Can a relationship survive after cheating?
"If the feeling is mutual, the effort will be equal"
"Can a relationship survive after cheating?" is the most common question after infidelity has occurred, yet is not easy to get the answer. It's more than, whether anyone can answer this question. However, counselling for infidelity or well known as cheating is not uncommon.
Many relationships or marriages do not survive infidelity because the trust has been broken and forgiveness is hard. Most of the time, the infidelity occurs when one of the partners (aware or not aware) feels dissatisfaction in their relationship, or one of the partners feels dissatisfaction in themselves.
However, there are many other reasons for cheating, and they may have very little to do with the relationship, the attitudes, appearances or the behaviours of either spouse. Let's look at a positive way of repairing your relationship and to build the trust that has been broken after the infidelity.
The first step is to involve your partner who has been offended by the infidelity, to attempt to bridge the gaps that have been developed.
Repaired After CheatingTake responsibility.
Face your feelings and your fears, and share these with your partner/spouse who have been offended. Sometimes, the emotional closeness in your relationship has been cut off resulting in one or both of you becoming vulnerable to outside attentions.
Choose time to have this conversation and let the offended partner processes the information in their own time. Please note: it is up to you to disclose the details of the incident. Disclosing it too much or or not enough has equal effect of the injury, however this will differ with each couple in different situation or relationships.
Acknowledge that what you did was hurtful to your partner and be mindful that this may take time to heal. By acknowledging that you are conscious that your partner is injured by your infidelity, coupled with genuine apology and empathy, you express your commitment to repair the relationship.
Committed to change
This may be easy to say than be done. This normally will need a strong commitment by both of you. Building trust after being cheated on or lied to is a challenging period in the relationship. It will need a plan to overcome this. Often, this is where counselling plays a big role in mediating and developing a plan in helping each partner heal.
Put the infidelity or cheating in perspective.
By talking with a therapist, you may be able to get a clearer view of issues that may have contributed to the infidelity and to process your feelings and help you and your partner addressing underlying issues within the relationship. This may involve discussing mutual problems and bring all the secrets out in the open. This may also show that you are able to commit that you are not engaging outside the relationship again,
Although, you may not be interested in details of the affair, you can only find relief from wondering and final closure on the affair by letting go all the secrets. The secrets may make you angry, you can deal with the anger in therapy as part of the healing process.
Working on building trust
If you are uncertain about your feelings, it may be useful to take quality time to reflect on this. Nevertheless, a commitment not to cheating again during this waiting period is recommended - first to allow the offender to have a clear mind when reflecting on this relationship, - and second, to build trust - even if the relationship may end in the future, at least it will help to end in respectful terms.
Yes, damage has been done, and the best solution is to dissolve this painful relationship immediately? Sometimes - you feel that the best immediate solution is to end the relationship. But it is important to understand why you choose to end it.
If your aim is to 'get even' with your partner and to quickly move on to find another partner, this may feel good for a brief period of time. However, it does not erase the hurtful feelings, such as; - trauma, rejection, loss of trust or loss of self-esteem or loss of your dreams that you have built in the relationship.
Whatever choice you make, it depends upon many elements. What do you believe is the basic character style of your partner and what do you believe are the reasons for the infidelity? Perhaps, the injured partner has been neglecting the relationship and the needs of the offender partner for a long time. Sometimes, some couples remain together even though both are really unhappy and it takes one person to do something different to cause the breakup. The reasons for cheating may not be due to lack of love or lack of sexual desire for the partner.
This is where the problem becomes complex and one simple answer does not work for every couple or every situation. I do believe "when there is a will, there is a way" - "when there is a love, there is a way", even after the cheating or betrayal. Counselling sessions can either help to repair a broken relationship, or they can help each person to finally understand their own thoughts and feelings and one or both may discover that this relationship no longer serves them the way it used to be.
The counselling process can be difficult or very painful, but this is temporary and the way out is to go through it. Once all the emotions have been expressed - this can be forgiveness to self or to others - each person can gradually heal as they let go of the painful feelings or the relationship and get ready to start socialising again.
Counselling and psychotherapy are not a quick solution. They provide a safe and private place to explore what is going on in your life, and your relationship in light of your personality, family history, personal dreams, phantasies and goals. Before you giving up the possibility for recreating and reviving a previous painful relationship, do consider seeking counselling from a qualified professional. You may be able to repair "the damage that has been done" to gain something worth having and recreate your relationship for the both of you.
It is possible to survive from the infidelity and to repair the relationship from emotionally distraught, conflict to accept, forgiveness, sensual and sexual passion, and love. It is up to you to think - how important is your relationship to you? Are you willing to face the painful period and the problems that come along with it and the commitment to work through to take you to the other side?
Misma Hemming - Counsellor, Psychotherapist, Life Coaching, Mentor
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