I read recently that when someone cheats in a relationship, they have obviously made a choice, a choice that what they had outside is better than their relationship and its clear to both the offender and his or her partner when, the truth comes out.
However, it is not all, the time, we make these choices consciously or to put it bluntly that you know the far reaching effects of the choices we make, even though cheating is taking things quite far.
I will share the story of someone close, which I got to know about a couple of years ago. This friend, Anike had committed adultery with a married man, who had become her helper during a trying moment in her life, even that was what she had set out to do.
Struggling on her own to raise three kids, Anike had done all sorts to make ends meet, asides her 9-5 job, she had her hands in a lot of other side hustles all to keep body and soul together.
Thing had not always been like that. She was a idealistic 21 year old, when she had gotten married and started a family, but things soon fell apart, when she realised that her husband liked to be fended for, rather than fend for his family.
He had made a habit of waiting for her salary at the end of the month to come up with a list of the different things to be done in the house, none of which, by the way included food or things their then two kids needed.
It took a while, but she stopped fending for him, as what she got was barely able to take care of the needs of their kids. Then, her husband left home, at the expiration of their rent. That was the worst betrayal ever for her.
With the help of family, friends, and her organisation’s cooperative association. She was able to gather enough money to get another apartment. And she started her life all over again. That was when she met this man, who was a neighbour of hers and fellow parent at her children’s school.
From offering her sons rides to school, he had offerred to pay her sons school fees, when she failed to meet up at one point and the kids were not allowed to go to school for weeks.
It was his own child, who had brought the matter to his attention and that had prompted a visit, where the offer was made. Even though, it was a totally unexpected gesture, it was a life saving one, considering the boys would have had to miss some tests before she could come up with the fees.
To show her appreciation, Anike had gone to her neighbour’s house to thank them with her kids. She was surprised that the wife did jot know about what her husband had done but happy that she did not seem angry about it.
That was when the pursuit started, he turned her and her boys into his pet project. And kid you not, it was so nice to have someone’s help after several years of shouldering everything alone. She let down her guard and just accepted all the help he offered.
One thing led to another, and they slept together. She swore to me, it was just once, which was later found out, by his son, but that one time only fuelled his ardour. He wanted more and even became possessive, even as at that time, she shared her story with me. He still called to ask where, she was and behaved as though, they were in a romantic relationship.
It was at about, the same time that her husband had gone to see Anike’s family seeking a reconciliation. He got it, but he didn’t wait around too long afterwards. She got pregnant and they were back to their old routine; she fending for him and him being a layabout. He left, even before she complained.
Neither Anike nor her husband had filed for divorce, she bears his name, recognises him as her husband and he had shown up at different times over the years to live with his family, until whatever it was that pursues him sets him off again.
Anike recognised that cheating on her husband was very bad, especially, as it was with a married man, whom, she could very well have destroyed his home, after it came out, if not for the way, the situation was handled by the man’s wife.
I will not lie, I judged her for a moment there, my assessment of whom I thought she was, our friendship were all subjected to a mental scrutiny, but I soon got over myself, as I realised she judged herself already, I did not need to do that for her. So, I’m help my peace and provided her, with the listening ears she wanted.
Her marriage is not ideal and there are no pretences about it, but, it’s still her marriage and thus she was entitled to save whatever was left of it, whenever, her husband deign to show his face.
That was a marriage needing help, but there are still people in happy relationships, who cheat, for a variety of reasons, all of which are debatable. However, when you have dipped your hand in the cookie jar and you’re caught. It’s time to save your relationship, if you and your partner are so inclined. These steps will help:
- Find out why you cheated
This step is important for the cheat. You need to know why you cheated. Cheating in relationships, if not chronic are actually a build up of issues in the relationship over time. Do you feel lonely in your relationship, lacking attention, which you’re are now getting from your partner in crime? Do you feel like your opinion in your relationship does not count?
You must find the root cause of your cheating. Saying cheating for cheating sake will not cut it this time. It is important, so you don’t repeat the mistake, that is, if cheating is not a habit.
- Cut off communication with the person you cheated with
Also, be ready to be open about every single communication that comes from them and how you will respond. Be prepared for any scrutiny method, your partner decides to use. Remember, you’re the one, who cheated.
- Be completely honest with your partner
When an affair come out or you confess, there is no longer any need to hide any details of the affair. Tell everything as it happened and leave no details out, no matter how hard or painful, all for the sake of rebuilding the trust in your relationship.
Better to tell it all now, than drag it out over time, because every time, new details of the affair comes out, your partner goes through all the pain all over again and there goes any trust, they might have left in you.
- Give your partner time to heal
Don’t expect your partner to forgive and forget, it is going to take time to get to that stage. Maybe years. Your business in all of this is go give them time to heal. Not a suck it up and let’s move on attitude. It takes time. Allow them grieve your dishonesty.
- Seek help
Sometimes, getting outside help is the only way to deal with infidelity. If you have tried to contain it and it’s not working, then it’s time to get help, professional help will be even better as the counsellor is better equipped to give guidelines on how to deal with the aftermath of an affair.
Having done all these and given yourselves plenty of time to heal, and there is still the issue of trust, know that you have only got yourself to blame and that it might be better, if you start again afresh.
Remember, cheating is destructive, if you value your relationship, don’t do it.
Disclaimer: This article shouldn’t be taken as a license to cheat knowing there are ways, you can eat your cake and have it. No, not all.
Kristine is a member of The Lovelint team. She is a down to earth person, who says it as it is. Having given relationship advice for years in a national daily, she has found out that fear is one of the main reasons holding people back from enjoying a healthy, happy relationship. She is married with kids and is willing to listen to you and help as much as you let her to.