What a Cheater Must Do After an Affair

Cheating and the desire to be unfaithful are not “self-correcting” behaviors that automatically stop when an affair has been discovered. In order to break the cycle of infidelity, a cheater needs to take decisive action in three areas. The work is painful and depressing, but vitally necessary.

  • Admit the destructive nature of cheating
  • Accept responsibility for its damaging effects
  • Close off inappropriate contact with the third party

The adulterous partner must recognize the pain and uncertainty that has been inflicted and take ownership of being the cause of that pain. Once the affair has ended, it’s important to establish guidelines like the ones below to keep a cheater from repeating his/her mistakes.

  • Safety in Numbers – Cheaters should avoid spending time alone with members of the opposite sex.
  • Just Say No – Cheaters must promise themselves that they will not act on their feelings … or even reveal those feelings to anyone but their spouses.
  • Just Say No (Part 2) – Cheaters should avoid temptation and refuse invitations from people to who they’re attracted (invitations to lunch, after-work drinks, etc.) … unless their spouse is included.
  • Mum’s the Word – Cheaters should not share details of their marriage — particularly any problems they may be experiencing — with members of the opposite sex.
  • Avoid Temptation – Cheaters should stay away from environments (weekend business retreats) and influences (alcohol, drugs) that could lead to the lessening of inhibitions … and the beginning of an affair.
  • Turn Over A New Leaf – If an affair happened at work, perhaps a new work environment is in order. If it happened with a neighbor, maybe it’s time to relocate. These are big steps to take, but to leave things “the way they were” is to invite an affair to happen again.
  • Get with the Program – The way a cheater thinks about marriage has to change. Marriage and monogamy must be embraced as commitments that can’t be ignored under any circumstances. There can only be respect, acceptance, and love in a marriage when both parties can trust in the strength of that commitment.

Each spouse should make the other his/her top priority. Problems and concerns should be shared and resolved as a couple. Counselling and the intervention of a trained professional may be beneficial to couples trying to learn to communicate again.

One spouse is not responsible for another’s infidelity. However, after an affair, the faithful partner needs to be crystal clear about defining what behavior is acceptable and what behavior is unacceptable. The cheater should know that his/her spouse is prepared to take action consistent with their words.

 

 

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