Cheating is one of those topics that we may know a great deal about because we have dealt with it, but do not often discuss because it is delicate and painful. Still, men cheat on women all the time, and vice versa if we are honest, so it is something we will likely face in a lifetime. It is a sad part of modern society, even though it has been practiced for many generations. Though the act is as old as time, women now have more of a choice in the matter. We now have the opportunity to decide if we want to forgive or move on to someone new. In years past, a woman alone could be in danger, now women make the choice of whether to accept a cheating partner, find a new option, or stay alone. The list below if full of things to consider before you choose to forgive and accept him back. Think through things carefully before making your final decision.
Let’s face it, some guys are habitual cheaters. They may have cheated before you, while with you, and will continue to cheat whether you stay or go. Cheaters cheat for many different reasons. Some have seen this pattern in their families and were never taught how harmful it is, while others were never taught to respect their partner. Some may even have previously been praised for cheating behavior, but the change needs to start somewhere. Before asking him back, talk to him about seeking counseling for the persistent behavior. We all make mistakes, so if it was one time and you can forgive, then try it. However, if you go this route, make sure it is not something you hold over their head for good. Be aware that if it is only once, you may have missed other times; so do your homework before simply accepting their word.
Type of Cheating
The way in which a man cheats is a make it or break it type deal. We all have limits and they are all different, but knowing what our line is can be helpful if he cheats. Some people may forgive a bit of flirting, while others are fine with all but going all the way. Some may even forgive sleeping around if it is in a certain context, but we need to know what this line is for ourselves. Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss, but sometimes it can mean much more. There are no two situations alike, so explore the context of cheating. Perhaps your relationship was missing something that you need to correct. A majority of cheating is about emotional needs, not physical ones, so address the issue first then decide.
Romance or Lust
Knowing the basis of the cheating can be a game changer. If he cheated and said it was pure lust, but you discover it was actually a steamy romance, it is not as simple to forgive. If they have exchanged I love yous, sent love letters, and talked of running away together, you may want to get out before their plans come to fruition. If it was purely physical, then it was likely due to missing intimacy with you or a sexual addiction that requires professional help. Be willing to discuss what happened and try to find a solution.
Who was the Other Person
If your partner cheated, look into who the other person was. IF you know them, it was a business partner, or a prostitute, it all makes a difference. Some boundaries should not be crossed, like cheating with a mutual friend or family member. The rest is up to you to make the choice. Take time to study who he cheated with and what was gained from the relationship. Only address things when you are ready to face the facts of the situation.
What if it were You?
Try taking the other perspective, you are the cheater. Sadly, all of us are capable of poor choices and there could be a time when you step out on a partner. Before making the decision to end it all, think about what you would want or expect and then make a decision.
Can You Really Handle It?
Think things through before taking him back. If you look at the situation and what staying together will entail, confrontation and deep conversations, if that is not something you can handle then this will not work. You will basically be starting over with the same person and you will have to face strong emotions until trust is rebuilt, if it ever is in the relationship. If you are not prepared for this, then just move on. Related to this, if you cannot truly forgive and forget, keep your thoughts from running wild, then you may need to move on. You may see things that are not really there or see innocent acts as proof he is cheating again. It is either forgive and forget or let go. If you forgive and forget, the cheating cannot be used as a weapon in a fight later. Either you start fresh or you decide to end it.
Trust is gold in a relationship and it takes time to build it between two people. Cheating breaks that trust into a million pieces. If you choose to stay, you will have to make serious effort, as will he, to rebuild what was and what can be. It will never be the same, but it can be put together in new ways. If you cannot handle a new type of trust and start over, then you may never be able to build anything worth having again with that person. This is in part because cheating damages your self-esteem, leading you to questions everything from your personality to your intentions in the relationship. If you cannot be comfortable with yourself, you cannot be in a healthy relationship. Make sure to take care of yourself and choose the option that allows you to find your place in the world.
Narcissist or Sincere
Some people are narcissists and will turn their cheating into your fault. If you do not recognize this, then you may feel guilty because they screwed up. This is actually a dangerous personality trait that will leave you suffering in many ways. The narcissist will try to pacify you, giving just enough love to help you forgive and forget, but they will cheat again. Do not try to fix a narcissist, run away as fast as possible. However, if your partner is sincere in acknowledging they screwed up and willing to go the extra mile to win you back, then consider giving them a chance. Trust what your gut is telling you, women’s intuition is a very real thing. You know deep down if they are a good person or not. In fact, you should know your partner inside and out because if you do not, the relationship was not that deep to begin with. Evaluate your life together and whether life is worth trying to make it work. Ultimately, you must do what is best for you.
Can You Do Better
Some women believe that they can do no better than a cheater. You believe you have so little worth that you are not valuable enough to deserve monogamy. This is settling when you actually deserve so much more and can go out and find it if you believe in yourself. Take a deep look at yourself and understand what you are worth. If your partner is constantly devaluing you or making you feel less than, then move on and find someone who cherishes you completely. Only you determine your worth.