Cheating should never be an option in a relationship. Unfortunately, some couples have to deal with this fiasco. It’s not just the one who got cheated on that goes through a whirlwind of emotions — sometimes, even the cheaters don’t feel good about what they did to their partner either. However, just because a cheating incident occurred, this doesn’t mean everything you shared with your partner should be thrown in the dumpster. It’s difficult to repair a relationship after cheating — but it’s not impossible.

How to mend your relationship with your partner

Take time away from each other

Taking time for yourself (and away from your partner) seems contradictory since you’re repairing your relationship with them, but when both parties are still pretty high-strung, you may say things to each other that you don’t actually mean — and this could prevent the relationship from being repaired at all!

You don’t immediately have to be together again with your partner after the cheating incident. It’s not normal to act normal again with them. If you’ve been cheated on, know that it’s natural to feel hurt and inadequate. On the other hand, if you were the one who cheated in the relationship, a sense of guilt is a typical feeling that you may experience.

Talk (and not fight) about it

Once you both are ready to talk about the relationship, do your best to stay calm — because if you can’t, you’re not ready to talk to your partner yet. When you’re ready, don’t blame your partner for them cheating on you. If you’re the one who cheated, don’t make excuses as to why you did that.

Consider going to couples therapy

No relationship is perfect. Even though cheating is sadly common in relationships, it’s still not supposed to be normalized. There’s no shame in asking for help in mending a tainted relationship, and it’s even better if you ask for help from a professional. You can go to couples therapy with your partner so you have someone whose perspective is based on their expertise — a therapist will not take sides nor make you feel worse about yourself and the relationship you’re trying to fix with your significant other.

Start over

At some point, your relationship with the one you love began somewhere — during a time when you two were only starting to bond and learning to trust each other. Because of a cheating incident, however, you and your partner may have to go through that all over again; this shouldn’t be viewed from a negative perspective. On the bright side, you can view your “day 1” as a chance to be with them again.

Don’t let cheating slide again

Yes, cheating happened. You cheated or got cheated on. Once you accept the reality of the relationship you’re in — and you were the cheater — you have to make changes in your own life, perspective, and habits to guarantee your partner (and yourself) that you will not cheat again.

If you got cheated on by your loved one, ask yourself whether you can truly forgive them for what they did — and if you have it in your heart to trust that they won’t do it again. But if they cheat on you again, you have to consider if you’re still willing to stay with them. You also have to learn when you need to prioritize yourself more than your partner or the relationship you’re in.

In Essence

Cheating is an unfortunate occurrence that can happen in a relationship. But to stay with your partner after a cheating incident is also a normal decision to make. It’s never easy to repair a relationship after cheating — since guilt and hurt are the predominant emotions the cheater and the one cheated on can feel, but it doesn’t mean your life with your loved one is permanently damaged because of it.

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