What to do if your girlfriend cheats on you but you still love her? Most of your guy friends will tell you to bolt out of there. We’re not talking about just any relationship red flags here. We’re talking CHEATING and that’s a big one. Quite frankly, for most people, cheating is inexcusable and a complete deal-breaker. While it can be risky to give a final verdict on what cheating may or may not be, one can admit that it comes with deeper layers and many intricacies.
Deciding what to do when your partner has cheated on you can be an arduous task. Are you letting them walk all over your self-respect by taking them back? Or are you convinced that what they did was just a misstep and that in the bigger scheme of things and they are still your soulmate?
A reader suffered a similar struggle and came to us with an important question, “What to do if your girlfriend cheats on you but you still love her?” Counseling psychologist and certified life-skills trainer Deepak Kashyap (Masters in Psychology of Education), who specializes in a range of mental health issues, including LGBTQ and closeted counseling, gives us an answer to that. So without further ado, let’s get right into it.
My Girlfriend Cheated On Me But I Still Love Her, What Do I Do?
Q. We are both 35 years of age and in a live-in relationship. I wasn’t in the best frame of mind in the last eight months, because I had lost my job owing to downsizing at my firm. I have had a decent job only since last month. I’ve also had trouble with depression because of this incident of having lost my previous job. But we have always got through it together, me and my girlfriend. Soon, something started to change.
I noticed she was starting to get weird about her phone; being obsessive with WhatsApp and generally ignoring me, even when confronted. I chalked it down to a social media addiction. We have had a short breakup or two in the past but have always ended up together again. We always worked well together, so I didn’t think anything major was going wrong. Moreover, I was convinced we’d be okay in the end. She can at times be controlling and overbearing but I know she did and still does love me.
I, however, one day, noticed her Facebook logged in while she was on holiday with her women friends from work. I couldn’t resist, as I had my suspicions. Sure enough, there it was. Months of conversations with her bestie, detailing her infatuation with this other guy; and hundreds of messages about the said emotional affair. She was smart enough to delete it as she apparently cared enough to not actually friend the guy on Facebook. She is apparently very non-resistant to compliments and flirting with several men.
Then a lot of things started to make sense…
Our sex life has been up and down over the years. I wasn’t very sexually active when I was in depression, so perhaps there is some cause for blame there but the last few months have been fairly normal to great. It seems to be my responsibility to initiate sex, as she has told me that she fears my rejection, which possibly may have been an issue while I was low.
She came back from her holiday yesterday. She told me of her friends sleeping with several guys a night and indulging in rampant one-night stands which immediately made me paranoid as I had found those messages not too long ago. That’s when it finally hit me and I asked myself, “Is my girlfriend cheating on me?” We talked about things, and in an attempt at honesty, she told me they did rent a room together but did not have sex, which I have a hard time believing as she had been planning the weekend with her friend for months. After she told me about the hotel, I had to move out and am now staying with friends, wondering what to do next. She sends me texts of regret, yet does not admit so to my face. She is expressing her guilt, sadness, and longing for me. I feel like I am settling down or now I am desirable again.
She has been my best friend and lover for over seven years. But I struggle to think about how I can get over her basically pretending I didn’t exist for six to eight months, living a single lifestyle of going out with her single mates and getting trashed every chance she gets. I have no involvement in her social circle and am now worried if I do go back it will take forever or maybe I’ll never get that trust back. It’s tearing me up thinking I will have to throw away the last seven years but I really don’t know what to do.
There is definitely a deep love there despite knowing she cheated on me; there is an understanding and kindred spirit. But it is too much to expect me to come back, as I have in the past. I have never had to deal with the possibility of a true breakup before, but this feels f*ked up. My girlfriend cheated on me, what to do?
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From the expert:
Ans: You guys obviously care about each other a lot and seemed to be emotionally [restrict] invested as well. From what I can tell from your narrative, you seem to have also had a very intense relationship with each other.
Before I attempt to give my opinion of the situation you have described, I would like to suggest moving away from using a language of blaming. Blame-shifting not only makes it hard to put the issue in perspective but also takes us further away from problem-solving. So, you being depressed and struggling with lack of libido is no one’s fault, not yours nor your partner’s.
Relationships are difficult and no one prepares us for those challenges. In fact, this is the only arrangement and stage of life, for which we are ill-equipped and also loaded with painfully dysfunctional ideas and expectations. Lifelong monogamy is one of them. I am fully aware of how common this expectation is and how frequently people fall short of fulfilling it and seeing it fulfilled for themselves. I am not giving a license to your partner’s behavior but dangerously treading the line between explaining it and making an excuse for it.
The key to your emotional balance, or something close to it, lies in your understanding the whole story and narrating it to yourself in simple human terms as opposed to creating a victim of yourself and a monster of your partner. If you cannot practice forgiveness and feel that you will never be able to live with her because you can’t trust her, then you know what to do. Let her go. But if you think you can get a bird’s eye perspective of it and observe the whole situation in a way that you see others, with human limitations and not monstrous intentions, then you just need to give it time. Resume the conversation when you have reached a relatively non-blaming and possibly accepting place in your heart: for others, life, and more importantly for yourself.
What To Do If Your Girlfriend Cheats On You But You Still Love Her?
The answer to the question, “What to do if your girlfriend cheats on you but you still love her?”, is a quite personal one. Don’t expect anyone to give you the final answer to that. It’s something you need to decide on your own after deeply considering your situation. But to set you on the right track, Bonobology has a few pointers for you to think about:
1. Don’t make a rash decision
Of course, you’re allowed to storm out of the room, throw a fit and block her on social media for doing so. But don’t cut her off completely. Do listen to her side and understand what went wrong. Yes, it takes a great deal of maturity to be in that position and to allow yourself to give her some leeway but you must.
You’ve loved and respected her for so long, you can do it for a couple more days until you work things out a little more. If you want to leave her, then by all means do. But make sure to give it some thought. Consider her side, try couples therapy exercises and talk about it as much as you can before you make a final decision.
2. Understand what might’ve gone wrong on your part
One person is never entirely responsible for a relationship going bad. It’s always two people in the relationship who both contributed to the problem. At this point, when you’re harrowed and feeling down because the thought “she cheated on me when all I did was love her” can be all-consuming.
At the same time, it can be difficult to assess your own shortcomings. But you must. You absolutely need to. Without that, it’s hard to gain a clear perspective of what exactly happened and what could have been different. Whether you choose to part ways or not, it is important that you understand such things anyway.
3. Zoom out and look at the bigger picture
“My girlfriend cheated on me but I still love her, what do I do?” When you’re that hurt because of being cheated on, it can be easy to quickly decide to leave her and move on. But you may not always want to do that. Once you’ve stopped being in your moping period, you might get a chance to rationalize and decide better about what it is you really want.
Look at the bigger picture. Assess all your options. Decide if this is worth it. Ask yourself if you think she loves you. Ask yourself if you think you can deal with the heartbreak. Take every little detail into consideration. Don’t get so caught up in the hurt that you overlook everything else.
With that, we hope you can find some sort of an answer to “Girlfriend cheated on me, what do I do?” As rough as it may be, it is important that you take your time before you take any sort of plunge. Think about your own mental health, your needs and your priorities before anything else. Then see if your girlfriend is truly apologetic or is willing to change. Once you’ve thought clearly about the above, you’ll be in a better place to decide what to do.
Yes. Indulging in cheating can have many reasons and a lack of love does not always have to be one of them. She may have hurt you but it does not mean that she doesn’t love you.
Yes, you can. If you have crippling trust issues, it is possible that you may not find it easy to do so. But if you work on the relationship, avail the benefits of counseling and do your best to rebuild your relationship. you might just be able to get the trust back as well.
You may or you may not, that is completely up to you, and depends on your situation and on the relationship. If she is not willing to make amends and make it up to you, maybe it is best to break up with her. But if you believe that she made an honest mistake and wants to do better in the future, you can give her a chance.