There’s no doubt about it. Your girlfriend did indeed cheat on you.
It stings like a bitch, and you will be tempted to lash out and run back at her. But don’t—you need to think with your head and not your heart.
You don’t want to make things worse than they already are.
In this article, I will give you the three options you have in moving forward.
Option 1: stay and repair the relationship
It’s incredibly tempting to just leave her behind—to hit her with the consequences of her actions and hurt her the way she hurt you.
But if you truly loved her (and still do), you will want to at least try to do what you can to fix your relationship.
It’s not easy, and it will take a long time, but relationships can recover from cheating and emerge stronger than before.
Do this if:
- It has never happened before.
- You admit that you have your own misgivings like you haven’t been treating her right lately.
- You consider her your soulmate.
- She is remorseful and is willing to do whatever it takes to win back your trust.
- Your love for each other outweighs her mistake.
- You think she’s irreplaceable.
- She’s a good person despite everything.
How to do it right
1) Give each other space.
This might seem like a bad idea at first.
Your anxious mind will think “What if she takes this opportunity to go back to the guy?” or “What if I’ll lose her for good?”
While such concerns are understandable, this is actually one of the more important things you should do for her.
The two of you will be under a lot of emotional tension immediately after the cheating and won’t be able to make any reasonable or good decisions… even if you feel like you can.
Give yourselves room to process your emotions, heal, and consider the next step in your relationship.
It’s also a good time for you to heal or at least calm down so you can think clearly if fixing your relationship after infidelity is really a good idea.
2) Try to really understand why it happened.
There are many reasons why cheating happens—some better, some worse.
One of the first things you should do to repair your relationship is to figure out the reasons why.
Were you neglectful or abusive?
Has she always been a flaky person?
Are your sexual needs incompatible?
Have you been fighting a lot?
Does she have very low self-esteem?
These aren’t everything, but you get the idea. Ask yourself where either of you might have gone wrong, write them down, and think whether it makes sense.
It’s important to understand these reasons because not only do they determine how you should go about fixing your relationship, understanding is also important if you must truly forgive one another.
3) Ask an expert for help.
You’re more likely to find a good middle ground if you have someone with experience and knowledge to help you work through your feelings.
After all, despite your best efforts, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever be 100% impartial and emotionally detached from the situation.
Another perspective can help you see things that you might be overlooking, and find solutions that you never even considered.
I would recommend consulting Relationship Hero. They’re a site dedicated to delivering the services of experienced relationship experts to those who need it… such as you, right now.
I’ve checked them out before in the past, when I needed help figuring out why my partner was falling out of love with me.
They helped me out splendidly, and it’s for that reason why I heartily recommend them every time someone needs help.
It’s easy to get in touch with them too. Simply click here to get started and you’ll be talking to a relationship expert within minutes.
4) Schedule a time to talk.
Try to find a time and place where the two of you could talk about everything.
Don’t just confront her out of nowhere, forcing her to talk when she clearly doesn’t want to. Make sure she feels safe. Otherwise, she might not open up to you…and you’ll lose her for good.
Here are the things you should bear in mind while having the talk:
- Be somewhere comfortable, quiet, and private.
- Don’t play the blame game. Don’t take all the blame, but don’t dump it all on her either. Acknowledge the parts you both played.
- Make sure you have evidence of the cheating. You don’t want her accusing you of being paranoid or listening to hearsay.
- Have a trusted, impartial moderator to keep things civil between the two of you if you think there’s a risk for things to get heated.
- Ask her why she did it. Simply trying to understand the reasons for her cheating is not enough—you need to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.
- Talk about whether or not you want to repair the relationship and what compromises you’re willing to give.
5) Ask her what she wants.
You’ve heard of her reasons for cheating on you, now it’s time for you to do something about them.
Does she want you to stop shouting at her, or to perhaps spend more time with her?
Is she going through a crisis and would need some time alone to sort out her life?
Encourage her to be specific of what she wants out of you and the relationship moving forward, and try to do your best to give her what she wants. But of course, don’t forget to keep in mind what you yourself are comfortable with.
6) Tell her what you want.
It’s of course a given that there are things you want to change as well (like her cheating!).
Regardless of her reasons for cheating—and that means even if you hold some of the blame—she’s the one who cheated on you after all. She did the deed so you have every right to demand for things to make your relationship better.
For example, you will want to have her cut the other guy. Have her delete all relevant social media contacts and phone numbers and stay away from his hangouts.
And if she works with the guy? Then you have to know if you’re comfortable with her still seeing him often or you’d want her to find another job.
You will also want to have her be completely transparent with you. Have her tell you where she’s been when she comes home late, as well as access to her phone and social media.
And of course, you can also just ask her to come talk to you if she ever has any problems with your relationship, instead of seeking comfort somewhere else.
7) Be aware that healing will take time.
It generally takes around 1-2 years on average to fully heal from an affair. And there’s a possibility that it might take longer for you, especially if you have a lot to fix in your relationship.
Learning to trust one another, as well as learning to live with the new rules you have negotiated for your relationship is going to take a lot of patience and discipline.
Healing from cheating isn’t going to happen overnight, so be ready to settle in for the long haul.
And of course, no matter how hard you try to put things back together, there’s always the very real possibility that you’ll break up over it again a few years down the road anyways.
Option 2: change your dynamic
In your attempts to fix things between the two of you, it might become apparent that putting things back to the way they used to be simply isn’t the answer.
You might have to change your relationship dynamics—to try out another arrangement—to make sure both your needs are met.
After all, once cheating happens, nothing will be the same anymore. You might benefit from having a different set-up. You both might find it more authentic and less stressful.
Consider this option if:
She’s clearly unhappy about your current relationship dynamic.
- There are things complicating a clean break-up.
- You clearly both love one another, but need some space.
- She wants more than what your current relationship has to offer.
- You’re okay with getting a little unconventional.
1) Discuss why your current dynamic doesn’t work.
Let’s say that your conversations with her had made it clear that she simply isn’t going to be happy if you go back to the same kind of relationship.
So now that you’ve considered a different dynamic… then it’s time to comb through your relationship with a fine lens to figure out why it isn’t working.
Understand where your interests and degree of comfort conflict, as well as what other factors—such as children and other obligations—complicate your circumstances.
Once you’ve got that down, you can try moving on to the next step.
2) Find the dynamic that suits you.
When we talk of romantic relationships, we generally think of two people seeing one another, living in, and then marrying. But this isn’t the only way things can or should be.
There are other alternative ways to handle relationships, and while they might take getting used to, they’re worth giving a try.
You may consider the following:
Not everyone thrives under a strictly monogamous relationship. There are those who find it restricting, and perhaps she cheated on you because of this reason.
Every open relationship is slightly different from the next, and it’s important that you find an arrangement that is comfortable for both of you.
You might want to consider the following:
- Should she keep on seeing the guy she cheated on you with?
- Define your sexual boundaries.
- How long should her other partners last?
- Should it be one-sided, where you don’t look for other partners, or should your relationship be open for you both?
- Should she introduce you to her other partner(s)? While it’s generally a good idea to, you might want to pass if you’re the jealous type.
Sometimes you really have no option but to break up, but there are things preventing you from just leaving and then forgetting one another.
For example, maybe you have a kid or two together. Or perhaps you’re partners in a start-up company or you’re both broke and would benefit from sharing an apartment.
In this case, you might have to settle for a live-in relationship. You’re no longer partners, but still live together… or, at least, close to one another.
If this is what you’ve chosen for your relationship, try to figure out if you can still be friends with your girlfriend after your break-up.
After all, if you’re going to remain associates—housemates, even—then you should at least get along and be civil with one another.
Option 3: leave and don’t look back
You know that you really can’t handle cheating.
Perhaps you had a partner who did it to you before and it left a permanent scar on you. And you know you have no capacity to deal with it.
So don’t deal with it. Go find a woman who would never do this to you or at least live a worry-free life as a single man.
Do this if:
- You tried to fix things and it simply didn’t work out.
- You can see that there’s no way your relationship will bounce back from this.
- There’s nothing preventing you from having a clean break-up.
- You are unwilling to accommodate her requests.
- She’s just not good to begin with.
- You’d rather be single than in a relationship with someone who cheated on you.
1) Break it to her properly.
She may have cheated on you, but that doesn’t mean you should just ghost her or break up with her over text.
So take the time to meet up with her in person and talk it over with her. Tell her about why you think things simply aren’t going to work out, and that you’re breaking up with her.
Bring up evidence of her cheating if you can, and then let her say whatever she wants to say. Make it clear, of course, that no matter what they say, they aren’t changing your mind.
2) Settle any and all loose ends.
You’ll want to settle any and all loose ends before you part ways for real. Think of anything at all that might possess your mind years down the line.
- Does she have your belongings at her place? Do you have her stuff at yours?
- Does she have any of your accounts—like, say, Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon—logged in on her phone?
- Does she owe you a lot of money? Perhaps she asked for your help buying a car, or a new computer.
- Do you have any erotic or risque photos, videos, or audio of one another on your phones? Delete them all. You don’t want to risk revenge porn.
- Do you have any legal obligations you need to settle, such as custody of children? Discuss it with a lawyer.
You want a clean slate and to now ever have to deal with your ex. And for that to happen, you have to make sure you settle things and “clean the room” before you go.
3) Cut her off completely.
Don’t stay close to her. Don’t contact her.
It’s quite easy to be tempted to reach out and get back together with her, even when you’re the one who decided you’ve had enough. A part of you would wonder “Did I make the right decision?”
So to cut out that temptation, blacklist her number and block her on social media. And while she’s still around, make sure she does the same to your contacts as well.
4) Make a brand-new start for yourself.
It’s not easy trying to recover after you’ve been cheated on by someone you’ve loved. It can take you months… or even years before you can learn to trust again.
But don’t just mope around!
You can help yourself heal by taking your life into your own hands.
Here are some things you can do:
- Hang around with friends to get the break-up out of your mind. Have fun. Enjoy being single.
- Don’t jump into a new relationship immediately. Rebound relationships are destructive and rarely end well.
- Stay busy to keep your thoughts from spiraling into negativity. Quiet and idleness leads to overthinking, and overthinking makes it hard to get over what happened.
- When you can think about your ex-relationship without feeling bad about it, try to learn what lessons you can from it and apply those lessons in your future relationships.
Trust is incredibly precious. It takes so much time and effort to build up, and cheating is like a wrecking ball that comes in and crushes it into dust.
That is why cheating is so painful, and why few can manage to completely recover from it. Very few people are willing to put in the effort to build it back in full.
It’s not impossible, and if you can manage to do so your relationship is likely to end up stronger than ever before… even if it might be different from what it used to be.
But of course, sometimes, you simply have no choice but to part ways. And should you decide to do so, you want to be sure your break is as clean and thorough as possible.
And in case you still feel lost after reading this article, I suggest you get guidance from a Relationship Hero.