According to the most conservative estimates, cheating destroys a quarter to a half of all couples. It hurts to find out that you have been cheated on. It is difficult to decide what to do next. In this article, we are giving a detailed and simple plan to help control emotions and decide whether to continue the relationship or to separate.
Clarify the facts
If your relationship is under attack, first make sure that you have all the information. If you suspect your partner, if someone told you about your being cheated on, do not make hasty conclusions. Talk. It hurts in any case, and there’s no way to escape it. But you have to find out the following:
What has really happened? A virtual flirt or a date? A strong emotional extramarital connection or just a physical act?
What were the circumstances of infidelity? Is it a carefully hidden affair or a simple “I-don’t-know-how-it-happened” situation? There is a huge difference between using a website to find a sexual partner and a drunken kiss at a party.
- When did cheating take place?
- Was it the only time or not?
- What relationship does your partner have with that other person?
- Does the partner want to save your relationship? You may not have to think what to do next.
- Did your partner think about safety when cheating? Perhaps it will not affect your decision, but at least you’ll know whether you need to run to a doctor or not.
Caution: Do not ask about all the juicy details of adultery. For example, the inner voice needs to know if the other person is better or worse in bed. But objectively, this information cannot help you.
Take a break to recover
Having learned about the fact of adultery, you cannot control your emotions. It takes time for the world to return to its usual position. Besides, you need time to consider further action.
After you listen to the partner, say you need to be alone and think it over. Ask him not to interfere with you until you volunteer to do that. You can set a specific timeframe, or simply say you will call your partner when you’re ready.
Most likely, after learning about the fact of cheating you will want to take tough measures, whatever they may be. Someone wants to immediately return everything to its previous state. After such turmoil, many often begin to feel an irresistible need for a partner. And someone just decides to burn all the bridges and never look back.
Try to resist such impulses and make decisions with your head cool and your heart calm.
While you relax from each other, do your best to recover. At work, you can say you feel unwell. Call your best friends and talk to them. Sleep. Eat. Walk in the fresh air. Go to the gym. Jot down all the painful thoughts on paper. Cook. Sing. Do anything you want to feel better. As long as possible. In fact, few of us are used to taking care of ourselves, so this stage will not be easy. But the effort is worth trying.
Visiting a therapist is a good idea. This can happen because even the most loyal friends get bored listening to your story for the tenth time. Talk to someone whom you do not irritate, and at the same time work through the problem, instead of just sharing the negative.
Decide what to do
It is not simple to get at a solution, but you will be able to regain control over yourself after a pause and recovery. What do you need to consider?
- How strong was the adultery? As mentioned above, there is a difference between a fleeting affection and a long-lasting extramarital affair. Do not neglect the reasons.
- Was it not the first betrayal? If history repeats itself, do not expect that the partner’s behavior will change. It is also necessary to consider whether your partner cheated in past relationships.
- How long have you been together? If your relationship is just beginning, it will be easier to terminate it. And if you have lived about ten years together, the time spent together may outweigh a single mistake.
- Is it worth saving the relationship? Cheating may signal that the relationship, in fact, ended long ago. If you cannot imagine a common future, why should you pull this dead horse with you? Sometimes it is better to solve the problem before everything gets confused.
- Does the partner understand how his actions affect the relationship? If he does not repent, there is nothing to forgive. Keep in mind how you learned about the cheating: was it a confession or did someone just fail to hide it?
- Is your partner willing to work on the relationship? What specific steps does he intend to make: to talk, to promise, to go on vacation with you?
- Are you ready to fully forgive infidelity? This means that you will never seek compensation for what you had to go through, and you will not recall this cheating during future rows.
It is difficult to separate from the emotions, but you need a reasonable decision.
If you decide to leave
Your solution is clear. There is just one tip: when leaving, do not keep the offense and everything related to this relationship. Do not follow the former partner, do not expect an apology, and try to forget the whole story as soon as possible.
If you decide to stay
Reunion after infidelity is a painful process. Try some old effective methods for a speedy recovery.
Attend a psychological consultation
A professional look from aside and a frank conversation will help to overcome the misunderstanding and move on.
Get ready for an emotional storm
Emotional pain is slow to leave, and emotions can be caused by anything. Looking at a couple walking hand in hand will lead to an emotional explosion. Get ready to cry at breakfast, quarrel at lunch and suffer at dinner. To overcome the emotions, give them a way out. Try to keep a diary and write down everything you have in your head. An attempt to control yourself will delay the process of forgetting your feelings.
Do not get obsessed
After the experienced trouble, the brain will work in an emergency mode, trying to understand how it happened. In fact, it is an unconscious attempt to protect yourself from repeating the mistake in future. Unfortunately, these attempts are useless. You will never be able to anticipate and predict everything that happens between you and your love partner. And when the thoughts about infidelity return again and again, restrain them. Take a breath and remind yourself that getting obsessed with the whole situation makes everything worse.
Still, it is not necessary to inquire about the details of your partner’s infidelity. Sometimes it is best not to know.
Be prepared for the fact that your sex life will change
Sex will be different. The person, who has been cheated on, feels the pressure and compares himself/herself to that unknown person. This can lead to a total paralysis of sex life. But it is also the reason to add something new and overcome some prohibitions.
Do not fill your partner’s private space
After adultery, it seems possible to avoid its recurrence by reinforcing control. Someone begins to read messages on the partner’s phone, check the mail, phone his friends, and so on. The nightmare begins. Trying to get into the personal space will not restore confidence and guarantee future honesty. On the contrary, you will evoke more anger at the time when you need to seek common ground. Nobody can live happily under total control.
You will aggravate your anxiety, every time expecting to see the confirmation of your fears in someone else’s mail.
Restore the relationship, taking into consideration the new knowledge
Sometimes cheating is committed under the influence of the moment, and sometimes it is a sign of serious problems in the relationship. When the critical stage of resentment is over, you can discuss your future again and understand the causes of the action. Maybe, the couple lacked sex, attention and interest. Or perhaps your views on the ideal relationship are simply not the same. In the end, we are not all monogamous by nature, and if one of the partners has a different point of view, changing the person according to your likes will hardly be successful.
Let your partner go
Cheating seems inexcusable. But if you have already decided to forgive, and if your partner is doing everything to regain your trust, things cannot continue this way until the end of life. If you do not find the strength to get over this stage, staying together may turn out a bad idea.
Do not expect that the situation will get better and better with each day. But time really heals, so give your relationship a chance not to fall into a precipice.