Should You Stay With Someone Who Cheated On You More Than Once Or Just Head For Therapy And Move On?
Dealing with a serial cheater of a partner can be a grueling experience. The pain of betrayal may not be assuaged even after close friends come around to pull us through the period.
However, this does not mean seeking therapy is out of it. No, in fact, it may be the only thing that may be able to set one’s mind back on track after the devastation of emotional betrayal.
Should you stay after they have cheated on you more than once?
A lot of people need some serious talking to. Friends may not have the guts to open our eyes to your inclinations but a counselor surely doesn’t have that sort of respect for our feelings. It’s different in counseling.
You have to hear the truth which is:
If he did it the second time, he’s not sorry
Yes, you heard that right. Now don’t be foolish and think the second time or the third time was a mistake. It wasn’t.
Did you cry the first time?
Apparently, the cheater is unable or has refused to come to grips with how devastating their act of betrayal was to you. In most counseling sessions, the cheated partner has broken down in the process of recounting just how torn at heart they were and how much they suffered.
When asked they’ve admitted their suspicion that their cheating partner would still do it again. In the Redbook article, 27 Reasons You Should not Take Back a Cheating Spouse, Charlotte Hilton Anderson quoted Suzy Brown, author, speaker and founder of Midlife Divorce Recovery, LLC,
When the cheating spouse doesn’t understand how much devastation he has caused or fails to fully comprehend the gravity of what he has done then reconciliation is impossible. That lack of internalization will make it hard to follow through on the work he needs to do to fix the breach of trust.
A cheated partner at counseling may be helped to see this truth. Friends may gloss over a second occurrence out of misplaced loyalty.
How about family ties that’d almost kill you?
There are a lot of variations to consider here, for instance,a recurring affair with the same person?
Let us look at some wild scenarios that have been the subject of so many counseling sessions.
A couple is having challenges, one of them, say the man, has continued to cheat on the woman several times. In time the other woman gets pregnant and now there’s a child. You would agree you are not just going to have to contend with your spouse now. There are two more people coming into your life- the woman your husband cheated on you with and the kid they now have.
Therapist and founder of Relationup, Rhonda Mildred also quoted in the Redbook:
If the cheating spouse becomes pregnant or got their mistress pregnant, it is nearly impossible to reconcile. It’s one thing to try and put your relationship back together after an affair. It’s entirely another to have to deal with the child and their parent (your spouse’s affair partner) in your life forever.
In an African country, the woman whose husband had cheated found herself in the same counseling class with the woman whom her husband had the affair with. The said woman was pregnant. It was quite a lot to deal with emotionally.
It is better to let go, that was at least what she got from the counseling.
No, it is just as emotionally painful, more reason to get counseling.
The more a partner cheats, the more they take from you emotionally. The partner who is cheated on is usually left a complete wreck. Even though the cheating partner may reduce the act to an ordinary physical exercise, it sure is more than that for the faithful partner.
The faithful partner may even begin to believe their spouse cheats repeatedly because they are unappealing, unlovable. It is best to not continue in such a relationship. It could be damaging psychologically, requiring counseling eventually.
Eric Marlowe Garrison author and clinical sexologist wrote:
Emotional betrayal can be just as much, if not more, painful and difficult to recover from than the physical act of cheating.
One of the best advice a partner suffering such psychological battering in form of infidelity or cheating in a relationship will get is, leave that relationship, and do so fast!.
You should leave because the repetition is torture
You should ask yourself how much you think your heart can take before you go crazy from sadness. Of course, there’s been cases of cheated partners who’ve talked about becoming numb around the edges. They get to a point where they no longer care.
However, the heart is not just a tissue inside you carrying blood around your body. It feels as it is meant to, to appreciate love and the beauty of life. Why waste it on someone who doesn’t appreciate how much you are willing to give to make the relationship work?
When it feels like there’s no end in sight to what a cheating partner is doing to hurt you and it doesn’t matter if it’s only twice, take your leave.
At a counseling session, a woman whom we will call Maggie said her husband was cheating on her with her high school mate who happened to work in her firm. They had met at an office party. Maggie couldn’t do anything about the woman being her superior at work but it sure took long hours of counseling to help her wrest herself from the relationship and keep what remained of her dignity and sanity.
Again, Garrison says, “It’s one thing to know that your partner cheated with someone else but it’s entirely another to have to face that other person on a regular basis through your work, place of worship, children or school.”
You don’t know if it will ever stop
A cheater isn’t remorseful if he or she cheats again. If they are sorry and are genuinely concerned about the faithful partners’ feelings, they won’t do it again.
It is an unnecessary exercise, worrying if the cheating partner will do it again. It is difficult for them to gain your trust. In turn, the cheating partner may resign him or herself to a routine of cheating.
The uncertainty is killing. It becomes math you have to do all the time.
Will he do it again?
Will it be with the last girl?
You begin to think:
If he does it four times, or for the fifth time, I’m gone!
At what point do you cease to be an emotional wreck? That’s the big question. For, in reality, the second time onward, it is obvious that the cheating partner has gone off track and unlikely to find their way back to you.
Leave if they refuse to go for counseling
One of the important things you’d learn is that you shouldn’t miss counseling if you know your relationship is in a rut and you need to get back on track.
So, has the cheating partner shown some commitment?
If yes, maybe you should give whatever is remaining of it a shot. But if not, get out of that relationship.
If the cheater refuses to go to counseling and talk about what happened then the underlying issue (and there always is one, as infidelity is a symptom) can never be resolved. You can’t just sweep infidelity under the rug, says Allison Abrams, a psychotherapist practicing in New York, as quoted in the Redbook article.
The more committed they are to counseling, the more likely they make progress to gaining your trust again.
Are you officially married? Do you have kids together?
By far one of the most compelling reasons we’ve learned from counseling sessions that makes a faithful spouse stay is when there is a marriage or kids.
It is really a tough call.
You are caught between doing the best for your emotional health and making sure that your kid does not grow up without a father. You’d have to weigh and consider your options, and with some counseling, you may be able to make a decision that is fair on any child you might have with the cheater.
There are nine out of ten possibilities that if he has cheated on you more than once, he may not love you anymore. However, you’d have to be sure. Explore all the alternatives and options available to you; talking things out, family and friends support and remember counseling is a key ingredient to regain your sanity.