So she dug your key into the side of your pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive — oh wait, did you not cheat on Carrie Underwood?
Regardless of whom you hurt by being unfaithful and how he or she reacted, there’s no question that infidelity can really shake up any romantic relationship. Research has found that about one in five Americans in monogamous relationships say they’ve cheated at least once.
But infidelity doesn’t always mean the end of a relationship. For the unfaithful as well as the betrayed partner, here are 8 ways to cope and rebuild a healthy partnership after cheating:
1. Don’t automatically assume the relationship is doomed.
Once your partner finds out that you’ve been involved with someone else (or once you fess up), it might seem like the easiest thing to do is run. But relationship experts say leaving a damaged partnership can sometimes be a cop out — a way to avoid taking responsibility or recognizing your own faults. Instead, assume that staying together is equally possible, if you’re willing to put in the hard work required. In fact, sex and relationship researcher Dr. Kristen Mark told Bustle, “If a couple can get through an infidelity and restore the trust in the relationship … they can come out the other side a stronger couple.”
2. Acknowledge that you’ve created a problem.
It might seem simple, but if you don’t come to terms with the fact that you messed up, and therefore messed up the relationship, the healing process won’t go anywhere. Instead, whenever you’re apologizing for something hurtful, recognize that you made a mistake that caused your partner pain. Even if the affair was only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to problems in your relationship — problems for which you blame your partner — you’ve got to take responsibility for your personal transgressions.