Is it possible to move on and forgive your partner if they cheat?
Thursday 04 April 2013
Here at Closer we recoiled in horror when new broke that Kristen Stewart had cheated on her boyfriend of three year Robert Pattinson. But does her indiscretion mean the end of the line for the Twilight couple? Or should Rob forgive and forget? Read our six tips for deciding whether to stick by a cheater or cut and run.
Kristen has released a statement saying she is sorry for hurt she caused boyfriend Robert Pattinson
Cheating is never excusable, but there is a distinct difference between people who make one massive error of judgment in an otherwise committed relationship, and those who are serial cheaters. “The best predictor of future behavior is relevant past behavior,” says therapist Dr. Phil. If this has happened before and they swore never to hurt you again, it could be time to leave – this person has a pattern of behavior they are not likely to break.
Decide if it’s worth it
In the early stages of a relationship,you may not feel it is worth standing by somebody you don't trust and you’re better off getting back out there and finding someone truly committed. However, the game changes the longer the relationship has been. Did you really have something special? If so, it might be worth trying to get over this rocky patch.
Be prepared to forgive AND forget
Probably the most important question for spurned partners is – will you be able to let go of what’s happened? If you can’t, you’ll continue to make jibes about their infidelity, hold them at arms length, and the relationship will be miserable for both of you. If you’re going to stick around, you have to make a conscious decision to wipe what’s happened from your history.
All of us who’ve been hurt in this way know how awfully it affects our trust – not just of that individual, but of all people and potential future lovers. For this reason the person who’s spurned you owes you a great deal. If they are interested in pursuing a relationship, they need to show you how much they care. Psychologist Janis Abrahms Spring says: "the hurt partner shoulders a disproportionate share of the burden of recovery and may require some sacrificial gifts to redress the injury caused." So don’t feel bad about requesting something a little extra – perhaps in the early stages you need access to their phone, or you don’t want them going out with certain groups of people where they could come into contact with the third party.
Never blame yourself
Some relationship therapists comment that cheating never happens in a vacuum. Whilst this may be so, you must remember this is in no way your fault. When someone decides to cheat they are deciding that rather than resolve the issue in a mature way, they’d rather run away from it, and you are not to blame for that.
Try to empathise
Hard as it may be, if you are interested in continuing with the relationship you do need to try and see things from the other side. Finding out details of the cheating is unlikely to help you, (and will probably torture you for months after) but asking why is a good starting point. It may turn out that there is an underlying problem in the relationship that could be sorted together. Dr Erica Goodstone’s advice is: “Face your feelings and your fears and share that with your partner. Sometimes, in fact often, it is that emotional closeness that has been cut off making one or both of you vulnerable to outside attentions.”