So You Cheated: Now What Do You Do?
You might be able to save your relationship if you follow these steps.
Being cheated on is one of the worst experiences imaginable. The betrayal, loss of trust, and insecurity that follows can really damage the person who was cheated on. But what about the cheater?
If you've cheated on your significant other but want to work things out, your relationship might be salvageable. But it's going to take a lot of time, honesty, communication, and hard work before you get there.
Follow these steps if you want to try and save your relationship.
1. ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY
The most important step is the first one, admitting your mistake. Accepting responsibility for your actions and truly feeling remorseful for betraying your partner is the only way you'll be able to confess your indiscretions earnestly and be able to ask for true forgiveness.
2. CONFESS TO YOUR PARTNER
Too many times, cheaters don't fess up to their bad behavior until they are caught and convicted with evidence. If you want the best chance at rebuilding trust in your relationship, you need to come clean because you owe the truth to your partner — not because you had no other choice. You need your S.O. to realize that you care about them so much that you willing to be honest and feel remorseful, even if it means potentially losing them forever. You need to be honest, not for your own peace of mind, but because you recognize the other person's right to decide whether or not to stay with you. You can't be selfish twice. If you aren't selfless enough to tell the truth right away, you can't expect your partner to believe you are truly sorry for the betrayal.
3. REFLECT ON WHY YOU CHEATED
Analyzing the cause and degree of your infidelity could help you pinpoint certain aspect of your relationship that you should be focusing on fixing. Was it just a drunken one-night stand after your partner and you had a huge fight? Maybe that means you need to work on your communication while having disagreements. Was this a brief fling with someone that was only about sex? Maybe that means you need to talk to your partner about the lack of sexual gratification in the bedroom. Whatever the reason, you can't guarantee you won't repeat the same mistakes until you understand why you made them in the first place. This will be hard work, but you need to demonstrate to your S.O. that you will do whatever it takes to get your relationship back on track.
4. STOP ALL CONTACT WITH THE PERSON YOU CHEATED WITH
This goes without saying, but you obviously have to stop having sex with the other man or woman. But more importantly, you need to discontinue any other kind of emotional relationship or friendship you had with the person in question. Delete their number from your phone, block them on social media, and avoid situations where you might run into them. Your partner needs to know that you are committed to them and that you won't be tempted to stray again. If the person you cheated with is much harder to avoid, such as a coworker, it's fair to expect your partner to ask you to switch departments or even companies. If you really care about salvaging your current relationship, you need to do whatever your partner needs (within reason) to feel comfortable and start rebuilding trust again.
5. GIVE YOUR PARTNER TIME AND SPACE
You can't expect your significant other to forgive you overnight. You are the one who messed up, so you are not entitled to their love and trust anymore. You have to earn it. When betrayed, it can take at least a year to trust your betrayer again. Some couples even seek therapy to help restore security in your relationship. All you can do is let them know you are willing to talk honestly about any questions or concerns they have. It is up to them to decide if, when, and how they want to discuss your infidelity and the possibility of working things out. If they ultimately decide to leave you, you must accept and respect their decision.
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