Your wedding vows included “forsaking all others.” But despite those words, you have cheated on your spouse.
Now you are wondering how to fix your relationship after you cheated. You love your spouse and want to remain in the marriage.
Fixing your relationship after cheating is a long and arduous process, but one worth it if both of you are invested. How to rebuild a relationship after cheating?
Read on for some advice that others have used to rebuild a relationship after cheating. You will see several ways how to fix your relationship after you cheated as well as rebuilding a stronger, more intimate version of your relationship after cheating.
Cheating in a relationship
For the purposes of this article, we define cheating in a relationship as illicit intimate physical relations with someone other than your spouse or partner.
We are not addressing online-flirting or other non-physical extra-marital connections, nor polyamory or relationships where the two partners have given each other permission to have sex with other people.
How does cheating happen?
The reasons that someone cheats on their partner are as varied as the cheaters themselves. They can include the following:
The key to repairing a relationship after cheating starts with a desire by both partners to invest in the effort it will take to fix a broken relationship after cheating.
This cannot be a unilateral desire, or it is doomed to fail. The two of you must want to fix your relationship and make it one you want to recommit to 100 percent.
I cheated on my wife. How do I fix it? I cheated on my husband. How do I fix it?
Whether you are the cheating wife or husband, boyfriend or girlfriend, the process of repairing a relationship will be similar.
Begin by asking yourself if you want to remain in your relationship. If the answer is an unquestionable yes, here are some suggestions on how to fix your relationship after you cheated.
10 ways to fix your relationship after you have cheated
Like repairing a large tear in a beautiful tapestry, the work necessary to mend a relationship after cheating is long, delicate, hard, and will demand great patience on the part of the couple.
If you are asking yourself, “I cheated on my boyfriend, how do I fix it? “know from the start that the road back to trust and deep love is not simple nor easy, but it is worth it.
1. Ask yourself if you feel regret for what you did
“I want to know how to fix a relationship after I’ve cheated,” Mark states. “I am deeply sorry for what I did.” By feeling this genuine level of regret, it is clear that Mark is open to rebuilding the relationship after cheating.
Without a deep level of feeling remorse and regret for one’s actions, fixing a relationship after you’ve cheated is not likely to work. If it was you who cheated, ask yourself if you feel truly sorry.
You need to have a deep sense of regret and the willingness to express this to your partner in order to start moving forward with fixing your relationship after cheating.
2. Be accountable
Take responsibility for your infidelity. Own this act and the trauma it has caused in your couple.
Do not say to your partner, “Well, we hadn’t had sex for months! What did you expect me to do?”
Tell your partner that you and only you are solely responsible for stepping outside of the relationship. It did not happen because of something they did or didn’t do.
You have free will. Even if there were issues in your marriage, you chose to be unfaithful rather than addressing the real problem.
3. Cut all ties immediately with the person you cheated with
No ifs, ands, or buts. The cheating must stop.
Cutting all communication channels with the “cheatee” is an essential part of how to fix your relationship after you have cheated. Block them on all social media.
Delete their contact information from your cell phone (don’t just change the contact name. Delete them and block them.)
Your partner needs to know that this is truly over and that that person is no longer present in your lives.
4. Be honest
Again, total honesty is part of rebuilding the relationship after cheating. The cheater must be willing to reveal all text messages, photos, and emails, should the other partner feel the need to see these.
Be open to handover logins and passwords. If you hide anything, it will be discovered eventually. That will just break trust again.
Be aware that rebuilding trust is a long and slow process with its own timeline, so don’t set any fixed end date for this. That said, should your partner still be insisting on total access to your emails and texts two years after the infidelity, you are justified in saying enough!
It could be that trust may never be restored in your relationship and that you may wish to part ways.
5. Rebuild trust
Rebuilding trust is vital to fix a broken relationship after cheating. Couples’ therapists advise total transparency as part of the rebuilding process.
The person who was cheated on must be allowed to ask any and all questions, even the most painful, intimate ones, of the cheating partner. This seems counterintuitive, right?
One would think that knowing all the sordid details would actually make healing worse, but that has proven to be untrue. Healing takes place more easily when one knows the reality than merely imagining what might have taken place.
Be prepared for the story to come out in pieces, slowly, over time, but be prepared to reply to all of your partner’s questions. Working with a couples’ therapist would be helpful in this part of the healing process.
Use the affair to leverage your relationship, propelling it into something better and more connected. Esther Perel, a noted couples and sex therapist, talks about a writing a second chapter in your marriage.
o rekindle a relationship after cheating, consider how much you love each other and what that means to you both. To move beyond the affair, examine ways to reshape and redefine your relationship, making it affair-proof.
That said if you are married to a chronic cheater, and this is not acceptable to you, leaving the marriage would be completely justifiable. No one should stay in a situation that causes them continual pain.
An affair is a defining point in a relationship. There will be hurt and anger. Both of you will feel like strangers for a while, but if your marriage is worth fighting for, there will be room for growth, discovery, and new intimacy.
Remember: good people can make bad decisions that have a deep impact. But the mistakes we make – and we all make them – impress in our core new ways of looking at things and truths that weren’t there before.
An affair is a traumatic time in a relationship, but it doesn’t have to define the relationship.
Use the time post-affair to put the relationship back together in a way that is stronger, more informed, wiser, and with an honesty and a love that is more sustainable and satisfying to both people involved.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.