For some people, cheating is a deal-breaker and the absolute end of a relationship. For other people, infidelity is not that big of a deal and unlikely to be the sole reason that a relationship goes south. However, many other people find themselves somewhere in the middle—angry and hurt, but reluctant to end the relationship abruptly without giving the cheating partner a chance to reform.
In these circumstances, all of the emotions involved make it difficult to think straight and to make the decision that is right for you and your relationship. If you are confused about whether to take your cheating partner back, consider these four questions before making your decision.
Questions To Consider Before Welcoming Back A Cheater
1. Is Your Cheating Partner Showing True Remorse?
Pretty much every cheater who has ever been found out has been sorry. But the question is whether he or she is truly sorry about cheating or just sorry about being caught. If you have been with your partner long enough, you may feel that you know when he or she is being sincere. If not, there are a few things to look for.
First of all, humility is critical. People who are genuinely sorry for their actions will take responsibility for those actions, while people who merely claim to be sorry will try to place the blame elsewhere—on the relationship, on the people they cheated with or on the circumstances surrounding the affair.
Honesty is also a strong indicator of true remorse. A remorseful cheater will be willing to talk about what happened and answer any questions you have, but a resentful cheater will be vague, pretend not to remember, add excuses or simply refuse to discuss things.
2. What Were The Circumstances Of The Affair?
Understanding the nature and context of an affair can help you decide whether it makes sense to give your partner a second chance.
For starters, is it a second chance or a third or fourth chance? Is this the only time that your partner has cheated, or has he or she strayed in the past and sworn it would never happen again? A one-time cheater is not always likely to cheat again, but some people are truly serial cheaters and should not be given endless chances.
The other circumstance to consider is whether the cheating was a one-night stand or an ongoing affair. Everybody makes mistakes, and while not everybody makes the mistake of having an affair, a one-time lapse is easier to understand and to forgive. However, a long-term affair cannot be chalked up to a lapse in judgment. Long-term affairs mean many lies, many secrets and many opportunities to think better of it and end the affair.
3. Is The Cheater Willing To Work On The Relationship?
Cheaters should not expect to be quickly forgiven and to resume the relationship as though nothing happened. They should recognize that significant time and effort will be required before trust can be restored and the relationship can be healthy again. Furthermore, they should be willing to take the initiative and participate without being pushed; for example, scheduling and always keeping couple’s therapy appointments.
4. Are You Willing To Set Boundaries, Face Your Own Fears?
The partner who cheated is not the only one who has to be prepared to work on the relationship and rebuild trust. The betrayed partner also has to accept that saving the relationship will not be easy and has to be willing to do the work and face the uncertainties. The person who was betrayed has to recognize that saving the relationship will mean facing fears of being betrayed again and confronting personal insecurities that may have arisen after the affair.
The cheated-on partner also has to be willing to set boundaries and hold the other person responsible for respecting and adhering to those boundaries. If you are not willing or able to be clear about what you need in order to move forward with the relationship, you are setting yourself up for failure.
If Trying To Repair The Relationship, Remember To Also Focus On Your Needs And Feelings…You Are Worth It!