5 Things To Consider Before Getting Back Together With A Cheating Ex

By Zailyn Prada-Blackburn, MATS

"Love means never having to say you're sorry." Ah, that famous quote from Love Story that set the tone for all the hopeless romantics in the '70s. But do those words actually hold true?

In my practice as a relationship coach, I've seen everything in terms of couples and infidelity. Only one detail is a constant: When it comes to cheating, it's hard to forgive and forget, much less apologize. Sometimes, the relationship is solid enough, and the infidelity forgivable — and the couple prevails. Other times, cheating is just a symptom of a crumbling union. So how can you tell?
Here are five key points to consider when thinking about whether your ex has changed his or her ways enough for you to consider giving the relationship a second chance.

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More than likely, if your ex has truly changed his or her ways, the change will remain consistent for 12 months; it takes at least that long for someone to truly make a difference.

Has he or she kept a job for at least 12 months? Stayed off drugs or alcohol for 12 months? Stopped seeing his or her old flame for 12 months? Real change takes commitment — and time.

Related: Staying Friends With An Ex Is The Worst Idea Ever, Says Science
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People who are truly remorseful will actually ask you to forgive them for their jerk-hood. Period. But that's only the beginning.

Remorse is demonstrated not just in words, but in the actions of the individual. If your ex failed to contribute financially to the relationship (didn't have a job, didn't help with the rent or utilities, etc.), then remorse might mean that he or she shows respect and consideration for your financial obligations by doing his or her share.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
If someone really wants to alter his or her life, certain things have to change. People in 12-step programs know this all too well. Even if you're going to AA or NA daily, your social circle — both in person and online — can sabotage your efforts.

Transitioning into a new lifestyle means you need people (such as sponsors or friends) who support your efforts. But you also need to move as far away from toxic people and temptations as possible. This might mean just renting a room in a home where people support your changes, or maybe it's restricting or "unfriending" certain people from your social networks.

It could even mean getting a new job. When you want to change, your environment needs to change. Has your ex put distance between himself or herself and temptation?

Related: 8 Immature Dating Habits To Avoid
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I once heard that our bodies reproduce all of our cells every seven years. That means that in seven years, you're a completely new person.

Has your ex acknowledged the growth and changes you've both made in your lives, particularly since any game-changing betrayal occurred? Does your ex understand that he or she needs to change the approach, because the playing field has changed? We want different things after going through and recovering from infidelity. Is he or she willing to walk this walk with you?
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When did it become taboo to ask what someone's intentions are? If you're truly ready for a relationship, your goals should be clear. So go ahead and ask. What does your ex want? What does he or she expect from the relationship?

See if your ex is honest, and if his or her goals match yours. It's not a bad thing to answer with honesty. If he or she says, "I want another chance to get to know you and improve our relationship," that's a fair response. And if you want commitment, fidelity, a future engagement, or marriage, don't shy away from asking. You're giving this person a second chance. Make your expectations clear. They say "forgiveness is divine," but I've also heard it said that “fools rush in where angels fear to tread."

Next: You Can Get PTSD From Staying In A Psychologically Abusive Marriage

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