I don’t think there is anything that can be as devastating to a relationship as cheating. It shakes the foundation of the relationship, turns your world upside down, and worst of all makes you question yourself. Cheating is a polarizing topic; many people consider it a deal breaker or assume it means the end of a relationship. However, it is never that simple and many people who find themselves in this position do not want the relationship to end. Is there any hope to rebuild, to regain the trust?
Yes, there is hope for a relationship to heal and even become stronger than before. No, it is not an easy process. Even if both partners are committed to rebuilding the relationship success is not guaranteed. After the initial shock has worn off, it is important that the couple understand, either on their own or with the help of a therapist, why the infidelity happened. In my experiences the infidelity is not the main problem, but a symptom of the problem. Let me be clear: it is never okay for a partner cheat. Period. With that being said, most relationships that have been rocked by cheating are not happy and/or healthy. Both partners need to be willing to examine their role in the relationships and the choices they made that have led them to their current situation. This also may mean taking a look at individual issues, both past and present. This can be extremely painful and challenging, especially for the partner who was cheated on.
Factors such as living arrangements, kids, and the length of a relationship influence whether or not a relationship can move past an affair. Ultimately it is up to both people involved to decide if the relationship is worth fighting for. While I would encourage a couple working through infidelity to use supports, I would caution you to be careful on who those supports are. Keep in mind if you have been cheated on and you share that with your family and friends, they will likely be upset and angry with your partner. If you decide to repair the relationship and move forward, will your family and friends be able to do the same?
Infidelity is a sensitive and complex issues. It is also not uncommon. If you find yourself on either side of an affair I would encourage you to step back and take time for yourself. Surround yourself with good people and think long and hard about what you want for yourself and your relationship.