Cheating refers to the act of lying, omitting, or secretly breaking agreements with your partner in terms of sexual or romantic activity with people outside the relationship. Some people equate cheating with having sex with someone else, while others consider “emotional affairs” without sex to be just as bad or even worse than sex without any emotional attachment. Cheating is quite common and rarely ends well for the original couple. Usually the cheating is either discovered, or the cheating partner confesses out of guilt. Many couples don’t discuss what constitutes cheating, and this results in conflicts later on.
My Partner Cheated on Me
Trust in a relationship is akin to a precious vase held jointly by each partner and carried along with care. When one partner cheats on the other, it is as if one of them lets go of their side of the vase without warning, leaving the vase to fall to the ground to shatter.
Rebuilding that vase is no simple matter and in many cases, the betrayed party feels no desire to put the once beautiful vessel back together. They cannot imagine that a stronger and better relationship may await them if they have the strength to endure it and the ability to forgive, but not necessarily forget, their partner’s betrayal.
What is perfectly clear is that attempting to rebuild the same level of trust as existed before is a fool’s errand. Why recreate the exact same situation that lead to betrayal in the first place? Why attempt to just return to the way things were when the way things were brought about deception and anguish?
In putting back together the pieces of trust, the goal has to be for far greater and stronger trust, which invariably means far greater honesty. Both partners have to open up to each other to a much greater degree and reveal their thoughts and emotions in ways that most would find too uncomfortable or exposed.
When one partner cheats on another, there is a deception involved in how one partner feels about attractive partners outside of the marriage. Often partners hide from each other how much they are attracted to others by repeatedly claiming lack of interest in others or how their partner is the only one they’d ever love or desire. Regardless of one’s belief in monogamy as natural or unnatural, someone who has cheated on another has already demonstrated that they are attracted to more than one person at a time. At the very least, they have shown they can lust after one while still loving the other.
It is important for these couples to acknowledge this natural desire and to bring it out into the open. A strategy that has worked for some couples and has proven in many cases to be quite entertaining is to hang out together in a bar or similar establishment where attractive members of each sex come to flirt with each other. Each partner discreetly points out which individuals they find attractive and why. At first it can be a little uncomfortable admitting you find some extremely young buxom redhead very desirable or finding out that your partner likes men with firmer buns that yours. However, knowing that your partner is honesty expressing who they are attracted to and why helps to rebuild some of that trust. If it’s no longer a problem to express your (usually temporary) admiration or even desire for another, you can stop worrying about whether your partner is lying to you when they say they don’t find so-and-so attractive.
Another far more intense strategy for rebuilding trust is moving intimacy with your partner to higher levels that require greater trust. Allowing your partner to photograph you nude or filming both of you during lovemaking creates an initially scary but ultimately exciting new avenue for sexual intimacy between couples. Exploring new expressions of sexual desire between each other can help couples re-ignite their relationship and build a stronger connection of trust in each other’s mutual desire. Many couples don’t fully explore the multiple avenues of sexual pleasure and adventure available to them for fear of offending each other, going against long-held moral and/or religious beliefs, or because of their own shyness. Many expressions of intimacy are left unexplored due to their negative image in today’s society. Allowing your partner to tie you up requires a tremendous amount of trust especially from a partner who has been cheated on.
It is crucial to first allow the rage and hurt from the cheating to subside. It will subside! Only when anger and other emotions are under control can you really properly decide whether there is value in rescuing the relationship or parting ways. Making any life-changing decisions while in the throes of intense emotion can often result in disaster.
If you decide to try and rebuild, proceed with care. Don’t rush into too much too soon. Respect each partner’s comfort level. Although many of these sexual intimacy exercises will require initial discomfort to one degree or another, each couple has to be given a safety line or some way to not completely lose control. Don’t get huffy or impatient with a partner’s reluctance or fear. It is important that they come to this willingly and not out of a sense of guilt for having betrayed the relationship. If they see it as important to reconstructing the link between each other rather than as a punishment for a transgression, they are far more likely to put their heart into the rebuilding.
To the old saying “To err is human, to forgive divine” one can add “to rebuild is to live a new.” Sometimes, there is no way to escape the harshest of life’s lessons, but there are ways to take those lessons and build something new and more sublime in its place. Most humans fail in one way or another and many will fail those they love in the worst possible way. Turning that failure into an even happier outcome is the best revenge against fate.