Statistics prove it: once a cheater, always a cheater. But there are circumstances when unfaithfulness can be forgiven. There are certain occasions that may mitigate the misdeed of cheating? Likely, most of the time, you should just say “goodbye” and end the relationship. But sometimes, you should find a way to forgive a cheater.
A recent study of 500 people showed that people who cheated once are over 30 percent more likely than others to cheat again. Based on this study, it’s likely a waste of time to forgive a cheater. But many people do, in fact, forgive the unfaithful partner and give them another chance.
There are many reasons people cite for their cheating ways. Here are some of the most common ones:
- They have a low level of commitment to the relationship.
- They don’t feel enough sexual or emotional satisfaction in the relationship.
- They just don’t place a high value on loyalty and fidelity.
- The partner who is cheating has a higher sex drive than the other.
But there are ways that may help a cheating partner return to the faithful relationship in a healthy way and help to forge a stronger relationship.
Sometimes, the cheating partner is willing to commit to deepen and improve the relationship through mediation or counseling. This means that partner will need to be open about their reasons behind the cheating. Both parties in the relationship must be prepared to face the truth, ugly as it may be. And there’s no guarantee that the process will succeed. For example, it’s possible that the cheating uncovers other behaviors that otherwise would not have been brought to light. But couples who work to save the relationship are sometimes able to rebuild trust and create life-long connections.
If the infidelity was the result of the non-cheating partner rejecting the cheater, professional help may be needed. Rejection can put a strain on the relationship, especially if one partner has issues with mental or physical health , or is rejecting intimacy. In these cases, the other person may be looking for other ways to fulfill their need for physical and emotional fulfillment. They may even feel entitled to do so, based on the rejection.
Some couples feel like placing the relationship on hiatus is a good way to breathe some freshness into the partnership. But when taking a break, it’s important to set the ground rules beforehand. If both parties agree that it’s okay to go out with others while they’re apart, they should communicate that with each other. But such temporary breaks can prove fatal to relationships. People who think they will be able to handle their partner sleeping around may suddenly discover they’re not okay with that after all.
There can be obstacles that stand in the way of forgiving a cheating partner. When someone finds out that their partner has been cheating, their emotional response can not be neglected. Words like “betrayed,” “sad” and “angry” don’t even scratch the surface when it comes to describing how it feels to find that your partner has been unfaithful. You just found out that everything you thought was genuine and safe was suddenly and irrevocably ripped apart. You just realized that you may never have considered what trust meant to your relationship, but now it’s gone. Trust suddenly became the deciding factor regarding whether you can forgive the cheater or not.
It’s difficult to discover that your partner was capable of manipulating you and lying to you. It hurts to realize that they made a fool out of you. And, worst of all, it’s possible that they could do it again. When thinking about forgiveness, this may feel like an obstacle that it’s impossible to overcome. All the hurt and betrayal is brought to the surface when you just think about them or look at them. How can all that be brushed aside? Not to mention, how could you love and trust them again?
And what if you’ve already forgiven that cheating partner once before? Maybe you were convinced that they made a mistake, it was an aberration in their behavior, chosen in a single moment of inexplicable madness. But their eyes have since been opened, and they came to realize what they were doing, what they were risking and what they were going to lose. They offered reassurances and promises. They soothed you and cajoled you. But ultimately, they lied. How many more times are you going to let yourself go through this torture? How many more times will you forgive the cheater? The answer may be none.
What if the cheating has turned into a long-term affair? That is, it wasn’t a one-night stand or a weekend fling; it’s become an ongoing, pre-meditated process of betrayal. Essentially, your partner has chosen to maintain two separate and distinct lives. How does that make you feel? It’s possible you’ve been suspicious or have known for a while. Maybe you were deceiving yourself, hoping the cheater would end it soon and come back to you. Maybe you forced yourself to work beyond the emotions, and concluded that the marriage is a higher priority than the affair, and you’ll just wait for your partner to come to the same conclusion. But for whatever reason, now everything has come to the forefront, and the cheating has become apparent to everyone. Some partners will still find a way to forgive. But most will not.
You may never be able to make amends and grant forgiveness to your partner. But here are some things they should try to do to make things right with you.
- They should apologize to you.
- They should stop manipulating you and lying to you.
- They should not make themselves look like the victim in the situation.
- They should not blame you.
- They should be accepting full responsibility for their actions.
- They should be completely truthful and open about the situation.
- They should work to improve communication between the two of you.
- They should follow through on their promises.
Both partners should prepare themselves to weather the emotional storms that are sure to come. You both need to do whatever is necessary to rebuild the trust in the relationship. You should both be willing to consider mediation, therapy or counseling.
For most people, just one betrayal is enough to forever destroy the love and trust in a relationship. People who do to forgive and start over will sometimes admit the whole ordeal actually worked to save the relationship.
It’s hard to understand from the outside why people forgive their cheating partner over and over again. It can be frustrating to watch someone welcome back an unfaithful spouse time and time again. But it’s important that it’s not possible from the outside to understand the dynamics of someone else’s long-term romantic relationship or marriage. Even we think the relationship is toxic and destructive, we can’t really know how it works for the parties involved.
Note that in a relationship involving any kind of abuse, addictions or mental health issues, outside parties should do what they can to get the victim or victims out of that harmful situation. When that’s easier said than done, professional intervention should be considered.