Salvaging a committed relationship that has been tainted by infidelity is not an easy feat. Though there are some couples who somehow manage to weather the emotional storms that infidelity so often leaves in its wake, most of those who encounter such a painful and divisive obstacle in their relationship’s path find it very difficult to successfully recover from the damage it has done.
To an outsider who is neither in love or emotionally invested in the situation, the decision of whether to continue or end a relationship with an unfaithful partner might seem like a no-brainer. But for those who have been betrayed by a trusted partner and whose vision continues to be filtered through the lens of love, knowing how to deal with infidelity can prove to be a bit more challenging.
Finding yourself in a situation where you need to decide whether or not to leave a relationship that has been scarred by infidelity is undoubtedly a scary place but knowing which factors to consider and being realistic about the unique circumstances with which you are faced can help you to ultimately make whatever decision works best for you and your individual needs.
Tips for dealing with infidelity :
- Confront the issue head on - One of the worst things that you can do when dealing with infidelity in your relationship is to let yourself slip into a pattern of denial or to assume that ignoring the issue will make it go away on its own. Recognize infidelity as a betrayal of trust; acknowledge the consequences that it is having on your relationship and understand that repairing the damage will require a great deal of time and effort from both you and your partner. Demand that your partner acknowledge this as well and that he/she accept responsibility for his/her actions. If your partner is unwilling to do so or if he/she attempts to shift the blame onto you in any way then you should seriously consider cutting your losses and finding a partner who is more respectful of you and your feelings.
- Be realistic about forgiveness and trust - Being able to forgive a cheating partner and rebuild trust that has been broken is not always possible for everyone. Sometimes, even though you may really want to, it might be too difficult for you to learn how to trust your partner again or how to truly forgive him/her for the betrayal. If you find this to be the case in your situation, do yourself a favor and end the relationship because the reality is that a relationship without trust (or at least without the possibility of regaining trust in the future) is not much of a relationship at all.
- Establish concrete boundaries - If you are thinking about giving an unfaithful partner a second chance, it is crucial that you and your partner get on the same page about what the boundaries in your relationship will be from this point forward. Unless you can both agree about what does or does not constitute appropriate behavior, then continuing the relationship with murky ideas about its boundaries is only bound to cause even more trouble later on.
- Anticipate frequent challenges - The road to relationship recovery after infidelity is filled with potholes and all kinds of unexpected detours. If you and your partner have decided to travel that road together, brace yourselves for the challenges ahead and keep in mind that the unfaithful partner will usually want to move forward at a much faster rate than the betrayed partner is comfortable with. You may need to frequently remind your partner that healing takes time and that if he/she expects to be properly forgiven then he/she will need to be patient and understanding with you as you process your emotions.
- Communicate openly and honestly - In order to facilitate healing and begin the often lengthy process of rebuilding trust, it is absolutely crucial for you and your partner to communicate openly and honestly with each other at all times. Anything less will only serve to further weaken the bond of trust between you and will eventually make it impossible for the relationship to continue.