So many people ask us should I stay with someone who hurts me? How do I know if they will cheat on me again? Am I doing the right thing by working on this relationship?
These are all good questions worthy of consideration. But we want to give you 7 questions you can ask that we think will really help you to sort out whether or not this is a pattern that will continue or if it was just a mistake that probably won't happen again.
Ask yourself these 7 questions to help you sort out the facts from fiction:
Is this infidelity a part of a larger picture of cheating and lying?
Do they keep secrets about other aspects of their life? If you've caught them lying to you about other things or if you've simply found that they've cheated before, you want to be cautious about letting them back into your life without some serious consideration.
Sometimes a person will show their true colors in other aspects of their life. Do they feel that it's okay if a friend is unfaithful? Do you hear them talking about unfaithfulness in other situations as though it were no big deal? This can reveal a lot about a person's attitude towards respect of boundaries, honesty, and fidelity.
Has this kind of thing happened before?
Seems like a continuation of question one but really, ask yourself, have they been unfaithful before? If they have then consider what they've done to prevent this from happening again. Are they open to taking steps to make sure it doesn't happen again or that the vulnerabilities that were there that lead to the infidelity are fixed.
Do you trust your partner to tell you the truth about other things?
Are they honest with the little things? Do you find that they lie about other little things in life? When someone can't be trusted with the little things they certainly can't be trusted with the big things in life. So look at this very carefully.
Is your partner generally dependable and trustworthy?
Can you depend on your partner to do what they say they will do? When you ask them to do something are they consistently dropping the ball and making excuses? Trust your gut. Are they dependable?
Is your partner understanding about your pain?
This is really important. If they can't step back and try to understand how you feel then they may not care. But on the other hand they may not have the skills to understand your pain. That's how couples counseling can really be helpful and transformative.
Is your partner willing to help your anxiety by being accountable?
This is a BIG one! If they are not willing to be open and completely transparent then something's fishy and not right. That means passwords and curfews for a while...whatever you need to feel like they're being honest and consistent. Obviously these things won't fix the relationship long term but while you're in the healing process you want to feel like they don't have anything to hide. If they are willing to do what it takes to help you feel at ease then consider what they may be hiding.
Are they willing to work on the relationship in counseling?
Now we aren't saying you should leave them if they don't want to go to counseling. Many people are afraid to face a marriage therapist. That's why we have the online video orientation, so you can help them feel more at ease about trying counseling. But if they aren't willing to fix the underlying issues in the relationship then you're setting yourself up for failure. Remember: you can't expect to do the same things you've always done and get different results.