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|Michelle Johnson • 4/30/15|
“Delusion detests focus and romance provides the veil.”― Suzanne Finnamore
Would you ever choose to stay with a partner who cheats?
It’s easy to say you would leave a relationship without even a backward glance if someone you were involved with cheated on you. However, the choice isn’t always so clear-cut or obvious in real life.
Once your life is intertwined with another person and an emotional or physical bond is in place, it can actually be an excruciating and complicated decision.
If you have been cheated on, you likely feel hurt, brokenhearted and betrayed. You are likely reeling with anger or even thoughts of revenge.
Before you slam the door of your heart on that good-for-nothing cheating charlatan, you may want to take some time to cool off long enough to carefully evaluate the current “state of affairs.”
There are some key considerations as you try to navigate this perplexing maze.
First of all, ask yourself if a prior understanding about the relationship was in place before the cheating incident or affair.
Many couples never define what kind of relationship they both want or determine their level of commitment to each other, even though they may be sexually or emotionally involved.
One or both partners may make false assumptions about the status of the relationship. While one partner may think the relationship is exclusive, the other may think they are still free to explore other possibilities.
This lack of communication and the expectations that follow are often precursors to serious misunderstandings.
In this situation, there may be an opening to clarify whether or not both people’s needs and expectations can be met or on what terms the relationship might continue.
While it may not be easy, there may still be a chance of moving forward with a deeper level of understanding.
If there was a definition of exclusivity or a commitment in place prior to the cheating incident or affair, things can be even more complex. You have experienced the ultimate betrayal and may believe your ability to ever trust your partner again has been completely destroyed.
While it can be impossible to see beyond the pain and heartbreak in the moment, it may be worth the effort to try to do so.
Has the relationship already weathered some storms or stood the test of time? Are you are willing to forgive? Is the cheating party willing to acknowledge the mistakes, make amends and seek to regain your trust? If so, there may be some hope.
Remember this is going to be a journey, and it will take some time. Understanding and compassion will be needed on both sides.
Even if you are the one who has been cheated on, there are often “reasons” one person sought to get their needs met outside of the relationship. This does not justify the cheating, nor should you take responsibility for the errant actions of another.
However, it may mean there are other significant issues that need to be articulated and resolved for the relationship to survive. Both partners have to want to save the relationship and be willing to see things through.
It’s essential to look for patterns in any relationship. If you’re aware the person you are involved with has cheated in earlier relationships or has cheated on you before, then please consider this to be a bright red warning flag! If the cheater is unrepentant or continues to lie about the affair, you may need to walk away to maintain any sense of self-respect or dignity.
No one is perfect and real people do make mistakes, but a chronic cheater is not likely going to ever be inclined to be faithful to any one person. It’s best to cut your losses and leave.
Whatever you decide, a predicament like this is an occasion for introspection. Be gentle and kind with yourself and allow time and space to assess the situation clearly. However, once you have determined what is right for you, own your decision and move forward with conviction.
It will certainly take some time to trust your partner again or to open your heart to someone new, but don’t give up on believing in other people or become overly cynical about love. One bad apple or a deeply broken heart can make you feel like giving up, but beyond the aftershock, there is still hope.
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