July 18, 2023
Cheating on a partner is a betrayal of trust that can cause a significant amount of emotional pain and distress. It can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, and anger, and can severely damage the relationship between the two people involved.
In this article, we will explore what counts as cheating, how to forgive or decide if you should, and why it can be so hard to get over the betrayal.
What Counts as Cheating?
Cheating and betrayal can take many different forms, and what counts as cheating may vary depending on the individuals involved and the boundaries set within their relationship.
Generally speaking, cheating involves engaging in romantic or sexual behaviours with someone other than your partner. This may include having physical or emotional affairs, sexting or flirting with someone else, or engaging in intrigue or in any other behaviour that would violate the trust and fidelity of the relationship.
How to Forgive the Betrayal or Decide if You Should
Forgiving someone who has cheated on you can be a difficult and complex process. It may take time to work through your feelings and come to a decision about whether or not you want to forgive your partner. It is important to remember that forgiveness is a personal choice, and there is no right or wrong way to handle the situation.
Here are some things to consider when deciding whether or not to forgive your partner:
- The severity of the cheating: The severity of the cheating can influence your decision to forgive. A one-time drunken kiss may be or may not be easier to forgive than a long-term affair.
- Your values: Consider your personal values and beliefs. Some people may have a zero-tolerance policy for cheating, while others may believe in second chances.
- Your partner’s behaviour: Has your partner taken responsibility for their actions? Are they willing to make changes to rebuild trust? Do they seem genuinely remorseful?
- Communication: Open and honest communication is essential when trying to repair a relationship after cheating. If you and your partner are unable to communicate effectively, it may be challenging to rebuild trust and move forward. Expressing your emotions can help both you and your partner understand each other better and work towards rebuilding trust.
- Seek support: Whether it is through therapy, support groups, or trusted friends and family, seeking support can help you process your emotions and work towards healing.
- Set boundaries: It is important to set boundaries with your partner to ensure that both of your needs are being met. This may include setting limits on communication, establishing expectations, or seeking the help of a mediator.
- Practice self-care: Taking care of yourself is essential during this time. Engage in activities that bring you joy and help you relax, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with loved ones.
If you are the one who has cheated, it is normal to feel guilty and ashamed. It is essential to take responsibility for your actions and acknowledge the pain you have caused your partner. However, it is equally important not to beat yourself up and seek support from a therapist or a trusted friend. Talking about your emotions and getting an outside perspective can help you process your feelings and make amends with your partner if that is possible and wanted.
Why is it So Hard to Get Over the Betrayal?
Betrayal can cause a wide range of emotions, including anger, sadness, and mistrust. It can be challenging to overcome these feelings, especially if the betrayal was severe or ongoing. It might feel too hard and impossible to trust your partner once again and your next tentative steps may be learning to trust others and yourself in another relationship. It will take time.
Why it can be so hard to get over betrayal:
- Loss of trust: Cheating and betrayal can lead to a loss of trust, which is essential in any relationship. It can be challenging to trust your partner again after they have broken that trust.
- The emotional impact: The emotional impact of betrayal can be profound. It can lead to feelings of sadness, anger, and anxiety, which can be difficult to manage.
- The impact on self-esteem: Cheating can make you question your worth and self-esteem. You may feel inadequate or unlovable, which can make it challenging to move forward.
- Fear of it happening again: The fear of being betrayed again can make it hard to let go of the past and move forward. It can be challenging to trust again and open yourself up to the possibility of being hurt again.
It is important to note that cheating is not always a sign that a relationship is doomed to fail. Many couples can work through infidelity and rebuild their relationship stronger than before. However, it takes time, effort, and commitment from both parties to move past the hurt and rebuild trust.
In conclusion, cheating can have a significant impact on mental health and well-being. It can lead to a loss of trust, self-esteem, and cause emotional distress. Forgiving a partner who has cheated can be a challenging and personal decision, but it is important to consider your values, your partner’s behaviour, and your ability to communicate effectively. Regardless of your decision, it is essential to seek support from friends, family, or a mental health professional to work through the emotional aftermath of cheating.
If you think you would like to talk to a therapist about betrayal – from either perspective, get in touch with Claire at Insight.
Talking will help make sense of what has happened to you and allow you to begin to see a way forward with your life.