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Rams’ Rede: Should I stay with them after they cheated?

Rams’ Rede,

I just found out that my significant other cheated on me. We’ve been together for a pretty long time, and I love them with my whole heart. Should I stay in the relationship, even if there’s infidelity?

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Cheated

Cheated,

Doesn’t it seem that the people we love the most can also hurt us the most? First of all, I want to say that I’m sorry. I’m sorry the one that you love –– the person who held your heart, your trust –– betrayed you and undermined that sweet love you gave to him/her. I’m sorry the person you thought only had eyes for you looked at someone else as better and then acted on that. I’m sorry your heart was broken.

You’re now faced with the difficult decision of what to do –– where to go from here and whether this relationship is worth it anymore. Should you stay and take that bumpy, hard road of mending a torn relationship and building that trust again? Or should you toss your hands up, pack your bags, and head out to find healing elsewhere?

My gut reaction is to tell you that you deserve better. Move on. Your significant other does not deserve you. But I’ve known what it’s like to love and be loved and it just isn’t as simple as moving on. Love is complicated and lovely and inevitably messy. My guess is that you still love the person you’re with.

So I’d ask you this: is your love enough to stretch across the hurt and brokenness? Will you look back and see this season as a difficult one that tested your relationship, but also made it tough, resilient and strong? Or will you look back and see that moving on was the best decision of your life?

Is your love enough to fight for your relationship and forgive the other person?

To answer this, I think you have to look inward. You are the only one that will know if it’s enough because you know your heart and yourself.

However, looking at the circumstances of the infidelity and your relationships might give you some clues about what you should do. If this isn’t the first time your significant other has cheated on you, move on. Get out of the relationship because, chances are, you will be cheated on again. Besides, you deserve someone who isn’t going to take you for granted.

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If this is the first time, perhaps asking yourself if the incident was a symptom of larger, deeper issues in your relationship is necessary. If you’ve been having problems for a while now, the cheating may be the culmination of everything. In that case, look at root causes of your issues and go from there. Is the cheating the cherry on top of all the crap you’ve been through with this person? If so, why are putting up with it?

If it was a random, fluke thing that honestly caught you by surprise because things were going well in your relationship, I’d examine how committed the other person is to you and the relationship. Are you both willing to fight for what you have and build mutual trust again?

If the other person is going to constantly have one foot out the door, move on. You’ll be fighting the stay-with-me battle for the duration of your relationship when that shouldn’t be a battle to begin with. You shouldn’t have to compete with anyone when the person you’re with has made a commitment to you in the first place. Empty words and promises (even little promises) should indicate how committed the other person is to you.

The other side of the coin is whether you are willing to let go of the hurt and extend forgiveness. If you choose to stay, you cannot hold this above his/her head or drag it out every time you have a fight. Yes, you were wronged, but in order to build trust again, you have to let it go. I know, easier said than done, but it’s necessary. This might take drastic measures too, depending on the severity of the incident. Open communication and absolute honesty is key to building trust.

Know that choosing to stay with the other person and working on your relationship will take time and effort. Neither road –– staying or leaving –– will be easy, but my hope is that you find love again, whatever you choose. I hope you are able and willing to open up your heart to give and receive that love we all hope to share with someone else, whether that be with the person you’re currently with or someone else.

In Brief:

Initially, you deserve better than someone that cheats on you.

If you feel that your love can move mountains, and if both of you are willing to fight, it might be worth a try.

Open communication and honestly is key to building (or rebuilding) trust.

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