Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Moving On or Out of a Relationship After Infidelity

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When a man and a woman enter an exclusive relationship, the assumption or expectation is that they would remain faithful to each other. In a marriage you actually swear it. But this doesn't stop either party sometimes to look outside, for someone else to meet their sexual or emotional needs.

Therefore, finding out that your partner, whether married or still dating, has cheated on you can be a huge blow. When this happens, so many questions run through the mind of the person whose trust has been broken. Atala and I have attempted to answer those question with practical tips on how to decide whether to remain or leave the relationship.

How can I get past the fact that my man was intimate with somebody else? 

Well, this is a matter very much of your feelings, and unfortunately feelings cannot simply be switched on or off, so to some extent, it will take time and a forgiving mindset from your part.

If you will also consider these examples below, it will help.

- Do you still love him and care enough about him to overlook the hurt he has caused you? Sometimes, focusing on why you like someone and remembering the happiness they have brought into your life can help you look past their failings;

- Do you feel that he did it deliberately - and so it could be more likely to happen again, or was it was more of an accident under pressure and so less likely to happen again?

- If there was no actual sex, can you cut him some slack for that?

- Do you see him making other notable efforts to repair the relationship, i.e. is he showing this by his deeds, not just his words? Like, is he calling more often, listening to you, offering concrete ideas to move you and your relationship forward, etc.

How can i convince myself that he didn't cheat on me at a specific point in time in the past? 

The straightforward answer here is - you can't. Oh, you could ask him, and he could give you the answer you want to hear, but you have no way of knowing whether he's telling the truth. Also, since you already have doubts about him (because he has confessed to a specific case), it's even harder to be convinced.

In practical terms, you can do any of the following:

- Not worry about whether he cheated, an event that, if it happened, is in the past. Focus on the present and future. For instance, what is the state of the relationship now? From his behaviour, is he likely to cheat again? Have you both really sat down and discussed what happened and why it happened? Have you come to  an agreement about how to proceed with your relationship? Do you both have a plan as to what both of you need to do to make this agreement work?

- Persist in trying to find out the truth - but because this could consume a lot of time, emotion and energy, you really need to ask yourself why it's important for you, why you need to find out, and what you will do with the information you find.

- Decide that you cannot deal with the doubts about his fidelity and call it quits immediately. This is especially if it is very important to you, and a deal breaker, for your man to be faithful to you.

What option you pick will be decided only by you.

Will I meet somebody else if I leave him? I have this real fear of not meeting somebody and who is to say the next guy won't cheat on me too. Do you think I should settle? 

My sense is that if you are talking about 'settling' with a guy, then maybe you're not really happy with him, but I can't really tell at a distance. Maybe you need to think about why you feel it would be settling to be with him. If he meets at least 70% of the requirements you want in a man, then it should not be settling. Remember, no one is perfect.

As to not meeting someone else, I wouldn't let the fear of not meeting someone else be the main reason for remaining in a relationship. Yes, I do appreciate that it can be very lonely being by oneself, but it's even lonelier settling and then being with someone you don't like, and you are just 'managing'.

Again, if you are looking for someone who will not cheat on you, well, there are no guarantees about that. One way to try to guage faithful men is that if you are going out with someone, pay close attention to what they say and what they do. That is the way to get a sense of their character, especially how the guys talk and behave to other people, or when they are relaxed.

For example, do they generally act and talk as though they believe in similar morals as you? Do they keep their promises or not? How do they treat you and other women, with respect or always flirting?

Whatever the person who has been cheated decides, it is up to them to make the future work. The hope is that their decision leads to greater peace and happiness for them.

Please add other points we have missed and that you think will benefit others.


  1. Dear Myne,

    This post reaches close to home for me. I was in a 5 year relationship with a man who constantly cheated on me. At first I felt it was due to the fact that I wasn't sleeping with him and I was pretty young then, hence I allowed it slide, the first 2 or 3 times it happened.

    Of course he would always apologize and all, and we would try and continue from where we stopped. but it went on too many times that I knew I had to put a stop to it.

    One morning I woke up and realized I hadn't grown past the pains of his infidelity of over 5 years, and I called it quits with him.

    At first i was scared, would i find another, would i even get to date someone else who was worse, the whole fear of the unknown thing.

    Its been 4 months since we parted ways, I am not in any relationship now, but I know I should never settle for less.

    Fine there are no guarantees in life, but having similar values with one's partner is key.

  2. Interesting post Myne. Infidelity in any way can be such a devastating abuse of the trust that you have vested in your partner. You may, or may not recover from the aftermath-depending on how badly you have been hurt. In addition to all the wonderful points you have enumerated, I'd say that, a man who is not committed to Christ, who does not tremble at the word of God, in the sense that, he allows it to guide his day-to-day living, may not be faithful to you. If he faithful in his service to God, the chances are high that he will be faithful to you as well.

    There is no man on earth who does not get tempted to cheat, except maybe, eunuchs, but there are some men who have learned to discipline themselves in this area, not because they are dysfunctional, but because they have weighed their options and realized that the pains are more than the gains. It is okay to be tempted, but catastrophic to fall for the temptation.

  3. What do you do when a man justify his infidelity on the basis that',body no be wood' and he even suspects the wife of been promiscous because he feels that she wants to pay him back.All these talk about a man cheating on the woman is not an enough reason to sue for divorce in nigeria,its rather when its the woman that its involve that it can be seen as a news

  4. Nice article Myne. I think its important for the victim to first of all never blame himself/herself. Its not your fault that your partner chose to behave so irresponsibly. And then if you decide to go on with the relationship, the most important thing is to forgive. Continually asking "but why did he/she do this to me?" is not the answer. There is a difference between forgiveness and excusing, like one of my favorite authors would say. If the offence could be explained away then you could excuse it. It cannot, so that is precisely why you have to let it go and forgive.
    The hardest part sha is the rebuilding trust. From scratch. It isn't easy, but its possible. Just keep moving and piece by piece, things would SLOWLY fall into place. Also be ready for the ups and downs and relapses (of trust).
    Finally, if you decide to continue, never ever use the incident as a bargaining chip. That's just wrong. Its easy to have a sense of entitlement afterwards if you were the victim, but that just makes it harder to get over. If you say you give the person a clean slate, then behave that way. My two cents.

  5. Thanks for sharing this, it is very useful.

  6. Cheating shatters love, hope and trust. When someone you love so much cheats on you, it is always terrible. Am the type that is too emotional and hardly recover from such dilemma and betrayal. What i will need is an external caring, if possible intimacy (sex with another man), to get hold on my self again and forgive the offence but the forgetting part is almost impossible. Again after my recovery, he might have to work hard to get rid of doubts from my mind because i might always suspect him. If he pressurizes me to JUST clear my doubts , it means i should go back to the guy outside whose touch made me recover which may not be the best option. Prevention they say , is better than cure/treatment. DO NOT cheat. Morality is the major key to staying faithful . I have seen regional pastors and senior pastors who commit adultery. And i doubt whether they really have fear of God in them. Morality is the key to staying faithful and also having fear of God put together.


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