Can A Relationship Ever Recover From Cheating? We Asked An Expert How To Move On When One Of You Has Played Away

He's cheated, or maybe you were the one who did the dirty. Either way you'll need a recovery plan if the two of are to stay together.

Cheating

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

The good news is, that when it comes to getting over infidelity, “it is possible,” says relationships counsellor Tony Moore. The bad news? “It’s going to be very difficult. Recovering from cheating takes a long time and involves lots of talking and listening, and being able to forgive is essential.”

Right, so now that you know what it’s gonna take, how do you go about mending the hurt and moving on?

Own up

First and foremost “the person who has ‘cheated’ needs to acknowledge that they’ve actually cheated,” says Tony. “They must be remorseful and take full responsibility for their behaviour.”

That means you’ll need to clarify with your SO what falls under the category of cheating for you. Does flirting online count, a drunken kiss in a club, or do you only consider full blown intercourse as playing away?

Examine the motives

Once you’ve got that sussed, the cheater will need to take stock of their actions. “At this point, an honest appraisal of the relationship is necessary and the cheater needs to openly examine their motives for cheating,” Tony explains. “Many, when asked why they played away will answer ‘I don’t know’. This is avoidance, plain and simple, and lots of cheaters say this because they don’t want to hurt their partner. My point is, that if you’ve cheated, then you’ve already hurt them, so it’s essential to answer this question honestly, if you are to repair the damage.”

Seek help

Finding it difficult to move forward? “Recovery takes time,” reminds Tony. “And sometimes the gap between the couple is just too big for them to mend on their own. In this case, having a third party in the room, a counsellor for example, can really help to give perspective. An experienced counsellor would have seen a similar scenario many times, and know how to get you through it.”

Ultimately though, “you must be prepared to walk away if one or both of you can’t come to terms with being cheated on,” says Tony. “It’s no good saying you can forgive and forget, only to bring the subject up weeks, months or even years later.”

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