“Emyli, My girlfriend cheated on me, now what should I do?” I’m going to tell you something that might be a bit hard to hear.
We often consider cheating on a romantic partner to be the ultimate sin. But cheating isn’t always a bad thing. No two cases of cheating are exactly the same. This is why each case needs to be dissected individually.
Let’s take a look at a couple of examples to illustrate that point.
My Girlfriend Cheated on Me: Scenario 1:
Jess has been in a committed relationship for two years. She’s content in her relationship, but nevertheless has a thing for a colleague.
Her colleague is different than her partner. He’s kind of nerdy, wicked smart, and has been sending her signals for a few months now. As if it were a movie, the two are paired off to attend a conference in Dallas together. After a few drinks at the bar, they decide to get one more in his room.
As soon as they close the door he’s making moves. She’s not fully willing to give herself to him, but the spontaneity and mojitos have caught her off guard. It all happens in a flash.
Santi got married five years ago. After their honeymoon to Morocco, they caught the travel bug and took a jaunt around the world for two straight years. They sought refuge in each other as they discovered a world that their desktop screensavers had been taunting them with for the last few years at their boring desk jobs.
That intimacy that they thought was unbreakable changed once Santi’s wife had her first baby. They cuddled less and spent less time alone together as their sex life all but dried up. They tried everything, but after Santi’s wife had the baby she just didn’t feel sexy about herself. Her body had changed, she was stressed by the baby, the job, the new city.
Santi craved that attention that was once so accessible. If he wasn’t going to get it at home he thought his rock-climbing buddy Lisa might help. He loved his wife, but there was a need that she wasn’t willing to address anymore. Santi didn’t just sleep with Lisa once, but made it a weekly event.
I tell you these stories to not only illustrate that each case of cheating is different, but that behind each act of infidelity there’s a story. It probably feels good having your friends and family chant in unison as they call your girlfriend a no-good bitch, slut, and skank after you tell them that “my girlfriend cheated on me.” But the reality is much more complex than the instinctual lambasting that takes place afterward.
Psychotherapist Esther Perel specializes in couples therapy, with cheating being of particular interest to her. She’s written various books about infidelity. She says that one of her greatest discoveries was the number of people that would come to her and say, “I love my partner but I’m also having an affair.”
Cheating is a much more nuanced act than we realize. Instead of reacting in kneejerk fashion by throwing your ex’s pottery out the window, try to understand what led her to get her sexual needs taken care of by somebody else.
There are a series of questions and contexts that should be taken into consideration when figuring out how to act after realizing that, “holy shit, my girlfriend cheated on me.”
You Caught Your Girlfriend Red-Handed
We’ve all seen this scene before. Walking in on your girlfriend with another man is the type of event that can lead to PTSD. It’s jarring to have such a horrific experience happen within your own home, in your own bed. Cheating can come in various forms, but there’s no other type of cheating that wants you to grab the gun and shoot someone in the ass more than catching your girlfriend red-handed. If this happened to you, you had the composure not to grab your gun and start shooting — or maybe you were just too flustered to unlock the safe. Either way, you made the right decision to not inflict violence.
The hurt that accompanies finding out that your girlfriend cheated will fade, but getting arrested for battery will stay with you forever.
In this situation, it’s best to get away from her as fast as possible. Deciding whether to stay with her or not is an action best mused upon miles away from the woman that just turned your world upside like a snow-globe. If you two share a home together, move in with a friend or family member for a week or so as you figure things out. Ideally, she’s the one that is forced out of the home, but if she resists it’s best to not let yet another conflict create a wedge in the relationship.
If she begs to stay together and you’re willing to give it a shot, it’s best to discuss how the relationship will move forward with the help of a professional mediator. In a safe environment, you’ll be able to ask the hard questions and learn what led her to cheat. I’ve seen the emotional walls that counselors have been able to tear down.
Find a marriage therapist and have your girlfriend pay for the session. Using the money from her bank account to pay shows she’s interested in fixing things. She should also pay because, hell, were you the one that slept with someone else in your bed? Nope.
Also keep in mind that someone who cheats is three times more likely to do it again. Do you really want to reinvest in someone that has a high probability to cheat again? That’s your call.
When Your Girlfriend Sits You Down & Admits It
Walking in on your girlfriend with another dude or having her sit you down and spill the beans are both wretched scenarios. The former is akin to a drive-by shooting whereas the latter feels like being made to kneel and slowly tortured as your girlfriend provides the sweaty details of her extracurricular activities. The major difference between the two is that when you’re girlfriend admits her wrongdoing she’s showing remorse. She’s done so, so as to most likely preserve the relationship.
In the prior situation, sitting your girlfriend down and getting answers could feel more like an interrogation than a conversation. However, in the latter scenario your girlfriend has already demonstrated her willingness to chat about her dalliance. Keep the momentum of honesty moving by having her explain why she sought out another to gratify her sexual needs.
Once you two are talking, questions will line up on the launching pad of your tongue like fighter planes about to take off and head into battle. Take a breath. Collect your thoughts. The objective of this conversation is to understand why she cheated. Allow her to talk and truly listen.
If you need a little help facilitating a constructive conversation, check out Ester Perel’s extensive online resource for couples. Doctor Perel has interviewed hundreds if not thousands of couples on issues like infidelity.
When A Mutual Friend Tells You He/She Saw Your Girlfriend Cheat On You
Is your friend’s word is as true as the law? If so, talk to your girlfriend about what you’ve been told. There’s no need to hack her phone, follow her after work, or do a deep dive into her social media history looking for clues. Get straight to the source to find answers. Tell her what your friend told you. If she denies it, ask her to prove your friend wrong. Should she not be able to provide a sensible explanation, consult with your friend again. If your friend is willing, bring them into the conversation.
It is in fact plausible that your friend is wrong. Be willing to accept reasonable answers from your girlfriend that you can fact check with your friend.
“How Do I Get Over Being Cheated On?”
A 2007 study of 155 undergraduates that had gone through a breakup within the last 6 months found that 71% of the brokenhearted began to feel better around the 11-week mark. A 2009 study found that divorcees needed 17 months to get over their former love. What these two studies both tell us is that time is needed to get over an ex. Generally speaking the significance of the connection and the duration of time spent with this person both impact how easy they are to get over.
You might be thinking after 11 weeks, the ghost of your ex-girlfriend will stop stalking you. Not necessarily. How you deal with a breakup will dictate how quickly it is to get over her. Sure, take a couple of weeks to grieve. Eat Dominos pizza, cry, work out, take a vacation, run a 5k, cope in whatever way feels best. But only for two weeks. If you really want to move on with you’re life, you’ll have to build up some momentum, momentum that can’t be built by building a castle with empty beer cans.
It can feel pretty odd getting back out there after a long-term relationship. In a way, it might feel wrong. If you’re confronted by an emotional wall that you don’t have the emotional strength to transcend by yourself, call an expert.
A dating coach (such as yours truly) can help set up a dating plan that will help you not only get over your ex, but find someone better than her. Get started now by booking a 1-on-1 Skype session with me. You’ll learn how to avoid dragging your past relationship baggage into new relationships. You’ll also learn how to MegaDate, find single women, flirt, build attraction, ask women out, and of course, find a partner worthy of your love.
Have you learned what went wrong?
Understanding what led her to cheat will humanize her, gives you notes to use on your next relationship, and will help you decide whether it’s worth staying with her. If you pushed her to cheat, realizing this will help make sure it never happens again.
Ask the following questions:
- Did she cheat because she felt neglected?
- Was it an accident?
- Does she have a history of behaving this way?
Will you let this relationship be a black hole that sucks away your happiness every time you think about it? Or will it be a lesson that helps guide how you act in future relationships? You decide how you want to use what’s happened to you.
Avoid Making Sweeping Generalizations
This might be the last woman you love.
If you begin to think of every woman as a cheater, you’ll never love again. Each romantic interest you have doesn’t deserve to be conflated with your ex. Doing so isn’t fair to either party. Get rid of that shield by focusing on relationships that work, relationships that you one day want in your life. Use these positive models to shape how you feel about women. You know how cruel they can be, now it’s time to remind yourself how loving and caring they can be as well.
Hire A Coach Who Can Help
The best way to get over a breakup is to fill the void. The void I’m referring to is a chemical one. During a relationship, our brains are flooded with feel-good chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. These chemicals can all be replenished through the creation and strengthening of social bonds, through exercise, eating right, and many other methods.
You know what you have to do, but how do you go about doing it? That’s where I come in. With my 3-month Signature Program, you’ll acknowledge that yes, my girlfriend cheated on me, but that won’t define how I love again. You’ll learn how to MegaDate, to mine social channels for dates, what to talk about on a first date, how to ask women out and much more. Any worry that you have about the modern dating scene will be addressed in full.