This might be THE most devastating and disorienting experiences one could have in a relationship – finding out that your girlfriend has cheated on you.

What I’ve noticed from clients are two reactions – intense anger or self-blaming, sometimes both.  They either want to punish her or they beat themselves up trying to figure out what they did wrong to cause it.

The problem is we feel these, and other, emotions simultaneously – cycling from one emotion to another throughout our day.  No wonder we’re all twisted up in indecision.

Here’s how to sort it all out.

First, write down all the emotions you’re feeling – anger, hurt, humiliation, confusion, self-pity – all of it.

Then, for each one, write down why you’re feeling it.

Here’s some examples:

Anger – because she disrespected me and our relationship

Hurt – because she betrayed my trust

Next – and this might be the toughest part – don’t try to figure out why she did it.  That’s for her to tell you.

But don’t have the conversation until you’re clear on how you feel and why.  The exercise above will cool down your emotions so you don’t lash out.

Now you’re ready to talk to her.

When you do, try to use “I” statements.  “I’m really pissed off at you and don’t think I can ever trust you again.”  Remember, your objective is to find out why she cheated – not to feel better.

Stay away from statements that start with “You” like “You’re a bitch”.  Those will definitely put her on the defensive and won’t help you get to the bottom of this.

Next – listen.  Sounds easy but with all you’ll want to get off your chest, listening intently can be quite hard.

The more you can actually hear what she’s saying, the better your chances of understanding her motivation.  Repeat it back to her to make sure you’re getting it right.

Don’t finish the conversation until you’re clear on why she cheated.  Getting her to confirm ensures you’ve heard her clearly.

Next – take more time.  There’s no reason why you have to decide immediately on your next move.  She’s probably going to say some things that will be hard to hear so your emotions will start swirling again.

Next – decide.  Do you want to stay with her?

The number one reason women cheat on men is neglect.  They feel they’ve been neglected emotionally, sexually or in some other way.  If that’s what you’re hearing, you’ll need to decide if you agree with her.  The same goes for any other reason she puts forward.

After hearing what she’s had to say, do you still want to be with her?  Even it means you might have to do some work yourself?

Finally, can you forgive her?

Will you be able to stay with her and not punish her for the rest of your time together?  This one is tough because it requires you to look into the future, so you may not be able to answer that right away.

But while you think about it, consider this: relationships grow stronger after adversity.  Believe it or not, her cheating could be an opportunity for both of you to grow and deal with what might not have been working in the relationship.

But it won’t happen if you can’t forgive her.  It doesn’t mean you have to but if you can’t, you’d be better off breaking up with her.

Most guys end relationships after infidelity because of what the cheating says about them – they make it mean something.

“I’m not desirable after all”

“Everyone is going to laugh at me”

If it happens to you, what do you make it mean?

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