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Surviving Infidelity
with Abe Kass, M.A. R.S.W., R.M.F.T.

What Predicts The Relationship Outcome Of A Repentant Philanderer?

Variations of infidelity can strike any couple at any time. Certainly, most individuals will never engage in such bad behavior. However, this can be proven only by a test of time that spans many years.

Philanderers come in all stripes, shapes, and colors. Some individuals are serial cheaters whereas others are naive perpetrators in which a momentary error of judgment leads to a single act of betrayal.

Regardless of what kind of philanderer an individual may be, he or she can repent; to redeem him or herself from the sin of relationship betrayal.

When a philanderer repents, his marriage or committed relationship may or may not survive. What factor predicts whether his marriage or committed relationship will live or die?

Love is not simple. Numerous types of love characterize a relationship. The highest form is Covenant–love. It is this love that most influences infidelity recovery.

When a “repentant philanderer” connects to his or her partner with Covenant–love, the marriage or committed relationship will likely survive.

The following is a description of Covenant–love:

Covenant-love is the strongest and most durable factor in your relationship. It is immune to stress, disappointment, and loss. It is the solid foundation upon which rests an enduring marriage or committed relationship.

Why is a “covenant” love so strong? Because a covenant is an agreement — a binding promise — that cannot be unilaterally terminated.

An abundance of unconditional love characterizes a Covenant-love relationship; it is a relationship that does not depend on pleasure alone.

A covenant is an agreement between two people that overrides and supersedes reason, logic, and convenience.

For example, when you buy a product that comes with a warranty, the manufacturer cannot just cancel it. The manufacturer is bound fully by the terms of this agreement. The same is true with Covenant-love. It is an agreement that cannot be unilaterally altered.

In a marriage or committed relationship this means: If a wife/girlfriend or husband/boyfriend has negative feelings about his or her partner, they will not be used as a reason to end the relationship. The “covenant” that binds the two individuals remains in effect as long as the two individuals are alive.

Covenant-love requires that each individual is prepared to contribute to his or her partner’s wellbeing, even if he or she receives little in return.

For example, loving your partner with a similar commitment that a healthy parent naturally has for his or her child. This is the essence of a Covenant-love. As such, it is an ironclad bond that will not be broken — like the love of a parent for a child.

As a core relationship value, Covenant-love supersedes temporary feelings of dissatisfaction. In a covenant relationship, a problem is a red flag signaling the start of an appropriate effort to restore peace and harmony.

Some ways Covenant-love strengthens a relationship:

  • Your partner has a medical condition that interferes with your sex life or another significant part of your relationship. You find a creative way to carry on in spite of the problem.
  • Your partner gets angry, and you don’t react in kind.
  • Your partner makes a grave mistake and feels terrible. You say nothing to add to his or her pain even when the mistake impacts on you.
  • If something seems “unfair,” you do it anyways.
  • Helping and staying with your partner when he or she is incapacitated by illness.
  • Participating in events organized by your partner’s family even when you don’t want to.
  • Holding back from making a negative comment about something your partner has done not to upset him or her.
  • Not objecting to decisions your partner has made even when you think they are “wrong.”
  • Forgiving your partner for a serious relationship sin he or she has made when doing so is in his or her best interest.
  • Your partner threatens to terminate the relationship. Knowing it is not a good solution for your family (especially when you have children), you hang in there and do your best to fix the problems and reassure your partner that the relationship will get better.
  • Your partner has cheated on you and has repented, you continue to work with him or her to heal and redeem yourselves and your relationship.

This list is a sample of ways Covenant-love is expressed. In the day-to-day reality of a marriage or committed relationship the opportunities to demonstrate Covenant-love are endless.

The ultimate expression of Covenant–love is forgiveness. Forgiveness must come from the heart and must reflect reality.

Covenant-love does not mean being a pushover or a doormat. It means you’re willing to work with your partner regardless of the darkness that he or she has brought into your home.

If your partner has cheated on you, and he or she has fully repented, I hope you find it in your heart to begin the relationship repair that’s needed to rebuild your marriage or committed relationship.

Some couples take the wedding vow, “For better or for worse.” This vow is the essence of Covenant–love.

Learn more about infidelity recovery from my self-help Surviving Infidelity website.

What Predicts The Relationship Outcome Of A Repentant Philanderer?

Abe Kass

Abe Kass, M.A., R.S.W., R.M.F.T. is a registered marriage and family therapist, a registered social worker, a certified clinical hypnotherapist, and the author of more than a dozen books designed to help couples and individuals live a more loving, more satisfying life.

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APA Reference
Kass, A. (2018). What Predicts The Relationship Outcome Of A Repentant Philanderer?. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 18, 2020, from


Last updated: 29 Nov 2018
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