As a counselor I have seen my fair share of marital infidelity. Unfortunately few cheaters I have dealt with actually come clean without being caught. Most feel deep remorse, after they are found out. They are prone to weep and plead and promise the world, but can you ever trust them again? Do you even want to?
This week Americans were surprised to learn that the director of the CIA in the United States resigned after confessing to having an affair. I found it ironic that the head of the most secret organization in the country didn’t see that coming. That is often the way of it, unfortunately. Few of us set out to ruin our lives or our relationships. Fewer still realize the cost. As a person who has felt the sting of infidelity firsthand I know how painful and horrific it can be to find out that the person you have given your heart and body to has thrown your trust and future away.
I recently came across this article in Psychology Today which I found helpful and informative:
So you’ve been cheated on. It was devastating–like being kicked in the gut and thrown into the gutter. You couldn’t eat or function at work. Or maybe you were up all night watching old movies, crying and eating pints of Ben & Jerry’s. The affair creates such heartache and pain that you do not want to be in a relationship again. Definitely never again.
The questions loom large. Is the cheater going to cheat again? Should you trust again or not? Is it true, “Once a cheater, always a cheater”? You may feel torn, like you want to take your cheating partner back but feel like it is a point of pride not to. You think, maybe you should just dive into that online dating pool, start looking for some great profiles and forget all about it. Or maybe not.
Well, I have some critical relationship advice for you: Research studies show that even among married couples, cheating is relatively common: about 22% of men and 13% of women cheat. According to recent studies, even spouses who describe themselves as “happy” with their marriage have affairs.
But the good news is this: Many people who are in committed relationships that have decent chemistry and benefits for both partners can actually work through the crisis of affairs. Not only that, their relationship can become more intimate and they can put an end to cheating once and for all. This means that, “Once a cheater, always a cheater” is just not true. There are people who learn and grow from the painful emotional hurricane and the loss of closeness in the relationship that are the aftermaths of cheating.
Of course there are players or sex addicts that will cheat and cheat and cheat again. These are the ones your truly have to watch out for. How do you tell if you are dealing with a chronic cheater? Here are five signs of relationship advice that indicate your cheater is not a chronic case and that the couple still has hope:
1. Your partner is truly remorseful and regrets having cheated. Look for heartfelt apologies that ring true when you hear them.
2. Your partner cuts off contact with his or her lover.
3. The cheater shows a renewed appreciation and devotion towards you.
4. You wind up having deep, open and honest conversations with each other about your relationship, what was missing in it and where you’d like to take it in the future.
5. Your partner wants to enter psychotherapy or counseling either individually or with you to understand his/her own dynamics and to make your relationship better and more intimate.
If the cheater shows these signs and the relationship is good for you in many ways, consider taking your partner back. One caveat: If your partner continues the affair or starts a new one, in spite of showing the above signs, you may be dealing with a player or a sex addict.
And just how do you know if the cheating is going on again? Here are some common signs:
• he/she’s working late a lot
• he/she’s’s suddenly taking trips you can’t go on
• he/she’s got new hobbies that don’t include you
• mysterious phone calls with hang-ups
• credit card bills for unexplained hotel stays or gift-type items
• less sex
• he/she’s more distant, angry or picky
If you find out your partner is cheating again, it’s time to protect yourself from any further heartbreak by breaking up with this person. There are wonderful new matches waiting to date right there on your computer screen!
In sum, if your partner strays, it doesn’t absolutely mean he or she will do it again. Once a cheater, always a cheater isn’t necessarily true. Forgiveness and a new coming together are possible. If you have been betrayed but want to see if it can work, just stay heads up for a while and see which way the train is heading!