Can a Relationship Go Back to Normal After Someone Cheats?

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Can a Relationship Go Back to Normal After Someone Cheats?

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For some, cheating signals the end of a relationship. Cheating is an ultimate breach of trust in a relationship that leaves many struggling with the idea of getting back with their partners again. For others, it can be easier to go back to normal after an act of infidelity. Is it worth staying with someone who cheated on you? And how do you succeed in fixing your relationship?

Staying with Someone Who Cheated On You: Does it Work?

Is it worth staying with someone who cheated on you

If you are reading this, chances are your partner cheated and you’re figuring out your next move. Should you go or should you stay?

Cheating impacts relationships in a significant way. There is a loss of trust and the feeling of hurt and anger from the spouse that was cheated on. It is an overwhelming mix of emotions and you don’t know how to make sense of them.

First off, there is no such thing as “normal” after an act of infidelity from your partner. Nothing ever goes back to normal after that veil of trust is broken. If you focus on that, you will be disappointed.

You must also clearly define what ‘normal’ means in the context of your relationship. People have different reasons for cheating; make sure that in your quest to get back to ‘normal’ you do not go back to what pushed your partner to cheat.

It’s tough enough to forgive a partner who cheated, how do you make staying in a relationship work?

First off, you must decide as a couple to stay together. For a relationship to work, both parties should want to be in it. If you are willing to forgive your partner for cheating, but they are no longer interested in saving the relationship, then it does not make sense to stay together. Your partner will cheat again, and you will suffer heartbreak in the future.

Staying with someone who cheated on you will only work if you put in the same amount of effort and commitment. It’s impossible to wake up next to your partner and act like the infidelity never happened – that is not how you move past it. Rather, you must work on rebuilding the foundation of your relationship – and it will require an equal amount of effort from both parties.

Significant events can happen in a relationship that changes you, positively or negatively. Events such as losing a loved one or dealing with a job loss can shape you as individuals and as a couple. It is your resilience through these struggles that will define your relationship.

Getting past cheating is hard; don’t ever feel bad for feeling the way you do (suffering from hurt or disbelief). However, do not be depressed either if your relationship is not back to normal. You need to focus on the future and on creating a better relationship. As you will learn later on, you need to take significant steps to move forward after cheating and to succeed in doing so.

Moving Forward After the Cheating

Playing the blame game will not work in your quest to fix your relationship after infidelity. If you have agreed to move past this event and stay together, you must come up with a plan. Your ability to be honest and communicate with your partner about what is working – and what isn’t – in your relationship is a good sign that it has the potential to make it work.

Here are actionable tips that you can take together as a couple to successfully repair the relationship.

Make Sure Your Partner Feels Remorse

Your partner must be remorseful for what they’ve done. You cannot expect to move past the cheating if your partner casually brushes it off.

A feeling of remorse is a tell-tale sign of deep regret and guilt. That feeling of remorse will be the starting point as you work on what can be done to fix the relationship and make sure the cheating doesn’t happen again.

Addressing Why it Happened

Addressing the cause of the cheating is the hardest step in the process of rebuilding your relationship. It will dictate how – and if – you’d be able to move forward.

Knowing the cause behind the cheating will also enable you to take an introspective look at your relationship. Does your partner have any unmet needs? Was it because of poor communication? When did the cheating happen and how?

The reason for the infidelity must not be oversimplified. Your partner can’t say ‘it just happened’. Encourage them to dig deeper into their motivation as it is crucial to repair your relationship.

Finding the answers to these questions requires brutal honesty, which can be tough to face. However, the answers will give insight to what other choices could be made in the future to prevent the same results.

Remove Temptations

If you must set up boundaries to prevent cheating in the future, then do so. If your partner had a full-blown affair with someone else, you have to take away the source of temptation. For example, ask your partner to delete the other person’s contact information or to block them on social media.

Also, encourage your cheating partner to be transparent about their interactions with the other person. It is a brutal step, but you have to remove them from the situation where they could potentially fail.

Rebuilding Trust

rebuilding trust after cheating

Demand a high level of transparency from your partner as you work on rebuilding the trust that was lost in your relationship. Your cheating partner must be willing to let go of the things that make you uncomfortable. The cheating partner must be open to making the sacrifice if they want the relationship to work again.

Keep in mind that you are building a new and (hopefully) stronger foundation for your relationship. Each party must approach it with transparency and care.

Get Professional Help

It’s easy to share the details of your partner’s infidelity with the people you know. However, doing this will only hurt your relationship as your friends and family will most likely encourage you to leave your partner.

Seek professional help instead, such as a marriage counselor or therapist. They will enable you to work through your emotions and confront the issues that are plaguing your relationship. A counselor will also enable you to reflect on how you are feeling and your thoughts about the relationship moving forward instead of making rushed, emotional decisions.


  • Travis Atkinson

    Travis Atkinson, L.C.S.W., is the Director and Creator of the Loving at Your Best Plan. He has extensive training in marriage and couples therapy, based on over 27 years in practice, earning certificates from top-rated couples therapy models, including: *Certified Advanced Schema Therapist, Supervisor and Trainer for Individuals and Couples *Certified Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist and Supervisor *Certified Gottman Method Couples Therapist *Certified Group Psychotherapist *Honorary Lifetime Member of the International Society of Schema Therapy Travis is a co-author of the latest schema mode therapy inventory, the SMI. He is also the co-author of two chapters in the recently published “Creative Methods in Schema Therapy: Advances and Innovation in Clinical Practice (Routledge, 2020) and author of “Schema Therapy for Couples: Healing Partners in a Relationship” in the Handbook of Schema Therapy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).

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