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By Damilola Faustino

Cheating is wrong – period! Regardless of whom you hurt by being unfaithful and how he or she reacted, there’s no question that infidelity can really shake up any romantic relationship. But infidelity doesn’t always mean the end of a relationship. For the unfaithful as well as the betrayed partner, here are ways to cope and rebuild a healthy partnership after cheating:

broken heart cheating

Don’t automatically assume the relationship is doomed

Once your partner finds out that you’ve been involved with someone else, it might seem like the easiest thing to do is run. But leaving a damaged partnership can sometimes be a way to avoid taking responsibility or recognising your own faults. Instead, assume that staying together is equally possible if you’re willing to put in the hard work required. If a couple can get through an infidelity and restore the trust in the relationship … they can come out the other side a stronger couple.

Acknowledge that you’ve created a problem

It might seem simple, but if you don’t come to terms with the fact that you messed up, and therefore messed up the relationship, the healing process won’t go anywhere. Instead, whenever you’re apologising for something hurtful, recognise that you made a mistake that caused your partner pain.

Figure out what drove you to cheat

Maybe it happened after the office holiday party, where you suddenly noticed that the guy who shares a cubicle with you looks a lot better when he isn’t working. Even so, infidelity is rarely the result of a momentary lapse in judgment or attraction to someone else. Instead, it’s important to get to the real root of the issue. Did you feel lonely in your current relationship?

End interaction with the other man or woman

It goes without saying that the first step to repairing a relationship after infidelity is ending the affair, but that means more than no longer having sex with the other person. Truly recommitting to your relationship means ceasing all interaction with the person you cheated on your partner with.

Limit the times when you talk about the infidelity

Once the unfaithfulness comes to light, it’s easy for both partners to end up talking about it constantly — why it occurred, exact details of where and when it happened, etc. But the two of you should instead give yourselves about 15 minutes every day to discuss the betrayal, and then move on. That’s because positive distraction — whether that’s seeing a movie or going out to dinner together can be really important for the future of the relationship and for the happiness of both partners.

Give your partner time to heal

In an ideal world, the unfaithful partner could just say, “I’m sorry” and win back the other partner’s affection. But in the real world, it can take at least a year for the betrayed partner to feel that he/she is able to trust you again. If the betrayed partner wants to talk about the infidelity, give him/her the opportunity.

Be honest with yourself and with your partner

After weeks, months, or even years of dishonesty, one of the most important steps to repairing the relationship is being completely open and honest. If your partner has a question about the affair, answer it to the best of your ability. After all, it would be pretty awful if you kept certain details hidden, only to have them surface later on.

Read also: Jay-Z Admits To Cheating On Beyoncé

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