I was with my first serious boyfriend for four years from the age of 16. I trusted him wholeheartedly (and perhaps naively), I used to joke that I could happily leave him in a room full of underwear clad women and not worry about what would happen.
A year into our relationship, I found out he had cheated on me, both emotionally and physically. I was devastated and the trust I had so easily instilled in him was shattered. I took him back and we stayed together for 3 more years, but looking back, I don’t think I ever truly trusted him properly again.
Should we take back our partners when they have cheated on us? Below I explore the reasons why we should (and shouldn’t).
YES WE SHOULD
If he confesses and explains why – instead of you just finding out from investigating or from the girl/guy herself. By confessing, it shows they have regretted it and are also honest. Often the main heartache with cheating is the fact the person has lied and being secretive. If they have confessed straight away it shows they are still somewhat, an honest person that made a mistake.
It depends on the type of cheating – was it emotional cheating or physical? If I had to pick, I would be more inclined to forgive a drunken one night stand than a long emotional affair that perhaps didn’t involve a physical element.
Look at their track record – does the guy or girl have a history of cheating? If they don’t and it’s a one off, then you may be more inclined to forgive them on the basis that it would be unlikely (but not definite) that they would do it again. If you are one of many girlfriends that he has cheated on, alarm bells should be ringing, and you should use this as your chance to get out.
Address your relationship issues – sometimes, when a partner cheats, it forces the couple to address the obvious issues in their relationship that perhaps they have avoided in the past. If both parties are willing, they can work together to improve the problems they are facing. This may result in change in character for the guilty party – they may stop drinking/drugs/going out all the time. In order for this to work, the couple need to address why they think this happened in the first place.
NO WE SHOULDN’T
Can you ever trust them again?– you need to ask yourself this question and listen to what your inner voice immediately responds with. Is the relationship past fixing, or do you both care enough to still make it work? Can you promise yourself that even if you forgive them you will forget it completely and not hold it against them in the future?
Address your relationship issues – in the same way as this conversation may help improve the relationship, it can also flag the glaring reality that you are both in fact, not compatible, not in love, not right for each other etc.
Do they show any guilt or remorse for what they did? – If they confessed, then obviously they do, but if you found out, are they annoyed that you discovered their secret, or genuinely regretting their actions?
Are you sure affair is over? – just because you have found out that they have been cheating on you, doesn’t necessarily mean their affair is over. Given that your trust in them will have faltered, can you be sure that they will call off the affair once you discover it?
If get away with it once, think they can get away with it again – perhaps the biggest argument for why you shouldn’t take a cheater back. Regardless of how you get around the issue, whether you take a break, talk it out, get therapy, ultimately, the outcome is that they have cheated on you and you have taken them back. There always be a possibility, that once they are aware of this, they may not hesitate in doing it again.
To my fantastic readers – have you had a partner cheat on you? If so, how did you react? Would you do anything differently now?