Not every couple wants to recover from infidelity betrayal.
Couples that do want to recover from infidelity are sometimes successful, and sometimes they are not.
There are two primary reasons why couples that want to recover from infidelity fail. One reason is not seeking specialized relationship help to contribute to the recovery journey.
The other reason some couples that want to recover from infidelity but do not is because they fail to fulfill the necessary requirements. This can be compared to a person who wants to give up smoking but doesn’t take the required steps needed to overcome the addiction. It is this second reason; not meeting the criteria required to recover, that is addressed in this post.
Here are essential attitudes and behaviors required by the philanderer. In a future post, I will address the requirements of the victim.
Essential attitudes and behaviors required of the philanderer:
1. Frequency. A single mistake versus a pattern of betrayal
Infidelity is always wrong and cannot be written off as an “innocent mistake.” Betraying one’s partner is a willful mistake that triggers dire consequences.
A partner who commits adultery ‘one time’ and is prepared to do whatever it takes to rectify the damage he or she has caused has the potential to become a person who will never betray again. A person who learns from his or her mistakes is capable of being a person of good character and loyal in the future.
However, a serial philanderer, someone who has never learned to restrain his or her behavior, can never be trusted — never ever!
Thus, with such an individual recovery is impossible for the simple reason that they can never be trusted not to cheat again. Repetitive cheating — for whatever reason — is proof that participating in reconciliation is only an effort to manipulate the victim into accepting past cheating, in spite of the likelihood of ongoing or future cheating.
There is a saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
2. Attitude. Remorseful versus justified
A philanderer must be repentant. A philanderer must take responsibility for his or her bad behavior.
In contrast to this, if the philanderer feels that what he or she did can be justified, then they are not a candidate for reconciliation. They are only prepared to “recover” to the point where they can find another excuse and then betray again.
3. Feelings. Victim empathy versus callousness
Cheating is an emotional assault on one’s partner. And naturally, the victim — the philander’s legitimate partner — is devastated. It is essential to recovery that the betrayer, the perpetrator of the injury, empathizes with the suffering of his or her partner. If he or she cannot do this, they are likely to betray again.
Most individuals do not hurt others because they too are pained when another is pained. This is a function of empathy. Individuals who cannot empathize are called sociopaths, and they can hurt others without any remorse. A cheater who cannot empathize is not a candidate for reconciliation.
4. Integrity. Presently truthful versus deceitful
Integrity is a necessary ingredient to relationship fitness. A person who habitually lies and thinks nothing of it, and when caught lying covers it with another lie, simply does not have the necessary positive character traits to contribute to a healthy and stable relationship.
Partnering with such an individual will only lead to disappointment and heartbreak.
5. Spiritual position. Humble versus arrogant
Recovering from infidelity is not easy, and the cheater will often find himself or herself in the “hot seat.” This position is naturally uncomfortable. Nevertheless, it is necessary for relationship healing, recovery, and rebuilding.
Only the humble can succeed with this complex, arduous, and difficult relationship feat. Arrogant people will never endure the relationship recovery journey. They are too conceited to acknowledge the shortcomings in their character and their behavioral failings, and they will be offended when their imperfections are pointed out by someone else.
An arrogant person cannot contribute to his or her partner’s recovery because they can only see themselves.
Full infidelity recovery is only assured when the cheater meets all the above five recovery requirements. If he or she is lacking any one of the five, then there can be no infidelity recovery until the cheater undergoes the personal growth needed to be a recovery candidate.