How To Fix A Relationship After Cheating
If you’re determined to repair your relationship after a cheating scandal, then it’s important that you do everything you can to keep your partner as happy as possible.
It’s a discouraging fact of life that if a relationship has been tainted by infidelity, then there is no guarantee that the two of you will stay together.
However, there are things that you can do to up your chances.
Forgiveness isn’t an easy thing, and it definitely takes time.
But if you can get through the process, there’s a good chance that your relationship can be repaired and better than ever before.
Use these tips to strengthen the bond between you and your lover; perhaps they’ll be enough to make them stick around in the end.
Table of Contents
How To Fix A Relationship After Cheating: 16 Ways To Go About It
A big part of fixing a relationship after cheating is taking responsibility for your actions.
Whatever you do, do not place the blame on your partner.
Even if they did something to make you want to cheat, it was still your choice to cheat.
You are responsible for your choices and actions.
No matter what happened during the affair, own up to your role in it and apologize for that role.
Be specific about what you’re apologizing for; don’t just say “I’m sorry” and leave it at that.
Instead, try saying something like “I’m so sorry I cheated on you.”
At the same time, be careful not to include an excuse or justification within the apology; save any explanations or excuses (if applicable) for later in the conversation.
2. Forgive Yourself
Forgiving yourself is just as important as forgiving your partner, and for some of us, it may even be more difficult.
The most important thing you can do to start forgiving yourself is to accept that you made a mistake.
There’s no need to beat yourself up about it. What’s done is done and you can’t change the past, so instead focus on doing things differently from now on.
Of course, accepting doesn’t mean condoning or forgetting what happened.
If a mistake was made, don’t blame yourself but learn from it and make the best of it by using the experience to become better in both your relationships and your personal life.
To help with this process, one psychologist recommends asking (and answering) key questions like:
“Is this really that bad?
Is it worth obsessing over?
Am I thinking in an extreme kind of way?
What’s a more rational outlook?
Do my actions match my thoughts?
And if not, why not adjust them so they do?”
3. Be Honest About Your Needs
In order to fix your broken relationship, you must first be completely honest with yourself and your partner about what you need from this partnership.
This means that you need to know exactly what it is that you want in life, not just in your romantic relationships.
Some of what you want may be basic needs like food, shelter, and physical comfort.
Others will be more complex emotional needs like companionship and intimacy.
Still, others could include things like career success or financial stability.
You must also understand that your own needs are just as important as the needs of your partner.
It is not selfish for you to have expectations or requirements for your relationship.
Once you have discovered what those expectations and requirements might be, whether they have to do with monogamy, communication style or personal space, then it is up to you to learn how to effectively communicate these things with your partner and set proper boundaries.
4. Do Not Blame Yourself
One of the most common reactions to cheating is to blame yourself.
“If I had only been better at X, Y and Z, he wouldn’t have wanted anyone else,” you may think.
It’s easy to believe this when you are feeling low and unloved.
But please don’t blame yourself for his cheating! The act of cheating is not your fault — the consequences are your fault.
Being cheated on does not mean that you have failed as a partner or lover in some way.
The cheater is responsible for their actions, and they made a conscious decision to do something hurtful and disrespectful.
It was their choice to cheat on you, so it is not your fault if they decide to cheat on you again or that they cheated on you in the first place.
5. Do Not Blame Your Partner
You may feel that in lieu of lavishing them with the benefit of the doubt, it is your partner’s obligation to be accountable for their behaviour.
It’s true that they were wrong for what they did, but this isn’t an invitation to accuse them of anything or assume you know how they feel.
You are not a mind reader and you don’t know what or why they did what they did, so trying to do so will only cause unnecessary friction.
At this point, your only responsibility is to take care of yourself and determine whether or not you want to stay in the relationship.
6. Acknowledge How You Feel
First and foremost, it’s vital to acknowledge how you feel.
This is true not only for cheating partners but also for people who’ve been cheated on.
Cheating isn’t just a mistake—it’s an intentional decision to betray the trust of someone you care about.
These emotions are all valid, whether it’s anger, hurt, or shame.
It’s important to process these feelings before moving on—that starts with accepting them in the first place and being honest about what you’re feeling.
If you’re finding it difficult to talk through your emotions with your partner, turn to a friend or counsellor in order to have an outlet for your thoughts.
People are usually more comfortable talking to a third party about their issues because it feels less high-stakes and vulnerable than speaking directly with their spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend.
Identifying how we feel is important when processing any type of traumatic event like cheating because once we know how we feel, we can move on to what we want the next steps of our relationships to look like—and how we can work together as a team in order to get there.
7. Let Go of the Past
The first step to rebuilding a relationship after cheating is to take responsibility for your actions.
You cannot gloss over what you have done and hope that it will then be forgotten.
Ownership of your mistakes is an essential part of the process, especially if you want the trust in your relationship to be rebuilt.
Knowing you have made a mistake may not mean much if you do not forgive yourself for what happened.
Forgiving yourself means that you are accepting who you are as a person and where you’re at in life right now.
It’s important to understand that even though we all make mistakes, every person has some good things about them too—and being able to accept all sides of ourselves is key to healing our relationships with others and ourselves.
You should not dwell on the past or be haunted by your guilty conscience forever after having cheated on someone close to you.
Instead, focus on your future together with this person as well as how things can improve between the two of you going forward!
Let go of what’s behind us so we don’t carry it into tomorrow.
Understand that when we hold onto painful memories like these they keep us from really moving forward because they keep dragging us back down into dark places where there may not necessarily be any light at all anymore!”
8. Move on from the Past
Focus on the future.
Stop thinking about what happened in the past and start focusing all your energy on where you want to be, who you want to be, and how you can get there.
You can’t control the past.
You can only control your response to it.
So, make a conscious choice to change your perspective and move your focus toward what you have the power to impact.
Focus on what you can control.
After a cheating incident, a lot of people worry about whether or not their partner will cheat again in the future, but that’s something that neither of you will ever be able to predict for sure, so why even bother trying?
Instead of worrying about something that might happen in the future (and will more than likely never come true), focus on what is happening now by paying attention to your thoughts and actions as you work through this experience together as partners and continue building a strong relationship.
Focus on what you can change.
If there is something specific from the past that keeps coming up, it may help for both of you to agree that these things are forgivable or even forgettable parts of the past that are no longer relevant today and should not keep affecting your lives today.
9. Focus on the present.
Focusing on the positive and on the present helps you reduce negative emotions, and that’s exactly what a couple in this situation needs.
Instead of dwelling on the past, focus on what you want in your relationship, consider your partner’s needs, and think about what you can do to help improve your relationship.
You’ll be surprised at how good you feel when you’re focusing on making someone else feel better.
10. Focus on what you want in the future.
It is a really good idea to talk together about what you want in the future.
You don’t have to focus on your past mistakes or on worrying about what others think.
You can make everything better by working together to decide what your ideal relationship looks like, and how you are going to achieve it.
If you both want the same thing and are willing to put in the effort, then there is no reason why you can’t succeed!
11. Slow Down and Avoid Pushing Too Hard
Let the process unfold naturally.
The key to fixing a relationship after cheating is for both parties to work together to build trust.
But don’t force anything, especially in the beginning when emotions are still raw.
Often, if your partner isn’t ready for you to push them too hard, it will only set you back further.
Keep in mind that things won’t just go back to normal immediately, so be patient with yourself and your partner as you heal.
If you want this relationship to work, you have to commit long-term whether or not therapy works out short-term.
You can try all of these suggestions and they may not take hold right away or even at all.
But if this is something that is important to you and your partner, then having the conversation about how far both of you are willing to go indicates long-term commitment and investment in one another’s futures together.
12. Keep an Open Mind and Stay Open to Discussion.
In moments like these, it’s easy to be critical or judgmental.
It’s a lot harder to stay calm and remember that this person you love is feeling just as vulnerable as you are.
It’s also really important to understand that they might feel just as lost, confused, and scared as you do.
Try your best not to assume the worst until you know what their side of the story is.
If your partner has cheated on you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they no longer care about your relationship or love for one another.
In fact, sometimes people cheat for exactly those reasons:
They still love you and care about being in a relationship with you but are lacking something in your current relationship (e.g., physical or emotional needs).
The key here is communication – which we will get into later – but also understanding that there could be several reasons why your partner cheats or even struggles with monogamy in general.
You need to keep an open mind during this conversation and try not to jump to conclusions about why he/she did what he/she did before hearing the whole story from him/her first!
13. Learn to Trust Again and Know Your Partner Can Do the Same.
The thing about trust is that it’s earned, not given.
It can be built up over time, as long as both partners are committed to it.
And because trust is not just about fidelity, but also communication and reliability, it can take more than a single conversation to make a lasting change in your relationship.
The good news is that even if you don’t feel like you can trust your partner right now, you can rebuild the relationship through open communication and by working on the issues together.
It won’t be easy — there will be times when you want to give up — but with patience and commitment from both of you, you’ll be able to move forward again.
The health of your relationship depends on how well you can trust each other.
Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship.
Trust allows you to be vulnerable and open with your partner as well as with yourself.
Trust doesn’t just come from believing in your partner, but also from believing in yourself to pick the right person for you.
Trust is built over time through consistent and repeated interactions with your partner.
14. Get counselling
If you’d like to fix a relationship after cheating, your best bet is to seek professional help.
A trained therapist or counsellor will have the necessary tools and techniques to ensure that you and your partner can repair your relationship.
They’ll also be able to provide insight into why the cheating occurred in the first place and help you both learn from your mistakes.
While there are no guarantees that counselling will be able to fix a relationship after cheating, it certainly increases your chances of success.
15. Give them space if they need it
If you’ve cheated on your partner and you want to save your relationship, one of the first steps that need to happen is for you to accept that your partner may need time away from you.
They may also want some space or time to sort things out on their own.
While it’s natural to want them close so you can reassure them that you care and that everything is going to be okay, if they ask for space — give it to them.
It will help them process the pain they’re feeling and begin their journey toward healing.
If they don’t ask for space — then do something nice for them;
Let them sleep in.
Bring them a glass of wine or cup of tea while they are watching TV.
Sit with them and tell them how sorry you are.
Ask if there is anything you can do to make things better right now.
If they say yes — do it! If they say no— just sit with them and let them know how much you love and care about them (in a non-creepy way)
16. Create new guidelines and expectations for your relationship
When you’re ready to start over, it’s important that the two of you come to new agreements and understandings in your relationship.
If you do not make these changes, history is likely to repeat itself.
Some of the expectations we have in our minds are not realistic.
Or they are no longer relevant or appropriate for our current life situation.
We must change them if we want a better life for ourselves and our families.
Here are some guidelines and expectations for relationships:
We will always be honest with each other and trust each other.
We will respect each other’s opinions, needs, and wishes.
We will respect each other’s personal space and privacy.
We will always try to understand each other’s feelings.
Cheating is a particularly sensitive topic because it can be difficult to reconcile the notion of “fixing” something that is so fraught with hurt feelings and perceived betrayals.
However, if done right, a relationship can and does survive infidelity.
Your partner just has to want to take the steps you are taking.
In other words, even if you’ve gotten past the hurt and betrayal, there’s nothing wrong with making sure your partner feels the same way before you go any further.
You don’t want to be with someone who isn’t willing to keep trying too.