Now today’s question is all about cheating couples and staying with someone after they have cheated on you. I’m in this situation right now and I never thought I would be, but we were both under a lot of stress and it was a really hard time. So I took some space and decided that he made an awful mistake. But I know that he loves me and is a good person. I feel like what is going to ruin my relationship now is my constant anxiety that he’s going to do it again and my constant need to want to check on his phone and basically stop him. I try really hard not to give into those impulses, but sometimes I do and it feels so wrong after the fact because I want him to have the privacy and I really want to trust him. What can we both do individually and together that may help us? I desperately want to save my relationship and I’m willing to put in the work and so is my partner. But I think we both feel a little lost on how to do that and what is a normal reaction and emotions.

Gaining trust

First of all, I just want to say that I’m so sorry, this happened to you. Someone we love breaking our trust is a really hard thing to cope with and know that it’s normal to struggle with the idea of trusting them again. I personally was cheated on by a boyfriend in high school and it really ruined the relationship because I was never able to get over that hurdle even in therapy. I would talk about how you know, hurt I was and how distrustful I was and I found myself kind of doing what you’re doing, like checking his phone, asking people who he was with always calmly him wondering where he was and made me crazy. It honestly brought out the worst in myself and I felt just really icky and I really had a tough time and in the end, because I could never get over it and he wasn’t willing to give me any room to do that. We broke up and it was pretty messy and to be honest, before becoming a therapist because I was in high school, right. I was like sixteen or seventeen years old. You know, I thought that cheating was something you could never get over. It wasn’t something you could ever heal from, but when I moved into being a therapist and taking this role and learning the more I read about it, the more I understood. Why people cheat and what happens and the real reasons behind it, the more I learn that you can actually heal and overcome it, but you really have to work together and you have to really consider and improve your communication.

Grieving is okay

And so the first thing that I would encourage you to is grieve. You have to grieve the loss of the relationship. In a way I know this might sound kind of bad in a way or old relationship or the old way that we used to view it and experience it or maybe dreamt of what it was gonna become that relationship has. And no, that doesn’t mean that we can’t create a new relationship with the same person. And in many ways I I think we have to in order to continue being together. But first we have to grieve that loss. Holding on to the old one and not giving yourself the time to grieve can kill any possibility of staying together and having a happy and healthy relationship in the future. So allow yourself to grieve the loss of what was so that you can make room for what is to come next.

Communication is the key

It’s important that you both are free to communicate about what happened your partner has to allow you the time to talk about all you feel. Maybe you feel angry, you probably do and betrayed, sad, neglected whatever you feel. They have to be able to listen to you and talk about it and you have to be open to listening to their side as well. I read an article in psychology today by dr joe court and I’ll link in the description if you want to check it out was really interesting, but I was really surprised by a lot of his observations after working with couples in therapy for many, many years. He has found that many partners cheat, not because they’re unhappy with their relationship, but because they want to try new or more adventurous things in the bedroom and they’re afraid to ask their partner. That was so surprising to me, so they go somewhere else honestly to experiment with this. You know, obviously not that’s not the reason for all cheating. But I think it’s just something worth talking to your partner about figuring out why they did it, what was going on and dr court goes on to talk about rebuilding the trust in your relationship and then it can be done through complete transparency. For a period of time. Meaning the one who has cheated has to be ok with letting you into all of their previously private areas of their life. This means you have to have all their passwords. You can look at their phone whenever you want to. You can call or text them when they are back at the time, they said whatever it takes to slowly build that trust back now. Obviously this can not go on forever. That’s why I think communicating about this every few weeks to see how you both are feeling. And over time. The person who was hurt and was cheated on is going to have to decide to trust again. Without having access to everything like they did, passwords will be changed, access will be denied and of course it can be really fricking hard, right? Because they lost your trust and now you’re supposed to go in blind, but that’s why you have to have access for a period of time building that trust back slowly and that’s where the new relationship is born and you can move forward together because you can’t always expect to have access to everything that’s not fair to either of you and that will actually kill this new relationship that you’re trying to cultivate and build because by. Constantly checking and not trusting, you’re still holding on to that old dead relationship instead of letting it go and grieving it, although cheating is unfortunately pretty common, just know that it doesn’t have to be the end of your relationship with that person. With some realistic conversations, understanding and most importantly, time you can overcome it and move forward together.

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