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What do you want your future to be?
After the affair is over, there are many questions to answer and points to consider.
Likely you ask yourself, "Will my family survive?"
More than that, you were wondering, "Do I even want my marriage or committed relationship to survive with my cheating partner?"
Your future is unknown, and you ask, "What will happen to me and the lives of my loved ones?"
You want to know, "If there's hope for a good future regardless of whether you reconcile or separate?"
You want to know, "If we reconcile, can there ever be trust again, will we feel close as we once did?"
Surviving infidelity is complex; each step of the way is a battle.
If you are the betrayed partner, I know that you have been terribly hurt. You trusted your partner with all that you have and he or she has done more than just 'drop the ball'; he or she has dropped you, and you are shattered.
You don't have to be defeated by relationship infidelity. With your partner's cooperation, you can recover. However, the real question is, do you want to recover and give your marriage or committed relationship a second chance?
Before deciding whether or not you want to recover, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Are you willing to give your partner a second chance? If you are not, your relationship with your partner will be forever bitter and prone to resentment and conflict.
2. Will you find a way at some point, and for some reason, to forgive? If not, recovering from infidelity will be impossible. If you don't forgive, there will be no life in your marriage or committed relationship.
3. Since "lying" is a cheater's tool and without it, relationship infidelity would be impossible, can you trust your cheating partner's assertions that he or she will never cheat again? Can you believe your partner? Maybe this is just another lie!
You can put in checks and safeguards to reduce the likelihood that infidelity will never happen again. However, no strategies are foolproof, and there is no guarantee. Sad, but this is the truth!
Recovering from infidelity does not come with a warranty, and you must learn to live with some measured uncertainty. Can you do this? If not, there will never be trust, and your relationship will suffer because of this.
You must answer "yes" to these above three questions otherwise any attempt at reconciliation is doomed to fail.
If you answered no to any of these questions, head for a civil separation and divorce or get some individual therapy to help you clarify your feelings.
Points to consider as you are trying to decide whether you should seek reconciliation or separation:
1. Second marriages are less likely to workout than first ones. These are the hard facts.
2. Sometimes people leave a cheating spouse, remarry, and then their second partner then also cheats. For some betrayed individuals, successful reconciliation is a safer way to go than to remarry and start a new family.
3. Separation and divorce are a nightmare. Regardless of the reasons for the separation, the process tears everybody apart and certainly does not spare the innocent, "you the victim." And if you have children, their well-being will be challenged as your family breaks apart and tries to find its footing.
After the affair is over, and your partner says he or she wants to reconcile and rebuild the relationship, there is a lot for you to think about and decide. Likely, this will be the most significant decision of your life.
Know, if you choose to reconcile, it will take lots of work surviving infidelity — and you should not fool yourself regarding this. However, with effort and determination, you can succeed.
For those of you that want to reconcile successfully, take a look at my guide available on Amazon: Surviving Infidelity: Making Amends, Restoring Trust, Finding Forgiveness, and Living Together Happily for the Rest of Your Lives, by Abe Kass and Dean Rotbart