An infidelity is a betrayal, a loss of trust. It is lying or disloyalty to one’s partner or lover. Infidelity may be sexual or emotional in nature and typically involves a third person. Infidelity does not necessarily involve physical separation, but can be characterized by emotional detachment as well. Emotional detachment can happen when you lose your partner’s trust or if you lie to your partner or tell them half-truths. Betraying your partner may inflict a deep pain that is difficult to repair and sometimes causes irrevocable damage to the relationship that hastens its end. There are many things that can occur in the wake of an infidelity. If you are married, an infidelity could lead to divorce. If you are in a committed relationship, it could lead to a break up.
So what happens after infidelity occurs in your relationship?
There are distinct stages a relationship goes through in the wake of an infidelity.
Roller Coaster Stage. This is the stage where strong emotions arise – emotions such as anger and self-blame followed by a period of introspection and appreciation of the relationship. Just like it says, your emotions go for a roller coaster ride, up and down, round and round and it’s a bit hard to figure out exactly where you are.
Moratorium Stage. This stage is a less emotional stage, at least for the person who was cheated upon. In this stage, the person affected tries to make sense of the betrayal. They may ask for more detail about the affair or retreat into themselves or quietly seek help from others regarding the issue.
Trust Building Stage. This stage takes place when the couple has decided to stay together. During this stage, the couple really tries to make their marriage work. They decide that a continued commitment to their relationship is important and with time, eventually forgiveness and trust can be achieved.
After an infidelity occurs, you may still find yourself often doubting your partner. Don’t lose heart, there is hope. Here are some signs that may indicate if a person is still worthy of your love.
Expresses sincere remorse and regret for cheating on you
Heartfelt apologies feel true when you hear them
Accepts total blame for his or her betrayal
Cuts off all contact with the third party
Shows a renewed appreciation, admiration, respect and devotion to only you
Displays a willingness and openness to talk about what happened
Is willing and eager to go into marriage counseling with you
If both of you are willing to participate in a deep, open, and honest conversation regarding your relationship and how you would like it to progress, there is a good chance you will be able to work through your issues.
If, on the other hand, your partner is not open to discussing these things with you and not demonstrating any of the possible reconcilement signs listed above, it may be time to cut your losses and get out. Additional signs that it might be time to end the relationship are: your partner seems to be more agitated than usual and seems to emotionally and physically withdraw from you. They may go out alone more often and may be making clandestine phone calls or working late hours. You might even receive anonymous phone calls at the house. If several of these things are occurring, then most probably your partner is cheating on you. If you can find concrete evidence of this infidelity, then it’s probably a good idea to break up. A relationship that is based on lies, lacks trust and lack of commitment is doomed to fail.
After an infidelity occurs, be aware of any signs that may indicate your partner’s willingness to stay and work it out or clear intention to follow along the path of continued betrayal. Just be careful and pay attention. Make the best decision for you.