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Forgiving A Cheating Partner

By Sam Adegbola
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The Ice Price-Maima infidelity saga came as a shocker to many, including some of my friends. We hooked up, last Saturday night, at Spice Route club, Victoria Island, Lagos where we gisted and had fun galore for hours. After the whole shindig, I decided to put pen to paper and write about Forgiving a Cheating Partner.

The 'Unforgivable Sin' of Angelina Jolie is worrisome and only few dudes can forgive such sins. Well that is not my discussion for today.

I am more concerned about forgiving a cheating partner. From my little experience and relationship with many guys and ladies, I have come to realize that over 90 percent of Nigerians agree that cheating is wrong. Notwithstanding, many guys and ladies are still very guilty of infidelity.

For me, I think forgiving a cheating spouse is very possible but only in some circumstances. First of all, you shouldn't expect a quick fix. For a come back to happen, however, you have to accept that the old relationship is dead.

It's always shocking to realize how some couples ended up splitting after being together in marriages for decades. How to recover from such affair seems more and more apt.

The main reason why couple part remains vague as there is no actual cause to pinpoint but there is a moral suggestion that has to do with satisfaction and the pain of betrayal.

I once read that when you love someone wholeheartedly, it feels like you’re in a nice, safe, love-infused bubble that no-one can penetrate.

The question now is: how would you feel when the sweetheart you trusted so much gave another person a chance to penetrate the bubble?

Perhaps that bubble burst with a big bang during an overnight confession or after a discovery, would you still love to forgive the person?

You can. Yes, YOU CAN!
Like I said earlier, you could forgive a cheating partner at some point but not at all times.

Both of you can survive infidelity but only if you honestly and unanimously think the relationship is worth it and the guilty person is prepared to do everything it takes to win back your trust and love.

While my idea may be defective, I still believe it can help you decide and guide you through the process of getting back together.

STAGE ONE: Are they worth another chance?
I need to let you understand that some cheating partners don’t deserve forgiveness or any consideration.

To start with, you need to ask yourself some salient questions.

Have they cheated on you or other people in the past?

If your partner has developed a pattern of cheating over and over, they will continue to do it again (and again) until someone – hopefully you – dumps them brutally and they realise they can’t get away with it. No second chances in this case. Ever.

Why did they do it?
While there is no reasonable justification for cheating, a one-off incident with seemingly genuine explanation is a lot easier to forgive than repeated long-term affair. Wait a minute...before you decide to forgive them, try to put yourself in their shoes: if you were them, feeling the way they did, in the situation they were in, what would you do? Were you aware your partner wasn't cool about the relationship before the went on cheatig on you? Was the relationship no longer great? Can you understand it?

What do you think they will do if they're in the same predicament in the future? Would they go ahead to cheat on you again? What guarantees can they give you that it won’t happen again? Do they SINCERELY regret what they’ve done? They should be even more miserable than you about the pain their infidelity caused. You also need to ask yourself how your relationship was when it happened. Were you having little misunderstanding or communication problem? If not, think twice! If you thought you were blissfully happy and didn’t notice a single sign that anything was wrong, it’s desperately hard to trust such partner again.

STAGE TWO: Give each other space
Your should never try to keep them in sight. Don't try to cling onto them as well.

You need to let them understand at this point: that their behaviour is not acceptable and that you have dignity.

Avoid seeing them for a while but if you were already sharing room together, try to move out for few days if you had no powers to send them out. A cheating partner should understand you need this time to logically sort through your emotions. Draft up questions that you really think you need sincere answers to. Ask questions about what transpired, why it happened and why they want the relationship to continue.

STAGE THREE: Meet up
This stage should only come after you have realized the efforts your partner has shown to win you back during the short period you decided to stay away. If the efforts were not genuine or not too sincere, you just have to make a bold step to end the affair once and for all. This meet up stage is, however, not a kiss and makeup session. This is an emotionless meeting to decide if the relationship is worth saving or not.

Let your partner understand you have lots of questions to ask them and warn them that you need sincere answers. It will be incredibly painful but it’s essential you get honest answers to what you need to know. If they're not ready to answer them, forget it and forget the relationship too.

After getting the answers you want, think over them again and ask yourself if do you feel reasonably confident that you’ll both pull through. If you didn't feel comfortable or satisfied with the way they answered your questions, it can be desperately hard to trust again.

STAGE FOUR: Build a new relationship
At this fragile stage, you have to move back in or start seeing each other regularly again. You must also remember that your old relationship, the damaged one, is dead. You now need to build a new one. This stage is very difficult, sincerely.

Guilt conscience might be disturbing your partner from relating with you the way they should and the feeling you get anytime you remember how they betrayed your trust could also negatively hamper you from moving on. As the victim, you will always think about the times your partner may have lied to you; at times, if not all the times, you will visualize the wanton adulterous sexual display they had with the new person and you might be wondering if they wouldn't lie to you again.

What will be missing is innocence (from the cheating partner) and trust (from you).

Yes this is sad, but it’s also exciting. Just think! It may well end up even better than the first in lots of ways!

Realizing that you are both survivors – could motivate you to love each other better.

You will feel insecure and you will feel angry. You will fight about it, over and over, to begin with. This is normal.

To get through it, you need to set some rules for the new relationship. These are specific to you two but you might want to think about things like telling each other where you are all the time, checking in during periods that might be hard for you to cope with, sending lots of reassuring texts.

Note: it is possible to move on and build a stronger relationship after cheating but that is only if the guilty person realized that getting back to those normal life wouldn't be totally possible within few days or weeks. Time heals wounds that are able to be healed. In five months, you should be feeling better most of the time; one year on, trust should be developing again.

STEP FIVE: Be prepared to change your mindset
It would practically be unfair to show contempt to your partner after sincere apologies. Sorry wouldn't be enough to accept your cheating partner back anyway. They need to honestly feel sad about their action and candidly promise a faithful future with you.

Now, let's get to the real point. You need to understand that your partner cheated for a reason.

Try to discover or ask them what they wanted from this new person that they couldn’t get from you. Make sure you address the root cause of the problem. Was it attention, security, sexual escapades, money, care or respect?

Some people even cheat following their family history of infidelity. These kind of cheaters need your guidance to stop this “learned behavior” only if they show signs of detesting infidelity. Serial cheaters should, however, never be taken back.

When couples have been together a long time, it’s hard to reinvent yourself and get your partner to see you as someone ‘new’.

Were there parts of themselves that felt satisfied with the other person that aren’t being satisfied with you? What are they? Explore ways to help them be able to do this with you.

Forgiving infidelity is a hard process to move through, both individually and as a couple, but it never ceases to amaze me how marriages can actually thrive after infidelity.