Cheating on a partner is of course a betrayal of trust and a terrible thing to do that will hurt them and damage your relationship beyond repair. As such, cheaters are often viewed as the bad guys or girls and as people who don’t deserve any sympathy or help. While this may or may not be true however, normally if someone cheats then they do it for a reason and it’s important to get to the bottom of this.
This is an incredibly stressful and difficult time too as they are likely to go through all kinds of emotions like guilt and regret, and have many questions such as whether they should tell their partner or stay in their relationship. I’m not excusing the behaviour here, but if you find yourself in that situation then it certainly doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person and you still need to look after yourself and take stock of what’s happened. You may be a victim of your circumstances and emotions and need help changing these. Here we will look at how you should assess the situation and move forward.
Assess the Situation
The first thing to do is to assess the situation. Is this a one off that happened by accident? Or what it something that you have started doing often? Did you steal a kiss when drunk, or have you been actively seeking out new partners? Is it likely to get back to your other half, or are you able to keep it under wraps? If you need to construct multiple elaborate lies then you’re better off just coming clean and seeing how the cards fall. Likewise mitigating factors – such as the chance of STI – might take the matter of whether or not to tell your partner out of your hands.
Asking these questions will give you the information you need to make an informed decision on how to move forward, and it will tell you just how serious the problem is.
How Do You Feel?
What you also need to assess is your own feelings on the matter. If you are wracked with guilt and highly distraught about the situation then you know it’s not something you want. If you don’t feel guilt or remorse though then you need to ask yourself why – and if you don’t then it may be that you should leave the relationship as you are only otherwise going to hurt both of you. If you don’t have any feelings of regret then chances are that it’s only going to happen again and again, and that means you owe it to your partner to get out and that you owe it to yourself to avoid the stress. Get it out of your system, work out what it is you want in life, and then start fresh when you’re ready with a completely clean slate.
Why Did it Happen?
If you decide that this isn’t going to be a recurring pattern – or that you don’t want it to be – then you need to look at why it happened, and what the factors were that ultimately lead to your moment of weakness. It may be for instance that you are struggling currently to communicate with your partner, that there is a lack of intimacy, or that you are arguing a lot – or it might be that you are generally stressed and unhappy (and this has probably only exacerbated that).
Either way, if you are going to move forward then you need to address the problems in your life before they lead to more destructive behaviour. Talk to your partner about how you are feeling (even if you don’t tell them everything) or just tell them that you aren’t happy. This way you can work together to improve things and that can help a lot. A change of scene can help you to get away from your daily stresses, so consider going on a holiday together or spending some time off work.
Prevent it Happening Again
Whether you decide to come clean or not, you need to make sure you now take every possible step to avoid it happening again – otherwise you might as well leave now. This might mean for instance that you stop drinking on nights out, or even that you stop going out on them. It might even mean changing your career so that you are at home more, or seeking marriage counselling. Either way it’s likely to require a lot of commitment to make these changes, but if you truly love your partner and value your relationship then it should be worthwhile.
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