Like I said, the process of healing a relationship after infidelity will take some time. In cheating on you, your boyfriend has shattered your trust. There is an expression that always springs to mind when I think about the importance of trust. “Trust arrives on foot, and leaves on horseback.” In other words, trust will take time to develop and solidify between two people, but it can vanish in the blink of an eye. So when you have to repair the trust between you, you have to understand that it will not happen overnight.
This is where patience and perseverance come into play. Accepting that saving your relationship will not be easy is a way to help you stay motivated even when it seems tough. If you continue to drown in disappointment and resentment, you are only setting your relationship up to fail. Good change, just like bad change, does not happen at the snap on your fingers so this journey should be viewed as a marathon and not a sprint. Though it is hard, do not lose patience and it will help you to see results.
Why did my boyfriend cheat on me: The importance of answering this question
A lot of people who are in the middle of a relationship crisis are surprised to hear what I’m about to say, but you might already know this. Many times a crisis in a relationship can actually be a huge blessing in disguise. I’m saying that you might already know this because you are willing to fight for your relationship despite the fact that your boyfriend cheated on you. You have hope for the future with this person which means that you believe in restoring the bond between you. No matter how complicated the situation might seem right now, it can be a blessing in disguise because it can serve as a powerful catalyst to steer your relationship in a new direction, therefore granting it the opportunity to become better than ever before.
The situation can be a blessing in disguise
I have worked with people who have contacted me saying, “My boyfriend cheated on me with his ex,” “My boyfriend left me for his lover,” and even “My boyfriend cheated on me with my best friend,” and I have been able to help these people restore their relationships and make them better than ever before. Sometimes the best way to realize how much something really means to you is to come face to face with the threat of losing it. As human beings we have a terrible tendency to take things for granted, and unfortunately the same concept can be applied to relationships. So even if you have found yourself thinking, “My boyfriend cheated on me, now what,” I want you to know that if you can pinpoint the reasons behind why this happened and set out on a new path with your boyfriend, then you can actually become happier than ever before.
Cheating boyfriend: Understanding the “Why”
One of the hardest questions (and also most important!) to ask yourselves is, “How did this happen?” More often than not, cheating is a symptom of a problem in the relationship, and not the problem itself. In other words, cheating is what is on the surface level when there is a deep rooted problem at hand. Cheating is often caused by something else such as lack of affection, attention, acceptance, closeness, trust, intimacy, and even self-confidence, among others. If you can identify why your boyfriend cheated, then you can develop appropriate strategies to prevent it from happening again in the future.
Though you are feeling vulnerable right now, it is important to analyze the situation and ask yourself honest questions about what things were lacking in your relationship. An easy way to do this is to think about how your relationship was when you were the happiest together, versus how it is today. What did your relationship look like in the beginning? What did both of your personal live’s look like in the beginning? Did a disconnect or as sense of monotony and predictability begin to develop in the relationship? Did your partner feel desired by you on a regular basis, both mentally and physically? Pinpointing the root cause of why your significant other turned to intimacy outside of your relationship can point you in the right direction.
How to rebuild trust in a relationship after he cheated
In addition to identifying why he cheated on you, we need to pay attention to the dynamic between you from here on out. Because tensions are high right now we need to be careful with the approach. It is very easy, dangerously easy, to hold a grudge. What your partner did has caused a deep wound in you, but you are going to have to operate as a team if you are going to overcome this.
A relationship is a two-way road, and that means that you two need to be operating as a team to find a long-term solutions together. Like anything of value in life, a relationship requires maintenance and effort and you both need to work towards a common goal together. This is what reinforces the complicity between you and makes the bond stronger. If there is only one person working towards fixing a relationship and the other person just watches and waits, it can actually start to build a bit of resentment between you.
A person who’s struggling to save a relationship alone can begin to resent the other person, especially if it feels like the other person is not willing to put forth the effort to patch things up. In addition to this, you’ve got to be very careful with avoiding being on attack mode. Yes, you are hurt and upset, but being defensive and holding on to grudges will be counterproductive. This brings us to my first tip on how to recover from cheating in a relationship.
How to forgive a cheater: Choosing to forgive and sticking to it
Many of us forget that for forgiveness to really work, it has to be a habit. I am not insinuating that you should “let your boyfriend get away with it.” I am saying that if you choose to forgive him and heal your relationship together, then you must choose forgiveness every day for it stick. This is why I am stressing the importance of not holding on to grudges. If you hold this mistake over your boyfriend’s head forever, you aren’t going to be able to save your relationship. The only thing this does is keep you perpetually stuck in a situation that is not sustainable. In order to make this work, you have to allow it to work. You have to continuously choose your forgiveness, even when negative thoughts arise – which they will, because we are all human.
After being cheated on: Believe that people can change
Following in line with my point about choosing forgiveness and not holding on to grudges, it is important to believe that people can change after making a mistake. If the roles were reversed, wouldn’t you want your partner to believe that you are capable of turning your life and decision making process around? Wouldn’t you want him to believe in you and give you the opportunity to prove to him how much you were willing to fight for this relationship?
Sometimes I work with clients who had been cheated on, and have chosen to pull the plug on the relationship without giving their significant other a chance to redeem themselves. In many of these cases the person I end up working with has come to realize that they bitterly regret not fighting for the relationship. So if you want to no how to get over an affair and how to forgive a cheater, you have to believe in him. This will help your healing process and it will also reinforce the bond between you and help you to operate as a team. Always remember that it should be both of you vs the problem; not you vs him. When your boyfriend feels supported by you even after he cheated, it can help to restore the bond between you.
My husband cheated on me: Playing the blame game will not help
After being cheated on, it is normal that tensions would be running high between you and your boyfriend or husband, so your relationship is going to be at a higher risk. This means that you might be tempted to point fingers when things are not going the way that you would like them to. This goes hand-in-hand with the point I was making above about holding on to grudges. You see, playing the blame game will only reopen the wounds and keep you stuck in the past. At this point, it is going to be of utmost importance to focus on the future instead of dwelling on the past. The more you allude to what happened or blame your partner for the situation you are in right now, the less progress you are going to make.
Another thing that sometimes happens after infidelity in a relationship is that the person who cheated tries to deflect the blame. If your boyfriend is telling me that he cheated because of something that you did or because of the way the relationship between you is, you are going to have to make sure that you dissect what is going on here. Your partner needs to take responsibility for his actions but you also both need to work on finding solutions together. In my own life, the day I realized that I am in charge of how I approach the problems I encounter, was the day I knew I could be a happier and healthier person. That was the day than I knew I could truly build a life that matters and made me happy.
Finding the positives after he cheats on you
There is no question about the fact that your boyfriends cheating has left a bad taste in your mouth. Another one of the tools I use with my clients who are struggling with a barrage of negative thoughts on a daily basis is actually quite simple. Every time you think negatively about what your partner did, following up with something positive that they offer you or the relationship. You have to make sure you remind yourself on a daily basis what you are fighting for. You can even take a piece of paper and a pen and start to write down all of the things that you love about your partner.
Make sure that you carve out quality time to spend together when you are putting the pieces back together. Plan a weekend getaway where you can start to make new positive memories. If the problem was neglect or monotony in the relationship make sure that you can start carving out time to spend together. Give yourself at least one date night each month where you can be alone and have fun together. This is going to be a period of rediscovery.
Isabella’s story: Repairing a relationship after cheating
I was working with Isabella last week. She had reached out to me because she had been cheated on by her boyfriend of six years, Mark. In her case, she found out by chance, but it was because she had a hunch. She was suspicious of his behavior and after going through the iMessages on his computer, she came across the messages between Mark and the other woman. When she approached Mark about it, he immediately confessed and came clean about his actions. In this confession, he also expressed that he had been unhappy in their relationship but wanted to find a way to work things out with Isabella.
He did not want to pull the plug on their relationship and was willing to do the work it was going to take. At first, Isabella wanted out. Her heart was broken and her trust was betrayed, and she wanted nothing to do with Mark anymore. She told me, “ He cheated on me and it was all I could see for a while. I couldn’t see past what he had done and I kept replaying images of him and the other woman in my mind. I couldn’t imagine the day that this wouldn’t haunt me and for a while, I wanted to get as far away from him as possible.” However, after a couple of months of reflection, she began to agree that the relationship had gone down hill before the cheating happened, and when he had tried to talk to her about it, she would get frustrated and brush it off.
This motivated her to give the relationship a second chance. She decided to change the tune of her relationship and started by outlining what was causing the romance and bond to dissolve. Isabella was so motivated that she found a solution to every single issue that they have been facing us a couple, including the broken trust. Today, Isabella and Mark are engaged and are both very happy to be moving the relationship forward!