Can a relationship EVER survive cheating? Tracey Cox reveals how to tell if YOURS will recover from infidelity – and when it’s time to walk away
- Tracey Cox reveals which types of relationships can survive after cheating
- The British sex and relationship expert insists most relationships do survive
- It comes after the split of Strictly Come Dancing couple Katya and Neil Jones
Few things rock relationships more than the discovery of infidelity.
Strictly’s Katya and Neil Jones, who’ve been together 11 years, lasted nearly a year after she was caught on camera kissing her dance partner Seann Walsh in a London street.
Neil insisted her indiscretion would not ruin their relationship: ‘I wasn’t going to allow that one little thing to get in the way of 10 very happy years.’
Except it did.
Some couples do make it – Jay-Z and Beyonce are one famous example. Lots – Khloe Kardashian and her partner Tristan included – don’t.
Strictly’s Katya and Neil Jones (pictured in May 2019), who’ve been together 11 years, lasted nearly a year after she was caught on camera kissing her dance partner Seann Walsh in a London street
Even so, infidelity is extremely common – and getting more so.
Around 40 per cent of people now cheat. Even more depressing, reputable research showed 34 per cent of women and 56 per cent of men who have had affairs describe their marriage as happy or very happy.
Technology makes it easier to sneak illicit sex but – be warned – it’s also harder to keep secret.
The average person doesn’t have the celebrity curse of paparazzi hovering to capture every mistake and broadcast it, humiliatingly, into the world.
But more than one person has been undone by an ill-advised, late-night text message that pings up at just the wrong moment.
Contrary to popular opinion, most relationships do survive after infidelity is discovered.
As such, Tracey Cox (pictured) reveals which types of relationships can survive cheating
But there’s surviving and surviving.
Sometimes they can be an (albeit horribly hurtful) kick up the bum that your relationship needed.
Other times it’s the rightful end to a relationship you should have called time on years ago.
Staying in a bad or abusive relationship after infidelity is discovered is unadvised and harmful. Trying to work through it when you’re in a healthy, good relationship is usually the right thing to do.
Here’s how to tell which category your relationship falls into, if this has happened to you.
YOU’VE GOT A GOOD CHANCE OF SURVIVING IF:
The cheating is out of character
Betrayal can feel worse if you’re in a great relationship.
If you’re best friends, sex isn’t amazing but it’s not bad either and everything else is going along nicely, most people’s reaction to cheating is ‘What now? What could I have done differently?’
But some people remain faithful for decades, then one day cross a line they never thought they would for no other reason other than boredom.
I’m not justifying it, but I am saying perhaps one mistake shouldn’t wipe out years of happiness.
If the infidelity was a one-off, totally out of character and your relationship is strong, it’s worth fighting for.
Your partner feels worse about the cheating than you do
Most people are on their knees when they find out a much-loved partner cheated.
If your partner is downplaying what they did and refuses to recognise the pain their behaviour has caused, there is no point in continuing.
They need to really regret what they’ve done. A cut-off-my-arm-if-I-could-take-it-back kind of regret.
They should be as, if not more, miserable about the pain it’s caused as you are.
You’re good at communicating
If you aren’t good at talking things through and seeing each other’s side, you have little hope of making it.
The trick to getting through infidelity is being able to pinpoint what it was really about – and being brave enough to look with brutal honesty at your relationship and make any necessary changes.
The most important question to ask someone who’s had an affair is: What did you like about yourself in that relationship? What part of you were you trying to find?
One of the things people like best about affairs is that they get the chance to start over and be who they want to be.
You need empathy and honed communication skills to be able to get to the point where you’ve moved past ‘How could you do this to me?’ to ‘How did this happen to us?’.
It’s only then, that true healing can happen.
You’re prepared to seek therapy if you need it
It takes a long time for a relationship to recover from infidelity. Depending on how long the cheating went on for, it can take years.
If you don’t know how to react or what to do with the hurt and can’t move forward, seeing a good therapist is often the only way to save the relationship.
They are trained to help you both sort through the myriad of emotions you’re experiencing and make the healing process easier and faster.
If your partner won’t even entertain the idea, even when the relationship is on its last legs, walk.
At the time, Neil insisted his wife’s (pictured together in November 2018) indiscretion would not ruin their relationship: ‘I wasn’t going to allow that one little thing to get in the way of ten very happy years.’
DON’T BOTHER TRYING IF:
This isn’t the first time they’ve cheated
Serial adulterers can’t do intimacy. It doesn’t matter who they settle down with, they will always cheat because the alternative is to get too close to someone.
Cheating is an effective way of making sure your partner won’t truly love you. Even if you don’t get discovered, it destroys the ‘you and I against the world’ feeling.
Guilt makes it hard to look your partner in the eye and affairs are also a great way of distracting yourself from painful feelings you’ve never resolved.
If this isn’t the first affair or cheating incident you’ve discovered, get the hell out of there and redirect your energy towards creating a new life for yourself.
Your partner treats you badly
Cheating is hard enough to forgive without having other complaints piled on top of it.
If your relationship is hanging by a thread, your partner really isn’t a nice person and makes your life unhappy, why would you want to forgive?
If you haven’t the courage to walk away, make an appointment with a good therapist to find out why you don’t respect yourself enough.
They refuse to be totally ‘transparent’
In order for trust to be rebuilt, your partner must now prove they have nothing to hide.
The only true way to do this is to give you all the passwords to everything – the code to their phone, social media passwords, the lot.
Some of you won’t want that, others will demand it – justifiably – for at least a while. After all, if they’re going to keep their nose clean, what will there be for you to find?
It’s not pleasant, relinquishing all rights to privacy, but if your partner is truly sorry and desperate to keep you and win you back, they’ll do it.
You’ll find more advice on love and sex on traceycox.com, as well as Tracey’s two product ranges.
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