Hello loves!! It’ been a while, but June is here, and it feels like winter has officially arrived around these parts and like an ancient injury, heartache often rises again sooner or later; the ache is dull but still there nonetheless so I’ve decided to write down a handy guide of how to live with your significant other, if you decide to stay through their philandering, for whatever crazy reason haha… read on!

Before you set sail on this difficult journey of forgiving a cheating partner, consider these five things:

1-Is it the first occurrence of infidelity? Has your partner cheated before, and what happened after that? Were there any repercussions and did you work through it? Was it with the same person or a different one? Answering all these will help you know whether your forgiveness is any good, or if you’re in a sinking ship and whether or not you will choose to sink with it. Someone who cheats once has a higher chance of not cheating again than a repeat offender and also if it is with one single individual that they cheat severally with, or over a long period despite your protests, it may be a sign that they are deeply involved in feelings with the other person.

2-Did they volunteer the information or did you discover on your own? Sometimes, a partner will confess their cheating because, well, a guilty conscience needs no accuser, and while guilt is a sign that they regret their action it may not be a sure tell that they won’t repeat it again. A cheat who is nonchalant about the affair will more often than not endure the bad looks and nasty words that they may receive, only to do it again because they’re probably a sociopath haha… for real, though….

3-Are they truly repentant of their actions? You have been with your partner for a while so I am sure that you can tell if they are really sorry from the bottom of their hearts, or if they are just going through the motions because it seems like the right thing to do.

4-Can you rebuild the trust you had for them? It’s a lot easier said than done, but the saying that trust is like a mirror holds a lot of truth because even if you repair it and glue the pieces together, some tiny parts will never be found, and the cracks will show forever. If you are made of a tough interior, however, and feel you can live in the darkness of never quite believing what your cheating partner says to the fullest, then do go ahead and start working on a fix.

5-What reasons are making you consider staying with them? This will call for honesty on your part; are you staying because of the kids? Or because you are piss-poor and your partner is your sole provider? Are you staying because you’ve gotten used to the status that being in a relationship brings? (don’t even ask me which status this is lol) Are you staying because you are afraid of what society will say if you leave this toxic situation? Or are you staying because you feel a deep darkness and sense of loss inside from the wastage of your time, money, or whatever else you brought to this relationship and feel a diabolical need to plot revenge? Whatever the reason is, be sure that it is worth the uphill climb to recovery that you will need to take should you decide to stay.

So now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here are eleven things that you need to do in order to give your relationship the best fighting chance, but as with all fights in the universe, be sure you know when to quit, it just might save your sanity or even life….

1-Try to forget. As much as this is honestly impossible, it may help you achieve some peace of mind. As much as you can never completely forget the emotions you went through when you got cheated on, do yourself a favor and avoid having a total recall by not obsessing over the event. Do talk it out and take as long as you need to until life feels normal again, so you can both continue as happily as possible ahead, or if you do leave, at least leave it behind and don’t drag the unnecessary baggage around.

2-Work on rebuilding the lost trust. This is heavy lifting, because no matter what grand promises someone may make, they are always who they are and I personally believe a cheat is a cheat, but I am sure that people are different, and so just because I had a particular experience with a serial cheat it does not mean that everyone else out there is the same and will act like that. While my cheat lied several times that it would not occur again- yet repeated the act and feigned remorse, it is not necessarily true for everyone. If they seem willing to go down this path with you, then by all means take the leap of faith, and bring the big guns as it won’t be a walk in the park; but with their cooperation things may work out well in the end. Have them know that it feels better to know their locations most of the times, and the company you are with, if at all this will ease your mind, and other such things to help salvage your faith in them. If they do not cooperate, however, you can assume that it is because they are up to some more nonsense, or they feel that this is too much work to do for you, whichever the case, save yourself more regret and find the door…

3-Contain your anger and avoid random and needless accusations. As much as you have been slighted beyond what is fair, know that you also have a role to play in the relationships’ future health, and avoid outbursts of anger- especially if your partner is actually trying to make things work and help you heal. There will be times when you feel hopeful, refreshed, and renewed, and like you have a good chance at a brand new start, but other times it will be all you can do not to strangle them while they sleep (and if you are seriously considering harming them or yourself then leave, and get help immediately because it’s never worth bloodshed). Find healthy coping mechanisms for these dark spells, and have your partner understand that it is at these times that you need their understanding and help the most so you can work through it together.

4-Understand that the pain never quite goes away. I don’t know if there will come a time when I feel less slighted than I do now, and it has been a while. I know a couple where the wife cheated over five years ago but up until now, the husband still feels the pain, and they occasionally have very bitter fights, about other things of course, but it is obvious that the underlying issue is from the episode of infidelity. Other times they are quite ok, and you can never really tell they have issues unless you know them on a personal level. If you are not prepared to hurt for a very long time, or even forever, then just pack your bags and walk away. If you know the timeline to heal from getting cheated on then be sure to let me know in the comments, and if you have personally been through it with someone you love/once loved, I want to know how it feels right now, so I can know if there is any hope for me, and the rest like me haha……

5-Find some support and get the help you need. Contrary to what cheaters believe (before they get cheated on themselves and turn into believers lol), getting cheated on can be very traumatic and lead to serious mental issues down the line, so if you feel in any way like you are losing the fight, make sure to seek the relevant help and restore yourself. Turn to your family, or anyone that you know will support you unconditionally when you confide in them, and build a support system. Trying to grit your teeth and pretend that everything is fine very rarely works, and it is a sad fact that this is the route most people choose to take because it is honestly not something to be proud of when you get cheated on. Society has a way of hitting you when you’re down with jabs like ‘she probably made him cheat with her nagging’, or ‘he was probably not giving her enough affection so she cheated’ etc, when the opposite tends to be true most times, as some people tend to translate love given to them as a sign of weakness so they think they can just play their silly games and all.

6-Set time(s) to have disclosure talks. This should be done when you are ready, because only you will know when you are ready to go over this and scratch at that scab. During this session(s), you should agree with your partner that you will ask any question that you need to ask in order to get full disclosure and prevent surprises from jumping at you from random corners over time. You may ask how they met, where they met, where they went, what they did, what they were thinking etc, but whatever you do, do yourself a favor and do not ask any questions which will have disastrous answers for your already bruised ego; do not ask if she was prettier than you or if he was wealthier than you for instance, unless you are absolutely sure that the honest response will not destroy you and shred your self-esteem. Ask enough to get the matter rolling out of the way, but not so much that you get obsessed; remember that the whole point is to get it out of the way.

7-Reset (or set) the ground rules for your future together. If you did not have ground rules in place of what you expect from each other set down when you started on your journey, now is the time to create them, evaluate them, and make sure that you have clear cut lines of what each partner may or may not do; and the consequences for failing to adhere to these rules. Don’t act like this takes the fun out of a relationship- unless you are both fine with just passing the time and neither of you will feel short changed when the other has had enough and wants to move on; any joint investment (like a relationship, where above all else you invest feelings and a lot of similar nonsense) needs a plan of action, and a consequence for not adhering to said plan. Involve a lawyer if needed….. just kidding haha……. not really though; take this step seriously. If your partner doesn’t, it’s clear that they have other motives in mind so just do the needful, other fish in the sea etc etc.

8-Require that your partner cleans up the mess completely. You have every right to demand that your partner blocks the other person, or somehow ends all contact with them; physically or virtually; and is proactive in cutting all ties immediately, because if they drag their feet it is clear they are not done playing you. If the other person is a colleague or a neighbor, things get harder as it may come down to having to quit the job or move away, and if it is a relative, that duck is fried for sure. If the person they were cheating with is the one pestering your partner, then you may have to get a restraining order against them or something; but whatever action is taken to put a stop to the affair, your partner should be the one to initiate it otherwise, power to you if you want to try separating two people who want to be together. If at any rate you feel as if you are forcing your partner to end things permanently, then you probably are, more power to you, but I think the wiser thing to do would be to take the nearest exit and your mind will thank you for the peace it receives.

9-Get tested for STDs, both of you. In this day and age, it is important to make wise choices about your sexual health, and no matter what your partner says concerning the ‘cleanliness’ of the person they cheated with, take this step of getting tested, preferably together, because most of the diseases out there have a better chance of getting managed if they get discovered early enough.

10-If all else fails, seek couple therapy. Do not be shy about going for counselling together if you both intend to make it work; a third party may be what your relationship needs to get a different and worthwhile perspective so invest in it so that you can be sure you gave that relationship your very best, and no one can accuse you of otherwise because we all fear judgement from society, worthless as it has proved to be time and again.

11-Finally, love yourself. Understand that your cheating partner is the one with the problem and not you, even if they defend themselves by saying that it was because of something you did or didn’t do because honestly, there are a million ways to deal with that, worst case scenario is they could have left you for the supposedly greener pastures but they chose to have you waiting on them in the background just in case. A cheat is more often than not a weak, psychotic individual, who tries to mirror their countless imperfections on to others, and try to gain power over them by playing them and toying with their emotions so whatever you do, do not ever let them get to you and make you feel like you could have done/been better so they wouldn’t cheat. That’s a lie of the devil, and if you feel like being with this person will damage you more than you are already damaged, save your sanity- love yourself and leave your cheat, live to fight another day.

That’s all I have to say about that, and if at any point your partner turns violent or creates a greater distance between the two of you, just please do the honourable thing and give them room to fight their demons, some battles do not need an audience, trust me.

Also, whatever you do, remember that cheating in revenge does not make anything better because, sure, they may feel your pain, or even more because cheaters are just silly like that, but does it give you any sense of purpose, or fill the emptiness you feel inside? I doubt it, and though it may to some extent soothe your damaged self esteem as you will know that you’ve still ‘got it’ for whatever it’s worth, it’s still a kind of senseless thing to do so just walk away, be with someone else in peace.

In this plastic-fantastic age of social media dream bodies and couple goals, it’s all we can do to keep our heads above the dark water, so don’t contribute to the already overwhelming waste in the world by becoming another cheating piece of junk, or another ‘relationship ghost’, which is what you become when you stick it out in a relationship that has nothing positive for you. After all, no one ever died from just being alone, have they?