So it actually happened and you’re sick about it. Understandably. Yes, the worst has come to pass and you’d like to bag up his clothes and dump them from the window, change the locks, and be done with the cheater for good. But should you? You caught him cheating. Now what do you do?
Do you divorce him for crossing the engraved boundary of trust? Do you kick him where it hurts or kick him out for good for committing the ultimate act of betrayal? What exactly is the “right” thing to do when your partner is caught cheating or having an affair?
Well, that all depends on two things: you and your partner. Truly. Nothing else should factor into the decision you make with regard to your future as a couple.
Ask yourself some questions
Let’s start with you. Your first step is to ask yourself a couple of questions. First, ask yourself if you honestly love your partner. Now, immediately after finding out about the cheat, you will likely despise every inch of him. In fact, thinking about love is likely the furthest thing from your mind. But after the initial storm of anger, try to assess your level of love.
The love we are talking about here is the love you felt prior to the cheat. If there is a detectable level of love, here is the second question to answer: Is this the first and only time he has cheated on you? This is an important question because there are two types of cheating: serial cheating and singular cheating. Neither is acceptable behaviour, but not every cheat must end in divorce. The fact is, some couples not only survive a cheat but also come away from the affair as a stronger and more committed couple.
What is serial cheating versus singular cheating?
A serial cheater is someone who has cheated on you more than one time, with more than one woman. You are never going to crack the code of a serial cheater. This type of man is so insecure that successive betrayal of his partner gives him a feeling of self-worth. Another cheating conquest somehow makes him feel like a worthy and wanted man. Women who are cheated on by a serial cheater must be very cautious about staying with a serial cheater because the likelihood of future change in his behaviour is very slim.
Then there is the cheater who cheated one time. It could be a one-night stand, but most likely, the cheat is with one woman, even it’s over a period of time. I do not consider this type of cheating to be serial cheating. I do not condone any type of cheating, but we cannot bury our heads in the sand and think all cheating must result in a divorce or breakup.
How to deal with a one-time cheater
Research shows that the adage “Once a cheater, always a cheater” may not be true. Many men admit to a single cheat and in most cases, they said they loved their partners. They claimed that lack of intimacy at home as well as unreciprocated love played a common role in the betrayal. In other cases, certain men made a one-time decision to cross a line of trust in the marriage.
If you believe it it was a one-time thing, you may want to be cautious about leaving the relationship on impulse. If his one-event cheating is not something you can forgive or live with, that is understandable, and you have to do what is right for you.
Most importantly, the decision to stay or go has to be yours. That means do not listen to your friends. Do not listen to your coworkers. Do not listen to your family. Listen to your heart, and if your heart tells you to, it’s okay to give your relationship the chance to possibly heal and work through his transgression. If it was a one-event cheat, and both parties want to save the relationship, it may be worth fighting for.
If you are trying to work through a cheating event and you both want your relationship to survive and heal, learning to let go is important. You can’t wave a wand and erase the hurt and anger from your brain. We are not robots, and of course, feelings of hurt and betrayal are raw and real and must be acknowledged. Take the time you need. If you want to remain together, forgiveness must occur. It won’t happen overnight, and it will take a serious effort from both partners to put it in the past and make the necessary changes to grow as a couple.
Why must you move past the cheat in order to save your relationship?
Men who admitted to a one-time cheat said the lack of letting the event remain in the past is what ultimately ended the relationship for good. Again, only you can determine if the cheating is something you can forgive and ultimately put in the past.
If after the infidelity, you would like to save your relationship and move forward, it is crucial you give him the opportunity to prove his devotion to you and regain your trust. The door with “the event” in it is behind you, shut and locked. If both parties are committed to rebuilding the partnership, the focus need be on the open door in front of you with your budding future of trust and love rebuilding itself.
Divorce attorney Michelle Afont advises people about how to take the necessary steps to live their best lives. In addition to The Dang Factor, she is the author of The Dude Factor and The Profile Factor.