After finding out that your girlfriend cheated on you, you are probably feeling a mix of emotions: hurt, anger, frustration, betrayal, loss or even self-blame. Whether you choose to continue dating your girlfriend after she cheated on you or not depends on how well you can overcome your feelings. Likewise, you should consider the circumstances behind why your girlfriend cheated and how dedicated you both are to fixing the relationship, advise staff members from Mayo Clinic.
Reasons for Cheating
According to the WebMD article, "Why Women Cheat," women most commonly cheat for emotional reasons, so if your relationship is not going well, your girlfriend may have cheated out of a desire for attention or affection, or because she was not feeling emotionally fulfilled in some way. If she is remorseful and wants to try to make things work, then refocusing your attention on the relationship and mutually striving to meet each others' needs might make you better communicators and partners. Since no relationship is perfect, you may be able to change a bad situation into an opportunity to grow, both as individuals and as a couple. However, if you and your girlfriend have different emotional expectations and values or if you do not think you can meet your girlfriend's emotional needs, it may be better to leave the relationship.
Assess the Circumstances
Before you decide to date your girlfriend after she cheated, talk to her about how often she cheated. You have a better chance of fixing a relationship after a single incident of cheating than multiple instances of betrayal, says clinical psychologist Stephen Diamond in his Psychology Today article “When Partners Cheat: Who Deserves Second Chances?” According to Diamond, this is because it is easier to perceive a one-time affair as an error in judgment. A long-term affair or multiple affairs are more often part of a pattern of disrespect. If you formerly had a stable, happy relationship and your partner is genuinely remorseful and committed to you, then it might be worth showing forgiveness and moving forward rather than moving away from a partnership that was otherwise good.
Type of Relationship
When you decide whether to continue dating your girlfriend, consider how long you have been together. If you have been together several years, have generally had a good relationship and have talked about marital engagement or taking your relationship to the next level, then working through your problems as a couple may be a good choice. If this is a relatively new relationship and you have not formed a solid commitment, you may find it better to move on and find someone better prepared to be in a monogamous relationship.
Your Girlfriend’s Commitment
Before making a decision about how to handle your girlfriend’s cheating, look at her attitude toward the situation. Does she appear to be sincerely sorry for the incident or does she dismiss her cheating as something meaningless? Likewise, is your girlfriend willing to stop seeing the other person altogether, even as a friend? If you and your girlfriend are not on the same page about the severity of the cheating, it may cause you less hurt in the long run to move on with your life.
How you feel about your girlfriend’s cheating plays an important role in deciding whether to continue the relationship. While some people are able to forgive easily, others find the pain of betrayal too much to overcome. While it is normal to feel angry and mistrustful right after you find out that your girlfriend cheated on you, if these feelings do not lessen with time and effort, then you may want to consider stepping away from the relationship, even if she has apologized and is sincere about recommitting herself to the relationship. You both must be committed to making the relationship work for it to succeed.
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