You thought that you and your boyfriend were exclusive, but you caught him seeing another girl. Perhaps he didn’t feel the same commitment to the relationship that you did, or maybe he swears he and the other girl are just friends. Regardless, you might feel betrayed, angry, hurt and maybe foolish for caring about him. You must decide where you go from here and whether it’s worth your time and effort to build trust with him.

Discuss What You Saw

If your boyfriend swears that the other girl he was with was only a friend, talk about what you saw and how you perceived their relationship. You and your boyfriend could have very different ideas about what behaviors are cheating. If they were kissing briefly, maybe he considers that acceptable between friends. Let him know how you felt when you saw them together and why you feel betrayed.

Exploring Your Relationship

You and your boyfriend might also have different perceptions about your relationship status. If you think your relationship is exclusive and he does not, you need to determine what type of relationship you have and if you are both free to see others. Once you have a clear understanding of your relationship status, you can negotiate what is or is not acceptable behavior. You can also ask why he was seeing another girl if your relationship is exclusive, or why there are two different standards if he feels free to see others but doesn’t want you to do the same.

Forgiving and Moving On

Don’t hold on to bitterness and anger, regardless of whether you stay or exit the relationship. Forgiveness can take time. Each day you choose to forgive him for the hurt you feel, you move toward healing. Forgiving helps you have healthier relationships and experience less depression, anxiety, stress and anger, according to the MayoClinic.com staff in “Letting Go of Grudges and Bitterness.” If you and your boyfriend work together to make the relationship stronger and healthier, staying could be a healthy option. If not, move out of this relationship and into one that includes trust and mutual consideration.

Relationship Lessons

Learn from the experience, such as clarifying the type of relationship you have and what actions are unacceptable. Discover how to express your feelings and needs in a clear fashion so you and your sweetheart are on the same page in your relationship. Practice your listening and empathy skills toward a partner. Recognize the red flags that indicate your partner is unfaithful or not concerned about your feelings if he cheated. Identify boyfriend qualities you need, and find someone who fits that description. Those lessons can help you avoid a similar experience in the future.