Got Cheated On? Here’s How To Decide If You Should Stay With Him
Getting cheated on is a punch in the gut. If it happens to you, it’s natural to want to kick your partner to the curb. But must it be that way?
First, take a step back and assess how invested you are in the relationship. “Reflect on your reasons for wanting to stay or leave,” advises Dr Sara Delia Menon, Clinical Psychologist at Alliance Professional Counselling LLP. “Draw up a table of the pros and cons of staying and trying to make it work, or cutting your losses and leaving.”
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So you kind of want to stay...
If you decide the relationship is worth salvaging, you not only have to take steps towards forgiveness, but also look at the kind of partner you’ve been. “Very often, couples who experience infidelity have entered a space of emotional disconnection. They’ve stopped turning to each other to share joys and sorrows, and doubt the other will be there to listen or give support,” notes Dr Menon.
If you’ve been emotionally distant towards him for some time, while you certainly aren’t responsible for how he chose to deal with it, you may need to acknowledge the part you played in the disintegration of the relationship. It would be good if your partner opens up about the factors that led to his infidelity and validate your hurt, and that you validate his hurt too.
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Was sex involved?
“Most couples find it easier to commit to trying to make it work if the affair does not include a sexual component,” says Dr Menon. Because sex is intimacy at its rawest form, you might find yourself more forgiving if you know your partner didn’t share his body with someone else.
If there was physical infidelity, a one-night stand is likely easier to forgive than a full-blown affair. The latter not only involves physical and emotional betrayal, but also some form of deception, which can be devastating to accept. The combination of these factors can make the affair very difficult to let go of, and you should, as suggested, weigh the pros and cons of the relationship to help with our decision.
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Get to the root of the problem
You have to look beyond feelings and consider the long-term effects of staying in this relationship. If you tend to find it difficult to trust, will this bring out the worst in you?
Just remember: whether or not you choose to stay, if you had a hand in the breakdown of the relationship, you have the opportunity to learn to be a better partner. As Dr Menon points out: “If things don’t work out, we can move from one relationship to the next, but we still bring ourselves and all our unpacked baggage along with us. If the factors that led to the infidelity are not addressed, it’s possible for these destructive cycles to repeat themselves.”