Determining whether or not to continue a relationship that has suffered from infidelity can be difficult. Trust issues, problems with self-esteem and overall unhappiness may result from being cheated on. If you want to make the relationship work in spite of the betrayal, evaluate yourself and the strength of your relationship to determine whether or not reconciling after infidelity is worth the effort.
Think of Yourself
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After you find out that your love is cheating or has cheated in the past, questions linger in your mind. “How could he do this?” you might think. Take a break from trying to rationalize his behavior and work on healing yourself. Trish Pauls, MA RPM.D., states in her article, "3 Steps to Help Overcome Betrayal," that the betrayed person needs to believe in herself. Discard feelings of shame, and instead remember you are enough and you are worthy. Letting go of feelings of resentment and taking time for yourself will be beneficial while you are making this decision. Be selfish. Go out with friends and do the things you love to do. Allow yourself time to clear your mind. Avoid making decisions without allowing space for personal reflection.
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Evaluate the way he handles the confrontation of his infidelities to give you an idea about whether or not reconciliation is a viable option. If you have confronted him about his cheating, he is likely feeling guilty. A man who refuses to admit he was wrong or constantly makes excuses to rationalize his behavior will likely never learn from his mistakes. On the other hand, a man who goes out of his way to express his guilt and shame about cheating may have enough of a conscience that you could consider forgiveness.
Accept the Changes
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Your relationship after cheating is going to be different from how it was before you found out about the infidelity. You may have trouble trusting him again. The pain and betrayal can take its toll on your self-esteem, causing you to lose faith in your ability to keep your bond strong. If you cannot live with the fact that he made this mistake, it is not in your best interest to keep trying. If you believe that he regrets his behavior and you are willing to take him back, work hard at trying to trust again. Constant mistrust and arguments can work against you when reconciling after infidelity.
Regardless of whether or not you decide to stay with him, do not carry these feelings of resentment with you along the way. In the Reader's Digest article, "10 Steps to Healing a Relationship After an Affair" Dr. Janis A. Spring says the wronged person needs to gradually loosen the tight leash on her partner as the pain fades so trust can grow over time. Accept that people make mistakes and do not personalize these mistakes. Take time to allow yourself to get past the initial shock and despair of cheating. Making a rational decision is vitally important. Do not rush into anything.
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Christa Orion is a psychologist in training with focus on family and relationship health. She has years of experience working with individuals going through domestic issues.