by Orna and Matthew Walters
We know we caused a big commotion a few months back when we commented that in our opinion a man who cheats will do so again…with that same woman.
We’d like to set the record straight about that, and about all breaches of trust.
A man who cheats on a woman is unlikely to be faithful to that woman forever. The reason for this is that there is something unfulfilling at the core of this relationship and the cheating is/was a symptom of that core mismatch.
We don’t think the situation is hopeless, however we do believe that dramatic changes need to happen in order for the relationship to survive. This is not something that can change quickly or without effort. There’s a shift that must take place for BOTH parties to rectify and move on – TOGETHER.
If you find that you are married to a man who cheated, and he is begging your forgiveness and wants to stay…here are some parameters for you.
When Your Man Cheats on You:
1. Do not rush to forgiveness.
Our emotions are so very important and they must be expressed in order to truly value ourselves. Often times, we do not want conflict, and so it common to rush into forgiveness. When we rush to forgiveness we devalue ourselves and our feelings. We are saying to our partner that we are willing to deny our feelings in order to keep this relationship alive. That is a recipe for anger and resentment.
First , FEEL everything you are feeling. Express how you feel with “I” statements. Utilize all of the tools here on the blog that work with expressing your emotions authentically. It will be easy to stumble in blaming language, especially when you are angry and hurt. Your job is to express how you are feeling and to take responsibility for those feelings.
2. Take some space.
Ask him to stay at a hotel for X amount of time. This is really okay. You need space to feel your grief, anger, betrayal, etc and having him around the house is just going to make it worse. You may be worried about losing him if you do this. Just know that if he wants to save the relationship then he will be willing to honor this request. If he isn’t willing to abide by your wishes then he probably isn’t worth keeping around. To be honest, if you’re going to “lose” him, he’ll go regardless of your requests and your actions.
3. Honor how you feel.
Feel the pain of it and nurture yourself at the same time. This may seem like a contradiction, however it is not. Take good care of yourself by doing things that allow you to feel whatever you are feeling in the moment. Take walks, hikes, bike rides, bubble baths… just be with yourself and allow those feeling to flow through you.
It may feel overwhelming at times, but you are capable of handling much more than you know. When you try to avoid your feelings and keep things under control then you are going to have trouble moving on from this event. If you want to save the relationship, or if you want to be able to move on to another relationship, then you have to process your feelings around this event.
The goal is to move THROUGH your emotions not gloss over them.
4. Start practicing forgiveness.
Once you feel you have a handle on the grief, now start looking at forgiving him. Start having some conversations with him and express how you are feeling in the moment (not about what was, but what is right now).
If he wants to make a go of it and you agree to do that (here is the very important part) – Really forgive him and move on. To be in forgiveness means that it’s behind you. Open your heart to your man, and see him for who he is, and how you feel when you spend time together.
Trust is not on a dimmer switch. Either we trust someone, or we do not. So if you’re going to go for it, jump in with both feet and TRUST!
Don’t poke and prod to make sure he never cheats again.
If worry is something that comes up for you and it is making you anxious, work with a professional to get support for yourself. It is important to have an outlet to discuss your worry (and let’s be honest, if this is where you are getting stuck this pattern of worry has been holding you back in all areas of your life – and this is a great opportunity to release this old pattern that is not serving you.)
5. Set up the rules for moving forward.
Ask for what you need. Tell the truth. It’s perfectly okay to say, “If this ever happens again, you will not have another chance. We will be done.”
Spell it out in your words, in your way – and here is the very hard part – HONOR THAT agreement!
What often happens is that we pick up where we left off in the relationship in a few months… and old habits are difficult to break…but not impossible.
Honor yourself by not falling into sacrifice in the relationship. Know what your needs are, express them, expect him to meet your needs.
6. Clearly explain what you expect from him.
He needs to take action to earn your trust. Whether it is in learning to express his feelings and ask for what he needs, if you want him to seek help or if you want both of you to seek help, it is ok to ask that he take certain actions to show his desire to repair the relationship.
Hold him to these agreements. Be clear on what your deal breakers are and stick to them. It is important for him to know that there are consequences for his actions.
When you do this then there is no need to be snooping for things, or to be worried about what he may or may not do. Be clear on what YOU are doing and, how you are feeling when you spend time with him.
Know the saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” This is most certainly true in relationship. This could be an amazing opportunity to re-engineer the relationship and create something fabulous!
Love and Abundance,
Orna and Matthew
From Sarah: Orna and Matthew are the only couple working together coaching women on relationships getting the amazing kind of results I personally know they’re getting – you’ll LOVE their ebook-plus-audio program Get Your Mr. Right – it will turn around EVERYTHING you believed about getting the lifelong love you want and help you so fast it’s incredible – just check out Get Your Mr. Right here to get a relationship that no cheats on->