People are sure that cheating is the final verdict in any relationship, and it is impossible to stay together after it. However, some people manage to overcome it and mend their broken hearts.
Can a Relationship Survive Cheating?
This question is quite controversial as it is almost impossible based on the results of public surveys, but psychologists and therapists mostly agree that many relationships survive cheating (over 50%).
Clinical psychologist Psy. D. Joseph Cilona claims that even people who publicly announce infidelity as a fatal and unforgivable problem, often do not break their relationships when they face it.
At the same time, psychologists agree that partners who go through cheating grow apart from each other. Cheaters, especially cheating girlfriends, are usually relieved that there is no need to hide anything anymore (men are usually not so sensitive). However, their partners are described as traumatized and often require professional help. Doctor Denis Ortman even gives a name to their stance: Post-Infidelity Stress Disorder (PISD).
Generally, all professionals conclude that it is possible to save relationships after cheating, but it requires a lot of work and cooperation.
How Many Couples Stay Together After Cheating?
Workers of Health Testing Centers conducted a survey and found that almost 50% of couples that went through cheating decided to save their relationships. One of the reasons mentioned was time: people did not want to reckon that they wasted time in their relationships.
Interestingly, the percentage of relationships that work after cheating in the long perspective is much smaller. Only 30% of couples that decide to keep their relationships after infidelity overcome the 5-year line.
Research conducted by the University of Nevada concluded that the betrayed partner most often decides can a relationship last after cheating. If they are committed and ready to forgive the cheating person, they have much more chances to save their love and sometimes even strengthen their couple (in 7% of cases, according to the same study).
It all changes in the cases of repeated cheating. According to the study by Denver University Professor Kayla Knopp, a partner who cheated once cheats again in 3-4 years. And as soon as it is revealed that the person is cheating, the end of a relationship is almost guaranteed.
Thus, we can conclude that many marriages survive cheating, at least in its first iteration. But only 4.5%, as claimed by prof. Knopp, can overcome the second one.
Why Is It Worth Staying in the Relationship After All?
Martha Teater, a licensed marriage and family therapist highlighted 4 main reasons for couples to try to save their relationships.
- People hope their love and commitment will help the cheating boyfriend or girlfriend not to play away.
- People think that they can build even stronger relationships.
- Partners believe that cheating experience can help them understand each other better.
- The cheating victims often feel for the cheaters and think that it is they who provoked infidelity.
Some type of Stockholm syndrome is a frequent phenomenon in such cases: a partner who suffered from cheating may think that they are the reason and try to fix everything by giving even more love to the cheater.
How Can You Make Sure Your Partner Won’t Cheat in the Future?
Psychologists give many recommendations on this question. It is possible to keep partners always engaged with each other by promoting openness and trust and focusing on an active lifestyle.
Rock Hard, Rock Together
“Attack is the best defense” describes this recommendation the best. People are less likely to cheat if they get all they need in the relationships: physical and emotional contact, interesting leisure, and intellectual conversations. What is more, it is essential to discuss likes and dislikes of each other, as people are not telepaths. For example, it might be okay for one partner to have some occasional and innocent flirt in the bar, while the other partner can be really offended. An ordinary conversation can help to avoid such problems.
Stan Tatkin, the author of the famous “Wired for Love“, recommends setting up rules and borders for everything. For example, one of his ideas is to decide with the partner what is considered infidelity and what is not. It might also help determine your actions if one partner cheats. It stimulates openness and honesty in relationships.
Trust But Verify
Technology comes to help with phone trackers and spy apps. For example, a partner may notice that the attitude of their loved one has changed but may now know the reason. A tracker installed on their phone may help solve all doubts by confirming or dispelling them.
Why Do Friends and Family Tell You to Cut Ties?
Psychologists are pretty unanimous in this question: relatives and friends usually want the best for you and do not want you to suffer again. Although the percentage of couples who stay together after cheating is high, your mom and dad will still insist that you leave the unsuccessful relationships behind and start looking for a new partner who really deserves you, sprinkling it all with dozens of cheating quotes.
Moreover, you may never exclude micro cheating from the equation. In the eyes of other people who are not into your case and do not know all the details, your cheating partner is a cheater for their entire life, even if they honestly want to change.
What Can You Do to Heal Your Heartache?
Marta Teater shares that she usually recommends her clients focus on themselves: a new hobby, an interesting work, a part-time job – all these things may help them forget about adultery. Do not melt into your partner even if you decide to continue your relationship. Remember that the less accessible and the more independent you are – the higher their interest will be.