No matter how much love you have for someone, there's no denying that, if either one of you ends up cheating, the relationship (if it even still exists) will inevitably undergo some changes. When someone cheats in a relationship, it's almost always because they feel their needs aren't being met. Although we've been led to believe that men are more likely to cheat than women are, a study out of Indiana University uncovered that infidelity rates among men and women aren't drastically different. Tina B. Tessina, PhD, psychotherapist and author, told Prevention that as a general rule-of-thumb, "most women cheat because they feel emotionally deprived, and men are unfaithful because they often feel sexually deprived."
But regardless of someone's reason for cheating, at the end of the day, choosing to be in a relationship means that you are making a commitment to your SO. If either of your needs aren't being met, then it's up to either of you to communicate your discontent and work together to resolve the issue. Cheating should never be the solution. And of course, you're never obligated to stay with someone who cheated on you. (And most times, you probably shouldn't.)
But alas, we are all humans and making mistakes is a part of life. Whether or not your relationship can weather the storm is up to the both of you and will depend on what sacrifices you are willing to make so things can work. If your relationship has gone through some infidelity, and you decide you still want to try to make it work, just know there are some things that will certainly change between you and your partner.
1. You'll Feel Distant From Each Other
Once you or your partner made the decision to step out on the relationship, the partner who was cheated on will obviously need some time to recover, assuming they are wiling to continue on with the relationship. And obviously, this will cause some distance between you two. According to bestselling author and relationship expert Susan Winter, whether or not both parties can bridge the emotional distance and make it work after someone cheats depends heavily "on the disposition of both partners."
Chances are, there is going to be a period after the infidelity when the person who was cheated on feels too betrayed to fully engage in the relationship, and instead, that person may withdraw. If the person who cheated is truly sorry and really wants to make things work in the relationship, then it's important they are willing to give their partner the space they need to fully process their feelings.
2. You Won't Have The Same Level Of Trust You Had Before
No matter what the circumstances of the cheating were and no matter how hard the cheater tries to justify their actions, cheating completely kills trust. And while some may argue that trust can be rebuilt, things will likely never be the same.
"Like a china teacup that's cracked, infidelity forever changes the relationship. It's a fissure that's always present," Winter says. "Whoever crosses that line will find it easier to do so again."
3. Your Confidence Takes A Nose Dive Or Increases, Depending On Your Role
How you feel about yourself is something that is very much affected by infidelity. Depending on which side of things you're on, cheating might end up boosting or tanking your confidence.
When someone cheats because they feel unwanted or undesired, the immediate result is usually a boost in confidence because they are finally receiving the attention they feel their partner is denying them. But this confidence boost will likely be replaced with crushing guilt soon after.
Needless to say, even if the cheater tries to apologize and make up for their actions, the person cheated on will feel like the lowest of the low (which, of course, they shouldn't because their partner's decision to cheat is not reflective of their worth in any way).
Of course, all of this isn't to say that a relationship can't work once someone has cheated. If you're in the process of trying to make your relationship work, it's important for you and your partner to address the issues head-on. Communicate about how you're both feeling, work hard to resolve the root of the problem, and only continue the relationship if you feel confident you want to.
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