She Cheated, I Can't Forget
One of the most difficult relationship problems to deal with is when a person cheats. How would you handle it?
Question from Kevon:
I'm a 28 yr old intelligent brotha, with good ethics and a strong sense of family. I have been dealing with a girlfriend who cheated on me over a year ago and I'm not sure how to get it out of my mind. It hurt me when it happened, but we decided to try and work through it and continue our relationship.
When I initially found out about it, I didn't think I could stay because I was devastated. I asked her 100 questions with the word "Why" beginning each of them. She told me then, and several times since, that she didn't know what made her do it. She says that she didn't love the guy and regrets that it ever happened.
Sometimes when we argue, the subject pops up and the drama starts all over again. Months will pass and it doesn't come up, but all of a sudden -- it anger rushes back into my mind.
She gets angry if I bring it up during an argument, saying that I continue to torture her with the mistake she made when I told her that I would forgive her. Seems kind of odd that she gets upset when she's the one who cheated, but it also hurts me to keep thinking about it. I still want to try and work things out, but it's really hard sometimes.
So my question is, how do I move on from this? Will the thoughts of her being with another man ever leave my mind? I want to move on from it, but the anger is too much sometimes.
The Brothas Response:
Let's start with a critical point: You will never be able to completely forget what your girlfriend did. The question you have to ask yourself and ultimately find an answer to is:
"Can I ever forgive her for what she did ?"
Forgiving someone after an episode of infidelity is one of the toughest emotional tests a man can be subjected to. There isn't a lot of thinking involved because forgiveness starts in the heart.
If you were able to truly forgive her, you wouldn't toss the infidelity issue into her face when arguing. Yes -- she's the one who messed up, but you chose to forgive and reconcile.
It sounds like she's truly sorry for losing your trust and she doesn't deserve the constant ridicule. She's probably done a pretty good job of torturing herself already.
There is absolutely no excuse for cheating, but when women cheat - it often means something within the relationship is awry. We're not saying her betrayal is your fault because it certainly isn't. Just as your girlfriend chose to spend time with another man, she could have also chosen to talk with you about the problems instead. Unfortunately, she chose the former.
For men, it is very difficult to continue a relationship when we're tormented by the thoughts of another man touching someone we love. What's even more agonizing is the fact that she allowed it.
The problem here is, you haven't truly forgiven her. But we must remember that forgiveness is a biblical lesson and we all have to learn how to forgive someone or something at some point in our lives. If you don't think you have the heart to forgive right now, speak with your girlfriend about it and consider taking some time away from the relationship for healing.
You and your girlfriend can also seek counseling with a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) who may be able to help shed some light on your relationship problems.
You can rest assured that forgiving your girlfriend does not ignore, diminish, or excuse what she did. Your forgiveness is more about healing yourself and becoming stronger. Forgiveness enables us to live with the uncertainties of life without becoming bitter and resentful.
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