We have to accept that in relationships today, women cheat almost as men. There are no statistics we can refer to here but I believe infidelity is on the rise. Both men and women cheat. I suspect men still cheat more often that women but I don’t have evidence of that of course. While I believe both men and women cheat in relationships, today I’ll be talking about what do when a man cheats. At a later time, I’ll write a post on women and infidelity.
When you’re in an exclusive relationship and your partner cheats on you, it can be heart-breaking. It’s more difficult for the woman when the man cheats, particularly in our society in Nigeria as it’s almost accepted that a man in a relationship will cheat. It means that if you find out your boyfriend or husband is cheating and complain about it, you’ll often get little sympathy. Usually, you’ll be told to ‘join the club’ or the person will just stare at you waiting for the climax of the story because the fact that he cheated cannot be the main reason you’re telling this rambling tale.
So, what should you do if your man cheats? There are so many variations in the cheating scenario that it’s difficult to give a stock answer. If he cheated and it’s the first time ever, should you react the same way as if it was the 10th time he’s doing it? If he cheated and he is so sorry for it that you almost want to comfort him, should you behave the same way as if you caught him on top of someone and he is unrepentant? What if the person he cheated with was your sister? Or your best friend? Or a man? Yes, that last one happens. How should you react?
Every situation is different and ultimately, you have to handle the situation in the way you think best but here are my tips on what to do if you find out your man has cheated.
- Take time to think. Don’t immediately pick up the phone to tell your mother, best friend or ex-boyfriend. Just think. How do you feel? If you feel like crying, cry. If you need to be alone, take time to do that. Don’t immediately react. Think first.
- Decide if you can forgive what he has done. Sometimes, the man won’t even ask for forgiveness. There are situations like that. If he does not see a need to be forgiven, is it a relationship you want to continue? Do you want to stay in the relationship because you have children together? Because he pays the bills? Because you feel no-one else will love you? Whether you stay in the relationship or not is your choice but remember that if someone does not think they have done something wrong by cheating, they will probably do it again. Ask yourself if you can handle that.
- If your partner seems remorseful and is sorry for having cheated, you still have a choice over whether to forgive him or not. You have a choice over whether to stay in the relationship or not. If your partner is sorry and you decide to stay in the relationship, please forgive the wrong your partner did. There is no point in staying in the relationship only to bring up his indiscretion whenever you get angry. At first, he may seem contrite but eventually, he’ll get tired of that whole scenario and you will lose your power. Besides, each time you bring up what he did wrong, YOU will feel bad so what would be the point? Once you’ve decided to forgive, forgive and move on.
- Each time the thought of him cheating comes into your mind, replace it with a positive thought of him or a fond memory of the two of you together.
- Give yourself time to heal. The pain from his cheating won’t go away immediately. It might take a week or a year but eventually, you need to force yourself to move forward. Let it not be that after one year, you’re still in tears because he cheated. It might take a year to heal but you shouldn’t stay broken throughout that year. Find reasons to smile.
- Talk to your partner about what went wrong. Someone cheating is a symptom of a problem. Ask why the cheating happened. Find out if there’s a way to work on your relationship so that the cheating is less likely to repeat itself.
Infidelity is hardly ever a one-off thing but it doesn’t automatically mean the relationship is over. It also doesn’t mean that you must stay in the relationship because “that’s how men are”. Every relationship is different. In the end, the question you must ask yourself is “Am I happy?” Whether you reply that question with a yes or no will help you decide what to do every step of the way in your relationship.
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