When it comes to relationship deal breakers, there are few things harder to recover from than infidelity. If you make the difficult decision to stay in a relationship after your partner has been unfaithful, it is nearly impossible for things to ever go back to the way they were before the cheating happened. You may find yourself able to forgive (maybe) but can you ever really forget and start fresh?
How does someone survive an affair? It is said that 50 percent of all spouses are victims of infidelity at some point throughout the relationship, whether this is physical or emotional, it still hurts just as bad. The feeling of betrayal can cut like a knife, are you strong enough to stitch it up and move on?
Affairs often begin because someone feels like something is lacking from a relationship. They feel unsatisfied emotionally or physically and are feeling like they have a void that needs to be filled. If they don’t have an open line of communication with their present mate, they may not feel like that is the person who can fill this void, so they look elsewhere. This does not make it OK. If you are committed enough to be in a relationship, you should be committed enough to tell the person who you have dedicated yourself to that something is missing and work on it together.
So you found out your partner cheated and yet you have decided to work through it; how can this be done?
There are often feelings of betrayal and resentment associated with trying to forgive a cheating mate. Resentment is a normal reaction when someone has caused you these levels of pain. It is what causes people to build walls and proceed with caution toward any future relationships. If you decide to stay in the relationship, the resentment needs to be let go. Otherwise, you will never be able to move on and repair things. If the infidelity is no longer a threat, you need to internalize that, understand and let go. Controlling your emotions with this is extremely difficult, but necessary. It will stand in the way of your happiness in the future if you continue bringing up the cheating every time there is a fight. If you can’t let go and move on, it is never going to work. Resentment usually appears when an experience of the present reminds us of a painful experience of the past. If you are still seeing the warning signs that led you to discovering your partner’s infidelity, you need to talk it through with them. Resentment will ruin you.
If you can find a way to work together to resolve the core problems that led to the infidelity, it is a great way to also work through those feelings of resentment. Talk to a therapist, talk to each other. If this relationship is really what you want to be a part of, take the steps together to get to the root of the problems. You need to work together on meeting each other’s most important emotional needs, avoiding those temptations that intervened with the relationship, and work together on building a relationship that is free of secret lives. With these measures in place, we can start letting go of the resentment and again trusting our mates. It takes work, but it is possible to get back to your happy place together.
Melissa Hughes is a 30-year-old single mother of one. Girl Talk started as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa has a weekly TV segment on PA Live, WBRE, discussing activities in Weekender and a Girl Talk radio segment every Wednesday on 98.5 KRZ.