Originally published in Jet Magazine
It use to be a time when infidelity was a deal breaker. After all, no one goes into a marriage with the goal of being unfaithful. But it appears as if times have changed.
Although we marry with the intent of monogamy, infidelity can happen even when couples are well-suited for one another. But how do you know whether to throw in the towel or forgive your spouse for an indiscretion?
If I asked 10 couples how they would react if their significant other cheated on them, their responses would vary. Some couples hold traditional values, while other couples are more liberal as to what they define as cheating. Most couples want to avoid infidelity, but relationship needs shift.
Why People Cheat
Cheating usually points to bigger issues in a relationship. There is serial cheating where a person cheats because it’s in their nature to do so. There is also one-off cheating that can happen when someone doesn’t feel as though their needs are being met. There can also be cheating which can occur intentionally or unintentionally.
If you have a partner who has cheated on you and they are remorseful, and are willing to go through the steps to fix the situation, it may be possible to repair the relationship and create one that is stronger and long-lasting. But continued infidelity is unacceptable. The question that you need to answer is what are you willing to accept? Because what you accept is what your partner will give you.
Who It Affects
One thing I often hear as a relationship expert is, “We’re staying together for the kids.” Do yourself a favor and don’t. Here’s why. Kids are intuitive. If you harbor bad feelings and resentment for your partner, your children will pick up on this energy. And guess what, you are teaching your children to model your relationship behavior unconsciously. If your kids see an unhealthy relationship with two people who resent each other, this can do just as much damage to them and their future relationships. If your child places value on fidelity, but witnesses you accepting infidelity and going against your own core values, it can make it difficult when they face a similar situation.
Naturally, when you’re cheated on, you think of all of the things that you did to contribute to the cheating. But here is the only realization you need. If a person made the decision to have an affair, it wasn’t about you; it was about them.
Pushing Past Infidelity
If there is infidelity in your relationship, speak with your partner and listen clearly to the reasons why they sought out the affair. Understand that there can be physical attraction that drives infidelity. It doesn’t necessarily mean your spouse is in love with the other person. Other times it can be the thrill of doing something that is secretive, which fuels the excitement of the affair.
If you want to work through the indiscretion, focus on how you can make things better in your relationship. Don’t focus so much on the other person with whom your partner cheated. You can’t change or control that factor. You can only control how you respond and move forward in your relationship. Plus, seeking out the other party gives them additional power in the situation. Communicate and figure out between the two of you how you can make the relationship better. Some hard truths may be exposed, but it can end up making your relationship stronger in the long run.
There Are No Excuses for Cheating
If fidelity is part of your core values, then you may not be able to move past infidelity — no matter how hard you may try. But, if you realize that indiscretions can happen, and it’s not something that happens continuously in your relationship, you may be able to move past the infidelity. Like I said, cheating is complicated!
Some relationships can survive infidelity and thrive afterward. But for many, cheating can permanently damage them. Before seeking solace with another person, have a conversation with your spouse about your needs and how you are feeling before complicating your relationship with another outside relationship. Seek counseling if needed. Most importantly, do those things you did in the beginning to nurture and strengthen your relationship!
Read more on JetMag.com: http://www.jetmag.com/jetlove/relationships-marriage-infidelity/#ixzz4JbFJQqWo