I get a lot of emails both from the person who cheated and from the person who was cheated on which ask me if the relationship can ever be the same – or happy – again. Many see the cheating as the crossing of an imaginary line in the sand that means there's no going back and no fixing things. This can sometimes be true. There are times when cheating means the end of the relationship, but this is often true when one or both parties are not willing to do the work necessary to repair the damage.
However, it is quite possible to be happy again after one party has cheated, but this is often a hard fought battle. Because in order to be genuinely and truly happy again, you will have to restore the security, the trust, and the bond that are likely missing now. I will discuss this more in the following article.
What Needs To Happen To Rebuild A Happy Relationship After Cheating: Many times, both people will tell me that the relationship was a happy one. Often people think that cheating in a relationship means that one or both people were desperately unhappy or unfulfilled in some way. This is not always the case. There are people in very happy relationships that still cheat. This often has to do with low self esteem, low impulse control, and cultural norms on the part on the person who cheated.
After the cheating, it's quite probable that at least one of the parties are going to be very unhappy and very hurt. There has been a grave injury that has taken place. The trust is probably shattered. The hurt is probably so real that it has taken almost a life of it's own, as though you can hear it's beating heart pulsing in your ears. Sometimes the hurt is so bad that you feel that the only way that you can even survive from day to day is to remove yourself from the situation.
But often when you do this, you'll find that this too, feels wrong. Even when you are alone, you are still thinking about it and you are still very much missing what you lost and are very angry that the life that seemed to work for both of you has been taken away. You woke up one day and thought you knew your reality when in fact you most certainly did not. And this absolutely is unfair. But there comes a time when you must evaluate what it is that is going to help you heal. One of the things that will push you toward this is being happy once again. And, often, you will need to decide if you are more likely to be happy remaining with the person who cheated or leaving them.
This is a decision that only you can make. And, there is really no correct or incorrect answer. The correct answer lies only in what is correct for you. And you will often need to take many factors into account, which may or may not include the state of the relationship before the affair, how well you understand and can over come what contributed to this, your own ability to forgive and move forward without holding on to negativity and score keeping, and the work that you are willing to do to restore your self esteem and to soothe your anger.
That's not to say that you will need to be the one doing all of the giving. Most of this should lie with the person who cheated, but each partner has their own role to play. If you are going to stay together and be happy again, you must be willing to work through this with your eye on the end result. You must understand that you will need to be open, honest, and vulnerable for this to happen. You will need to understand, and then overcome, all of the contributing factors that have caused this. And sometimes in order for this to happen, you have to be willing to put aside your anger and listen.
Yes, this is a tall order. And sometimes, you may well wonder if it is worth it since you certainly didn't ask for this and never intended it. But, I know from first hand experience that it is possible to get past this. You can be happy again. There may well be tough days between today and the time where you are healed, but take each day as it comes, remember your end goal, and decide that you are not going to let the one thing that has been wrong destroy the many things that were right.
Determine what derailed everything, fix it, and then discard the negativity and draw on what has always been working for you. You actually do have a unique opportunity to rewrite this life script. You can rewrite it as a triumph or a tragedy. That is really up to you. Which ever way you decide to go, know that you do deserve to be happy, whether you remain with the person who cheated on your or not.
I know that the thought of being happy again can seem elusive, but you may be surprised. Although I never would've believed this two years ago, my marriage is stronger than ever after my husband's affair. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem is at an all time high. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/