It's easy to say that if your significant other ever cheated on you the relationship is over, but then it happens. And your relationship is more complicated than that. Heck, your emotions are more complicated than that. If you are dealing with fault or infidelity in your relationship here are a few things you need to know.
Betrayal is in the Eye of the Beholder
Everyone has a different interpretation of what infidelity actually is. To some, it is about having intercourse and other sexual contact with another person. To others, betrayal is more about one’s SO feeling emotionally connected to someone else — late conversations of a personal nature with a co-worker, or an on-going, intimate friendship with another person.
For others, it is secrecy. This may involve secret email accounts, cell phones, Internet behavior, or an unwillingness to share information about whereabouts, spending habits, or life plans.
The fact is, there is no universal definition of betrayal. When two people are in a committed, they must care about each others’ feelings. They don’t always have to agree, but they must behave in ways that make the relationship feel safe.
Therefore, if one person feels threatened or betrayed, his or her spouse must do some soul searching and change in ways to accommodate those feelings. In other words, betrayal is in the eye of the beholder. If you or your partner feel betrayed, you need to change what you’re doing to make the relationship work.
Infidelity Doesn't Have to Be a Deal Breaker
Many people think that affairs signal the end of a relationship. This is simply not true. Although healing from infidelity is a challenging endeavor, most relationships not only survive, but they can actually grow from the experience.
This is not to say that affairs are good for relationships — they aren’t. Affairs are very, very destructive because the bond of trust has been broken. It is possible to get marriages back on track and rediscover trust, caring, friendship and passion but it takes a high level of commitment and usually seeing a professional to help navigate the muddy waters.
Be Choosy About Who You Tell About the Affair
It is important not to be too quick to tell friends and family about your problem of infidelity. If everyone in one’s family is apprised of the infidelity, even if the marriage improves, family members may not support the idea of staying in the relationship. They may pressure the betrayed spouse to leave. It can feel good to vent, but don't word vomit to the first person who will listen.
Emotional support during this rough time is absolutely necessary so it’s important to get professional help or talk to friends or family who will support the marriage and be less judgmental. Those people should have the perspective that no one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes and as long as the unfaithful spouse takes responsibility to change, your relationship can mend.
It Helps to Get Help
Speaking of emotional support it helps to get professional help. Feelings that surface after the discovery of an affair are often so overwhelming that it can be difficult to know what to do to begin to get one’s relationship back on track.
A good relationship/marriage therapist or couples retreat can help lead the way, just be certain to seek help that is "relationship-friendly" or “marriage-friendly.” Some therapists believe that infidelity destroys the fabric of a relationship which cannot be repaired. It is essential that you get a good referral if you want your relationship to recover.