Moving On or Out of a Relationship After Infidelity

When a man and a woman enter an exclusive relationship, the assumption or expectation is that they would remain faithful to each other. In a marriage you actually swear it. But this doesn't stop either party sometimes to look outside, for someone else to meet their sexual or emotional needs.

Therefore, finding out that your partner, whether married or still dating, has cheated on you can be a huge blow. When this happens, so many questions run through the mind of the person whose trust has been broken. Atala and I have attempted to answer those question with practical tips on how to decide whether to remain or leave the relationship.

How can I get past the fact that my man was intimate with somebody else? 

Well, this is a matter very much of your feelings, and unfortunately feelings cannot simply be switched on or off, so to some extent, it will take time and a forgiving mindset from your part.

If you will also consider these examples below, it will help.

- Do you still love him and care enough about him to overlook the hurt he has caused you? Sometimes, focusing on why you like someone and remembering the happiness they have brought into your life can help you look past their failings;

- Do you feel that he did it deliberately - and so it could be more likely to happen again, or was it was more of an accident under pressure and so less likely to happen again?

- If there was no actual sex, can you cut him some slack for that?

- Do you see him making other notable efforts to repair the relationship, i.e. is he showing this by his deeds, not just his words? Like, is he calling more often, listening to you, offering concrete ideas to move you and your relationship forward, etc.

How can i convince myself that he didn't cheat on me at a specific point in time in the past? 

The straightforward answer here is - you can't. Oh, you could ask him, and he could give you the answer you want to hear, but you have no way of knowing whether he's telling the truth. Also, since you already have doubts about him (because he has confessed to a specific case), it's even harder to be convinced.

In practical terms, you can do any of the following:

- Not worry about whether he cheated, an event that, if it happened, is in the past. Focus on the present and future. For instance, what is the state of the relationship now? From his behaviour, is he likely to cheat again? Have you both really sat down and discussed what happened and why it happened? Have you come to  an agreement about how to proceed with your relationship? Do you both have a plan as to what both of you need to do to make this agreement work?

- Persist in trying to find out the truth - but because this could consume a lot of time, emotion and energy, you really need to ask yourself why it's important for you, why you need to find out, and what you will do with the information you find.

- Decide that you cannot deal with the doubts about his fidelity and call it quits immediately. This is especially if it is very important to you, and a deal breaker, for your man to be faithful to you.

What option you pick will be decided only by you.

Will I meet somebody else if I leave him? I have this real fear of not meeting somebody and who is to say the next guy won't cheat on me too. Do you think I should settle? 

My sense is that if you are talking about 'settling' with a guy, then maybe you're not really happy with him, but I can't really tell at a distance. Maybe you need to think about why you feel it would be settling to be with him. If he meets at least 70% of the requirements you want in a man, then it should not be settling. Remember, no one is perfect.

As to not meeting someone else, I wouldn't let the fear of not meeting someone else be the main reason for remaining in a relationship. Yes, I do appreciate that it can be very lonely being by oneself, but it's even lonelier settling and then being with someone you don't like, and you are just 'managing'.

Again, if you are looking for someone who will not cheat on you, well, there are no guarantees about that. One way to try to guage faithful men is that if you are going out with someone, pay close attention to what they say and what they do. That is the way to get a sense of their character, especially how the guys talk and behave to other people, or when they are relaxed.

For example, do they generally act and talk as though they believe in similar morals as you? Do they keep their promises or not? How do they treat you and other women, with respect or always flirting?

Whatever the person who has been cheated decides, it is up to them to make the future work. The hope is that their decision leads to greater peace and happiness for them.

Please add other points we have missed and that you think will benefit others.