Cheating on someone is never, in any situation, a good thing to do. Sure, you’ve probably read the stories about how A cheated on B and how it brought them even closer together etc., but for the majority of us normal human beings, being cheated on by a loved one is nothing short of devastating.
In this situation, a typical reaction would be to throw all their possessions out of the front door, change the locks and telephone all mutual friends to begin your campaign of vengeful terror against them. Either that, or crawl into the corner of a darkened room, adopt the fetal position and cry yourself to sleep. However, before ensuing upon the usual knee-jerk course of action and throwing their asses out in the street, you may want to think about whether the relationship is worth saving or not.
To dump or not to dump
Let’s be honest, in most cases of infidelity, giving the offending half the old heave-ho is almost certainly the correct thing to do. The common claim that when someone has cheated once, then they will cheat again, no matter how much they protest this, does seem to prove generally true. But there may be, just maybe, certain factors and certain arguments that lead you to decide that the relationship is worth saving. The following list then discusses several of the most important questions regarding this decision.
#1 When did they do it? You could argue that this isn’t particularly important. Cheating is cheating, after all. But if the dirty deed was done quite some time ago, perhaps the very earliest stages of the relationship, with months or even years of coupled bliss in the interim period, then it might well be worth thinking twice about bringing the relationship to an end.
You could have felt quite differently about each other then. Perhaps it’s a relationship that blossomed later in time, rather than at the very beginning. However, if it happened the day before yesterday, then there isn’t much of a get-out clause available.
#2 Will it happen again? This is a difficult one. Of course, the offending partner will protest against this one, unless they have balls the size of a small battleship, and there is little to indicate the truth of this. It would be nice to possess a crystal ball, but unfortunately most of us must rely on hindsight. The only real advice that can be given on this one is to weigh up the circumstances.
If there are factors in their favor, such as a lack of sex, a ton of communication problems and so on, then you may be inclined to believe their protestations. However, if things in the relationship have been pretty good on the whole, and they still went out and cheated, who’s to say it won’t happen again.
#3 Did they ‘fess up? There’s a lot to be said for someone who confesses the more insidious of their extra-curricular activities. It tells us three things. Firstly, that they have the courage of their convictions, and that’s an admirable quality in itself. Secondly, that you obviously mean so much to them, that it has been preying upon their minds and torturing them with guilt. Thirdly, that they’re an honest person whom you can possibly trust, when they tell you it won’t happen again. Definitely worth keeping in mind, although ultimately the decision is up to you.
#4 Was it just physical? Again, the “she/he didn’t mean anything” card doesn’t really account for much. However, and I almost hesitate to put this forward, if it was one of those situations where they’ve been out on an office party, got a bit tipsy and some office sleaze or slapper has broken them down enough to get their wicked way, then it might be worth just rethinking the whole separation thing.
If that particular act of infidelity occurred on the back of a developing romantic relationship, well, that’s an entirely different kettle of fish.
#5 How many times have they done it? Was this the first time that you’ve found out about your other half cheating on you? Has it happened before? If the answer is yes, then I’m afraid you may be involved with a serial adulterer. They may protest against your insistence that it will happen again, and they may throw themselves at your feet and declare their undying love for you – and in their minds that would all be true.
However, the serial adulterer suffers from certain emotional imbalances, usually relating to abandonment issues, and the problem will not go away. Unless they can commit to getting psychological help, and you are willing to help them through, and it may not pay dividends even then, then the only remaining sensible course of action is to walk away.
#6 Was it with someone close to you? Adultery in itself stinks of a lack of respect towards the injured party, but to commit the deed with someone close to them – a friend, colleague or even, horror of horrors, a sibling – takes the lack of respect issue to altogether new heights. Our advice here would be to walk away no matter what. Anyone who has that little respect for you can never be the solid lifelong partner that you deserve.
#7 Was it with someone of the same sex? Now this is a difficult situation. You are told, either by your partner or by a third party, that they have been having a homosexual affair – he with he or she with she. Of course, if you’re in a homosexual relationship with your partner, then you can just skip this pointer and move on to the next. However, if you are in an opposite sex relationship with them, but they have chosen to have a same sex affair, then there are three salient issues.
Firstly, do you care? Men especially seem to have little to no issue with their partners having a lesbian affair. In fact, they might even be turned on by the very idea of it. Secondly, is it because they are bisexual or because they are actually homosexual, and you never knew? If it’s the latter, it’s up to you how you handle it, but the relationship almost certainly has to come to an end, for your own sanity’s sake if nothing else. If it ends up that they are bisexual, then there may be some way you can talk this through between yourselves or with the help of a counselor.
Thirdly, does the gender of the person matter to you? Cheating is cheating after all, and you may decide to make your decision, irrespective of whether the third person in the triangle has tail or tush!
#8 Do they show remorse? You deserve this at least, surely? Someone who gets caught red-handed in a state of infidelity, if they truly love and respect you, should be absolutely devastated that they’ve hurt you in this way – and it should show.
If no remorse is shown at all, then you really have to ask yourself what that other person actually feels for you, if anything. Of course, some players out there are consummate actors, and if the waterworks are just a little too readily on demand, and the theatrics a little too hyperbolic, then this could equally be a sign of a lack of remorse.
#9 What was the relationship like before? There is so much pressure on people to opt straight in for the dumping card when they discover their partner has cheated on them, but you really have to measure the facts based on your own experiences and intuition. If things have been just perfect for a longer time than you had ever dared to believe prior to your partner’s indiscretion, and if you really want to hold on to what you had, then, by all means, give it another chance.
This is your decision to make and nobody else’s. The very fact you feel this way probably says a lot about the chances of it never happening again, if you can suffer the knowledge of that one blot on the romantic landscape.
#10 Can the relationship ever be the same? So your partner cheated on you with someone. They come straight home, confess everything, declare their love for you and tell you it was a mistake, that they’ll never do anything like it again – and you’re fairly sure you believe them.
However, even if you did believe them, even if everything was perfect beforehand and you think it will never happen again, if in your own mind you know you’ll never be able to forgive them, then your relationship will never be the same again. Arguments will occur, the power dynamic will change – it just won’t be the same relationship that it once was. The question is, can you deal with it?
If you’ve been cheated on by a loved one, then the decision whether to dump them or not can only be yours. However, the questions above will hopefully give you the chance to reassess if separation is the best course of action for you to pursue.