Why not send former Kingston-resident Love Doctor your relationship queries? Use the form to submit your question(s).
I’ve just discovered that my long-term partner has cheated on me while I was off the island working. This is something that I’ve never experienced before.
I know she’s impulsive but I’m shocked, hurt and really cut up about this affair.
Rather than lash out I’ve remained calm. I don’t want to start criticising her, because we’ve had almost three glorious years together.
Does this mean that our relationship has to end or can we survive?
Love Doctor’s Answer:
I’m sorry that you have suffered this, and I don’t know the background or how you found out about this infidelity. Obviously you are going to feel angry and totally devastated.
If she confessed this to you and apologised, then hopefully it wasn’t just to ease her own guilt. At least you have found out, albeit the hard way.
Realistically, the only way to truly fix a relationship that has broken down after being cheated on is to be committed to work together to restore the bond that you once had. It will take a concerted effort from both of you to rebuild the trust.
Your relationship can only be saved if you each are fully committed to try to repair the damage that’s been caused. At least it sounds as though you will forgive her this betrayal, which is a step in the right direction from you.
I urge you initially to try to get to the root of why she cheated. Impulsive people generally seize opportunities, so try to find out if she’s cheated before. If she has this, then unfortunately it is unlikely to be the last time. And you really don’t wish to have a repeat scenario.
As you were away working then she probably was seeking reassurance that she was still attractive and wanted validation. That doesn’t make it right, but could be one of numerous explanations for this unwanted love triangle.
You definitely need some space from her to contemplate the future, and to reflect on how you are feeling deep down. It doesn’t have to spell the end of your relationship, but it may do.
Although you’ll be apprehensive of taking a break, in case she cheats again, I suggest that you take a vacation with a friend or family so that you can process exactly what the real damage is rather than throw yourself into work and bury your head in the sand.
At least if she cheats while you are away this time then you know that she’s no good for you and can walk away. This is a good litmus test.
Explain that you require some time and space away from her, but that ultimately you do want your relationship to work out and can forgive her. Whatever happens, don’t contemplate revenge by being a lizard brain.
Establish whether she truly wants to remain with you, or whether her infidelity was because she wanted to end things. You both need to be honest about your emotions, otherwise you are wasting each other’s time when you could be spending it with someone potentially better suited for both of you.
Your pride and self-esteem has taken a severe bashing. However, it sounds that she’s fortunate to have you still around as you are prepared to forgive her to try to smooth things over.
To make things work you will ultimately require her to recommit to this relationship, otherwise it will be impossible to move forward. If you can both accept this has happened, and won’t bring it up again even if an argument occurs, then you can each focus on the future rather than look in the rear view mirror.
Better communication between you from now on, if you both decide that you wish to stay together, will result in building a more solid relationship as long as there can be total honesty between you.
Once back from your break then it is essential for a heart to heart in a public and neutral palace to discuss each other’s expectations. You must each try to find some common goals to work towards.
Ensure that neither of you will ever hide things, and acknowledge that this tricky situation has made you realise how much you care for her. Maybe she needs more attention and devotion, so discuss her feelings and needs then act accordingly.
Naturally your guard will be up, but you need to identify what the reasoning was behind her infidelity. Only when you feel ready, and are no longer discussing this, then plan a vacation together to try to rekindle what you had to move past her cheating.
The pain will remain for some time, but the way you react is vital if you want to get the relationship back on track. You can’t turn back time, but if you are willing to forgive her then be confident as you take the partnership forward slowly step by step.
An affair is always going to cause complications and friction. You must never bring this infidelity up once you have smoothed things over, otherwise will push her away. She’s already got to live with her guilt, so if you can forgive her then you must try to forget this.
Unfortunately, the majority of relationships will come crashing down because of one partner cheating. Only an honest conversation about whether you are willing to recommit will make or break your relationship.
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