Not everyday is going to be rainbows and unicorns in our relationship. We get that. We've all been there where we have said and done things we should not have. Hopefully after something hurtful is said or done one time, the behavior is not repeated. But since we're human and nobody is perfect, this is easier said than done. So in order to help make sure that anything negative stops happening, we need to implement consequences and stick to them. If you tell your partner that consequence "A" will happen if they repeat that behavior, you must 100% give them that consequence the second that behavior happens. PERIOD!
Choosing a proper consequence depends on the type of behavior that is happening. For instance, you're not going to divorce your spouse because they were late coming home and never called you, but you can let them know that dinner will not be made for them since they didn't even bother calling. A proper consequence that will likely change their behavior, because they know that a home cooked meal is better than another peanut butter sandwich they have to make themselves. Here's another example: your partner throws their dirty clothes on the floor instead of the hamper. You've told them over and over again to simply toss the in the hamper, but they never do. Consequence? They have to take care of their laundry on their own. Simple and easy to follow through with.
Now clearly those examples above are of behaviors that are not detrimental to a relationship, they're more of issues that we would find annoying. But how do we change behavior that is detrimental to our relationship? How do we change someone who is a drug or alcohol abuser, verbally or physically abusive, or a cheater? These are all intense behaviors that will not only destroy your relationship, but they will destroy you as an individual for having to deal with them. In theses situations you need to implement very tough consequences, and you need to remain strong throughout the process.
If your partner is abusing drugs or alcohol, you need to sit with them and express your concerns. Suggest they seek treatment and counseling sessions to help them stop using. Once you have talked to them, allow them to respond. If they are willing to seek help, you must be by their side and be their biggest cheerleader while they go though this. If not, you need to temporarily remove yourself until they do seek help, and if they never seek help you may have to make that decision to leave.
Verbal abuse can damage a relationship as much as physical abuse. If your partner is being verbally abusive, you need express to them that those evil words are only destroying your relationship. If they continue to be verbally abusive, begin to walk away and remove yourself from the situation. If they follow you, lock yourself in a room or leave your home. You do not need to be around someone who cannot control their emotions. Remove yourself and stay with a friend or family member for a while. Hopefully your absence will knock some sense into them and they will stop using abusive language towards you.
When it comes to physical abuse, there is no other option but to contact the authorities and leave. End of story. You do not need to put your life in danger because your partner is mentally unstable. The absolute second they put their hands on you, leave the relationship and never look back.
If you have discovered that your partner has been cheating on you, you need to take a few days to yourself to gather your thoughts and answer these questions: Do you want to stay in this relationship? Can you forgive them? Will you ever trust them again? If you have decided that you want to stay in the relationship, you need to express that the healing process will be very long and painful, and that they have a lot of self reflecting that needs to be done. Seek assistance from a relationship counselor and begin working on rebuilding your relationship. If you have decided that you cannot forgive them or trust them ever again, then it's better to just walk away and heal on your own.
Creating and implementing proper consequences is so important for your relationship. They stop boundaries from being crossed, and they prevent you from being walked all over. Now unfortunately not all consequences can change a behavior and when that happens, you do have to make that difficult decision to either remain in the relationship, or leave. Just remember this, when things go too far and your life is in danger, you must always choose yourself and leave. You deserve only the best.