Wednesday, 28 November 2012
In college, I knew two women whose respective boyfriends had cheated on them. Both cheating incidents involved a conscious decision from the boyfriend to cheat as opposed to an alcohol-induced decision, and both cheating incidents had been going on for a while. Although these women were in a very similar situation, the outcomes of them finding out about the cheating were very different.
The first woman found out about the cheating because the boyfriend came out and confessed it to her himself. He was plagued with guilt that he was pursuing another woman while his girlfriend was staying true to him. He decided that he loved his girlfriend more than he liked this other woman, and he wanted to be true to his girlfriend again, so he had to clear the cheating off his conscience by telling his girlfriend about it so that they could move forward. He assured her that he would cut all ties with this other woman.
The girlfriend was very angry and betrayed – so betrayed, in fact, that she broke it off with him. Sure, he promised not to talk to the other woman again, but the damage had already been done; he had betrayed her trust, and she knew that she could not continue a relationship with a man she did not trust.
In the second incident, the boyfriend also confessed his cheating to his girlfriend and said he would cut ties with the “other” woman. In this case, however, the girlfriend was willing to forgive him and give him a second chance. She said that nobody was perfect and that maybe this was a sign that they needed to spend more time working on their relationship. The boyfriend was thankful for her forgiveness, but this woman was met with a lot of criticism from her family and friends.
Others around her said that her refusal to dump her boyfriend and move on showed that she was weak or had low self esteem. After all, is it really possible to trust a person again once that person has betrayed you? Her boyfriend cheated on her before; could she really be confident that he would not choose to cheat on her again? Others say that her decision to stay with her boyfriend showed that she had a lot of character if she was willing to forgive him for something so awful that it caused many other relationships to crumble and commented about how she must really love her boyfriend and value their relationship if she wanted it to work out that badly.
In your experience, does cheating automatically terminate a relationship? When should a person forgive his/her significant other for cheating, and when is it best to simply move on?