Relationships born from cheating don’t always start with a sense of joy. They face several challenges in the beginning because of the couple’s past actions.
Cheating, within the context of a relationship, is the act of being unfaithful to one’s partner. People cheat for several reasons. Sometimes it’s because their needs are not being met within their primary relationship. Other times, maybe it’s in their nature to cheat. Whatever the reason, people choose every day whether to stay in their relationship. They choose whether to be faithful to their partners.
Sometimes, the person who cheats may end his/her primary relationship and embark on a new relationship with his/her partner in that affair. This new relationship will have to withstand the impact of the debris from the relationship(s) that ended because of their cheating. This is the reason that relationships born of infidelity face several challenges.
Building Trust in the New Relationship
Sometimes, cheating might have been the most natural part of the relationship. It didn’t require commitment or any investment. A new relationship has to start from the ground up, from an already-shaky foundation. They need to shore up that foundation with a secure layer of trust for the new relationship to survive.
The saying “you lose them how you got them” must already play in the back of the minds of the new couple. If you had firsthand knowledge of your partner’s lies and deceptions in their previous relationship, then how can you be sure that your relationship will be different. Whether you cheated in your previous primary relationship or you were a partner in the cheating, your origin story can affect trust in your new relationship.
An acquaintance cheated on his wife for a year before being caught. When his marriage ended, he married his cheating partner. He was always regretful for his actions towards his ex-wife, with whom he’d been for almost ten years. Two years into his second marriage, his second wife cheated on him with a colleague and moved out of their home. He said that although he’d cheated on his first wife, he couldn’t trust his new relationship because of how it had started. He held misogynistic views on women who cheated with married men!
Repairing Family Relationships
New relationships born of cheating face the sometimes insurmountable task of repairing family relationships. There can be extensive collateral damage when relationships break up. Friends and family choose sides when relationships end. It will require a colossal effort to repair and build family relationships. Your family might forgive you for cheating, but they might never forgive your partner for participating in the cheating! This will definitely add stress to the new relationship.
If there are children from the previous relationship, then they might refuse to accept the new relationship. This can place stress on a new relationship, especially if there’s a backlash from family because of the cheating. The children and other family members can ostracize the partner who was part of the deception.
A friend of mine, whose wife cheated on him, said that he received her family as part of the divorce! His ties to his wife’s family were strong after ten years of marriage and two children. His ex-wife married the man with whom she’d cheated. For years, her parents struggled to forgive their daughter and met her outreach with a cold shoulder. Their relationship only slightly thawed after the addition of a new baby. Her parents felt that she had betrayed them and her husband.
Managing Your Reputation
Even today, there is a modicum of shame attached to cheating. There is a close link between a person’s reputation, and their perceived value, and reputations can take a huge knock when cheating becomes public. This is because of the erosion of trust and reliability. This could forever alter your standing in society, within your family circle, and at work. It can be stressful for a relationship born of cheating.
Two work colleagues, both married, had an affair that resulted in a pregnancy. They were both high profile within the company, and news of their tryst spread like wildfire. They ended their respective marriages and started a new relationship with each other.
Their affair severely affected their work relationships. Despite their best efforts, they could not shut down the rumor mill. Eventually, one colleague left to pursue another opportunity. Her affair had damaged her reputation within the company to a point where she was no longer taken seriously. Married now for fifteen years, she’s still irked that she had to leave her job to salvage her reputation. It had placed an enormous strain on her then-new relationship because her new husband’s reputation was less blighted than hers, even though they were equal partners in the cheating.
Any new relationship faces challenges in its growth phase. There are additional stressors for a relationship born from cheating. This could be the reason that some of these relationships do not survive. Those that survive might have successfully navigated these challenges.