Infidelity can doom a relationship but if both of you still want to make it work, taking these steps can make your relationship as happy and loving as it once was.
Perhaps nothing is more devastating in a relationship than having your partner sit you down and tell you that he or she cheated on you. It's like your world crumbles down in seconds. Everything you thought you knew about your partner you suddenly realize is a lie. The ground falls away from under your feet and you're falling, falling into a void from which there seems to be no escape.
The hardest thing to do in a relationship is to deal with the fact that you were cheated on. The infidelity of a partner is the ultimate betrayal. The maelstrom of emotions that you encounter can overwhelm you and make you feel like there's no way you can ever get over this. Only when the shock wears off can you really start thinking about how to move forward.
It's important to spend some time by yourself thinking about your relationship and how much you're willing to invest in it. If your partner wants to stay with you then you need to ask yourself if he or she is worth fighting for. Do you believe in the relationship? Do you think you have a future together? If the answer is yes, then you're ready to start fighting to save your relationship.
You may need to get all the details of the infidelity out of your partner. How many times it occurred, what lies he or she told you, who else knew about it, how long it's been going on. Once there's complete honesty and vulnerability about what happened, you'll be able to come to terms with exactly how you feel about being cheated on, and decide if the breach of trust is too wide to bridge.
A good way to get your thoughts in order is to write them down and honestly express all the thoughts going on in your head. Then have a sit down with your partner and express to them everything you've written down so that they know what's going on in your head. Remember to be patient in your communication so that you can have a conversation rather than an argument.
Once you've talked about how you felt and are ready to hear what your partner has to say, ask him or her to tell you about how they feel. Find out what they were unhappy about in your relationship, ask them to bring out the feelings that made them feel like cheating was the better option, and find out how they feel about their infidelity now.
You may not feel like you've done anything wrong or may think that you are not responsible for your partner cheating, the latter of which is true. Despite that, it's important to acknowledge that you were not the perfect partner either, and that you may have hurt your partner, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Having your partner acknowledge that they hurt you is also important for you to start healing.
Do you want your partner to apologize to you? Do you want him or her to reveal what they have done to your family, friends, and/or children and apologize to all of them? Do you want your partner to cut off all ties with the person they cheated on you with? Discuss what would help them make reparations and make you feel like they're invested in changing their ways.
This may not sit well with either of you, but an important step to rebuilding trust in your relationship is to determine your expectations from each other. If you decide to update each other about where you are or tell each other where you are every night, that might help. You may decide that both of you will never let themselves be alone or even intoxicated around someone of the opposite sex (or of the same sex if you're the same sex couple).
Taking your problems to a counselor will do wonders for your relationship. You can get plenty of insight on how to make things work between you, learn how to improve your relationship dynamic, and also have an unbiased third person who will be able to give you feedback and help the two of you draw closer to each other. Working through your feelings with an expert will bring a lot more closure than dealing with it yourself.
You have every right to feel hurt and upset about being betrayed and cheated on. Acknowledge these emotions and let yourself feel them. As time goes by, learn to let them go. It helps to tell yourself that even though you feel hurt and upset you will not hold it against them. Over time the intensity of the hurt and betrayal will lessen.
Forgiving your partner may take time, but once you start to vocalize your desire to forgive them and not let their past infidelity get in the way of you having a fulfilling relationship, you will feel yourself changing. It's important also not to blame yourself for being cheated on. Cheating is a choice your partner consciously made, and there's nothing you could have done to keep it from happening. Accepting this can help you heal.
Rebuilding trust can take a long time but start by not getting paranoid about your partner. Confronting them every time you see them talking to someone else may not be healthy, so is demanding to see all their texts every day and insisting on accompanying them everywhere. Have a healthy amount of accountability so that you aren't consumed with fear but are also not in the dark about what your partner is up to.
One of the signs that you haven't gotten over your partner's infidelity is that you bring it up all the time or try to make them miserable about it every chance you get. You may become irascible and hostile, or even cold, trying to inflict as much hurt on them as they inflicted on you. You may even demonize them in your mind, seeing them as someone who will hurt you. Stop these thoughts and behavior the moment you notice them.
If you feel like showing your lover how much you love them, don't hold back. The smallest gestures of love can go a long way toward helping your relationship get back on track. Find ways to do things together so that you enjoy each other's company and aren't tempted to seek comfort elsewhere. Ask your partner what they like to do so that you can be involved in each other's lives more.
It's important to involve the people closest to you in your healing process. Spending time with your family and friends can help you establish a deeper connection and strengthen your bond as a couple. Whether people are privy to the infidelity or not, having a good time with people who love you can give your relationship a stronger foundation and give you a safe place to go when things don't go well.