It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been with your partner for — 5 months or 5 years, infidelity stings.
When it comes to cheating, there’s some who don’t consider it a huge deal if you aren’t married. After all, you haven’t made that huge commitment to each other.
But, if you’re in a relationship and have both agreed to be mutually exclusive, then it’s just as bad. The trust between the two of you is broken, which is the foundation of any relationship.
It’s one of the toughest setbacks your relationship can face at any point in time.
But, at the same time, it can also be the perfect catalyst for change that can see your relationship soaring to new heights.
So, is cheating before marriage bad?
While it’s certainly not something positive, here are 6 tips that can help you get past it together and move on.
1) Make sure there is remorse
First thing’s first, is your partner actually sorry for what they have done?
Not just a simple, “Oops, I’m sorry”.
But a genuine, heartfelt apology that shows they are truly remorseful for their actions.
There’s a huge difference between the two and one that you need to be aware of before moving on with the guy.
So, how can you tell the difference? Here are some signs that he doesn’t mean anything he’s saying:
- He says “I’m sorry” and that’s it: If it’s a genuine apology, he would go into more detail about what he did wrong and why he’s sorry for doing it. By simply uttering those two words, it suggests he’s apologising out of duty more than anything else.
- It’s all about him: Sure, he’s the one who cheated on you, but his apology should be all about you and how he hurt you and regrets it. This type of empathy is the key to any apology. If he turns it onto him and what he was going through and how he now feels, then he’s simply full of excuses, you don’t want to hear.
- His actions suggest otherwise: He’s willing to say sorry but he won’t try and correct the problem. Even though his words are heartfelt, the fact he isn’t willing to back it up with any kind of action is a good indication that he doesn’t really mean it.
- He expects you to move on straight away: No one simply moves on from cheating. If he thinks he can utter the two words you want to hear and then you should just move on, then he’s far from sincere. He’s simply putting a bandaid on the problem and telling you to get over it.
When it comes to a sincere apology, there are a few things you should be on the lookout for:
- He tells you what he’s done wrong and takes complete responsibility without trying to shift the blame elsewhere.
- He’s concerned about how it affected you and wants to talk about your feelings.
- He expresses sorrow over how his actions affected you.
- He states that he will not do it again and is willing to take whatever actions necessary to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
If your man gives you a sincere apology, then you know you have a base on which to build a new relationship.
If he’s offering you the fake variety, then it’s time to call it quits.
2) Make sure he takes responsibility
The next thing you need to look out for is whether or not your other half takes on any responsibility for his actions. This means he is completely honest about why it happened and the role he played in it.
After all, it takes two to make a relationship. If he’s trying to point the blame outside your relationship, it means he hasn’t accepted any responsibility for his actions.
For example, is he full of excuses?
- I had too much to drink.
- I wasn’t thinking.
- One thing just led to another…
- She instigated it.
- It’s because you’re never home.
Statements like these indicate that he’s shifting the blame to anyone but himself.
Let’s be honest, we all make mistakes in life. Some of these are affected by drinking too much alcohol, giving in to temptation and more.
But in all these scenarios, the only person we have to blame is ourselves.
We were the ones to drink too much alcohol. We were the ones to give in to temptation. While all these factors may have been at play when it came to infidelity, it was brought on by his choices — and he needs to accept that.
If he chooses not to, then what’s to stop him from cheating on you again?
If he can do it once, he will again. After all, in his eyes, it’s not his fault.
So, why does he spout out all these excuses?
It’s because he’s looking to shift the guilt. He likely knows he’s done the wrong thing. But instead of owning up to it, he’s decided to make himself look better by shifting the guilt away from his actions and onto something — or someone — else.
If he’s not willing to be honest with you about what happened and the role he played in it, then you have very little chance of being able to build up that trust in your relationship again.
Instead, you want him to take complete responsibility for his actions and accept that it’s no one’s fault but his own.
3) Make sure everyone’s feelings are recognized
When it comes to something as big as cheating, it’s important that the feelings of everyone involved are addressed.
It’s not as simple as forgiving, forgetting and hoping to just move on. A huge betrayal has taken place, and if you choose to ignore it, you’ll achieve nothing.
You need to sit down together and really address the issues involved. It’s time to be brutally honest about the affair and the impact it has had on all parties involved.
If you simply sweep the feelings under the rug and ignore them, they’ll fester there. Eventually, they’ll come back to bite you. It’s important to get it all out in the open.
If this step is going to work, then your partner has to be completely transparent and willing to answer any questions you might have about cheating. For example:
- Who is she?
- When did it start?
- How long has it been going on?
- Do you love her?
- Do you find her more attractive than me?
- Was it just physical? Was there something more?
- Are you still seeing her?
Once you’ve got all the answers you’re after, it’s your chance to share exactly how you feel.
- How have his actions affected you?
- What do you need from him going forward? For example, do you need him to give up the boys’ nights for a while? Do you need him to share his phone messages for transparency? Do you need him to message you more often when he’s out?
- How do you feel about moving on together?
In order to make sure you get your relationship back onto track, the two of you need to be willing to pour everything you have into it.
It’s going to take time and dedication to build back that level of trust again. This all starts with open communication.
4) Find the right remedy for you
One thing you need from your partner before making a decision on the future of your relationship is some form of action.
Of course, this step is going to be different for every couple.
It’s about identifying what led to the cheating in the first place and putting action in place to prevent it from happening again.
Here are some possible scenarios you can work your way through:
- Drugs or alcohol were involved: If this is what led to the cheating in the first place, then it’s time to discuss a rehab option. It’s not an excuse, but rather the underlying cause of the cheating and it needs to be addressed if you hope to move on together.
- He’s a sex addict: Perhaps he cheated on you because he’s a sex addict. Once again, it’s important to get to the root of this issue to make sure the cheating never happens again. Look into counselling or rehab centres that can deal with this specific issue and make sure your partner is on board to fix the problem.
- You’re out too much: You’re never there for him. There’s no sex in your relationship. There are so many other factors that may have led to the cheating. Once again, these aren’t excuses for his actions. But they still need to be addressed – and one of the best ways to do this is through counselling. This is a great way to get all the feelings on the table with a professional who can guide you through them.
It’s the perfect way to address the underlying issues that have been building in your relationship up until this point, to ensure you don’t go through it again.
5) Work out whether you can forgive
This is something that needs to happen straight away.
It can take time. But, at the end of the day, if you’re hoping to move on with this relationship, you will have to eventually learn to forgive him.
If you don’t think this will ever happen, then you need to back out now.
Being able to forgive is a critical tool when it comes to moving on and it can also help you both emotionally and physically.
Think about it, if you’re harbouring resentment towards your partner while trying to get your relationship back on track, it’s going to eat away at you.
It will affect you in all aspects of your life and can have a huge impact on your health and wellbeing.
According to health experts at John Hopkins, the act of forgiveness can reduce the risk of heart attack, lower cholesterol levels, improve sleep, reduce pain, lower blood pressure, decrease anxiety, depress and stress.
Nursing your hurt feelings for too long can also turn them into hate and extreme bitterness.
So, how exactly do you work on forgiving your partner? Here are some tips to help you out:
- Make sure you’re open to forgiving them in the first place.
- Find a calm place you can distract yourself from the negative thoughts your keep dwelling on.
- Don’t keep bringing their mistake into the conversation when you fight. Only focus on what you’re fighting about at the moment without bringing past hurts into it.
- Don’t try and get revenge for what they’ve done to you. After all, two wrongs definitely don’t make a right.
- Be patient with yourself. Forgiveness isn’t always easy, so take your time and find what works for you.
It’s only once you can forgive your partner that you can truly move on with your relationship without holding onto any resentment. It’s an important step in the process.
6) Start off on a fresh slate
One of the final steps of the process is finding that fresh slate.
This is definitely easier said than done.
No relationship can move on if you both are harbouring feelings or resentments towards each other. For example, you resent his actions, while he resents your need to constantly check in on him.
This step takes some time. You have to work towards forgiveness mentioned in the previous step and he has to rebuild that trust by being patient with you and allowing you to rebuild up to that level.
None of this happens overnight.
Essentially, you need to recreate your relationship. Let go of those parts that weren’t working and move on with what you’ve discovered about each other in the process.
It’s about finding that connection again.
What made you fall in love in the first place? It’s time to go back to those roots and give your relationship the fresh start it needs. Here are some ideas to help with that:
- Plan a trip away: When the time’s right (and after you have been through the other steps), plan a trip away together. There’s no better way to reconnect together than getting away from the busyness of everyday life and just concentrating on each other.
- Make date night a thing: It’s true that in time, relationships lose that special spark. So, take it back to the beginning and start dating again. Plan a trip to the movies, head out to a nice restaurant, make time for the two of you to concentrate on rebuilding that connection.
- Keep up the counselling: Don’t give up on counselling straight away. It can take a while for unresolved feelings to make their way to the surface, so keep it up.
- Work out your love language: have you ever heard of the 5 love languages? It’s one of the best ways you can both get onto the same page. Everyone has a different love language, including words of affirmation, acts of services, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch. By identifying each other’s love language you can communicate better and reach each other on a whole new level.
If your guy is willing to make it through these 6 steps, then you can hold a little hope that your relationship has a future. Only if you choose this path, of course.
You can use the tips above to get it back on track and give both of you the best chance of a happy life together.
Should I tell open up to friends and family about my partner’s indiscretion?
Your partner cheated on you out of the blue. It stings — there’s no doubt about it.
But, what happens next?
If you choose to open up to friends and family, it helps to think about the ramifications of your actions first.
No doubt, once you tell them, your friends and family will be in your ear telling you it’s time to end the relationship. After all, they only want what’s best for you — and a guy who cheats on you certainly isn’t that.
If you know that your family and friends aren’t going to react well to your partner’s indiscretions, it can help to be selective about who you choose to tell in the first place.
It can be all too tempting to act in the heat of the moment and publicly rage about his actions, but this won’t help anyone in the long run — though it can feel great at the moment.
It helps to think about the repercussions of your actions.
Remember, he’s the one in the wrong here. No matter how much you complain about him to those around you, it won’t change what happens.
All it means is that if you do decide you want to make the relationship work, you’ve already tainted your friends and family against him. This makes it that much harder.
Of course, it can help to have a select few people on the inside, so you have someone to talk to when things are tough.
Simply choose your friends and family wisely and avoid talking your man down too much if you’re trying to make things work.
Should I stay with him after he cheated on me?
It’s not that simple. While infidelity is a tough one to recover from, there are ways to use it as a chance to rebuild your relationship.
Using the tips we have outlined above, you can create a whole new foundation for your relationship and work towards something even better.
In fact, some relationship experts believe that your partnership can end up stronger as a result of it.
So, what you do next is up to you.
But if you’re worried about what your friends and family are going to think if you go back to him — don’t.
They don’t know your specific situation and they don’t understand what has changed within your relationship.
Instead, do what’s right for you. In time, your friends and family will come around to the idea when they see how happy the two of you are together.
Moving on after he cheated on me
If you choose to stay with your partner and make it work, then good luck! There’s no denying you have a long road ahead of you in this process.
But, the good news is that if you put in the hard work, you may end up with an even stronger relationship down the track.
Now, that’s something worth fighting for.
Remember, a relationship takes two – and only two. It’s time to tune out the noise around you and trust your instincts when it comes to what you want out of this relationship.
Cheating at any time in a relationship is bad. But it is something you can work on under the right circumstances.
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