February 19, 2020

While infidelity seems like it should be a relationship ender, I have seen countless people not only stay with their partner after being cheated on but manage to rebuild a stronger, more open, and more trusting relationship. This is not guaranteed to happen, of course, and every situation is different, but these are some things to keep in mind if you are interested in helping your relationship survive infidelity.

Express Empathy

Whether you cheated on your partner or they cheated on you, you should both work very hard to understand how the other feels. If you cheated, you need to be willing to listen to your partner’s anger, to accept how much you’ve hurt them, and to do what it takes to change your behavior. 

At the same time, the person whose partner cheated should try to understand why their partner did what they did. These things rarely happen in a vacuum—the relationship was probably unhappy even before the infidelity. So you need to work to understand how the relationship deteriorated, and how it can be restored. And, no, this does not excuse infidelity, but it is critical that you understand it.

Communicate Well, and Often

Infidelity often sends couples to counseling, which ends up being the best thing that ever happened to them. A relationship is a long-term project. And as with anything that requires a lot of work, it means you’ll need help. A professional who can help you and your partner better understand each other and give the two of you a safe venue to communicate with each other.

The infidelity was a betrayal, and that is difficult to get over. Openness helps with the healing, so open communication—aided by a therapist—will help both of you heal and treat each other with more empathy, acceptance, and respect.

Understand That It Takes Time

Finally, there may come a time in your relationship after infidelity when it is clear the relationship will survive, but the resentment lingers. That is perfectly normal, but it’s important that you and your partner acknowledge and talk about it.

The person who committed the infidelity may feel like they’ve paid the price, “done their time,” and are tired of being blamed for it, especially if it happened years earlier. The problem is, healing takes a long time, and doesn’t go in a straight line. Accept that the two of you will have to deal with the infidelity for a long time, but know that it can make you stronger if you know how to handle it in a healthy and loving way.

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