It is painful to be cheated on, especially when you are married and with child/children. How do you handle unfaithfulness?
1. “Talk about things you will not tolerate”
Before everything else, when things are sweet between you two; set boundaries. Tell each other the things you will not tolerate: unfaithfulness, flirting, meeting up with people of the opposite sex privately, intimate communication with an ex, physical abuse, insults. Many couples collapse because they didn’t agree on do’s and don’ts. Agreeing on this helps to keep both of you accountable.
2. “Agree if this is a polygamous or monogamous union”
Lady, as you are getting married, demand to know from the man what kind of union is this: monogamous or polygamous? Don’t assume. Some men, especially African men are forcing their wives to accept them to take a second or third wife. These men feel entitled to get another woman. Man, it is a shame to give a woman the illusion she will be your only one when you marry, only for you to see no problem taking in another woman later on. If you feel entitled to be polygamous, be clear about that from the beginning. Lady, let him tell you from the beginning before you say yes to being his. If he says it is a monogamous union, it is easy to hold him to his word. A man who ends up taking other wives later on, has that in mind even when he is courting you. Unmask him before you commit to him.
3. “See it coming”
By the time you two are committing to each other, things between you are so good. The sex is great, there is passionate eye contact, warmth in the tone, intimate conversations and frequent quality time. Cheating doesn’t just happen. A man/woman doesn’t just suddenly find himself naked with another, it is a build up. When women say they sense their husband is cheating it is because they see it coming. To see unfaithfulness coming, look at those six things: sex, eye contact, tone of voice, quality of conversations, quality time and amount of information shared. If your partner is drifting away to another, those six things will change. Suddenly, your partner is secretive with the phone, busy, elusive. Unfaithfulness isn’t only having sex with another, but also emotionally leaning to another.
4. “Fix it early”
When you sense unfaithfulness in your partner building up, act. Don’t ignore it. Warm your partner up to you. Spend time if you two have been distant, do fun stuff, ease off the pressure, be exciting instead of hostile. Flirt with your partner, get your groove back, make your partner admire you, do a make over on how you look, laugh more, be attractive, remind your partner why he/she fell in love with you in the first place. Do not attack; instead, attract. When you attack, your partner will drift away.
5. “Be sure before you conclude”
Before you accuse your partner for cheating, have your facts and evidence right. The worst thing is to believe in rumors, your feelings of insecurities and assumptions; then falsely accusing your partner.
6. “Get tested”
Get tested to see if your partner infected you with any sexually transmitted diseases. If you test positive, it will be painful but try to manage. If it’s negative, protect yourself.
7. “Confront with facts”
Face your partner with facts. Let your partner know that you know about his/her unfaithfulness.
8. “Listen to explanation”
There is no justification for cheating but still listen to your partner’s explanation as to why he/she cheated. This is important for your closure, if you are going to walk out; or to fully understand the situation if you choose to stay.
9. “Self analyze”
Again, there is no justification for cheating but still look back. You two used to be a lovely couple, what went wrong? Trace back the events that led to this in line with your partner’s explanation and see the things you did. Were you too busy, were you denying your partner sex and using sex as a weapon, were there red flags you didn’t pay attention to, did you fail to protect your love, did you choose to commit to the wrong partner?
10. “Explain why this is wrong”
Clearly let your partner know this is wrong and unacceptable. Get angry, vent out. You have every right to be disappointed. This is against what you two committed to. You have every right to leave your partner, to divorce.
11. “Do not revenge”
Never do tit for tat. Don’t cheat on your partner to get back at him/her, that will be stooping low. Just because your partner was unfaithful, don’t be unfaithful too. Keep your values and principles. Don’t cut car tyres, stab, plan to kill, attempt suicide, or scheme evil. You are better than this.
12. “Stay or leave?”
Make a decision if you will stay or leave. If you have a child/children together, decide what you will do. Will you divorce or stay? Either you are fully in or fully out. If the man is trying to force you to accept to be his first wife and then he takes a second or third wife; decide, is this something you want? Is this the life you want to live? He married you with the promise you will be the only one. You have every right to break this marriage, he no longer respects you.
13. “Stay and agree on change”
If you choose to stay then make this work. If he/she is sorry for what happens and you you are willing to move past it, formulate a work plan. Re-commit to each other.
14. “Get tested together”
Go get tested. Find out each other’s HIV status. Be safe.
Fully forgive your partner. Your partner’s apology has to be a real one. He/she needs to fully understand the wrong.
16. “Set rules”
Agree on what you will do to prevent this from happening again. Agree, no more flirting, no secrets, no spending time with people of the opposite sex in private no drinking alcohol, no clubbing, no keeping wrong company, no hiring a house-help that is tempting. Agree to go for counseling, to spend more time together, to keep an ex away if the ex was who caused the cheating, to work on your sex-life if it has become boring.
17. “Work it out”
Start afresh. Don’t keep bringing back the wrong your partner did. Be patient, be purposeful. Focus on your family, your kids together; make this work. Give it your all. Start on a clean slate. Renew your vows.
18. “Leave if it happens again”
If your partner cheats on you again, or justifies their right to cheat on you and play; then leave with a whole heart. You tried your best.
19. “Officially separate”
File for a divorce. End this. Agree on child custody and support. Close this unfaithful chapter.
20. “Explain to the children”
Explain to yourself why you had to end this. Break down and cry but pick yourself up. If you miss your partner or feel lonely, get emotional but remember the reality. The reality is, no matter how good you are and how hard you tried, your spouse still chose to be unfaithful. Tell your child/children why this had to happen. Prepare them for this. Make things clear. Prepare to be single again.
21. “Live life with your dignity and respect intact”
Walk out with dignity. No rebounds, no casual sex or empty relationships trying to forget your past. You need to be sober in your thinking. Don’t spiral into a mess. The world is not over. There is a lot to be grateful for and to focus on. Don’t waste your life. Move on.