When you started to sleep around, you never thought you’d be caught. Or, maybe you knew it was a ticking time bomb. Even though you knew it was wrong, you didn’t ever want to hurt your partner. You never thought of yourself as a “cheater,” and you truly believed that you would hold true to your vows when you said you’d stay loyal.
Yet, the affair happened and you were caught.
Your partner is an emotional wreck. You aren’t sure what will happen to your relationship, or if you are going to be able to salvage anything of the life you built for yourself. Everything is falling apart around you, and the worst part is that you have no one to blame for this but yourself.
Navigating infidelity isn’t easy. Here’s what you can do to try to resolve things if you want to keep your relationship intact.
- First things first, don’t deny anything.
Right now, your partner is wondering what happened, how it happened, why it happened, and how long it was going on. Do yourself and your partner a favor, and don’t mince words.
It’s not easy to do, but you need to come clean. It’s oh, so tempting to trickle-truth your partner about the affair’s details. If you’re a serial cheater, then you should probably come clean to your partner.
- Apologize to all parties involved.
Do not shift the blame to the other woman or man. It’s not their fault. It takes two to tango, and at any point, you could have just said no. You didn’t, and this is where it got you. An apology won’t fully heal the hurt you inflicted on them, but it’s a start.
- Ask yourself if you want out of your main relationship.
Though there are plenty of happily married people who start affairs, there’s a good chance that the affair happened as a result of underlying issues that remained unresolved in the relationship. Hard as it may be, you need to be objective and figure out whether or not your primary relationship is worth it.
Is your lifestyle lagging? Are you comfortable? Are your emotional needs met? If not, then you may want to figure out how you will leave your partner. It may be for the best. Otherwise, you will need to try to work on your primary relationship.
- Beg, plead, and grovel for forgiveness.
Assuming you want to stay with your current partner, you need to beg them for forgiveness. You need to show that you’re genuinely remorseful and will not cheat again.
- Be willing to accept conditions they put on the relationship.
Obviously, saving a relationship means that you will have to cut your affair partner out of your life. You also may have to deal with your current partner checking your phone, insisting on knowing your whereabouts, and refusing to sleep with you for a while.
- Even though you should beg for forgiveness, you still need to maintain your cool.
You’re in a very emotionally charged situation right now and it’s very easy to go off the deep end. It’s not unheard of for people caught cheating to lash out at their partners, deny their partners space to process everything, or demand that their partners “get over it” within a day.
This kind of behavior is not acceptable, nor is it healthy for anyone involved. Losing your cool or blaming your partner can be considered abuse. Don’t be that person, and if you can’t help it, please seek medical attention.
- Brace yourself for a breakup.
Getting caught means that you will most likely have a breakup or two on your hands. There’s a very good chance that your infidelity will lead to a breakup with your main squeeze regardless of how much you grovel and beg for your partner to forgive you. If your partner offers you a second chance, you will have to break up with your affair partner.
- Focus on your partner and try to romance them again.
You need to show your partner that you still care about them. This includes offering them flowers, taking them out on dates, and showing them that you still want them in your life.
- Give your partner time and space if they need it.
I’m not going to mince words. Cheating is a truly emotionally devastating act, and to a point, it can even traumatize you for the rest of your life. This is not the kind of thing that you can just get over in a week or two; most affairs take years to fully reconcile.
You will need to be patient with your partner if you want to make things work, and that’s not always easy. If you can’t handle your partner’s behavior after a while, it may be best to break things off.
- Consider going to therapy.
Therapy can help you understand yourself, your partner, and your relationship on a better level. If you feel that you could use help parsing out the feelings you’re experiencing and expose miscommunication that you’ve been dealing with.
- Keep an eye on your money and goods.
Affairs can be financially devastating too, you know. Spurned exes and betrayed spouses have been known to vandalize goods in a fit of rage. Divorce court isn’t a cakewalk, either. If you recently got caught in the act, you might want to keep a close eye on local laws to ensure that your bank account won’t suffer.
- Learn from your mistakes.
Once you’ve been caught cheating, you’ll soon learn how much trouble it can cause. Do you really want history to repeat itself again? Hopefully not. So, next time, treat your partner better.