Relationship expert Rachel Madorsky, LCSW, explains that once you’ve decided to move forward together, “it’s important that both people begin to look at how they co-created the relationship and subsequently the affair. Once you’ve done this, miracles begin to take place.”
The idea isn’t to blame the person who experienced the betrayal but rather to examine the problems that happened between the two people in the relationship that preceded the affair since it’s easy to allow the affair to eclipse all else that happened prior to it.
“Cheaters are not necessarily looking for someone else; they are looking to become someone else,” Dr. Tammy Nelson, psychotherapist, board-certified sexologist, and author of When You’re the One Who Cheats, writes at mbg. “A person may be cheating because they like who they are when they’re with their affair partner. They might feel sexier, smarter, more charming, and more alive when they cheat. With their spouse at home, they might feel invisible, dull, boring, or old. An affair can counteract a person’s negative self-talk, through no fault of their partner.”
The events and context that led up to an affair don’t excuse the cheating, but they do offer clarity as to why it happened—and a path forward toward healing for both parties.