Do cheaters deserve a second chance in a relationship?

Posted by James, 29 May

One thing I have come to realize with relationships is, no matter how good or bad, cheaters always manage to just happen. Men and women have found themselves in situations where they cheat on their spouses. Conscious? Forced into? Subconscious? Temptation? Who is to say? Cheat happens. For most people, this a one deal breaker. Cheating will always hurt so for some people cheating will not be tolerated. For other people, it's a grey area. The question is, after taking the vow to forsake all others, should a cheating spouse be given a second chance?

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Should a cheating wife or cheating husband be pardoned?

Infidelity in marriage (even during dating) always leaves one feeling like their heart has been ripped apart. It leaves one with more questions than answers. Why? What did I do wrong? My husband cheated me - could I have prevented it. The feelings are usually mixed. There is anger, low self-worth, pain, humiliation, and resentment. All these feelings can't be avoided.

Now, one thing that comes into play is how invested the victim was in the relationship. Those who had invested much will either be driven by this betrayal and walk away completely, or consider mending the relationship. It's even tougher when you have kids who are too close to the cheating spouse. You start wondering, now that my husband cheated on me, will it be selfish for me to dump him and let the kids deal with their father not being around?

There are usually more questions than answers. Even with those who thought cheating was a deal breaker, walking away from years of a good (or even bad) relationship can be hard. Then there is the bit where cheaters can express remorse that leaves you even more confused. So if he or she apologizes and wants things back, should you take them back? The answers lie with both of you.

Let's look at some scenarios...

Leave the kids out of it!

Yes! Your cheating wife or husband is on bended knees and is sincerely asking for forgiveness. The kids are there all stressed out always when their father or mother is coming back or when they are going to see them again. For you, on the other hand, you don't ever want this person to be in your life again. One advice I will give you for free is, if you are planning to take your cheating spouse back, never do it for the kids!

One thing you need to realize is that cheaters tend to be very manipulative. So if they want back in, they can actually use the kids to also manipulate you and make you feel guilty. It gets worse when some are a**holes that they threaten to take the kids away from you to coerce you into giving in.

If you feel you want to repair your relationship, then do it because you want to. His or her reasons for cheating had nothing to do with the kids. It had everything to do with the two of you. Eventually, kids will always heal. Plus if the two are reasonable enough, the kids can enjoy the best of both worlds. So if you do it for the kids, you will end up being more miserable and angry which might drive the cheater into doing it again!

Are they sincerely remorseful?

Yes, you want your life back. The question is does he or she deserve it. Just saying sorry doesn't cut it. The apology has to be sincere. For instance, if someone tells you they are sorry and then blame you for driving them into cheating, just let it go. Every person should be responsible for their own actions. If they felt you were driving them crazy, why couldn't they have brought it up first? And if they were fed up, the could have asked for divorce first before moving on to the next one.

However, if the cheating husband or wife owns up to their mistakes and you can really see how the feelings of guilt are eating them up and how they are sorry they hurt you, then maybe this is one to consider giving a second chance. Plus, it shouldn't be just about a sincere apology, they should be able to convince how they are willing and what their part towards steering the relationship towards healing and forgiveness.

Are you really ready to move on?

One thing you need to be aware of is that no matter how sincere they are with the apology, you might never fully get past the fact that they cheated. There will always be reminders around you. You might be busy minding your own business and something as simple as seeing the first name of the person on the internet ticks you off. So the question is: Once you get back together, are you willing to ignore those small reminders and let things go?

We have to admit. Much as someone might be very sincere, once trust has been broken, it is very hard to rebuild it. So, the cheater needs to realize that just a simple apology won't fix things. If that is all they want to bring to the table, my advice is not to give them a second chance.

What cheating does to a marriage is that it turns people's lives upside down. It makes people question everything about the marriage. No matter how cheating starts, people never realize how cheating hurts until it happens to you. In fact it is usually more devastating when tables turn and the cheater becomes the victim. Unfortunately, in most relationships, cheat happens. How you deal with the situation after that needs to be up to you and not the cheaters.

If you can walk away, then well and good. If you choose to work things out and move past the infidelity, then let it be on your terms. Try and seek professional help for yourself and as a couple.

Did he really cheat on you? Well here is an interesting read about infidelity.

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