Knowing When To Walk Away After Infidelity
If your partner has cheated on you, you may be faced with the decision of giving them a second chance after cheating or walking away from the relationship. This can be a painful and challenging thing for any couple to come back from, especially if the infidelity is a recurring thing. Figuring out when to walk away after infidelity is something that many people may grapple with in this situation, and while it is an immensely personal decision, we’ll offer a few thoughts to keep in mind as you try to determine what’s right for you.
Concerns To Look Out For After Infidelity
Are you worried that your relationship can't survive infidelity? Are you struggling to determine if you should leave or stay? Is the decision one that you and your partner are trying to make as a couple?
This is a very personal decision, and one only you can make for yourself. But, there are a few things to consider if you reach this point in your relationship; surviving infidelity is incredibly hard, but healing from infidelity is certainly possible. If you're not sure which will be the right decision, below are a few red flags to consider as you try to make your decision:
Your partner will not apologize for their indiscretion.
When a partner is unfaithful and not willing to apologize, this can be a sign of underlying issues that the couple needs to resolve. It's important to acknowledge this kind of indiscretion in order to move forward as individuals or as a couple.
It can be difficult for some people to apologize for almost any wrongdoing. They may feel like apologizing is admitting that they have failed at something, but apologizing is a sign of strength in the relationship and can make the other partner feel that you are willing to fight for the relationship. People who refuse to acknowledge their indiscretion and issue an apology may not be willing to put in any effort toward improving the relationship.
Your partner feels that one apology should fix the problem.
Some people feel that a one-and-done apology is enough after an act of infidelity, but most of the time, this isn't the case. Saying that you're sorry is a good start, but it doesn't actually fix the existing problem. Infidelity can be traumatic for both partners to experience, but it's typically more painful for the person that was cheated on.
Your partner might begin to say things like, "I've apologized once, what more do you want?" and other similar remarks. Most people would prefer that the indiscretion had never occurred, but it's too late at this point. However, listening to them about how it made them feel is a start, as well as sincerely apologizing from the heart, and committing to do better in the future.
Your partner refuses to discuss what has happened.
Communication is important in any relationship, but especially after infidelity has taken place. Some couples may experience infidelity partly as a result of poor communication in the relationship. It’s important to talk things through before they reach the point of infidelity, but most definitely after it's occurred. A partner that isn't open to a discussion could be seen as one that doesn't care about the relationship or the other person.
You have no desire to put in the work or try to work things out.
This is a simple one. If you've been cheated on and are emotionally or mentally drained, and you have no interest or energy to try to rebuild, it may be an indication that you should walk away. If you have no desire to talk with your partner, attend counseling, or accept their apology, it may be a sign that you've had enough or are no longer interested in pursuing the relationship.
People that you value most in life are encouraging you to walk away.
It can sometimes be difficult to see things in plain sight. After an act of infidelity, people that care the most about you may encourage you to walk away. Keep in mind that these are the people that care about your mental and emotional well-being, so they know your worth and may be working hard to help you realize it.
This does not mean that their opinion should dictate your final decision, but it can be valuable to consider the thoughts and concerns of those who have your back. It can help you gain perspective if you are struggling with the decision.
The unfaithful partner is still communicating with the person they cheated with and lying about doing so.
If you learn that the person who cheated is still involved with that other person and lying to you about it, this can be a very troubling sign. It is a betrayal of the fragile trust that's trying to be reestablished. This behavior may make it difficult to trust the cheating partner, as they’ve established that even after you two have tried to work through things, they continue betraying your trust.
Strategies For Overcoming Infidelity In Relationships
If you and your partner decide to try to get over an affair and save the relationship, know that it likely will not be easy, but it is possible. The healing process can be painful, and the work may seem exhausting. But, with dedication, patience, and commitment from both people, a relationship can be prosperous after infidelity. Below, we’ll offer a few recommitment strategies to consider for both the spouse who was unfaithful and the spouse who was cheated on.
Recommitment strategies for the spouse who was unfaithful:
Have an open discussion with your partner and answer any questions they may have about the affair.
Be compassionate toward them about what has happened.
Listen to your partner and be willing to discuss things with them for as long as they need.
Accept and acknowledge the role you played in the affair that has taken place.
Discuss how to handle communication with the person you cheated with based on your partner’s comfort, and then honor those commitments.
Recommitment strategies for the betrayed partner:
Ask any questions that come to mind.
Create a healthy way to release your frustration.
Restrict the time you dedicate to talking about the infidelity.
Prepare yourself for the unexpected.
Discuss how the infidelity has impacted your feelings and life.
Some of the strategies can be challenging to achieve on your own, especially when you're feeling the raw emotions brought on by infidelity. In the storm of emotions, it can also be difficult to look at the situation rationally and determine whether or not it's time to walk away. A licensed counselor can support you in this process, both as you’re deciding what you want and after you’ve made the decision to stay or leave.
Being cheated on can feel difficult and draining, and for some in this situation, the prospect of making a long commute to an in-person appointment and waiting in an office with strangers may feel exhausting. With online counseling through Regain, you can meet with your counselor wherever is most convenient for you—eliminating the need for a long commute or busy office.
And research has demonstrated the effectiveness of online therapy for couples experiencing relationship distress. For instance, one such study concluded that an online therapy program was effective in “significantly improving both relationship and individual functioning” for couples.
Continue reading below for some reviews of Regain counselors from couples experiencing similar concerns.
"Jeff has been valuable to our relationship recovery from infidelity and rebuilding a new relationship. His experience and confidence in our recovery were important."
"Nadja was very supportive and listened to my concerns in a non-judgmental way while offering helpful advice to get me through a very rough time in my relationship. Ultimately she helped me see that that the relationship hadn't been working for me, and she helped give me confidence to break out of the cycle and believe in myself in order to leave the situation. I would recommend her as a counselor to anyone going through personal or relationship issues!"
If you've recently been cheated on, you may be experiencing a variety of confusing emotions, and you may be grappling with whether you want to stay and try to make the relationship work, or whether it’s time to walk away and move on. If this is something you’re experiencing, consider some of the points detailed above as you try to make your decision. For additional help, you can connect with an online therapist and get professional support with your relationship concerns.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Should I leave after infidelity?
Deciding if you should leave after infidelity will be unique to your experience, situation, relationship, and preferences. Rebuilding a relationship after infidelity can be challenging, but if you feel respected and heard by your partner, and are both committed to the relationship, it can be possible to overcome.
How do I restore intimacy after infidelity?
If you’ve found enough reasons to stay, and would like to restore the relationship after infidelity, intimacy can seem daunting. Try to talk to your partner, and maybe decide on some changes you can make together in your romantic life. If you would like support in rebuilding trust and romantic connection, you can connect with a therapist for help.
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