In today’s episode of, “Will You Marry Me?,” I’d like to talk to you about, “What to Do if Your Lover Cheats on You.” That a partner would have an affair is every lover’s worst nightmare. We can spend weeks trying to analyze why people cheat on their partner, but that’s a subject for another time.
In an exclusive relationship, an affair by one partner can have devastating consequences on the other partner – not to mention the strain it puts on the relationship. The biggest challenge is how to respond once a lover is found cheating. Do you stay, or do you leave? There’s no easy answer to such a complex situation, but here are four steps to help us respond to an unfaithful lover.
First, consider ending the relationship. One might opt to forgive and stay, but that would be ill-advised. The relationship was shattered the day our partner cheated. If our partner can cheat once, they can cheat again. Even if they’ll never cheat again, there’s no way to tell and, for the rest of our life, we’ll live with the uncertainty that they might betray us again. This might cause us prolonged (and unnecessary) suffering.
Dealing with infidelity before marriage means we’re somewhat fortunate, because infidelity within marriage is a whole different beast, and attempting to walk away from a cheating spouse is an extremely complicated matter, especially if kids are involved. Let’s cut our losses while we can, close the chapter, and give ourselves a break – and time to think about where to go from here.
Second, forgive yourself. Many times when we’re victims of people’s wrongdoing, we can unconsciously blame ourselves – at least partially – for what happened. Taking time to forgive ourselves will help us recover from the shock of infidelity, while protecting us from unconscious guilt.
Third, seek therapy, or counseling. Therapy comes in different forms. Talking to a professional family therapist would be great. For some people, however, therapy might mean leaning on their pastor, a mentor, a relative, or a dear friend for support. Whatever it is, it’s important to get help as we try to make sense of what has happened.
Fourth, learn your lessons. Whatever happens in life has something to teach us. This can be challenging at times, but eventually the lessons we learn can make us wiser. The purpose here isn’t to look for who is to blame. We want, rather, to identify parts of our experience that have a message for us.
Whatever message we discover is fine. Perhaps, we’ll learn that no one is infallible, and even the best partners can slip and disappoint us. This means, for example, in the future, we’d be more humble and reasonable in what we expect from people – and avoid putting anyone on a pedestal. Another lesson might be that next time, we need to be more attentive to red flags and take proactive measures before things get out of hand.
Lovers can let us down, but love itself doesn’t fail. Let’s hold on to the Love within us.
With love and blessings