Can a Relationship Survive a Cheating Spouse?
If your partner has an affair is it definitely over? Relationship expert Sharon Draper gives her advice on how to navigate your marriage if you decide to stay.
Discovering your partner has been unfaithful can often result in the end of your marriage.
But what happens if you decide to stay? Will your relationship truly survive?
How to save marriage after infidelity and lies
According to eharmony relationship expert Sharon Draper, if you put certain boundaries in place, you can rebuild a broken marriage.
First things first, you have to make sure your partner cuts off all contact with the other person.
“They need to promise their partner that the affair is truly over in order for trust to start being rebuilt. In doing so, there needs to be understanding and compassion for the feelings of the person who has been cheated on and for them to be given the opportunity to feel that they aren’t going to be victim to this situation again,” she advises.
“As such, removing any contact with the person involved in the affair (outside the relationship) should be a given. By having an active ‘temptation’ and influence around, it is likely to cause discomfort for the person who was cheated on and also be a distraction for the person who cheated.”
Own your behaviour and apologise for it
Secondly Sharon says that the cheater needs to own their behaviour and truly apologise for it.
“They should recognise that they made a mistake and caused their partner pain. This is the first step to healing. Never add a ‘but’ to the apology. Never say, I am sorry but this happened because… Own the behaviour and acknowledge the pain you have caused.
“By admitting and owning their behaviour, they can both start to look at the bigger issues in the situation, instead of spending time defending behaviour which has caused the issue in the first place. Ego has no place in a relationship when it is being rebuilt,” she adds.
Sharon also says it’s important not to assume the relationship is over. “If couples can get through infidelity, they can often come out at the other end even stronger. If you are both open to it, there is the opportunity to try to move past the incident and forward to a new place in your relationship.
“It won’t be easy, but it can be done. You both need to be on the same page, you can’t have the thought in the back of your mind that it might fail again, you need to go in with faith that it is going to work out,” she adds.
Identify why you cheated
If you identify why your partner cheated Sharon says this will help you repair the underlying cause of infidelity and prevent future repetition.
“The cheating is only part of the problem, the other part that people sometimes forget to consider is what caused the person to cheat in the first place. The reasons can vary in relationships, but sometimes there might have been something lacking – communication, intimacy, awareness (or many other things) – identifying what the underlying issue was and working on fixing that is often going to be the answer to ensuring that there isn’t a repeat in the future,” she says.
Sharon also says that the cheater must also give their partner time to heal but also have a time limit on the time available to discuss the betrayal so that it doesn’t become a theme of the relationship.
“The person who was betrayed will often want to know the details of the affair but it’s important to encourage a time limit on this topic so that it doesn’t become all-encompassing which makes it difficult to move on from,” she says.
“The dark cloud of cheating will forever hang overhead if you let it, the issue needs to be addressed, dealt with and then everyone needs to move forward and leave it in the past, otherwise you won’t really ever fully move on and in turn you are setting the relationship up to potentially fail in the long-term.”