Are Claire & Jesse Bouncing Back From The Cheating Saga, Or Are They In Delusional Territory?

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Being cheated on is an incredibly shitty thing to experience. Betrayal makes you question the relationship you’re in, and the relationship you’re in can in turn make you question yourself. It becomes a downward spiral that can be hard to resurface from, even if it feels like your head’s above water momentarily.

Take Jesse Burford and Claire Nomarhas‘ relationship on MAFS, for example. After Claire cheated on him with Adam Seed, we saw Jesse become a shell of his former self, bashing his ego and wondering if he was worthy of love at all.

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Jesse and Claire on the couch a week ago. Image: Channel Nine.

We see this happen all the time to people who are cheated on. And if you’ve been through it personally, you’ll know it’s a kick in the tits when your partner chooses someone else over you — whether that’s for a moment, a night or a relationship.

It can be hard for your confidence to recover. You may feel “not good enough, attractive enough, or interesting enough to keep your partner’s attention,” Chantelle Otten, Bumble’s resident sexologist, tells PEDESTRIAN.TV.

I know what you’re thinking: Jesse and Claire seem to be going great at the moment — only a week after the scandal unfolded, no less. This is largely due to Claire putting in more effort than she ever has as she tries to piece the relationship back together and convince him it’s worthwhile.

This behaviour isn’t unique or new. Nine times out of 10, the person who cheats does everything in their power to get their partner back. They scramble to try and return to life as they knew it — to be familiar and comfortable once again.

This might be because they actually really enjoy and appreciate the relationship they were in and realise they’ve made a mistake — or it might be because they want to scrub their image clean and feel better about themselves.

Obviously, with Jesse and Claire’s relationship only being a few weeks in, and with low levels of intimacy thus far, it’s impossible to assume what Claire’s intentions are.

But in the process of cheating or being cheated on, reassessing and reevaluating yourself or your relationship can bring two people closer together in the most unusual of ways.

It might bring underlying relationship problems to the surface in a constructive way, it can make you realise what you had and, in some cases, it might spark a whole lot of newfound interest in one another.

“In the short term, a couple may experience a surge of passion and intimacy after one partner has been unfaithful,” Chantelle explains.

As we learned in last night’s Commitment Ceremony, Jesse and Claire have been kissing this week, which is a far cry from how their relationship looked before Claire was caught cheating.

Sometimes cheating can also bring hate sex to the forefront, or it can be a side effect of trying to feel desirable enough for your partner again.

But if the times I’ve personally been cheated on have taught me anything, it’s that the sex, like the relationship, will resume back to normal after the heightened horniness and conscious effort wear off.

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Less than a week after Jesse wrote “Leave”, the pair are closer than ever. Image: Channel Nine.

When my ex-boyfriend cheated on me, the following weeks were filled with flowers, letters, all-expenses-paid trips and so on. We also had heaps of sex. This lasted for a good three weeks and then once he knew he had me “back”, he reverted back to how he’d always been — cheating included.

I’m not saying Claire will cheat on Jesse again or blanket assuming that “once a cheater, always a cheater”. In fact, recent research from Bumble showed that nearly two in five (38 per cent) single Aussies say they would initially be suspicious of someone cheating in a previous relationship, but if their partner proved themselves to be loyal, there would be no problem.

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Jesse and Claire both chose to stay at the last Commitment Ceremony. Image: Channel Nine

People move on from cheating when it’s happened in both previous and current relationships every day. But I’m saying that no one person can commit 100 per cent of their energy into a relationship 100 per cent of the time, so it’s natural that the over-the-top gestures, dates and displays of affection will ease off once someone knows you’re invested again.

It’s this contrast that makes me worried about Jesse. To go from betrayal to an increased consideration and affection from Claire like we’re seeing now, and then possibly pulling back as they normalise their relationship.

What Claire’s giving now doesn’t last forever in the same way first dates look very different to the 20th date — people try less as they become more secure in a relationship. I don’t make the rules.

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Claire took Jesse out on a bunch of dates she knew he would love. Image: Channel Nine

Do I expect Claire to take him to squash and music shops every day for the rest of their relationship? Fuck no. But this is the problem with cheating and what comes after it. If the relationship isn’t completely murdered, then we get a false sense of commitment and rebirth that then tapers off to pre-cheating areas.

The only difference now is, well, you’ve been cheated on. “One of the most significant effects of being cheated on is the erosion of trust,” Chantelle explains, saying it “can make it difficult for the person to feel safe and secure in their relationships.”

So while Jesse’s feeling pretty secure right now, the insecurities he faced as a result of being cheated on may revisit once the relationship moves on from what I like to call the post-cheating honeymoon stage.

Some people can handle that adjustment — we see plenty of happy and healthy relationships post-cheating — but others can’t, especially when their confidence consistently needs a lift because their partner hooked up with someone else.

Perhaps Claire and Jesse are still early enough in their relationship? Maybe the easing off of squash games, letters and visits to music stores will simply feel like they’re gradually heading towards their 20th date.

Time will tell, but I’m low-key rooting for them.