Should I Give My Husband or Wife a Second Chance?

Typically, when people get caught cheating, more often than not they immediately make a promise not to do it again.

Cheating, however, is not the easiest behavior to control. Promises alone do not prevent future acts of cheating (see once a cheater).

And when cheating gets discovered, spouses who have been cheated on have to decide if they should give their partners a second chance. Often, spouses who have been cheated on want promises and guarantees that it will never happen again.

While this response is understandable, it is also somewhat unrealistic (see my wife never stopped cheating).

People cheat for a variety of reasons. People are sometimes aware of the reasons why they have cheated, but more often than not the true reasons remain hidden.

People often lack awareness of the factors which influence their behavior, especially when it comes to sexual desire (see sexual desire).

And if individuals do not change the factors which influenced their behavior, cheating is likely to happen again (see factors involved in cheating).

Unfortunately, forcing spouses to make promises to be faithful, without truly understanding the reasons why infidelity occurred, often creates the following scenario:

  • A spouse promises to be faithful...
  • But he or she does't change the factors which led to the problem...
  • And so he or she is likely to cheat again...
  • But this time around, the cheating spouse will try even harder to conceal his or her infidelity.

When people make promises but then break them, they try harder to hide what’s happened (see expectations and lying).

We are not saying that people should not make promises or try to change their behavior. We are merely trying to emphasize the point that change is difficult and requires much more than making promises.

So, should you give a cheating spouse a second chance? Perhaps a better question to ask is this: Is my relationship worth saving, given the chance that this might happen again (see is my relationship worth saving)?

And it may help to keep in mind that many people have left an unfaithful spouse only to marry another unfaithful person. Sometimes the patterns people fall victim to repeat themselves over and over regardless of the specific individuals involved. Sometimes it's better to work through problems with someone you know and love, than to repeat them with someone new.

Finally, the best way to deal with the discovery of infidelity is through some form of counseling. Dealing with infidelity is very difficult to do without professional help.

Related Information:

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