Women who have been cheated on are often told that the best way to overcome cheating is to simply dump the philandering dolt.
But it’s rarely ever this clear-cut. When your boyfriend cheats, painful as it may be, you sometimes have to get to the bottom of things before making an informed decision. Here’s our three-step guide for dealing with a man who cheated.
Step 1: Define Cheating
Obviously, engaging in sex and oral sex while you’re exclusively dating is considered cheating. But if no sexual activities were involved, other activities may also be included in the definition of cheating. Examples include kissing on the lips, sending sexy texts, emails and photos, going out on dates and holding hands. You also need to consider whether you were actually together, on a break, or in an open relationship at the time of these activities.
What matters in the end is how YOU define cheating, and what’s even more important is what BOTH of you view as cheating.
If he doesn’t fit the definition, maybe the best thing you can do is establish ground rules and consider this whole thing a slight hiccup in your relationship. If he fits the definition for cheating, let’s move on to…
Step 2: To forgive or not to forgive
You have to find out for yourself if you can find it in your heart to forgive him, and if the relationship is worth saving. But since that’s subjective, here are a few slightly more objective ways to find out if it’s a good idea to give him another shot:
Consider giving him a second chance if…
- He’s the one who admitted to cheating, and he is willing to do anything to make it up to you.
- You suspect that cheating can be a symptom of a bigger problem. Maybe he’s undergoing a lot of stress or there are huge changes in his life that he can’t cope with. This isn’t to say that he gets a free pass, but it may just be a coping mechanism that he won’t repeat.
- He genuinely thought you were over or on a break.
- He was drunk, angry or emotional. It’s possible that his judgment was clouded, and he was acting childish and impulsive. It may be a one-time event that he’ll learn never to do again.
- You recognise that you also contributed to the relationship breakdown. You’ve identified your part and you’re both committed to being more connected, loving and authentic with each other. Seeing a therapist is certainly a great way to go.
Kick him to the curb if…
- He did it with an ex girlfriend. It may be a sign that he’s still holding on to the hope that they’ll get back together; he may not be emotionally available to you.
- He’s done it before. Old habits die hard, and he’s bound to do it again.
- He’s been living a second life and convincing the other woman that he’s in a real relationship with her.
- He shows no remorse, and even blames you for why he cheated.
Step 3: Take action
If you decide to take him back, make sure he understands that this kind of behaviour is not tolerated. After he has earned a second chance, talk about how his behaviour has hurt you and how you can work on making sure it never happens again.
Give yourself ample time to heal, and who knows, your relationship might end up being stronger after this. In fact, this can happen and the relationship can become better than ever (of course this is not always the case).
If you’re committed to giving it another shot it’s important to create healthy boundaries and to also be careful to not keep bring up the past. Healthy boundaries will help with this. Not only will he need to adhere to certain healing and rebuilding guidelines, so will you.
If you decide to break up with him, do it immediately – don’t drag out the pain, the heartache the confusion. Commit to healing, learning and finding the love you deserve! Please do not shut yourself out of love. Not every man cheats. There are good men out there. Focus on recovering and quickly.
And you may be vulnerable at this time because of your grief, if he tries to weasels his way back into your heart. Remember; don’t allow yourself to forget what happened. Forgiveness is important, although this does not mean you get back together.
The clearer you are of what you deserve the easier it will be to walk away or rebuild.
I would love hear your thoughts and personal experience to overcome cheating… what did you do, did you take him back, what did you learn?
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