Moving on after CHEATING!
There was a huge response to last week’s article on cheating. The overwhelming majority asked ‘What now? Can our relationship survive this?’
The answer is: that it’s up to you and I mean BOTH of you. It will not be easy. It will take many months, if not years but it can be done.
The one thing that you must come to terms with is that your relationship will never be the same again. The good news is that if it doesn’t kill you, it could make your relationship stronger than ever.
The first step to moving on is to acknowledge what has happened. You have to admit to what the problem is and acknowledge wholeheartedly that you have messed up. Apologize! I know the word sorry is probably not in your vocabulary, but unless you say it and mean it, you’re dead in the water.
You then have to figure out why it happened. A wise woman once told me that there only two types of people who cheat; the naughty and the needy. Which one are you? I also think that power and the ability to wield it is incredibly addictive and forms a large part of cheating.
Once you have figured out what the problem is, be honest about whether it can be remedied, because if it can’t there is very little point in repeating the cycle.
You have to cut off all communication with the other person and I mean ALL communication, including social media. If your partner catches you or suspects you are still communicating or sneaking a peek at their Facebook page, you will be back in a world of pain.
Your partner and relationship will need to heal. This takes time. Some experts say that it will take at least 18 months if not more. It is easy to be consumed by the betrayal and want to discuss it and rehash it every minute of every day, don’t. Set aside time when it can be discussed. Like date night for deceit discussion! You will be questioned mercilessly. Every time you have sex, kiss, hold hands, go to the park, your partner will wonder if you did this will the other person. And they are entitled to an answer. You have to respect and acknowledge the pain you have caused. And not just once!
Be as honest as you can. I am tempted to tell you to lie about certain things. If your partner asks whether his penis was bigger than his – Say no! The answer to ‘was she better than me?’ is always NO!
The problem with not telling the truth is that if it comes out at some later stage, trust is breached from the beginning. It’s also much easier to remember the truth because I can guarantee that your partner will remember every small detail you have shared.
I’m not a fan of couple’s therapy unless you are both 100% committed. It can guide you to find common ground and if you think it will help you then by all means go for it. It has worked for many, it didn’t work for me.
If you are the partner who has cheated you have to bear witness to the pain and chaos you have caused. You cannot say; ‘Oops, sorry now please let’s move on.’ Many offenders I have spoken to are horrified at the pain they caused their children. What did you expect?
The process of forgiving requires time. More often than not we forgive quickly because we are so afraid of the loss that might come if we don’t. You are cheating your relationship if you allow this to happen. You will be destined to a lifetime of hurt and humiliation. Love and respect yourself enough to go through all the stages of loss. Grieve like you would a death and then move on.
Set new rules. The days of not answering your phone or leaving the room to talk are over! Your computer, social media pages and smart phone are now open source. You have lost your right to privacy. You have to prove that you are serious about regaining trust and this is the quickest way to combat insecurity and mistrust. Once your partner starts to trust you again, they will slowly relax the leash.
Sex can be a huge hurdle in the healing process. I know your partner is wondering if you did this with her every single time you touch them. They will be wondering if you are thinking of the other party. This is normal behaviour and you will be disingenuous if you try to humiliate your partner because of it.
The bedroom can become a war zone, but try not to let it. Never withhold sex as punishment. There is just no coming back from that. I know it’s hard but try.
If you are the hurt party try not to punish your partner at every turn. They can only tolerate being your whipping boy for so long. You have to learn how to let it go.
The process of putting your relationship back together is the most terrifying roller-coaster you will ever ride. You may even vomit! If you cannot move on after giving it your best, there is no shame in moving on. But be an adult about it.
When it hurts, I try to remember a line from a Helen Reddy song: ‘Yes I’ve paid the price, but look how much I’ve gained. I am strong, I am invincible!’
Share your Moving On stories on my blog, www.blog.lolamontez.co.za or email me Sharon@lolamontez.co.za