So you caught the love of your life cheating. Now what? Approximately 1 in 5 people in a monogamous relationship have cheated on their current partner, so you’re not alone in feeling pissed off and betrayed. The initial reaction is anger, and it’s the worst to keep. Destruction can be cathartic, though, so throw that mug across the room and beat the couch pillow. But remember, while you’ll feel good crushing a vase, you’ll probably go to jail for smashing a face.
Now that that’s out of your system, try to look at the situation objectively if you’re hoping to salvage it. People make mistakes. Shit happens. The question is: Will it happen again? Can you trust that, if given a second chance, your partner won’t stray? A recent Canadian survey suggests that cheating is not inherent to gender, but to specific personality traits. See how your partner compares with these factors here. Men aren’t more likely to cheat than women, but they are more likely to cheat if they are overly horny, prone to taking risks, or insecure about their sexual performance. On the other hand, women are twice as likely to cheat if they’re unhappy with their relationship. Sound familiar? If so, a second chance might be a waste of time.
If you’re confident that this indiscretion was an anomaly and are convinced that your partner is willing to make the necessary changes, then look in the mirror. If you don’t think that you will ever trust that bastard again, save yourself the heartache and end it. Nothing good can come from a relationship lacking in trust. If you’re both serious about making it work, here are some things to keep in mind when moving forward.
- Trusting someone and taking them back are not the same thing. If you look through your partner’s phone when they go to the bathroom or start a fight when you see them with someone of the opposite sex, then you don’t trust them. Neither of you want to be walking on eggshells, but your partner needs to go out of their way to rebuild the trust they broke, and you need to go out of your way not to be a crazy psycho.
- The past is the past, and you need to leave it there. You can’t win every fight by bringing up the fact that they cheated on you. Their cheating and your inability to properly flush a toilet may be connected in your mind, but they are actually separate issues. Bite your tongue and just leave it alone—all you’re doing is stirring up painful memories.
- You don’t have a “Get out of Jail Free” card. Your partner’s indiscretion is not an excuse to bang the bartender. The relationship can’t be restored if you’re just trying to get back at them.
For some, a single indiscretion is one too many and their ass is kicked to the curb. Sometimes though, it’s not as black and white. If you really don’t want to live without this person, and know their true intentions, then work to make things right. Otherwise, it’s time to move on—or at least see what that hot bartender is up to.