Updated: Apr 7
Are you feeling the hurt and pain of having a partner physically or emotionally cheat on you?
Are you wondering whether you can still salvage the relationship?
If so, there are so many different emotions playing out inside you right now.
What's more, you're likely also getting advice (solicited and unsolicited) from friends and family. They may even be throwing around adages like...
Once a cheater, always a cheater.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
It's true, infidelity can certainly mean the end of a relationship. It's an incredibly difficult issue to heal from.
But we at the Gay Couples Institute have found that...
It is possible for committed couples to work through issues of infidelity.
Research shows that 74% of couples who receive professional help do make it through.
Here are some of the tips we implement to help our couples overcome - and in many cases, emerge stronger as a couple from - cheating.
#1. Be honest with each other...and yourself.
The very first step toward healing is for the cheating party to be honest about the affair and genuinely express remorse for their actions.
The cheating partner must acknowledge the pain caused - and then take responsibility for being the source of that pain. All without becoming defensive.
We can't stress enough how important this is to the healing process. It helps the person cheated on to overcome the initial shock and upset.
It may sound funny, but it's also important for the person cheated on, to be honest as well...
Honest with themselves about what happened, and about the state of the relationship at the time of the affair.
#2. Stop pointing the finger.
It's quite easy to blame our partner when they've cheated.
And some of us actually blame ourselves. We wonder...
Was I not good enough?
Don't you love me anymore?
What did I do (or not do) to make you cheat?
What this blaming does is keep us stuck in the cycle of hurt, never allowing the relationship to move forward. And more often than not, it never is the fault of one person.
If you were cheated on, you need to accept that you are not to blame.
And if it's your partner who cheated, you need to...
#3. Figure out what went wrong.
It's important for both partners to process the factors that contributed to the affair - as opposed to just the fact that the affair took place.
We have found that...
Oftentimes, a person may cheat because their partner stopped paying attention to them.
If you're in a long-term relationship, one where the passion was strong at the start but daily, mundane, routine life has taken over, it's easy to turn around one day and realize that you feel totally alone.
"Where's the remote?"
"Find it your damn self."
Words have consequences.
What seems like otherwise small, insignificant moments actually highlight the fact that you and your partner have stopped bidding for each other's attention - and affection.
This causes a partner to feel less and less important and valued.
And that makes other options seem more appealing.
#4. Start paying the right kind of attention to your partner.
We are inundated in today's world with 24/7 noise and access via our smartphones. If you're on social media, then everyone is vying for a moment of your time.
Now add your partner into that mix.
But you need to know that...
In order to pay the right kind of attention to your partner, you have to learn your partner's love language.
How does your partner understand and communicate love?
Are they Sensualists, people who show love through physical intimacy?
Are they Connectors, people who value emotional bonds?
Or perhaps they're Guardians, people who judge the quality of their love relationships based on trust.
You see, if you constantly give gifts as a way to show your affection to someone, but they perceive love through, say, physical touch, your efforts get lost in translation.
Do you need more help learning to trust again - or helping your partner to trust you?
After the blow of an affair, it can be difficult to know what to do or where to begin.
If straight conversations with your partner aren't getting anywhere, consider contacting us to help guide you through the process of rebuilding your relationship.
We can help identify what you and your partner need to strengthen your relationship and help it move forward.
We have seen time and again couples getting professional help and having their partners show up in ways they never did before.
You can move on with your partner after infidelity and have a lasting, loving relationship.
Science tells us that the age-old adage "Once a cheater, always a cheater" doesn't have to be true.
If you and your partner are in the process of recovering from infidelity, take our Communication Style Quiz to find out where the breakdown began.
Or talk to us to learn how to heal from your emotional wounds and rebuild your relationship.
We're sorry you're going through this rough time, but are honored to help you through it.
- Sam & Alapaki