Cheating: Does it always mean the End?

September 28, 2009 by

Has cheating threatened your relationship?  Have affairs on your part or that of your partner left you worried that the damage cannot be repaired?  Do you fear that you have lost your chance for a good marriage?

Every week people email and call Portland Relationship Center ask if the damage from affairs can ever be fixed.  Maybe you wonder too, “Is there hope after an affair?”  I always answer, “Yes!  If you and your partner are willing to do the hard work to overcome the damage caused by the cheating, and delve into the pre-existing problems that allowed an affair to occur. Couples counseling has been very successful in helping couples like you to get both tasks accomplished.

Obviously each of these tasks is very hard in its own way. For the partner who has cheated, the hardest work is to look at the damage done, soothe and reassure the injured partner, become super transparent with their whereabouts and overcome the guilt of infidelity.  As silly as it sounds, if you cheated on your partner, you are going to want them to get over it quickly and never talk about it again! It is silly because, be honest, you know that you could never be that resilient if it happened to you. Your partner needs time and patience to forgive you and rebuild trust and you need to hang in there and face the consequences.  It will be worth it.

Cheating: Has it happened to You?

If you have been the victim of an affair your most difficult task is to face the reality that affairs do not happen in a void.  They happen because the relationship had problems that were not being adequately addressed. Your relationship probably needed couples counseling long before the affair happened.  You may have grown apart sexually, romantically, intimately.  One of you may have made the mistake of putting the kids or career before the marriage.  If you have been hurt and feel betrayed it will take tremendous courage to look at the part you played in creating the disconnection in your marriage.

I always tell my clients that this is the hardest work they are ever going to tackle. The alternative is no easier, however, and requires heart aches and losses that can go on for a long time.  If you and your partner are willing to get the help you need to recover from cheating, you will never regret the choice. Not only will you survive the affair, your marriage will thrive.