How to Fix a Relationship Already Damaged by Cheating

Cheating happens, and for many people it's usually a deal-breaker. Yet at the same time, you'd be surprised at the number of couples who stay married or go on dating even after an affair.

How to Get Over Cheating
Can you ever trust your partner again after cheating?

So how do they do it? How do you get past the fact that your lover cheated on you, or if you were the one who was unfaithful, get them to forgive you for what you did?

In short, recovering a romance damaged by infidelity is a mult-step process. Each step is important, and skipping over any of these steps will always leave holes and gaps in the foundation of any new relationship you try to build together.

You can't just shove cheating under a rock and forget about it. You can't cover your eyes and ears, and pretend it didn't happen.

Unless it's dealt with in a way that satisfies both people involved in the relationship, cheating will always come back to haunt you. As you try to continue a normal and healthy relationship, the fact that one person cheated will always be lingering in the back of everyone's mind.

Any affair or infidelity has to be acknowledged, faced, and then eventually put away for good in the interest of moving forward. You can't rebuild a relationship shattered by cheating if you or your partner is still constantly bringing up the affair.

This is where methods for wiping the slate clean become so important. A new relationship needs to be built after cheating: one untarnished and unblemished by what happened before.

Step One: Acknowledging and Owning Up to the Affair

The first step to getting a relationship to move past cheating is the acknowledgement of the cheating itself. What happened to cause the affair doesn't need to be addressed right here, but the affair itself has to be talked about.

If you were the one who cheated on your husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, it's important that you own up to it. You can't refuse to talk about it, break out crying, or run out of the room whenever it's mentioned. What happened, happened. You were unfaithful for some reason or another, and that's that.

It should also go without saying that the affair needs to be over. There's no point in trying to get an ex to forgive you for cheating when you're still seeing this person secretly on the side. To move forward with a clean slate, everything needs to be finished. There should be no contact between the person who cheated and the person they had the affair with.

Step Two: A Genuine Apology For Being Unfaithful

Apologizing for cheating might seem a bit too little too late, but if you're going to try and salvage your relationship it's absolutely necessary.

Get Past an Affair

If you're the one who slept with somebody else, you should be genuined sorry for what happened (and not just sorry for getting caught). You should be sorry for hurting your partner, but not to the point where you're turning the sympathy back onto yourself. Your husband or wife also needs to see that YOU were bothered by the cheating yourself, even if you were the person who cheated on them.

Being cheated on hurts. If you were the one who endured your lover's affair, you're entitled to that hurt. But simultaneously, don't hold onto it for too long. "Starting over" means you'll have to eventually let go of any residual bitterness and resentment, so once your partner openly apologizes, it's up to you to start accepting that apology for the sake of saving the relationship.

Any apology made for cheating also needs to come with the promise that such an affair will never happen again. Once more this may seem like a weak thing to say, but your lover needs to hear these exact words from your lips.

If there's any chance of saving a relationship where one or both people cheated, each needs to vow never to cheat again. Unless you're both on the same page here, each of you will fear falling into the same situation again and again.

The Magic of Making Up

Starting over must come with the reassurance that looking forward, no one will need to go through this type of pain. Forgiveness can't happen until both parties are sure that in the future, it's just going to be the two of you.

Step Three: Putting The Affair Emotionally Behind The Both of You

Cheating has two parts: the physical and the emotional. Both sides need to be dealt with in order to rationalize, get past, and ultimately forgive what happened - for both parties involved.

Get Over Affair

Many times an affair is purely physical; a guy or girl goes out and sleeps with someone else without any real mental or emotional attachment to that person. The reason could be anything from boredom to loneliness... from pure horniness to revenge. But no matter why the affair happened, it needs to be placed into the past and stay there in order for there to be any chance for a lasting reconciliation.

What's funny is that many people have more trouble getting past the physical thought of their partner being with someone else. Sex is such a personal and carnal act that the thought of their lover wrapped naked around someone else makes most people insanely jealous. What you need to realize however, is that the physical acts of sex mean very little if the mental or emotional attachments aren't there.

So if your partner had a quick physical fling or one-night-stand, there's a LOT less of a connection between them and the person they cheated with than if they'd had some sort of romantic relationship with that person.

Physically you need to look at it this way: in all likelihood, both you and your partner each had other sexual partners before you met and dated. Just as all that sex means nothing now, open your mind and allow this sex to mean nothing as well. Although it's a betrayal of your relationship that the affair happened while you were dating, try to chalk it up as just one more meaningless sexual partner that has nothing to do with you and your lover.

Emotional connections are a bit harder. If the person cheating was emotionally attached on some level, getting past this type of cheating is more complicated.

Your partner may also have cheated on you with an ex boyfriend or girlfriend; a fairly common scenario. If this is the case, the cheating will be tougher to swallow. You'll need to really be convinced that there won't be any future contact between them again, if you want to move on. Yet this is what you must do, if you've chose to keep the relationship alive rather than let it die.

Step Four: Understanding That Only The Future Matters

If you've decided to try and forgive a partner for cheating, or if they're forgiving you? The only thing that matters is the present and future of your relationship. In other words, by deciding to give things a second chance you've also agreed to let go of what happened before.

Most relationships fail to get past cheating for a simple reason: one person just can't let go. Either they bring the cheating up over and over again or they silently and resentfully cling to it in the back of their mind. Either way, any possibility for a future relationship is constantly being poisoned by stuff that already happened. The new romance is doomed before it's even given a chance, because there's no way of going back in time to erase what happened.

This is where you MUST forgive, if not right away forget, the fact that your partner cheated. In deciding to stay together you should be giving your relationship every possible chance to survive. What's done is done, and from this moment forward you can no longer bring up or persecute your lover for being unfaithful. Starting fresh and giving each other BOTH a clean slate is the only way to ensure the best possibility for success.

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Anthony    said on 09-13-2011

You have to get him over the cheating by being more strict with him. I know this sounds like it won't work, but the more you keep apologizing and catering to him the more he'll be suspicious (and keep punishing you).

Learn how to get him back after cheating, plus steps you can take that will get him to forgive you. It's a slow process, but it can be done.

Becka    said on 09-13-2011

I cheated on my boyfriend and he took me back, but he keeps dragging the cheating up and using it against me. He never trusts me and calls like 50 times every time I go out or am not with him. How can I get him to realize I won't cheat again? I understand him not trusting me but the constant jealousy and checking up on me is making things even more miserable than before.

Wendy11    said on 09-13-2011

Make sure you *want* to fix it! If he cheated on you he'll probably cheat again, so don't get involved in fixing the relationship if you think he'll still cheat on you.

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