Monogamy is a very interesting concept, but it doesn’t fully align with all of humankind. The truth is, at one point or another in our lives, we will be cheated on or we will be the one to cheat ourselves. In a society full of curious and sensual humans who are trying to meet their needs, it’s inevitable. Of course, the initial reaction to absolutely any kind of boundary crossing is to just terminate the connection and move forward, but that’s not always the best option.
Sometimes, the growth and the real connection is held in really navigating the most hurtful spaces as a team.
Side note: there IS a difference between being unfaithful once, and continuing to be.
If someone is damaging to the relationship and immediately wants to put everything down to rebuild the relationship, it can possibly work.
If someone is damaging to the relationship and their actions continue to damage it, it will never work.
There’s a difference between an ongoing affair and a bad judgment call or that one time you were unable to identify your needs.
The fact of the matter is, we are all humans. A lot of infidelity happens at an early age where there is communication lacking, and when people are unable to cope and console themselves.
Here are 10 ways to work through cheating with your partner:
1. Allow for space and time.
This step is key. You must grant time and space to intervene. It might take weeks, months, however long it may take, you have to give the situation time to not only cool off and give yourself time to process, but in order to really navigate that space in the most mature and effective way possible, you need time.
2. Get in touch with your needs and boundaries.
I know, one knowing you wouldn’t appreciate lack of loyalty shouldn’t be rocket science or some crazy new news, but this is when you need to REALLY make your boundaries CLEAR. If you also don’t want to rebuild something with someone you have a gut feeling would continue to make the same damaging mistakes, this is a great time to communicate your disinterest with having your boundaries continuously being disrespected and move on.
3. Communicate your needs and boundaries.
Write it down. Do whatever you need to do so there is no room for questions and there is no “grace period.”
4. Explain your triggers.
Things ARE going to come up. This is a great time to find a graceful way to handle those triggers, and have boundaries in play to try and lessen the triggers.
5. Create tighter boundaries.
A person must feel free in their own life, but reasonable reign tightening is really beneficial for people who work on their relationship post loyalty issues. Maybe this means having access to your partner’s phone, maybe they don’t have girls on their social media, etc.
6. Use this time to be emotionally open and expressive.
Do not hold anything back. You must feel. You must speak. You must move. The best way out is through. The only way to get on the other side of this is to gracefully, gradually, and productively work your way there.
7. Learn something.
Mending your relationship will not feel good if it brings you to a place of feeling stuck or feeling like you are not moving forward. Learn something about yourself. Learn something about your partner and their needs. Learn something about forgiveness or heartbreak, or both.
8. Get in touch with your ways of communication.
Are the ways YOU are delivering information hurting the relationship? Are you the one that isn’t respecting your own boundaries? Are you the one being unclear around what’s ok and what’s not? Are you the one being explosive in a way that your partner cannot even hear you?
9. Talk about it whenever you need to.
Stuff. Will. Come. Up.
Therapy is often helpful for couples attempting to rebuild a better foundation. It’s important to talk about things as they come up.
10. Do not bring it up all the time in a negative way.
If you hold resentment towards your partner and that shows in the sense that you continue to bring up the problem, you are only creating more of the problem.
Time and space and CRUCIAL when working through your resentment. You cannot be in a relationship where you feel resentment for your person.
If you feel resentment and you want to feel the opposite of that, it’s important you
a) do not take the cheating personally
b) understand that someone has to be in a bad space mentally to jeopardize their relationship
c) become solution oriented vs problem oriented
There are beautiful ways to welcome forgiveness in your relationship and really work through this tough space, you just have to be willing to move forward and grow (together).