By: Poelano Malema
When two people get into a relationship, the aim is to be faithful to each other and create beautiful memories.
However, cheating sometimes happens. Although some people leave the relationship, others might still want to fix the situation.
One of the things that would need to be dealt with is to ensure you build a better relationship with trust.
Trust is a major factor in a relationship, and once it is broken, it can be very hard to regain. So, what do you do when you still want to carry on with your relationship but can’t move past the cheating?
Is your partner showing remorse?
The first step, according to marriage counsellors Lady Gao and Thatayaone Seleka, a married couple for twenty years, is for you to check how remorseful your partner is, before choosing to forgive. Otherwise, if your partner is not sorry about what they have done, they might not change.
“If a person shows remorse, that’s the first step,” say the counsellors.
Lady Gao says the remorse will bring “a level of comfort to the person who was cheated on”.
“Willingness of the person to seek help will also help,” adds Lady Gao.
Seleka says once the partner has shown remorse and a willingness to get help, then it is important to get to the root cause of what led to the cheating and how it can be avoided.
The importance of being honest with yourself
The two say there might be a lot of factors that led to the cheating, such as dissatisfaction, unmet expectations, childhood struggles, and internal issues.
To get to the bottom of the issue, the counsellors say the couple might need to get professional help. They also need to be honest with each other on what led to the cheating and how it has affected both of them.
“Forgiveness is easier when the guilty party is honest,” says Seleka.
“Trust has been affected, and it is the key element in the relationship. You have to start afresh because your perfect relationship has been tempered with. Starting afresh means being blunt with each other. You can’t sugar coat issues. Check why the person cheated and be honest.”
Getting professional help
Getting a third party involved is also key. However, it is important that this person is not family members, social media or friends who might not forgive your partner after the two of you have fixed things.
“Be careful who you tell about the issues. Some people will make the situation worse, instead of helping,” says Lady Gao.
Seleka says it is better to get professional help because they will keep your issues private.
He says they will also help keep your partner accountable, because the temptation might arise at a later stage, and at least they will be accountable to someone.
Pros and cons of staying in the relationship
Another thing to help you forgive your partner is to look at the pros and cons of staying in the relationship. The two counsellors say you have to check what is at stake.
Lady Gao says having a bigger vision for your life and marriage also helps because it can help you fight the problem and work towards a better marriage.
The two counsellors say it is important to not condemn your partner, but try to put yourself in their shoes and, without making excuses, see if there could be a role you played in things not going right in your relationship.
“I might have to understand that I might have played a role,” says Seleka.
“If there is something we can do together to fix it, I must come to the party as well.
“As much as a cheater is a cheater and the other can’t be blamed. Sometimes, there are things that both of you might need to fix together.”
Lastly, the two say you will need to consult a professional, especially if the problem persists.
“Counselling for both is core, depending on the extent of the problem,” say the counsellors.
As long as two people are willing to make it work, “your relationship can be mended and fixed.”