Can You Really Recover From A Cheating Partner?

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There aren’t real strong numbers on what percentage of marriages are affected by infidelity. In the past, I’ve heard numbers from 20-30%. Other unverifiable internet research pegs the number closer to 50%. I think that’s on the high end and is often cited by people who don’t believe in happy marriages, but that’s neither here nor there.

No matter how you slice it, a LOT of people cheat on their spouses. The question is whether infidelity should immediately signify the end of a relationship. I suspect many readers will reflexively think it does. I, on the other hand, do not. Neither does relationship therapist Molly O’Shea, recently cited in the NY Times.

O’Shea specializes in this sort of marriage counseling, which routinely takes a year or more of effort. In order to put the relationship back together, O’Shea cites a couple things which I think are worth sharing:

1. “She asks the person cheated on what it would take to regain trust and what the cheating spouse can do to prove the affair was a mistake. “Usually the person who has been cheated on says, ‘I don’t know what I need’ and ‘nothing is going to help,’ ” Ms. O’Shea said. “They’re just so angry.”

Because of this anger and mistrust, suspicion continues to linger way beyond the initial incident, including becoming upset each time the unfaithful spouse doesn’t answer the phone.

2. “People who have cheated need to affirm their partner’s feelings, sympathize and put up with a lot of justifiable anger.”

No matter how you slice it, a LOT of people cheat on their spouses. The question is whether infidelity should immediately signify the end of a relationship.

That’s not just about cheating. That’s Relationships 101. When my wife gets annoyed that I forgot to throw out the garbage, I can’t tell her to shut up because she’s being ridiculous. Literally the only thing I can do – the only constructive thing I can do – is to OWN my mistake, take the heat, and vow to do better the next time around.

We all put up with a lot of bullshit in relationships. The best couples are the ones who OWN their behavior. Women can put up with an occasionally selfish guy if he admits it and tries to work on it. Men can put up with a little crazy emotional behavior from a woman, as long as she calms down fast and admits she flew off the handle. What no one can deal with is the crazy person who insists she’s being sane – or the cheater who blames his wife for his cheating.

That’s no way to heal things – even according to the couples therapist. Concludes the NYT piece, “While intense therapy may help rebuild the relationship, rarely do couples regain complete trust. “You forgive, but you don’t forget,” says Ms. O’Shea.

Would you be able to forgive a partner who cheated? Or would you end the relationship on the spot? I think there’s a huge difference between, “I got drunk on a business trip and it happened and I’m horrified and I’ll never do it again” vs. “I’ve been having a two-year relationship with someone else and I think I’m in love with her.” The former can be saved if both parties want it. The latter is a systematic, long-term lie, which means you’re married to a systematic long-term liar.

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Comments:

  1. 81
    Elaine

    I recommend reading Melanie Tonia Evans and using her recovery programs to get rid of your inner issues that draw you to these cheating and despicable partners. Once you work on your issues, you will be so much happier, shes amazing honestly and then….you will really get the message that Evan is sending because he is brilliant too.   Best of luck to you all xxxx

  2. 82
    Milie

    I write this right now with the knowledge that my boyfriend of 2 years is cheating on me at this very moment. I will never forget it. And the pain I feel right now is indescribable I’ll work on forgiving got my own sanity and emotional needs. But the relationship is over.

  3. 83
    Imperfect

    I was cheated on. I kept my head and didn’t get angry. We went to counseling. He kept cheating. I experienced personal pain that was worse than death. It was a form of death. I asked him to make a choice and he chose to leave a 25 year marriage for a 3 week affair. He moved in with her. One day, he came back. I let him back and he left her. He was home for about 8 days and then left on a holiday in Asia. He had been on Asian dating sites, but I didn’t know. He met another woman and moved in with her in Asia. He shared this information on Facebook and that is how I found out. I lost so much weight during this process that I no longer look like the same person – I now take a size 0. I wish he had made an effort to fix things, to fight for our marriage, to reach out to me and help me recover. He never did. The only time we hear from him (myself or our children) is when he wants something. We   know that he will come back again and force us to sell our home so that he can take half the money. We live in a no fault state; so we know that he will be able to sue me for financial support. He has ruined us. He has ruined me as a trusting loving wife. He has ruined our children and their dreams of anything true or lasting. He has made it impossible for me to be able to afford to send them to college. He has ruined us all financially. He has probably ruined his own health and self respect. There is no going back. He had the chance and he did not take it – he in fact, spurned it. My life is nothing but despair and if I choose to become a slut, or to become a recluse or even to kill myself, there is not one thing that anyone could point to that would say that was a wrong decision based on what happened to us.

    Before this happened, I had no idea that he was unhappy. We did a lot of fun things together. We had great memories of a strong love and marriage. His dad passed away and he became depressed. I thought he just needed space. I know that there is nothing that I could to to help him, but I am devastated at the loss of a lifetime of memories. Everything is dust. All the good things are now garbage. Everything I thought about him is not true. I will never be the same person again. My life has lost meaning. I have to deal with all the mess that he left behind him. I try to clean up and all I find is memories; photographs, clothing, gifts, cards from our life. He walked away and left me to do the cleaning up and caring for the children. I am a dead woman.

  4. 84
    jane

    All I do is pray to God that he really does not cheat on me again. yes I feel weak being with him still, yes it hurts still and wake up every morning thinking why and I putting up with so much for this man who gives no shits about me. Then I look over at my daughter and look down at my 8 month old pregnant self ( he cheated while I was 4 months) and realize that. its not about me..Its for my kids. I know I could do it on my own but my kids wouldn’t be raised by me. they would be raised by child care, day care and other people who are not me.it would kill me.    Every time I look at him I know… I shot myself in the heart  I just pray that by time I would heal and help me forget about me catching my husband with another girl in our room.  I’m hoping in the end all the hurt and pain will be worth it…

  5. 85
    Moey

    Best thing to do is have sex make sure its protected and hot with random men but make sure u get off too. Doesnt matter how old u r. Damn even sleep with a woman have some lesbian sex then you will realize that men r nothing but losers. Get all wild and tell that peice of beep to go beep himself. Save a marriage marriage is a scam only for the mans benefit. Being a wifey sucks its boring and if i have to have sex with u every night so u can get off just so u wont stick your important godly dick in some other person, geez what a drag. Man i wish i was more of a martyr and i could save this fake institution but i think id rather go to a 24 hour massage and pay some ripped hot guy to give me a happy ending massage for like 30 bucks oh but wait that doesnt exist for us ladies oh no. What a joke this life is what a screwed up life. Do i sound bitter damn rights i am yeah i was a the cute wifey and all that fake crap and i end up getting herpes from a lying cheating husband. But guess what im not like kk anymore trying to pleaae my precious male demi god i look at him and i think what an idiot. Im hot and im gonna f the brains outta anybody i want now.

  6. 86
    Lior Rozensweig

    Infidelity does not mean the end of a marriage. My wife cheated on me for a long time. We are still together because we decided to remain so. But our marriage will never be the same. I can never rule out the possibility gjay she will cheat again…life goes on and there are kids in the equation. Lior Rozensweig, Karkur – Israel

  7. 87
    Pissed Off

    My husband has a history of cheating. He had two affairs during his first marriage. I thought he learned his lesson when we got married. WRONG!! He has always had female friends which wasn’t an issue for me because I am not the jealous type. However, I found out that he is having an ongoing emotional affair with one of his clients. She is playing him like a fiddle, having him run errand for her and helping her with her business way beyond the call of duty. The only reason it hasn’t progress to a physical affair is because he has some health issues and is 30+ years older than her. She’s not interested in sex but is just using him. Otherwise I am sure he would have slept with her. We have been married 26 years and for the most part, have had a happy marriage. He doesn’t really understand the depth of my anger and frustration. His mantra is “I never slept with her.” I told him that because he says that, he obviously doesn’t get it. An emotional affair IS CHEATING. The first time I read his texts to her and confronted him last year, he promised he would never do it again and to give him another chance. LIAR!! I got his phone earlier this week and saw more texts. He is lucky I didn’t shove that phone up his ass. We can’t afford a divorce right now so I am looking for another job and plan to move without him. I am so done with marriage and relationships!

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