Forgiving Cheating: Forgiveness After Infidelity? With these psychological reconciliation strategies it can be successful

A romantic and monogamous relationship is not an easy undertaking in the long term for many people.

Forgiving Cheating: Forgiveness After Infidelity? With these psychological reconciliation strategies it can be successful

A romantic and monogamous relationship is not an easy undertaking in the long term for many people. In 2022, the German divorce rate was over 35 percent. One of the most common reasons for ending a relationship is infidelity, according to a survey by the dating portal ElitePartner.

The biggest problem when it comes to infidelity is the enormous breach and loss of trust within a relationship. In the best case scenario, your partner should be a “safe haven” and best friend, a person you trust completely. If he or she cheats, a breach in interpersonal trust occurs that is difficult to mend.

Often, after the infidelity comes to light, the question remains whether it is possible to rebuild trust and, above all, how to take the first step of apologizing. A recently published study by University of Nicosia researchers Menelaos Apostolou and Nikolaos Pediaditakis shed light on the variety of methods people used to seek forgiveness after an affair.

To do this, the researchers conducted a series of detailed surveys in three studies and came up with a selection of reconciliation strategies. An additional 657 adults were then surveyed and confirmed this. From this, the researchers concluded that the following behaviors are most effective:

Making the importance of the relationship clear Many cheaters convinced their partner when apologizing by explaining that they couldn't or didn't want to live without the other person and that the damaged relationship meant a lot to them.

Finding Reasons for InfidelityRespondents said they had given reasons for infidelity but that they could work on as a couple in the future. This means that, in their eyes, the infidelity only came about because emotional distancing, neglect or allegations of cheating put too much strain on the relationship, even though it hadn't happened yet.

The slip-upOne variation was to downplay the importance of cheating. Unimportant person paired with alcohol consumption, for example. The famous phrase “It didn’t mean anything” was uttered.

Asking Others for HelpSome people who have been unfaithful ask friends and family for help in appeasing the betrayed partner and convincing him or her that it will "never happen again."

Involving the Other Some people apologized and then asked their betrayed partner to help repair the relationship. They suggested a marriage counselor or couples therapy.

In a sample of 416 people, the researchers found that 40 percent of respondents were able to achieve reconciliation with at least one of the reactions, writes Psychology Today magazine. However, it is important to note that the entire study took place in Cyprus and there may be cultural differences in the effectiveness of reconciliation strategies around the world.

Sources:  “Psychology Today”, Cyprus study, ElitePartner study, Statista

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