Over the last 20 years the number of women that have cheated on their boyfriends or husbands has increased dramatically. The stigma is that men are more prone to have affairs, but according to studies women have secretly taken away the title. Modern women are more financially stable and more sociable, which means they have more opportunity to cheat. Their ability to hide their infidelity has kept this stigma focused on men. If you live in America and enjoy a long term relationship then you have a 30 – 60% chance of either having an affair or being the victim of one.
Now you are probably sitting there think “My girlfriend cheated on me, now what do I do?. A million questions (you don’t want the answer to) are likely popping into your head and the cliffhanger situation that will either see you break up or work things out isn’t exactly your idea of a thrill. But before you make the life altering decision, consider some important factors.
Did she confess? Did you catch her? Are you speculating?
Your answers to these questions will play a big part in how you go further from this point. For many guys it’s a clear cut way of deciding whether they should simply move on or try to work on the relationship. If she confessed to having an affair without you confronting her then you can be pretty sure she regrets what she did. However, if you catch her in the act then she most likely only regrets getting caught. If you don’t have any proof, but you suspect she is seeing somebody else then it’s a good time to have a talk. There are various signs you can look for if you start to get suspicious. For example:
– Sudden changes in her appearance and dressing up just to go to the store
– Withdrawal from your friends, family and sex
– She makes notes on where you are, but spends less time with you
– She is constantly searching for things to fight about
– She doesn’t want you snooping around on her phone or computer
When these things occur, especially in a short period of time, then maybe you should investigate a little further. Now before you make a decision on how to proceed with handling the infidelity, assuming your suspicions are correct, take some other things into consideration.
Measuring the Depth of the Relationship
Whether you caught her or she confessed, the length and depth of your relationship will create complications. If the relationship is still young and your emotional investment isn’t that much, then it shouldn’t be a problem ending things and finding somebody else. But if you’ve been together for a significant amount of time and you feel the relationship is worth saving then get ready to endure some pain for more than a week or two. Good questions to ask her:
– How long has the affair been going on?
– When did it start?
– Why did it start?
It’s up to you to assess whether the answers to these questions are important, but under the circumstances they can help you to make a decision as to what you want to do. If the affair has been going on for a long time then she most likely has feelings for her lover, but she has her doubts. If the affair started long after you two became serious then she can actually provide a forgivable explanation for why she did it in the first place. The bottom line is to take these answers and let them help you decide whether you want to give her another chance or if you prefer to simply move on.
Coping with the Emotions after Your Girlfriend Cheats on You
So you’ve discovered your girlfriend is cheating along with the reasons and the length of time she has been unfaithful. Given it’s a personal issue and the outside world isn’t really going to take notice, you are going to have to keep functioning on a daily basis. Your biggest enemies at this point are anger, disappointment and depression. Whether you are focused towards saving the relationship or it ended the moment you found out, this section is going to be difficult to handle.
What you should do:
Stay as busy as possible and call on your friends and family for support. If working harder helps you to cope then work harder, but avoid being alone as much as possible. You will have more than enough time to think about things, especially at night when you try to fall asleep, but the moment you feel like losing your head then start to get active. Go to the gym, paint, sing, walk your dog, cook, drive around town, do whatever it takes to keep your mind occupied. It’s crucial to keep your life in order, because if you don’t then everything is going to start falling apart. Time is the only thing that is going to heal the pain and freaking out is only going to make it worse.
What you SHOULDN’T do:
Don’t go out and get drunk every night or search for some kind of revenge. You will be fuelling the flames of your anger and you might end up hurting an innocent girl that has nothing to do with your situation. Drugs, alcohol and medication might seem like the right answer, but the effects are temporary while the habit can become permanent. Remember that she made the mistake, not you. So why mess up your life? As difficult as it’s going to be, you have to try to rise above the problem, not sink below it. Your anger and depression are going to lead to some very bad decisions, which is why you have to recognize the symptoms before acting out.
Saving the Relationship
The important thing here is to establish whether both of you want to save the relationship, because both of you will have to put in a lot of effort to get past this situation, otherwise it won’t work. You have to be willing to work past feelings that will have a negative impact on your relationship, and she has to be willing to win your trust again. This is going to take time and patience. Not letting frustration get the better of you isn’t going to be easy, but it will be necessary.
Keep in mind that the reason the divorce rate in America is 50% has to do with natural instincts. Humans are not biologically monogamous. It’s not in our nature to stay exclusive, which is why open relationships are becoming so popular. In fact, staying true to one person when the perfect opportunity for an affair dangles in front of you is one of the hardest things a person can do. This doesn’t excuse the actions of the person that had the affair, but it might help you to put things in perspective. Everyone has their own reasons for cheating and covering the complexities of these reasons won’t be realistic.
Some women are just looking for great sex while others feel a lack of appreciation or attention. You have to decide how much value lies within that reason. Maybe she was drunk and made a stupid mistake, or maybe she ran into an old boyfriend. The possibility also exists that she wanted to get your complete attention, although she could have found another way to do it. Unfortunately this isn’t a “black or white” scenario. There are many shades of grey in between that makes it complicated. Communication is key, which means you both have to keep an open mind and a flowing dialogue.
Could your actions have led to her having an affair? Did you contribute in some way? As mentioned before, there is no excuse for infidelity unless there is physical or verbal abuse involved, but there is a possibility that you helped her to make that choice. Couples that manage to work through tough situations like these can end up being stronger than ever, so instead of just focusing on how to forgive her, think about things you can do to make the relationship even better. This doesn’t mean you should start blaming yourself for what happened. She made the wrong choice, not you. However, you can turn this into an opportunity to find each other again and maybe turn it into the best relationship ever.
Moving on Without Her
The initial choice to let her go might seem easier, but it might be even harder than trying to save the relationship. If you weighed the evidence and found her wanting, then it’s best to move on to bigger and better things. Some guys simply can’t find it within themselves to forgive their girlfriends and there is nothing strange or wrong about this. A relationship without trust isn’t a relationship, and if you don’t see yourself ever trusting her again then allow yourself to make a clean break. This entails breaking all communication until you feel strong enough to speak again. Who knows, you might feel differently after some time apart.
If you decide to get another girlfriend don’t let her pay for your ex-girlfriend’s mistakes. It’s understandable that you will have issues about trust, but she isn’t the same person and you get the chance to work on the things that could’ve contributed to the problem in the first place. A new relationship requires a new foundation of trust and your new girlfriend deserves a fresh start, so make sure you are ready to give this to her.
Dealing with infidelity has never been easy, but it’s an unfortunate part of life and it can happen to anyone. People are perfectly human, but they are far from being perfect. Anybody can fall victim to cheating and it is possible to work through it if both parties are willing. You just have to decide what is best for you.