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Getting Back with a Cheater: Is It Really Possible?

getting back with a cheater

When someone cheats on you and leaves your heart shattered, is it possible for you to let bygones be bygones and continue the relationship?

Cheating: a mortal sin in exclusive relationships. Nowadays, it seems like cheating is one of the biggest problems couples face. I have had my *un*fair share of cheating partners, and I am telling you that being on the receiving end of cheating is probably one of the most terrible things anyone could ever go through.

I don’t wish it upon anyone, but it has become a disease–especially now that we are in a hookup culture. Online dating apps like Tinder have made it a whole lot easier to cheat. No one deserves to be cheated on–not even when you and your partner are having relationship issues. There is no acceptable reason for cheating. The world should be purged of cheaters; with cheaters gone, the world would be a much better place. [Read: The truth about love and promiscuity in today’s world]

So, is forgiving a cheater possible? My jaded self would probably say no and back it up with “cheaters don’t deserve a second chance. They made a choice, so you should make the sane choice: dumping them,” but this time, I’m going to go with the more mature answer and say yes, forgiving a cheater is possible.

What you need to know before you think of forgiving a cheater

Forgiving a cheating partner can take two forms: forgiving and staying in the relationship, or forgiving and letting go. It is imperative to ask yourself these questions when you’re in the crucial situation of deciding whether or not you should forgive your cheating partner.

#1 Has your partner cheated on you before? This is the most important question you have to ask yourself. I’m sure you’ve heard the line, “once a cheater, always a cheater.” Sadly, cheating can be addictive, and once a person has created a pattern for cheating, it becomes a really bad habit–and we all know habits are hard to break.

If you’ve given your partner a free pass in the past and still they continue to cheat on you, maybe you should rethink forgiving and staying. Serial cheaters tend to take advantage of forgiving partners, and eventually the effect of repetitive cheating will take its toll on you. Who wants a life of constant babysitting?

On the other hand, if your partner cheated on you once, and has shown extreme remorse for what they have done, perhaps they deserve a second chance. After all, maybe this one slip-up will help them change for the better. [Read: 18 ingenious ways to catch a cheating partner]

#2 Is your partner taking responsibility for their actions? If you catch or discover your partner cheating and confront them about it, there are two red flags. The first would be denial, and I mean this in a sense that even when there’s already evidence, they still continue to lie to your face–that is just plain rude and wrong.

The second is when they make it all about you. They’re so guilty that they can’t help but act angry at you to make it look like they’re innocent. They may pin the blame on you and try to convince you that your actions in the relationship are the driving force behind their infidelity.

A combination of these two things shows that your partner isn’t taking responsibility for their actions. How can you expect someone with this kind of character to actually find the time and effort to make it up to you and earn your trust back?

#3 Can you honestly move on from what happened and make the relationship work? A lot of people make the mistake of thinking they can forgive and forget. The truth is, when it comes to cheating, forgiving and staying is so much easier said than done.

Let’s face it: even when you say that you’re going to let this incident go for the sake of making the relationship work, there will be times that you’ll get extremely paranoid and suspicious… to the point that you become so clingy, it suffocates your partner.

Although you can’t really be blamed for taking extra precautions, you wouldn’t want to transform into someone you’re not and make the relationship worse. Remember: staying will also be a struggle for you. It will take a lot out of you and your partner, but if both of you are determined, the chances of getting your old relationship back are high.

[Read: 5 heartfelt reasons why I will never cheat]

Forgiving a cheating partner does not benefit them more than it benefits you; forgiveness frees you from bitterness, hatred, and anger. It makes you the better and more mature person by giving you the moral high ground.

You can’t just expect to sleep on it one night and wake up feeling ready to forgive someone who has betrayed you and shattered your heart into a million pieces. Forgiveness takes time, and it may take you longer than you expect. As they say, time heals all wounds.

Never, ever blame yourself for your partner’s actions. Most of us do this to ourselves; we think there’s something wrong with us, because our partners cheated, but the truth is, they cheated because they’re heartless and incapable of valuing commitment.

[Read: Should you try to forgive a cheating partner?]

Just a piece of advice: if you do decide to stay with a cheating partner, make sure that they’re going to do everything *and I mean EVERYTHING* to deserve to be taken back by a forgiving person like you, and make sure they’re aware that it’s the last chance you’ll give them.

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Jorella Valino
Jorella Valino
Jorella Valino is a freelance writer, human resources manager, and animal rights advocate. She maintains a cruelty-free and vegan blog dedicated solely to raisi...
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One thought on “Getting Back with a Cheater: Is It Really Possible?”

  1. susp says:

    Walked in on him towards the end of a sex session with his ex in December of 2011. Ah, I can still smell the subtle scents of vodka and pussy. Being the naive, crazy-in-love fool that I was, I gave him another chance. He was my first, and it was perhaps because of this that I thought our connection was karmic–I felt like I knew him in a past lifetime, and surely that feeling doesn’t come by often, so of course I have to salvage this, right??? He couldn’t let go of her though, as I found out after everything happened. In May 2012, he skipped out on a trip with me to stay home (we were both living in our college town, and he decided to go to EDC and then go back to his hometown instead of meeting me back at our town), and I found out later it’s because he was spending time with her. But at the time, I make the trip alone and we spend my entire trip just talking on the phone and texting as he apologizes and airs his “woe is me” grievances to me about how he’s “so scared of how much he loves me, he’s afraid to get hurt.” I still couldn’t let go of him despite the transparency of his BS, because I was just that weak and blind. July of 2012, we were still together but on the rocks (didn’t know he was seeing/talking to ex at this point. Apart from the December incident I thought communication with his ex was done, although I had suspicions here and there that he was quickly able to cover for). I get an abortion “for both our sake” (his words–but I would have elected for the abortion on my own anyway, I just don’t like that he made it seem like it was his idea/decision first). That was two days before my birthday. A week after the abortion, he breaks up with me, leaving me alone in my emotional distress over the procedure, when I needed him the most (I was pro-life before it happened to me, and having to do something that went against my beliefs made me feel so torn and dissonant. Funny how just one direct experience changes your stances. But I digress). Found out he moved in with aforementioned ex in the beginning of 2013. Found out from mutual friends that he cheated on her with a co-worker; some people just never change. December of 2013, he tried to act like nothing happened between us, and he texts me saying merry Christmas. At this point, I had actually dated (and broken up with) another guy that I was working to get over. We kind of tried at being friends, meeting up to just hang out (yes, just platonic hanging-out) maybe once a month. During these hangouts, I was very blunt with him and straight-up asked him if he was talking to or cheating on me with his ex on this or that occasion (hence how I found out about the aforementioned after-the-fact revelations that the time I walked in on him wasn’t a one-time thing). I start dating a wonderful guy in December of 2014, and suddenly, I wanted absolutely nothing to do with my ex anymore. He’s texted me nonsense and memes on random nights, I haven’t responded. It’s gratifying to realize that the guy I thought I would never get over in my entire life is now on the other end, anxious about getting a reply back from me when I couldn’t care less about him. I have yet to respond to any of his messages anymore since March of this year, and I don’t plan on it. Whenever he does contact me, my current SO always knows about it, and we just laugh at how stupid/pathetic he is. I think I was honestly traumatized by walking in on him with his ex, because I have legitimate panic attacks and flashbacks to the smells and sights of walking in on him, and I still have trust issues with my current SO despite him being wonderful to me (it’s more like I can’t trust myself and my judgment of character: “I thought my ex was so sincere and amazing and he cheated on me multiple times, so why can’t my current sincere and amazing SO?” is my train of thought, if that makes sense). I get surges of hatred for my ex sometimes if something reminds me of him even in the slightest. I go into jittery panics whenever my current SO does or says something that my ex did to cover up his affair (i.e. “Sorry, I was doing homework,” “I have to meet with my group for our project,” and even “I have to work tonight”). I just know how easy it was for my ex to cheat (I was actually ‘helping’ him cheat towards the end, since I somehow became the other woman. I inadvertently found out he was with his ex again, and I found out so unceremoniously that I still couldn’t find it in me to leave. He was just so careless about the way he admitted to seeing her that I thought I was supposed to be okay with it, given how dismissively he said it, like “Oh, yeah, I’m with her.” He was so unapologetic and without remorse, and I was all sorts of stupid and confused. Damn you, 3-years-ago me). It’s made me very jaded and cynical to the point where I think 1) I’m just the kind of girl you cheat on, 2) I can’t trust my own judgment, because if I trusted X and X cheated on me, then if I trust Z, why can’t Z cheat on me? and 3) Even the best of people are susceptible to infidelity (not based on my experience alone, but other situations I’ve heard of).

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