Ever heard this common relationship urban tale : Girl discovers guy cheated.
First he gets on his knees in tears and says how sorry he is. He promises never to stray again. She decides to forgive him and, after a period of each acknowledging personal accountability and working on restrengthening their bond, they go on to live even more happily ever after.
I’ll admit, I’ve been swayed by these tales. There’s something about couples overcoming extreme adversity that pulls at our heartstrings. Who doesn’t want to see love conquer all?
The truth is, love stories which include infidelity rarely finish with a happy ending. Sure, Lifetime Movie Network and OWN may beg to differ, but reality is not often found in a made-for-television movie or an overly-produced reality show. In everyday life, cheating is dark and ugly. It destroys trust and rips families apart. It is not usually a catalyst for the formation of an even-greater relationship.
If you are questioning whether or not cheating should always be a deal breaker, start by taking a analysing two main reasons people cheat. These are the main reasons people stray in any scenario and relationship…
Reason #1: Why People Cheat: Simple, they cheat because they are cheaters.
Some people are simply incapable of maintaining a faithful loving relationship. These people constantly crave and seek out the attentions of others. Im sorry but just you are not enough to satisfy them. They need more than one person. No matter how wonderful of a partner you may be, they will not stay faithful to you.
Reason #2: Why People Cheat: Because they are cowards.
These people would otherwise be faithful but they cheat because they are not satisfied in their current relationship. Maybe the sex has become stale or dwindled to the point of no longer existing. Or there is constant conflict, arguments and tension. Maybe they feel unloved, under-appreciated, or neglected. Instead of stepping up and facing these problems head on ,this kind of cheater choose the seemingly easy way and seek comfort in someone else.
Despite these facts, it is often very difficult to end a relationship after a betrayal comes to light. Those of us who always thought we’d be strong and have little trouble drawing that line in the sand find ourselves conflicted. We wonder if the pain of being without our love will be worse than the pain of the cheating. We cling to the hope it was a one-time mistake – a slip, an aberration. Couldn’t we emulate the fairy tales we’ve heard and learn to forgive and forget, too?
If you ask me, I say no. Here’s why:
Mending begins with getting some space
It’s nearly impossible to forgive a major transgression without time apart from the offender. We can’t move past the hurt, disappointment, and anger when the mere sight of them is a continual reminder of our suffering. Ultimately, something magical usually happens when we create this space. We realize just how well we can live without the person who betrayed us.
Cheaters are often repeat offenders
We may not want to admit it, but staying with a cheater essentially demonstrates we’ve accepted their behavior. No matter how we try to hold them accountable or punish them – at the end of the day – they’ve gotten away with it. And we all know escaping justice with a relative slap on the wrist means they are much more likely to do it again.
What about the respect?
If you let them know you will accept something so bad, he or she can’t help but lose respect for you – at least a little bit. Yes, at first they may be grateful you’ve given them a do-over. However, there will always be a part of them which wonders why you chose to stay. And, even more importantly, what about the respect you have for yourself? Chances are it will increase if you stand up for yourself by walking away.
While the dating myth that cheating can create a better relationship may be a reality in a small percentage of cases, most of us won’t be the exception to the rule. Instead of strengthening your relationship, it is almost always proof what you had wasn’t very strong in the first place.