Cheating and infidelity can destroy a relationship, but does that always have to happen? Unfortunately, I’ve had a lot of painful conversations with people about cheating: both those who have cheated and those whose partners have been unfaithful.
As far as whether you can save your relationship after cheating, there’s a lot to consider. There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, and how well reconciliation works depends on several factors.
Infidelity can encompass a range of behaviors, depending on what boundaries you set in your relationship. All cheating is traumatic and painful, but it may seem more possible if what happened between you is something you both agree is not worth ending the relationship over.
For example, you may think you can reconcile if one of you exchanged texts with someone else. But you or your partner might not feel like it’s possible to get back together after more explicitly physical or sexual infidelity.
How to work through this difficult time is unique to you, your partner, and your situation. But it’s important to remember that while reconciliation is sometimes possible, it is not the best choice for everyone.
Were You Safe with Your Partner?
One circumstance was getting back together is especially high risk is if your relationship became abusive leading up to or after the infidelity. Abusive relationships are, by nature, unsafe and unhealthy. Going back into that environment will only increase your risks of pain and heartbreak.
While recovery from abusive behavior is possible, it often takes years (or even decades) of in-depth work on the part of the abuser. Plus, it is very difficult to commit to your own healing and recovery after cheating if you are always wondering whether the abusive behavior will repeat itself.
How Long Has It Been?
Time is essential if you are trying to work to mend a broken heart (and a damaged relationship) after cheating. Because breaking up is lonely, it’s tempting to get back together after the first apology is offered. After all, this is someone you’ve cared about for a long time, and that doesn’t go away overnight. But it will likely take a good deal of time for you both to clear your head, face your pain, and learn for yourselves if it is truly possible, and if it’s wise, to get back together.
If you feel like your loneliness is pushing you to talk to your partner before you feel ready to do so, don’t forget how much God loves you. Reach out to him in prayer when you are struggling and talk to people you trust to help you feel less isolated who remind you of God’s love. Give yourself all the time you need to avoid making spur-of-the-moment decisions that will just cause you additional pain.
Have You sought Advice?
Even if you and your partner agree that repairing a relationship is possible after cheating, it’s important to get an outside perspective. You need to talk things through with someone who won’t take sides and will help each of you come to terms with the reality of rebuilding a relationship after infidelity. It will be a painful, challenging journey, if you commit to it, you will need a lot of support.
If you’re not sure where to start, you are in a safe place. TheHopeLine offers mentoring and support to people whose relationship has been impacted by cheating. Talk to a HopeCoach today about how to heal after infidelity. We are here for you.