- Gender and Relationships
Can You Ever Trust a Cheater? - Trusting a Cheater Again
Discovering that your partner or spouse has been unfaithful to you is the ultimate betrayal.
The cuts run deep and leave scars that can last a lifetime. Most relationships will never the same again. So why would anyone even consider trusting a cheating partner?
But walking away is not always the obvious or even right solution for the wronged party. They may not be prepared to give up on their relationship. They may be willing to stay and to try to work things out.
Others may be so heavily invested in a relationship that they may actually feel that there is little alternative for them but to forgive the adultery.
Having young children or financial burdens can prevent a woman from leaving her cheating spouse.
Even in this so called ‘modern age,’ there are still many wives who are financially dependent upon their husbands and have no independent income of their own.
Others may simply not wish to walk away from the security of their home and a lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. Others may fear the reality of a life on their own.
Whatever the reason, there are many husbands, wives, boyfriends and girlfriends who are prepared to forgive
There may even be some acknowledgement from the wronged partner that there were problems in the relationship and that both parties should have been making more of an effort to work through these.
So what happens if you discover that your partner has cheated on you?
Could you forgive and forget?
Could You Ever Trust A Cheater?
It’s Not The Cheaters Fault!
The Cheater has committed the ultimate sin of adultery but incredibly, most people who cheat seek to justify their infidelity!
Sometimes this is to try and prove to their partner that they are worthy of a second chance and other times it may be because they are deluded and simply in denial.
Also, when we’ve done something that we know to be reprehensible, it is human nature to look for excuses to explain that behaviour away.
The degree of culpability acknowledged by the Cheater will vary.
50/50 if he* thinks you are as much to blame as he is.
Zero if the Cheater is a narcissist. He will accept no responsibility for his actions. It was all your fault!
Cheaters rarely accept 100% of the blame.
* The male gender is used simply for ease of reading.
Are All Cheaters The Same?
Cheaters can crudely be assessed as falling into two broad categories.
The Habitual Cheater
The Habitual Cheater tends to be someone who cheats, simply because he can.
He is the repeat offender and unlikely to change. His thrill seeking deception is often fuelled by adrenalin, lust and sex.
The Habitual Cheater may display narcissistic personality disorder symptoms and refuse to accept any responsibility for his behaviour.
He doesn’t form a strong bond with his lovers as he knows the affairs will be short lived.
Indeed, he may even have more than one lover at the same time. When the novelty wears off, or his lover doesn’t give him the adoration he needs, he will dump her for someone else.
Because the affair meant so little to the Habitual Cheater, aside from sex and making him feel good, then it may initially seem an easier betrayal to forgive.
However, be warned.
Habitual Cheaters don’t stay on the straight and narrow for very long.
He needs his fix and rarely regret his affairs.
He merely regrets being found out!
The Accidental Cheater
The Accidental Cheater doesn’t necessarily set out to cheat.
Sometimes it can be something as simple as being in the wrong place at wrong time. He is often going through a rough patch in his relationship. There may be no intimacy or sexual interaction with his partner. He may be feeling extremely lonely.
Then someone comes along who listens to his problems and makes him feel desirable and worthwhile again.
When the realisation sets in that he has jeopardised his relationship, the Accidental Cheater often experiences severe remorse for the unnecessary suffering that his transgression has caused. If the Accidental Cheater could turn back the clock often, he would.
There may even be some acknowledgement from the wronged party that there were problems in the relationship and that both parties should have been making more of an effort.
The Accidental Cheater, feeling extremely guilty for his actions, may even have tried to end the relationship with his lover.
Although the Accidental Cheater is unlikely to cheat again, the main obstacle to overcome is the emotional bond that he has formed with his lover.
Surprisingly, the Accidental Cheater can be the most difficult to forgive. These are people who become emotionally and romantically involved with their lover.
This type of cheating can sometimes feel more of a betrayal due to the strong emotional connection that is formed between the two lovers.
This relationship is not just all about the sex.
Ultimately, Accidental Cheaters may be unwilling or unable to give up their lover.
Can A Cheater Change?
This naturally depends upon the individual and the circumstances surrounding the infidelity.
For some people, when boundaries are crossed there is no going back.
Once a cheater, always a cheater!
To successfully change, and some do, a Cheater must genuinely want to stop his philandering ways.
Never use emotional blackmail to entice him to do something, that he does not truly want do. It will only backfire on you.
He must also hold himself accountable for his behaviour and not be harbouring the view that none of it was ‘his fault.’
He must honestly feel remorseful for his betrayal.
He must still desire to have you as his long term partner.
Ultimately, he must WANT to change.
Trust After Cheating
Trust is an essential part of any healthy relationship. The moment a partner cheats, that trust evaporates. Love can be killed in the blink of an eye. Everything changes.
Many couples are unable to survive infidelity.
No matter how hard you try, there will always be that niggling doubt at the back of your mind that your partner is not telling the truth. You need to know where he is at all times. These doubts consume you and cause anxiety and irrational thoughts. This in turn can lead to paranoia. Not a healthy basis for any relationship.
Rebuilding that trust is no mean feat. It takes a considerable length of time. Years possibly. You want to believe your partner but you can’t. You are instinctively suspicious.
If a couple is committed to making their relationship work then it is possible to rebuild trust following an affair. But rebuilding that trust is no stroll in the park. It is a tremendously rocky road that will have its highs and lows.
The Cheater must also be willing to understand the needs, concerns and fears of his partner. This will mean continual reassurance and discussing intimate details of the affair, no matter how uncomfortable this may be.
Professional relationship counselling may also be advisable, if the trust is to be regained in the relationship.
In a nutshell, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
Do you love him?
Do you want him?
Can you forgive him?
Can you trust him?
If, after a reasonable period of time, you are unable to answer ‘yes’ to the all of the above, then it may be better for you to move on.
Just ensure that the decision is the right one for you and talk it through with a counsellor first.
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Please note that this hub is not intended for use as a source of professional, psychological or medical advice but is provided solely for informational purposes.
Readers are advised to seek the services of competent professionals in these fields.