CAN A RELATIONSHIP GO BACK TO NORMAL AFTER CHEATING? MY BRUTALLY HONEST OPINION.
Ugh, being cheated on. It's probably one of THE worst thing to experience in a relationship. Whether you've been together for a few months or married for over a decade, ultimately it's the act of betrayal by someone you love that hurts the most. This becomes a defining moment between you and your partner, and unfortunately in some cases, you may able to forgive but the emotional and mental impact is far too severe for you to stay.
No one can tell you if you should or shouldn't forgive your cheating partner. It's entirely your call at the end of the day — besides, you know your relationship better than others. If the cheater is genuinely working hard to gain your trust back, you might find it in your heart to work together and try to move past it. But I have to be realistic, most people will be shattered beyond repair, and speaking from experience... cheating is incredibly traumatic, the scars from this event can be long-lasting — seriously, I'm talking years here.
ARE YOU HANGING ON TO SOMETHING DEAD AND CONVINCING YOURSELF IT'S ALIVE?
I believe the foundation of any relationship is trust, so once that's been tarnished, I struggle to see how things can get back to "normal" again. A relationship simply will not last without trust... you can attempt to go about your business, be in denial by suppressing your emotions, not acknowledging your feelings, and avoid facing facts due to pride or ego. Sometimes you might go in the opposite direction and start acting erratically (ie. turn to drugs, alcohol, undereating or overeating), you'll create worst case scenarios in your mind, and questioning your partner, even if it's about something small like going for lunch with a friend. Either way, you're just a ticking time bomb. As the anxiety, paranoia, frustration, and fear builds up, it's only a matter of time that the arguments and resentment drives a wedge between the two. Personally, I won't and can't tolerate it. If I'm cheated on then I know the best thing for me to do is to walk away no matter how difficult. I will gladly go through 6 months of non-stop crying paired with swollen eyes than put myself through further mental torture. Truthfully I know I wouldn't be able to look at them the same way, I wouldn't have the same level of respect due to them crossing my boundaries, then on top of the infidelity, it's the lying. Overall, I consider cheating a highly distasteful act, and a non-negotiable. According to a study published in the journal Sexual Behavior (2018), the individuals who'd been unfaithful in a relationship were three times more likely to be unfaithful in their subsequent relationships too. The same study revealed those who had been cheated on were likely to be cheated on a second time. 😑 Just thought I'd drop that in there. Anyway...
IS THERE A FUTURE AFTER CHEATING?
The other thing I wanted to highlight was the importance of taking time out, really understand the type of person you are, and take a logical approach before making any hasty decisions. Everyone's situation is different with various factors, whether you have kids, live together, have specific finance agreements in place, need to consider divorce etc. you have to do what feels right for you. It's probably better to have less involvement from family and friends, who may take sides and create further complications. Rather, you want to work out for yourself what you actually want and how you see the future. If you take the approach to forgive and forget then the relationship may require couples therapy/relationship counselling to help rebuild trust. The effort has to be from both sides, and the wronged party shouldn't continuously resurrect the subject up as a way to punish the cheater. Forgiveness implies that you no longer hold it against them, which is difficult because we tend not to forget things, especially the negatives in life. So whilst you can say you have forgiven, if something triggers you, is that forgiveness? Finally, once you've had those open and honest discussions, I'd say you pretty much have to recreate the relationship whereby you let go of the parts which were not working, and move towards creating a new dynamic. Cheating leaves a deep cut in a couple's emotional health so it'll never be as it once was, and it's impossible to put a timeline on how long a situation like this takes to fully repair.
THANK YOU TO THE DATING/RELATIONSHIP COMMUNITY
I wanted to touch on this subject with as much respect and thought put into this piece as possible. Understandably cheating is hard to talk about, it's a very sensitive topic. Everyone has their own stance on it so I thought it'd be useful to get the public view through a poll (with the option to leave comments) and gauge a "general consensus" on whether a relationship could go back to normal after infidelity. At this moment in time, a massive 94% of you said No with the remaining 6% feeling more optimistic. Further comments included: "It's so difficult to trust once that trust has been broken." "I think you can't continue after someone as cheated, there will always be that suspicion and it will start to eat away and the person who cheated will probably cheat again due to them being a suspect so will think "I'm getting blamed for something that I haven't done" and do it anyway. It's definitely not right but also works in the way if someone hasn't cheated and gets blamed and blamed for it, it could again push them to actually doing it." "No. The trust and respect you have for the person is already damaged by the betrayal." "A relationship is all about love, loyalty, trust and when these are not valued it will be very difficult for a relationship to go normal again." Thanks to those who took part in the poll, it's great to hear your views and I'll certainly look to get more of your thoughts for future posts! Hope you enjoyed the read, have a fab weekend. x