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How to know whether or not to give a cheating partner another chance

Updated on March 12, 2009

You can forgive but you'll never forget

So, you've just found out what all your friends have known for a while.  Your partner in life, the one you thought you'd be with forever, is cheating on you.  A cacophony of emotions causes noise in your brain, blocking out sound rational thinking, and letting only confusion in.  Anger, resentment, jealousy, sadness, grief, desperation, reign supreme.  You start to question yourself, your actions.  You analyse and re-analyse every word you can ever remember being uttered between the two of you.  Panic sets in after the anger starts to dissipate.  You realise that you'd seen the signs for a while and had chosen to ignore them.  You blame yourself for not confronting your partner earlier.  Blame and panic evolves again into anger - a white-hot rage.  Revenge.  How dare someone you love make a fool of you like that?

The phone rings.  "Sorry darling, I've made a mistake.  I do love you after all.  Please forgive me.  Can I come back?  The other person meant nothing to me.  I'm just going through the motions.  It's you I love."

What do you do?  In that instant, when those pathetic words are uttered, most people react sympathetically.  The lust for revenge and that white-hot rage vanishes.  Love and forgiveness comes flowing through your veins.  The hateful things you said to your friends about your cheating partner are forgotten.  All you can think about, is that they want you back.  They really do love you after all.  It was all a silly mistake. STOP!  WAIT A MINUTE AND THINK!

The best thing to do, is to tell your ex-partner that you need time to think and then end the conversation right there and then.  Don't get into any discussion at all, because once they've said they made a mistake and it's you they love, you are at your most vulnerable.  Stopping the conversation there and saying you need to think, also shows that you are not desperate.  There's nobody more ready to be used and abused, than a desperate person.

So, how do you decide whether or not to take them back?  Just remember, it's easy to forgive.  Society and religion teaches us to forgive.  That's what nice, good people do, right?  Well, what society and religion never teach you, is that while you can forgive, you can never forget.  Whenever your partner is late coming home, chats to a member of the opposite sex at a party, doesn't tell you who they're talking to on the phone or appears secretive, you'll be immediately suspicious.  You see, you never forget.  You carry all those memories in an invisible kitbag on your back.  A bit like a portable Pandora's Box.

When you are having your, "I need to think time," be realistic and draw up a pros and cons list of your relationship with that person.  Write down all the good things about your relationship and about them that you can remember under the pros side.  Write down all the things you argued and fought about, bad habits, things that made you unhappy on the cons side.  Now looks at your pros and cons list.  If the pros far outway the cons, then maybe you can give it another go.  But if there are cons that you can't see any possible way to resolve in the near future, then I am sorry to say, that no matter how much you love the other person and no matter how sorry they are for what they did, those problems will still be there when they get back.  I have to say, it's probably best to say you don't want them back. 

I have seen quite a few people, myself included, take back a partner after they've cheated.  Most times, it doesn't work.  The problems you had before resurface, and when they do, it's worse than previously, because coupled with the problems is all the pent up rage that you buried in the kitbag when you took them back after they cheated.  A small problem a few years before, is much bigger now.  However, the odd person, like a former US president, is able to have a stronger relationship than before.  So, the decision is yours to make.  You can take the chance that your relationship will be stronger after the infringement.  But, remember it is a very small chance.  Or, you can look at the problems you had, reflect on them and think of ways you could have handled them differently, and then make a fresh start without your cheating partner, and learn from your mistakes. 

I think contributing factors to your decision, will be if it was just a one-off sexual encounter or a long-standing affair.  Also, whether it is possible to resolve the issues that sought them to seek solace in another's arms in the first place.  A habitual cheater will never change.  You have to decide if that is something you can live with.  Ultimately, it is your decision as everybody's circumstances are different.  But remember, do your pros and cons list, don't just give a spontaneous desperate, "Yes, come back!"  Remember that although you can forgive, you'll never forget and that'll invariably come back to haunt you.  And, there is the very rare success story, where it does work second-time round.  However, you have to be prepared to change and set some boundaries for that to happen.  Whatever you decide in the end, Good Luck!  I hope it works out for you.


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    • cindyvine profile image

      Cindy Vine 9 years ago from Cape Town

      Thanks Nazish!

    • profile image

      nazishnasim 9 years ago

      Okie Cindy, ex or not ex; great hub nevertheless :D

    • cindyvine profile image

      Cindy Vine 9 years ago from Cape Town

      Yeah Nazishnasim think you're right, but the ex in this hub is not the guy Pest was hating in his MPD hub. lol, didn't know there was a Pest when I wrote this!

    • profile image

      nazishnasim 9 years ago


      I have always admired your perceptiveness when it comes to relationships. You have rightly pointed out that 'one might forgive but forgetting the deception is Impossible!'.

      Also, I think Druneric is referring to Pest's MPD hub.

      Thankyou Cindy, great hub :)

    • cindyvine profile image

      Cindy Vine 9 years ago from Cape Town

      Being cheated on is a feeling hard to describe and I hear where you are coming from, Profiler. It's easy for people to make comments or dish out advice, when they haven't been in a similar situation. It's a combination of anger, disappointment, pain, sadness, grief, humiliation ad often an irrational desire for revenge at all costs.

    • profiler profile image

      profiler 9 years ago from Currently in this universe

      You described the deception very well...

      I'm just trying to be a better man and forget about her. I realised I had a low self-esteem and due to that ran away from problems instead of trying to solve them. I distracted myself too much from the real world. I stopped giving too much attention. I took her for granted.

      But what she did to me is unforgivable. If she was upset about something in the relationship she should be clear with me, even give me an ultimatum to make me change.

      But what she did was get attention from elsewhere, hiding and in the end lying for the other man. Everyone has the right to fall in love, it can happen to all of us. But instead of breaking up with me, she chose to put up with her facade of doubt, and "I like you both" attitude, putting the weight in my shoulders of having to break up with her. It's just bad character. I was fooled and it hurts.

      But I'll move on and hope to be a better man after this.

    • cindyvine profile image

      Cindy Vine 9 years ago from Cape Town

      Lol Druneric, had never heard of Pest when I wrote this one. This was one of my first and it was a request I answered.

    • druneric profile image

      Donna Runeric 9 years ago from Ohio

      Another Wow. Absolutely grand advice. Now I'm wondering if Pest's hate hub was directed toward the ex in your scenario.

    • cindyvine profile image

      Cindy Vine 9 years ago from Cape Town

      Yep, especially if they are easily able to justify it to themselves. "I don't get enough or I don't get the attention I deserve, therefore..."

    • writer83 profile image

      writer83 9 years ago from Cyber Space

      Thats oh so true, my take on this is if they do it once - its always an option.


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