Being cheated on is one of the most painful heartbreaks anyone can experience.
There is something about that level of betrayal which stays with you for a very long time.
If you get cheated on, most people around you would probably say, “Don’t even consider getting back together with her!”
But what if you still love her so much? Should you get back with her? Or is it wiser to let some things be left unsaid despite the intense longing you still feel for your girlfriend?
In this article, we’ll discuss 15 tips you need to know when handling a cheating girlfriend you still love. If you’re seriously interested in giving things another go with her, then read on!
1) Don’t rush into any decision
The first thing you need to remember: Never make a decision when you’re emotional.
This is kind of a golden rule when it comes to decision-making. Why? Well, because a lot of bad (or at least stupid) decisions are made in haste.
You just learned that your girlfriend cheated on you. Of course you’re still in shock.
So, logically, it won’t be the smartest move to make a decision immediately.
Remember that in situations like this, time is your friend. This goes especially when you’ve been with your girlfriend for a very long time.
2) Get perspective from people who know both of you
I know it’s your relationship, and no one else should make your decisions for you.
But it won’t hurt to get some perspective from others, especially from people who’ve known both of you.
It may be hard to admit this, but there can be certain things which you won’t see for yourself about your relationship. And having a second opinion may be just the thing to put things into perspective.
It’s important to consider, though, whose opinion you should ask.
The best candidates would be common friends or relatives who’ve had a good relationship with both of you.
It will be hard to find someone who will be completely impartial.
So ask someone you both know. Then at least you’ll get an opinion from someone who won’t see either you or your girlfriend with instant animosity.
3) Weigh the pros and cons of continuing your relationship
At a certain point, you’re going to have to weigh in on the status of your relationship even before the cheating happened.
So before you decide to follow your heart and take back your girlfriend, ask yourself: Is your relationship worth saving?
To know the answer, you need to list down the pros and the cons of continuing your relationship with her. Look back into your dynamics from the beginning up to this point. How fulfilling have things been?
Having the pros and cons listed down on a sheet of paper can help you better see where you’re really at, romantically.
Doing this can help you make an informed decision about what to do next.
4) Be honest about your other feelings
So, you still have feelings for her. But what feelings, exactly?
Yes, you still love her. But do you also feel resentment towards her? Are you sad about the cheating or about other things she did during your relationship?
How deep do these emotions go compared to the love you’re feeling?
Take into consideration all the emotions involved during this difficult time, because they’re not irrational at all!
Sadness comes from the feeling of betrayal. Anger comes from the need to protect yourself. And even what you consider “love” may just be the abrupt loneliness and discomfort you feel from being away from your girlfriend.
Think about these things and place them on the same level as your “love.” From this, you’ll see whether things really deserve a second chance.
5) See if and how much she wants to fix things
A relationship is a two-way street. She has to want the same things as you before you even consider getting back with her.
So, before you make your decision, ask her what she wants.
You have to know whether the two of you are still on the same page, or if her cheating is the final nail on the coffin.
One main reason why people cheat on their partners is due to a certain degree of unhappiness.
Now, of course, this reason is never an excuse for anyone to become a cheater. But knowing the reason behind the unhappiness can definitely give you perspective about her actions.
From your conversation with her, you’ll find out whether you need to sever your ties or to patch things up as much as you can.
6) Demand honesty
In the case that she wants to get back together with you, that’s when you’ll have the ascendancy to demand as much honesty from her as possible.
You will need answers, no matter how much you tell yourself that you can live without it.
The questions in your head won’t stop, if you don’t ask them from her. You’ll only find yourself questioning your relationship, or worse, questioning yourself.
So before you sweep things under the rug, set a firm ultimatum about honesty. This is what you deserve.
7) Be open to explanation, but your feelings should come first
Earlier, we talked about being honest about your other feelings.
And it’s important that you keep them beside you while your girlfriend explains her actions.
Because if you love her, I know it will be super hard to resist her. The moment she starts crying or begging you to forgive her, it’s going to take all your willpower not to cave in and compromise your principles.
But remember that you’re the victim in this situation. No matter the reason, the idea of her cheating is and will always be inexcusable.
So, go ahead and keep an open mind. It’s what any decent person will do.
But by the end of the day, don’t forget that you’ve been wounded by her actions. And she should be accountable for however you react in response to it.
8) Ask yourself why you still love her
In cases like this, ask yourself why you still love her. And this time, “I just do” won’t cut it.
You’ve been betrayed and made a fool of. So why do you still want to be with her?
Is it because you’ve grown comfortable about your relationship? Do you think you won’t find anyone else who’ll love you?
You have to make sure the foundation of your love is love itself and not something else you’re using as a crutch.
Otherwise, you’ll just be hurting each other even further.
9) Don’t overlook your resentment
So you’ve decided to forgive her. This should not mean you’re not allowed to feel resentment anymore.
One step of forgiveness that people usually overlook is healing.
And healing is a very ugly process.
No matter how much gauze and antiseptic you put, you’re going to have to remove those again and expose your wound. And then you have to do the process again.
Over and over, you need to repeat this before the wound heals.
And even then, we can’t be sure whether or not it will leave behind a permanent scar.
So in forgiving your girlfriend, never shy away from the fact that there will be days that your resentment will bubble to the surface.
This is a normal process, and something the both of you need to accept.
10) Take some time with yourself
The moment you forgive your girlfriend for cheating, don’t immediately go back to being around each other 24/7.
Take some time for yourself to process everything that happened. Take as long as you want.
Jumping back into the relationship is nothing but a desperate attempt at salvaging something fragile.
And when you do this, then it’s usually because of two reasons: 1) You don’t trust her enough to leave her alone again, and 2) You’re using your relationship as a band-aid solution for your loneliness.
The first reason is dangerous. This will not resolve anything between the two of you. Remember that resentment is a natural process of healing.
If you don’t take time for yourself, you’ll only allow your relationship to rot even further.
The second reason relates to codependency. If you don’t take some alone time, you’ll inevitably trade away your individuality.
Because then, your relationship will not be founded on a mutual, individual love for each other anymore.
So take as much space and time as you need before getting back together. You’ll benefit more from this in the long run.
11) Try seeing other people
Another option you can consider is giving both of you some freedom to meet new people.
For your girlfriend, this can help give her a clearer view of what she really wants– to be with you or to meet someone else.
For you, meeting new people can contextualize how much you still love your girlfriend after what she’s done.
Is it okay for you to work on your relationship despite its cracks? Or would it benefit you more to start fresh?
Keep in mind, though, that when doing this, both of you have to agree on the duration and the rules behind this arrangement. Or else, things will just become messier.
12) If you choose to get back together with her, set ground rules
As much as possible, we don’t want to be restrictive about what our partner can or cannot do.
But if you choose to get back together with your girlfriend after she cheated, then setting ground rules may just be the healthiest course of action.
You can demand for transparency in your relationship without being intrusive about her personal possessions. You can tell her she can’t see or talk to the guy she cheated on you with anymore.
You may even discuss arrangements such as having an open relationship (which is a whole different conversation).
No matter what you decide, make sure that neither of you will feel compromised.
You’re allowed to demand for things. But keep in mind that you also have to treat your partner with decency.
By the end of the day, the two of you should still be equals.
13) Be comfortable with establishing boundaries
One mistake people make when trying to patch things up with a partner? Throwing boundaries out the window.
Your boundaries protect your personal space– may it be physically, mentally, or emotionally.
We all have our own thresholds of what we can share with someone else or not. And it’s important that you keep this in mind when you’re trying to work things out with your girlfriend.
In fact, if you have boundaries you weren’t able to communicate before, this is the perfect time to do so!
Do you want more regular alone time? Would you love it if she doesn’t use your car when hanging out with her girlfriends? Are you not comfortable about the way her coworker touches her in public?
Communicate these things in the most considerate way possible. And let her communicate her boundaries as well.
Remember: Boundaries do not mean you don’t want to be around your partner. It only means you want to be comfortable enough with each other so you can make things work for longer.
14) Ask yourself: Are you comfortable with the memory of her cheating?
If you choose to fix things with your girlfriend, then be ready for the possibility of remembering your pain years later.
Cheating causes trauma to the victim, and sometimes even to the cheater.
And trauma is not something you get over from after one of you says, “I’m sorry.”
So ask yourself: Will the memory of her cheating be something you can handle in the long run?
Because it will still hurt, for sure. But are you willing for it to hurt even after forgiving her?
The answer to these questions will form your final decision.
15) Accept that fixing things will be a long process
In the case that you accept every risk possible after taking your girlfriend back, then be ready! Because fixing your relationship will be a very long process.
Building a relationship from scratch is already a lot of work in itself. After the honeymoon phase, you’ll find things about your partner that will annoy you sometimes. Their cute habits will become hard to bear.
These things and more will be so much more difficult when trying to fix a relationship.
There will be days when you’ll become irrationally jealous. And you won’t be sure whether it’s really something or just your wounded ego being too alert.
Other times, you’ll worry too much if she hasn’t responded to you in a few hours.
And these will happen indefinitely during your relationship.
I know that you want to keep your hopes up about your relationship.
If this is the first time your girlfriend cheated on you, it’s possible that your automatic reaction is to forgive her at once.
But when these things happen, it’s important that you remember how you love yourself more than your partner.
Because the way you value yourself will dictate how healthy your relationship has been, and will be after this unfortunate incident.
So if you’re still willing to give things another try after having your heart broken, then feel free to do so. Just make sure that you don’t forget who you are in the process.
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