Maybe you never heard of “Vanderpump Rules” until this month. But you’ve likely seen the reality show mentioned in headlines with hubbub surrounding the cast.
The short version: Tom Sandoval and co-star Raquel Leviss have spoken out and apologized to fellow co-star Ariana Madix after news broke of an alleged cheating scandal surrounding the trio.
People magazine, E! News and TMZ reported Sandoval and Madix broke up following Sandoval’s alleged affair with Leviss. Sandoval and Madix had been together for nine years, according to E! News.
Cheating is harmful to any monogamous relationship. But is it possible to forgive someone for cheating? Experts say it comes down to individual decisions.
“While some people choose to walk away from their relationship as a result of their partner’s infidelity, others decide to stay and work through it,” USA TODAY columnist Sara Kuburic, the Millennial Therapist, previously explained. “There is no right or wrong decision; reconciliation is a personal choice.”
The complications around forgiveness
Forgiving someone for anything is complicated and can take time.
“Contrary to popular belief, people seem to think that forgiveness is something that we should give automatically, or that it means that we are going to forgive and forget or we excuse the harm that someone has done to us,” T.M. Robinson-Mosley, counseling psychologist, previously told USA TODAY. “But the realistic aspect of it is that if we’re real with ourselves, the pain and disappointment might always still be with us. But when we’re ready to forgive, forgiveness can minimize the hurtful impact.”
Sandoval and Leviss have each issued apologies to Madix and others on their Instagram pages.
How to handle a cheating in your relationship
Not all relationships end when cheating happens. When dealing with infidelity, Kuburic recommends these key tips for the relationship to weather the scandalous storm:
- The cheating has to stop.
- There has to be an apology.
- The impact needs to be acknowledged.
- There has to be honesty.
- Both individuals need to be willing to make the relationship work.
- Allow time for grief.
- Navigate the narrative.
- The person who cheated needs to make amends.
- Underlying issues need to be addressed.
- Seek professional help.
“For couples that survive infidelity, it can be a wakeup call. It can serve as a time to reevaluate and redefine their relationship,” Kuburic adds. “It’s not easy, but it is possible.”
Ronbinson-Mosley offered these tips for when you’re working on your apology:
- Express regret: Flat-out apologizing
- Accept responsibility: Instead of saying you were right, saying you were wrong
- Make restitution: Asking what you can do to make it right
- Genuinely repent: Doing your best to not make the mistake again
- Request forgiveness: Asking what you must do to be forgiven.
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Contributing: Edward Segarra