By now, you have heard and seen hip hop artist, Offset, apologize for cheating on his superstar hip-hop wife, Cardi B. To date, she has resisted forgiving him despite some of their fans begging her to take him back for the holidays.
I was asked if Cardi B should forgive Offset since I see a number of married couples who successfully recover from infidelity and my stronger answer is...NOT YET.
Almost everyone apologizes, puts on the charm and seems sincere when they are in the doghouse but how to do you discern a truly repentant cheater from a manipulator?
How do you know whether you should trust or if you are playing yourself again? That is the million dollar question.
There is no way that Cardi B desires to spend the Christmas holiday alone or keep Offset from coming home to play Santa their daughter. However, she is likely also tired of being hurt and has already been betrayed, fooled and forced to question her decision making about trusting Offset already.
What a dilemma...not only for Cardi B but anyone who has ever been the victim of cheating or betrayal.
Watch the video and learn how you can determine if you should forgive the agent of cheating and what they need to do to change BEFORE you forgive them.
5 Things That Should Happen Before You Forgive a Cheater
1) Full Confession- You deserve a full confession with details about everything except the explicit sexual act. Why? It's too traumatic to recover from for most couples. Also, remember that the pretty lie is always worst than the ugly truth because the cover up hurts as much, if not more, than the act itself. Your spouse deserves to have clarity. Also, the affair must end immediately. It is death to your marriage to continue to be together with a constant third party in your relationship.
2) Behavior Change, Verification and Transparency- Trust is gone, so asking your lover to trust that the affair is over or will never again is well...unrealistic. Instead, be open to building trust by changing your actions with proof. Give up the privacy on your devices, be okay with check ins and be open about any future contact or temptation to rebuild trust based on facts not faith. Also, be okay if your partner wants you to call or confront the third party to affirm your marriage or relationship. Your loyalty is to your spouse not the other person. This is going to eliminate a lot of pretenders.
3) Understand What Went Wrong- You need to understand how this act happened in your closed relationship or marriage so that you can address the specific issues directly versus guessing. This is where couples begin to get real with one another and address the cracks in their armor. Often times, the agent of cheating needs to get help individually for his/her vices or weaknesses. However, this is also a time where couples re-engineer their marriage to work for both parties and agree to stop keeping secrets and be direct about problems before acting out.
4) Explore the Cheater's Reason for Returning- You must be able to feel safe with the agent of cheating returning to the marriage. Why are they back? What will change? What are they willing to do to make sure this doesn't happen again? If you cheated because you were mad, drunk, high, tempted, etc. then how will you address this when those issues come back up again? These are the types of questions that must be answered for you to trust again.
5) Exact a High Cost for Future Betrayal- The research is clear...we all behave better when the consequences are stricter. Ask any felon with two strikes on their record. Spouses behave better with more structure and stricter consequences. This is why couples often only deal with infidelity once...because processing your partner's pain takes a long time (six months to forever) and it's just not worth it emotionally.
6) Begin to Forgive- Once your partner has gone to counseling (mandatory- see www.psychologytoday.com for resources) and you have worked through the issues individually and as a couples then it is safer to begin to forgive. Many couples rush to forgiveness before any real behavior change has occurred which results in multiple infidelity and betrayal acts. Also accept that your first relationship or marriage is over. You must build a new one from scratch because the old one was build on false trust. You can rebuild but your marriage must be stronger, wiser and better so that you don't hurt the bond you agreed to cherish.
This is based on the scientific research of Dr. John Gottman and Nan Silver about how to recover from infidelity. You can check out their book, What Makes Love Last: How To Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal.
God Bless! We are praying for the couple and I pray that Offset puts in the work to get his wonderful family back. If this applies to you, I am praying for you too!
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