What Can You Do When Your Friends Can’t Forgive Your Partner for Cheating?

What Can You Do When Your Friends Can’t Forgive Your Partner for Cheating?

Brittany Cartwright’s annoyed at her friends because they are (seemingly) waiting for Jax Taylor to mess up.

By Marianne Garvey
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Brittany Cartwright Is About to 'Lose it'

It’s not Brittany Cartwright who can’t get over Jax Taylor’s romantic track record. It’s everyone else.
“People are waiting for me and Jax to mess up, or that I’m hiding something, that we’re not as good as we really are,” she says on the latest episode of Vanderpump Rules. “When are people going to believe we are happy?”

Brittany does her polite southern version of storming out of Katie Maloney-Schwartz and Tom Schwartz’s apartment, saying, “I’m going to go ahead and go home if it’s going to be about [Jax]” after the group starts to pile on, demanding to know how long his good behavior can last.

“I’m already on the brim, of like, freaking out. It’s not gonna be like my relationship is f--ked,” she tells them. After she gets to her own apartment, she loses it, yelling about why everyone is waiting for their engagement to implode. She later blames it on a “really bad, weird, day.”

Of course it's OK that Brittany’s annoyed at her friends because they are (seemingly) waiting for Jax to mess it all up ... but it’s also OK they’re looking out for her.

So where’s the fine line? What can you do when you’ve forgiven a cheater but your friends haven’t? Shouldn’t they just support the relationship?

Experts advise to be patient — with your friends. "Let the people involved know about the therapy you're receiving (You did get couples therapy, right?). Give them some insight into your process, the revelations experienced and the changes made. Doing this helps them understand your decision to stay. You owe them that much for going through this emotional roller coaster with you." 

You can also feel free to shut any and all talks down about the affair. "After you involved them in the process, it's OK to let them know that you're both in a place where you're moving forward and no longer talking about the infidelity as a couple. Thank your loved ones sincerely for their support during this struggle and let them know that you won’t be talking about it with them anymore either."

Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed., author of Getting Past Your Breakup, tells Personal Space to try to understand that your friends are coming from a caring place.

“I would say to give your friends a break,” she advises. “Their angst is because they care and many people believe that once a cheater, always a cheater. As a long-time therapist and lawyer, I have rarely seen couples come back from infidelity. While it’s not a sure bet, the odds of success are against you. When you’re investing in a fantasy and your friends would like you to stay grounded in reality, there is going to be friction. If your partner doesn’t change, you’re going to need your friends. If your partner truly has changed, you’re going to need your friends. Let them have their opinions. If they’re not true friends, time will tell. If your ex is a serial cheater, time will tell. Right now is not the time to rush to judgment.”

Brittany doesn’t have to convince everyone that Jax has changed.

“They may or may not believe it in due time, but they definitely won’t believe it in early days,” Elliott says. “Let them have their skepticism, and you hold tight your belief in your partner. Time will tell who is right. They are being harsh because they care about it. While it would be nice for your partner and friends to get along, it may take time if it is to ever happen.”

New York-based clinical psychologist and sex therapist Mindy R. Schiffman, PhD., says "no one but the couple really knows what binds them together."

"Of course, friends are protective when they feel their friend is being taken advantage of, like when a partner cheats. But sometimes, the crisis of cheating can lead two people to work out problems in their relationship and reconnect, becoming a better and stronger couple," Schiffman says. "Often friends only hear the bad parts, and don’t see how a couple has reconnected. It takes time, and trust must be earned but it can happen. The protective friends need to be told why their friend feels good about the relationship and is moving ahead with the partner. Only if the friends have current proof of continuing infidelity should they hold on to their concerns about their friend. No doubt, the person who was cheated on still has some concerns as well, but can see the forest for the trees; mistakes can be forgiven and learned from. Relationships can continue to grow even after an infidelity."

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