If you are a person who finds yourself in a relationship that you have become aware of, apparently included a third, the question then becomes, are you going to forgive that person, or are you going to move on? Many people who have said, I would never stay, have stayed, and many who said, they would forgive, have ended up moving on. No one else can determine what works for you or will work for you in that situation but you and your partner, but if you are going to forgive a cheater, read on.
1. Actually forgive them
If you somehow find it in your heart to forgive a cheater, then forgive them. Remember, you have the option to walk away, and nothing is holding you there whether you have kids or not. You can still raise your kids together without being in a relationship with that person. But forgiveness means, you don't pack this away in your worry bag for the rest of your life pulling it out of your bag every single time she or he does any little thing. You don't bring it up and make it everyone elses business at the dinner table. You don't use it during every fight you will have in your relationship. You don't sit there and not allow them to move on in your relationship and hopefully be a better person, because you're still hung up on it. Again, you have the option to walk away and decide this is not what you deserve or want to continue living with, but know that if you go on the forgiveness path, this is the choice you are making and you must allow actual forgiveness to happen.
2. Do set crystal clear boundaries
You may have thought things were clear that your relationship should have only been the two of you before the cheating happened, but now that it has occurred, have the dreaded talk where you let your partner know, this is a one time deal. They cheat again, that's it, and stick to your word. If you believe in giving a second chance, it should not include a third, fourth, and fifth unless you are content with a life of reliving betrayal, hurt, and pain on repeat.
3. Talk about how you got to this place
You are not to blame for your partner choosing to go out and cheat on you, but there may be real underlying issues in your relationship that need addressing. The cheating maybe for example a reaction to you maybe traveling all the time and your partner missing close or intimate contact with you. Whatever the case, simply paving over the problems in your relationship and moving on, is probably only going to lead to you being right back to square one with them continuing to cheat unless you get to any possible underlying issues in your relationship. Do know that, whatever the reason for the cheating, should not be used as an excuse for the cheating by your bf/gf because your partner had the option to come to you and say what these problems were to your face and work through them before they ran off and decided cheating was a good idea.
4. Seek counseling
Whether this comes from your church, trusted family, marriage counselors, etc, you may need someone impartial to step in and help you sort through everything because emotions on both sides will be running high after the discovery of the cheating. You may simply need a counselor to help you vent your frustrations, even though you say you can move on.
5. Don't assume they want to stay
You may think, if you forgive them, your partner wants the same. They want your forgiveness and to be able to move on together, but that may not be the case. After discovery, they may just want to leave. Rather than assume you are being the bigger person, or opening your heart and trying to keep you guys together, go deep and find out if they want to cut and run. Don't just hold on to keep holding on if the sparks are just completely gone.
A word to the wise:
You should never have to live your life always wondering if the person you are with is going to cheat again, or whether they can remain faithful to you. You should have peace in your heart and in your own home knowing that your relationship is one where you trust one another. If being together after the betrayal is killing you, you feel stressed out all the time, you're angry all the time, you can't or they can't move on, it's not worth it to have to feel like that every day. Break up, seek out greener pastures. Kids or no kids, marriage or no marriage, decide for yourself if it's worth staying and if you can actually forgive them, do so, but if you can't, take a big sip of a cup of wake up call, and make the hard big boy or big girl choice to move on.