If you’re currently wondering: “can a relationship be saved after infidelity”, my heart goes out to you. You’re either dealing with the pain of being betrayed by your romantic partner or the hurt of thrusting that pain into the face of someone you love so much.
There’s enough love in the relationship for you to consider saving it, but you’re also wondering if things can ever be the same again.
Will the pain of this betrayal remain within the relationship, poisoning it with anguish and bitterness like an incurable virus? Or can the symptoms be healed with hard work from both partners? And, if so, what will that hard work look like?
That’s what we’ll explore in this article.
Can a Relationship Be Saved After Infidelity?
The easy answer is a blanket no.
For many, the breach of trust and blatant act of disrespect means they will never be able to look at the partner the same way again.
Even if the cheater did everything they could to apologize and prove it’ll never happen again, the betrayed partner may not be able to forgive or forget.
They might also be too proud to remain with a partner who could commit such a horrid deed behind their back. They wouldn’t be able to command respect from their partner or from anyone who knew what happened.
Indeed, you might have your friends proudly exclaim that they will never accept being cheated on in any circumstances.
With their chest puffed out and their finger in your face, they might describe how they’d pack the dirty dog’s belongings into garbage bags and throw them out the bedroom window as soon as the treason was revealed.
They share their thoughts with such volume and pride as if to say that leaving the damaged relationship is always the most courageous option. But is that true?
Sure, it requires some bravery to leave a partner who has wronged you for the unpredictable and sometimes lonely life of singledom, especially while nursing a broken heart. Yes, there are some who stay in abusive relationships with an uncaring partner because they don’t have the mental strength to walk away, nor the self-esteem to believe that they can find someone to treat them well.
However, there are plenty of cases where choosing to repair the fractured relationship is the courageous choice. Just because it’s more socially acceptable to divorce your spouse and take the children, that doesn’t mean it’s the healthiest option for anyone in the family.
Sometimes, in the long term, it’s better for everyone involved when the parents fight to save the marriage. Of course, both parents have to want to fight. They’ll each have to face some personal demons head-on. It will never be easy. But it is possible.
This has been proven by some of the world’s most famous married couples. Beyonce and Jay Z. David And Victoria Beckham. Ozzy And Sharon Osbourne. These are three examples of couples who were not only rocked by the husband’s infidelity, but also by the global media constantly questioning them and reporting about it.
While there’s no telling what happens behind closed doors, these couples have all remained strong years after the fact. If they can do it, it’s possible for you too.
How Can a Relationship Work After She Cheated or You Cheated
If you genuinely believe that a relationship can be saved after infidelity and you’re willing to put in the work, there are some things you can do. Let’s now take a look at some recommended steps for couples to take after their relationship has been tarnished by infidelity.
The cheater must initially do whatever it takes to allow the betrayed partner to see they are truly sorry.
This isn’t just about them crying, begging for forgiveness or going above and beyond to shower the betrayed partner with tokens of affection. It’s not only about them taking ownership of what they did, instead of blaming the partner for pushing them into the arms of someone else.
These one-off gestures are something, provided they come from genuine regret. But, it’s also key for the cheater to show a willingness (or better yet, a strong desire) to put in the hard work to repair the relationship. That means the cheater will accept an invitation to complete the following steps, or even suggest them themselves.
Address what led to the infidelity
The two of you need to sit down together and discuss what motivated the cheater to do what they did. This requires absolute honesty.
This can be a difficult task for the betrayed partner because the cheater is most likely going to mention what made them dissatisfied with the relationship. It’s incredibly rare for infidelity to appear in a relationship that’s all sunshine and rainbows. So the cheater needs to be honest enough about why he felt the need to find intimacy elsewhere.
Meanwhile, the betrayed partner needs to be strong and open-minded enough to listen and take the feedback onboard.
Yes, not only have they been rocked by this act of disloyalty, but now they have to address their own flaws too. While there might be some comfort for the betrayed to tell themselves that they were 100% the victim and their partner is 100% to blame, the truth is: both partners were somewhat responsible for the relationship becoming unsteady enough for this to happen.
By discovering and repairing whatever it was which led that person to cheat, the betrayed partner can feel more secure in their belief that it won’t happen again. It can also help them become a better partner themselves in the future.
Hire a counselor or a therapist
Yes, it is possible for the two of you to be able to sit down alone, talk things through and discover where things went wrong. However, it’s also incredibly likely that the discussion can descend into an argument, where neither party hears the other. It may be that only one or neither of you have the humility or introspective abilities to understand where things went wrong.
That’s where a counselor or therapist can be a life-saver. These professionals are trained to act as a mediator in these discussions and get to the root of why it happened.
In many cases, the cheater may have emotional issues that began long before the relationship started, which a therapist can help them discover and heal from. The betrayed partner can also receive assistance with changing any behaviors that drove their partner to look elsewhere.
These professionals can also recommend further steps - based on your own unique situation - to continue your journey of healing.
Extra transparency and reassurance will be needed
In most cases, the cheater will need to be extra transparent with their partner in order to win back their trust.
For starters, the betrayed partner may have a lot of questions about the cheating. They deserve honest answers. If you’re the cheater, you may wonder why they want to hear about these tiny details. The answer is: it helps them to process and understand what happened, and this is a crucial step to healing from it.
Moving forward, the betrayed partner may want more information as far as where you’re going, who’s going to be there or how long you’ll be gone. To progress back into a healthy relationship, the cheater should happily answer these questions with as much detail as is requested.
Maybe you were expecting that you could just go on as normal without having to give all these extra details. That’s like continuing to use a broken car when the engine is busted. Your relationship has been damaged and you need this transparency to repair it. Instead of being annoyed by this, try being grateful that you have a chance to repair it at all.
It’s also going to help for the cheater to constantly reassure their partner that they are loved, they are beautiful, they’re making them happy. Perhaps your partner didn’t need this before, but the relationship is damaged for now. This is another necessary step to repairing it. It’s a step that should be completed without the betrayed partner having to ask.
Cut the third party out of your life
Whether it was a one-night stand or a full-blown affair, the cheater owes it to the betrayed partner to avoid all contact with whoever they cheated with. If that person always goes to their favorite bar, the cheater needs to stop going there. If that person works with the cheater, the cheater needs to quit his job.
That might sound extreme in some cases, but how would you feel if your partner kept hanging out with someone who robbed or assaulted you?
Cutting the third party out of your lives is another necessary step to moving on from infidelity. If the cheater isn’t willing to do that, they aren’t willing to move on.
Accept that things will be different
If you’re a man asking “Can a relationship work after she cheated”, or a woman asking a similar question, the answer is yes. But don’t expect to progress as if it never happened.
It’s hard to say that everything will be the same after a relationship is tarnished by an unfaithful act. However, that doesn’t mean things can’t still be great once you’ve spent some time fixing your relationship.
You’ll just both need to put in the work to complete a good repair job.
With all of this in mind, do you think that your relationship can be saved after infidelity? Remember that not all relationships can survive this, no matter how hard both parties try. It can take a while to get over your partner’s past actions. That’s true whether it was a one-off thing or an affair lasting several years. The pain caused to the betrayed partners still exists either way.
Still, if the love was real and the cheating was a terrible mistake that is truly regretted, it’s a journey worth taking. Hopefully, these tips will help you get back to a healthier place.