when the want to deal with a loss
- when they simply want to brag among their friends
- when there’s stress in their marriage etc.
These however, should not validate their actions, but it is crucial to note there are other reasons to cheat. Find out why your husband cheated to help you decide on your next line of action. In addition, a man might cheat without even knowing how and why he did. Ask your partner questions like, “Please be honest with me. Tell me why you cheated and who is she”. Don’t be surprised if all you get was “I don’t know”. It might just be the honest response you’d ever get.
3. Make A Decision To Reinstall Trust
When a partner cheats in a relationship, it means such an individual doesn’t deserve a healthy relationship. You won’t be mistaking to conclude that a cheating partner is not worthy of a faithful partner as well.
However, good people are forced to make bad choices once in a while, but if they are truly sorry for their wrong steps and fully ready to make necessary corrections towards healing the relationship, forgiveness can play a great option. Here are some key hints worth considering to help you figure out the need to trust or never to trust him again. Ask yourself;
(i) is he truly sorry for his action?
(ii) did you found out on your own, from someone else, or he told you voluntarily?
(iii) is this happening for the first time?
(iv) do you think you can trust him again?
The final decisions to be made here is entirely dependent on the partner who was cheated on. Keep your mind off the offending partner whether he apologizes for his action or not. Friends and family may want to curb a quick way to resolve issues by giving advices. Just their own quota to getting your relationship back in shape as no one supports your being apart, but this is your life — not theirs. Family pressure should not dictate your decision here.
4. Ensure He Cut Off All Communication Channel With The Other Woman
The third party (being the main obstacle) should be taken out of the picture here. Request that your partner break all communication channels with the individual they cheated with, for the survival of your relationship. Meanwhile, this might be difficult if the person is a coworker for instance (someone they see on daily basis). It might also turn out to be a neighbour who stay close to your home. These are difficult situations which may requires quitting a job, or considering a relocation of environment. Either way, this is for the betterment of your relationship to work out. If you are willing to heal your family back to how it used to be when there was no interference of any kind, your partner should be willing to create boundaries with the intruder. If your partner is unwilling to cut off contact with the other person, this may be that he is not willing to stop cheating. When this is the case, it may be difficult for you to repair your relationship. You may need to acquire a restraining order binding the ‘home breaker’ away from you both.
5. Talk about it ONLY when you are ready
You have every rights to be angry, furious and hurt. Expressing this is healthy as it makes you human even. Getting to know about the infidelity of your partner is likely to cause you alot of emotional distress everytime you think about it. You may need some time to get yourself together before deciding to finally sit and talk about what happened with your better half.
It is very important that you discus about it with your partner — yes! But, it is not mandatory that you do it right away. You may want to take your time to better figure out ways to state your pains. Only talk about it when you feel you’re ready. You may be pressured by your partner to talk about it due to their own guilty conscience. Make him understand that you appreciate his willingness to talk but you are just too hurt right now to say anything. Ask him to give you time to put yourself together if he truly value your relationship. Your partner should know his actions has affected you. This being the reason why you needed some time to heal.
6. Fix Boundaries On Every Other Relationships Outside Your Marriage
You are in this relationship and so must be real. Extra-marital affairs often happens in relationships where the rights and boundaries of either parties are not respected.
You’ve got every rights to make it clear what these boundaries are and must ensure he begins to follow. To make it easier or for reference purpose, agree with your partner and make a list of the ‘dos’ and ‘donts’ of your relationship. Friendship and it’s conversations should be kept at their acceptable limits. No one-on-one ‘special’ outings with female friends. These would help re-establish trust in your relationship.
7. Ensure He Communicate All His Whereabouts To You
Laying more emphasis of trust re-establishment, there’s need to make your partner understand they have completely lost your trust. For this reason, they must communicate their whereabouts throughout the day to you in order to help you re-build that trust. Say things like, “I understand this may seem unfair to you, but I need you to help me regain your trust”
8. Forgive At Your Own Convenience
Your husband may feel remorse right after you find out he cheated, and would ensure he get you to forgive him ‘instantly’. This is as expected but you should only forgive him at your own time and NOT because he apologised. Truth is — true forgiveness, healing and trust re-establishment takes some time to come by. Moreover, your cheating partner knows they do not have any right to dictate when all these happens. You are not making a tough decision if you take more time to actualise forgiveness. This should happen at your own convenient time and must be based on your own terms. Make your partner understand you are still too hurt to jump into forgiving him just yet and that you need more time to cool your head. Be polite by saying something like, “I know how sorry you are and I appreciate if you keep apologizing but I’m just not sure I’m ready to forgive you yet”. This doesn’t make you a bad person. You are dealing with a deep wound here, which in most cases, is fatal to relationships. You are only telling your partner you’ve heard enough and can’t take it anymore.
9. Visit A Marriage Counselor
Sometimes, it is difficult handling issues like this without the help of an expert in the field. If for any reason you realized you can’t handle this alone, seek help from a counselor. Contact a licensed counselor who specializes in relationship and marital matters. When you approach a marriage counselor along with your partner, you are sure of getting better solution with your emotion even though they won’t offer you an INSTANT solution. They can also make bringing a relationship to an end super easy. Keep in mind that counselors tend to fix relationship but can easily identify if it’s survival has a slim chances too.
Quick note: REAL forgiveness takes a deep and long process to achieve. Healing as well might require two committed people working fervently to make it materialize.
Whatever happens, keep the other affair unknown to your children if you have them. This is meant to be between you and your partner. Never try to turn them against your husband or make them ‘fight’ the survival of your relationship on your behalf. Keeping your children away from the mess also involve NOT using them as a ‘threat’ for divorce and taking custody of them all.
If he’s cheating for the second time or regularly and feels remorse in each attempt, you may be in a relationship with an addict who’s not ready to quit this painful habit. I do not encourage divorce, but in this case, you need to refer back to a marriage counselor as suggested above.