I have a client whose husband cheated on her. She was so very angry and we talked a lot about her anger and sense of betrayal. And then one day I asked her ‘Do you still like your husband? I know you are angry with him but do you still like him?”
My client didn’t have a clear answer about that but we worked through it and she decided that yes, while she was angry, she still liked, and loved, her husband.
I know many partners of cheaters who do not like their person after they cheat. They feel hurt and anger and they also feel hatred. That hatred is hard to overcome no matter how much therapy a couple attends. For others, love stays in spite of the betrayal.
So, ask yourself, do you still like you, partner? If not, then perhaps it’s time to walk away.
4. Can you forgive and move on?
An essential part of surviving repeated infidelity is not about your partner but about you. Can you forgive and move on?
There are two people to forgive in the aftermath of infidelity – your partner, of course, but also yourself. Yes, yourself.
For many of us who are cheated on we are left with a tremendous amount of self-loathing. How could we have missed the signs? Why were we not good enough? Was it our body or our face or our personality or our lack of good sexual techniques that sent our partner out to find someone else? And if your partner cheated on you repeatedly, the self-loathing could be magnified.
It is important that we not only forgive our partners for their infidelity but also forgive ourselves for any perceived shortcomings that we might be holding on to.
5. Can you form a new connection with your partner?
I know that right now you are feeling angry and wondering if you could possibly ever actually connect with your partner again. Perhaps you are feeling insecure that you could never give them what they got from their lover. Perhaps you don’t know if you could possibly trust them or see them in the same way again.
An important consideration as to whether you should stay or go is can you see yourself being able to form a new connection with your partner, one that might be different from the connection that you had before.
One of the things that happen after affairs is that the original couple gets shattered. The bedrock that holds the couple together, the love, the little inside jokes, the patterns, and routines are all gone and the couple must reinvent their relationship, to make it other than what it was that opened it up to infidelity so that it can survive.
Are you and your partner willing to do that? Do you both see a path to finding each other again? To establish a new path so that you can grow stronger together and build a new relationship full of love and trust.
It might be difficult but, if you can do it, you might just be successful in surviving repeated infidelity.
Surviving repeated infidelity can be a big struggle, bigger even than surviving a one-time affair.
Asking yourself, and your partner, the tough questions will give you the answers you need as to whether you should stay or you should go.
Is your partner taking responsibility for their actions? Are they willing to get help to identify why they repeatedly cheat? Do you still like your partner? Can you forgive and move on? Do you see a path to a new relationship? All of these things are important to take into account when figuring out what your next steps are.
This won’t be easy but I can promise you, that you will survive!
If you want to know more about repeated infidelity, you can check out this video below: