I think, at some point in our lives, we all end up with a cheater. Even cheaters themselves end up falling for someone who can’t stay faithful, eventually. Most of the time, what we think might be cheating is just a miscommunication – but that can sometimes hurt just as bad. What do you do if you think your girlfriend is cheating on you? We’ve got 7 steps to make the process a little easier.
Take a deep breath.
Things aren’t always what they seem, and just because you’re getting a little suspicious doesn’t mean there’s actually anything going on. What makes you think she’s cheating, anyway? There are a number of things we do every day that look way worse than they actually are. For example, if your girlfriend “has to work late” every night, it might mean she’s seeing someone else – but it could also mean she’s trying to bank some extra money for your future together. Stay calm, and don’t make any rash decisions based on a hunch.
Even if you have solid proof that she’s cheating on you, that’s not really your business to spread around. You don’t want to get a reputation as a rumor-starter, and there will always be people who don’t believe the facts when they’re right in front of their face. (I could get all political here, but I don’t think I will.) Be careful who you confide in about your suspicions – trying to rally all your mutual friends to your side can have disastrous consequences.
Process the information.
Gather up the bits of information that you have, and decide how you want to move forward. Remember that hard evidence isn’t necessarily required, but if there’s a legitimate alibi for everything you’re accusing, things probably won’t work out in your favor. Consider things that you’ve heard, if you’ve heard them from people you trust. Consider things you’ve seen yourself, as well as the gut feelings you have. Taking all these details into consideration will help you form a more educated plan of action.
Talk to her about it.
I know this is the part that sucks, but… You have to hear her side of things. The only people who ever really know what happened are the people who were involved. There are at least two sides to every story, after all. Keep in mind that your girlfriend might not tell you the truth (cheaters aren’t exactly known for their honesty, after all). Even if she does tell you the truth, that’s not going to make it hurt any less. But denial will hurt you way more, and for much longer, so you have to get the truth.
Decide if you want to stay or leave.
No matter what the truth turns out to be, only you can decide if the relationship is worth the pain it’s caused you. If she wasn’t cheating, there was still something off that caused you to feel that she was, so you need to explore that for yourself. It is 100% okay to walk away from a relationship that doesn’t make you happy, even if there are children involved. After all, it’s more important that your children see a loving, healthy relationship – not one where their parents are miserable all the time.
Regardless of whether you choose to stay together or split up, therapy or counseling might help you to work out the issues that have come up. A good therapist can help prevent these insecurities from turning into full-fledged phobias, and they can help you to process the changes if you decide to stay together. No matter what choices you make, there is nothing wrong with reaching out to someone for help.
Learn from it.
The biggest thing you can gain from any bad life experience is the lesson it teaches. Use this setback as a means of redefining your relationship needs, whether with your current partner or your future partners. If your partner wasn’t cheating, but spending long hours at work, you need to recognize whether future ambitious partners would be a problem with you or not. Lastly, if you keep making the same mistakes, you haven’t finished learning from them yet – try to look at things from a different perspective, and see if there are any things you could do differently to be treated the way you deserve.